Blog Diets The Minimalist Diet: How to Simplify Your Meals for Better Health

The Minimalist Diet: How to Simplify Your Meals for Better Health

Trendy diets can be overwhelming – there are often too many rules, restrictions, and complicated recipes. But some people swear by them, so you’re willing to try. You end up spending hours in the kitchen, buying expensive ingredients, and feeling guilty when you can’t stick to it.

Traditional diets often focus on what you can’t eat rather than what you should eat. This creates a negative mindset around food and can lead to feelings of deprivation. In addition, these diets are not sustainable in the long term as they require strict adherence to complicated meal plans.

The minimalist diet takes a different approach. Rather than focusing on restrictions, this approach emphasizes simplicity and balance. It encourages you to simplify your meals and choose whole, nourishing foods that are easy to prepare.

Here’s what you need to know about the minimalist diet and how it can benefit your health.

What Is the Minimalist Diet?

As its name suggests, the minimalist diet is a simple approach to eating. It involves reducing the number of ingredients in your meals and choosing whole, minimally processed foods.

This doesn’t mean you need to eat bland or boring meals. Instead, it’s about using basic ingredients and preparing them in a way that brings out their natural flavors. This also means avoiding highly processed foods such as packaged snacks, frozen dinners, and fast foods.

The goal of this diet isn’t weight loss, although it may be a side effect for some people. Rather, its main focus is on nourishing your body with quality nutrients and simplifying your relationship with food.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the average American spends over 3 hours on food-related activities such as grocery shopping, meal planning, and cooking every day (5). The minimalist diet aims to reduce this time and stress by simplifying the process of preparing meals.

It’s not a “diet” in the conventional sense, as it’s not a short-term plan that’s meant for specific weight loss goals. Instead, it’s a lifestyle approach that can be followed in the long term.

Any diet can be minimalist if it adheres to the following core principles:

  1. Whole, minimally processed foods: The focus is on choosing whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins.
  2. Simple ingredients: Meals should be made with a minimal number of ingredients to simplify the cooking process and reduce food waste.
  3. Staple meals: The diet encourages having a few go-to meals that can be easily prepared and enjoyed on a regular basis.
  4. Minimal seasonings and flavors: Rather than relying on pre-packaged sauces and seasonings, the minimalist diet encourages using simple herbs, spices, and other natural ingredients to enhance the flavor of meals.
  5. Few rules/restrictions: Unlike other diets, there are no strict rules or restrictions to follow. But that’s not to say that anything goes, and you should choose 1-3 guidelines that work for you and stick to them.
  6. Declutter your pantry and fridge: Get rid of ultra-processed foods, sugary snacks, and other items that may tempt you to stray from the minimalist diet. This will also help you save money and reduce food waste.
  7. Don’t stress over the details: The minimalist diet is all about simplifying your meals and reducing stress. Rather than pick on every single detail, focus on the bigger picture and make small changes that work for you.
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Why Choose the Minimalist Way of Eating?

In a world where diets come and go faster than any of us can keep up, the minimalist diet is an obvious choice for those who want a simpler, more sustainable way of eating. Here are a few detailed benefits of this approach:

1. Improved Health

By focusing on whole, minimally processed foods, the minimalist diet provides your body with essential nutrients while avoiding harmful additives that are found in many ultra-processed foods. This type of diet may:

  • Support immune function: Nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and antioxidants that support your immune system (6).
  • Improve digestion: Whole grains, legumes, and vegetables are high in fiber, which helps with digestive health and prevents issues such as constipation (6).
  • Enhance heart health: A diet that is rich in lean proteins and healthy fats can lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, reducing the risk of heart disease (3).
  • Reduce the risk of chronic diseases: Research has shown diets that are abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer (6).
See also
Benefits and Drawbacks of Flexible Dieting Lifestyle 

Minimalist diet  

2. Weight Management

While weight loss isn’t the primary goal of the minimalist diet, simplifying your meals and choosing nutrient-dense foods can naturally lead to weight management (1). Specifically:

  • Calorie control: By focusing on whole foods and avoiding high-calorie, ultra-processed foods, you may consume fewer calories overall.
  • Satiety: Nutrient-dense foods tend to be more filling, which reduces the likelihood of overeating.
  • Balanced nutrition: Simple meals that include a mix of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates help maintain steady energy levels and prevent sugar crashes.

3. Saves Time and Money

Preparing meals with fewer ingredients means less time is spent in the kitchen and less money is spent on groceries. With a few staple meals in your repertoire, you can easily plan and prepare meals without the need for complicated recipes or expensive ingredients. This approach can:

  • Reduce shopping time: Fewer ingredients means shorter grocery lists and less time spent navigating the grocery store.
  • Lower food costs: By prioritizing basic, whole foods, you can avoid expensive, specialty items.
  • Streamline cooking: Simple recipes take less time to prepare, which allows you more free time for other activities.

4. Reduces Food Waste

By planning meals around simple, whole foods, you can also reduce food waste. This helps save money and is also better for the environment (2). Benefits include:

  • Optimized ingredient usage: Simple recipes often share ingredients, which reduces the likelihood of leftover items going to waste.
  • Better portion control: Cooking with basic, whole foods allows for better portion management, reducing the chances of excess food being discarded.
  • Environmental impact: Reducing food waste lowers your carbon footprint, which contributes to a more sustainable lifestyle.
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Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts: Recipes, Tips On Staying Healthy, and More 

5. Enhances Mindful Eating

The minimalist diet encourages mindfulness by focusing on fewer, higher-quality ingredients (4). This can help you:

  • Appreciate flavors: With fewer ingredients, every component of your meal stands out, which allows you to savor the natural flavors.
  • Cultivate gratitude: Mindful eating practices encourage appreciation for the food you consume, fostering a positive relationship with meals.
  • Improve satiety: Mindful eating can lead to better satiety signals, helping you recognize when you’re truly full.

6. Simplifies Meal Planning

With fewer ingredients and simpler recipes, meal planning becomes much easier, reducing stress and freeing up mental space. Benefits include:

  • Ease of planning: Having a few go-to recipes simplifies weekly meal planning.
  • Less decision fatigue: Simpler choices lead to less mental exhaustion from deciding what to cook.
  • More consistency: A streamlined approach to meal planning helps maintain consistency in your diet, which can support overall health goals.

Read more: 7-Day Weight Loss Low-Carb Diet: Choose High-Protein, High-Fiber, or Ultra-Low-Carb

7. Promotes Sustainable Living

By choosing whole, minimally processed foods and reducing food waste, the minimalist diet aligns with sustainable living principles. This helps:

  • Support local farmers: Whole foods can often be sourced from local producers, which serves to support your local economy.
  • Reduce packaging waste: Whole foods typically come with less packaging, reducing plastic and other waste.
  • Conserve resources: A minimalist diet often requires fewer resources for production and transportation, contributing to a lower environmental impact.

Minimalist diet  

How to Transition to Minimalist Eating

Making the switch to a minimalist diet may seem daunting initially, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to help you ease into this way of eating:

Start with One Meal a Day

Rather than trying to overhaul your entire diet at once, start by incorporating one minimalist meal into your day. This could be a simple breakfast of overnight oats or a lunchtime salad with fresh ingredients.

Simplify Your Grocery List

Rather than focusing on buying specific foods for certain recipes, think about versatile ingredients that can be used in multiple ways. For example, instead of choosing a specific type of cheese for a recipe, opt for a block of Cheddar that can be shredded or sliced for various meals.

See also
Diet Cheat Day 101: How to Indulge Without Sabotaging Your Progress

Stick to the Basics

When planning meals, focus on the basics: protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. This can include foods such as lean meats, nuts and seeds, avocados, and whole grains. Sticking to the basics allows for more flexibility in meal planning and simplifies the process.

Incorporate More Whole Foods

Transitioning to a minimalist diet means choosing whole, nutritious foods over packaged and ultra-processed options. Make an effort to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats into your meals (6).

Get Creative with Seasonings

While you may use fewer ingredients in your meals, this doesn’t mean that they have to be bland or boring. Experiment with different herbs, spices, and sauces to add flavor to your dishes without adding extra ingredients.

Don’t Be Afraid to Make Substitutions

If a recipe calls for a long list of ingredients, don’t be afraid to make substitutions or omit certain items altogether. Use what you have on hand and don’t feel any need to follow recipes strictly.

Identify Your Staple Meals

As you start incorporating more minimalist meals into your diet, identify which of them become your go-to staple meals. These can be simple yet satisfying options that you can turn to regularly without much planning or effort.

Meal Plan and Prep Ahead of Time

To save time and reduce stress, try meal planning and prepping ahead for the week. This will help you stick to your minimalist diet by having healthy, simple meals that are ready to go when you need them.

Be Patient With Yourself

The transition to a minimalist diet may take some time, so be patient with yourself. Don’t be discouraged if you slip up or find it challenging initially. Remember that small changes can lead to big results over time.

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What Are Some Challenges of Minimalist Eating?

While there are many benefits to adopting a minimalist diet, it can also come with some challenges, including:

  • Adjusting taste preferences: If you’re used to eating highly processed and/or heavily seasoned foods, transitioning to simpler meals may require an adjustment in taste preferences.
  • Limited variety: With fewer ingredients and simple recipes, there may be less variety in your meals than you’re used to.
  • Potential social challenges: Eating out or attending social events may become more challenging if the available food doesn’t align with your minimalist diet. It’s important to find a balance that works for you, but sometimes simplicity can mean eating what’s offered and not stressing about it.
  • Time and effort: While meal planning and prepping can save time in the long term, it may require more initial effort to adjust to a minimalist diet.
See also
Flexitarian Diet Pros and Cons: A Balanced Approach to Eating

How to Overcome These Challenges

Here are some tips to help you overcome the potential challenges of minimalist eating:

  • Be open-minded: Approaching the shift in taste preferences with an open mind can make it easier to adjust and discover new favorite meals.
  • Get creative with ingredients: While there may be less variety in terms of the number of ingredients, experimenting with different ways to prepare and combine them can still provide a range of flavors and textures.
  • Communicate your needs: When dining out or attending social events, don’t be afraid to communicate your dietary preferences and limitations, or just go with the flow if you can. It’s important to find a balance that works for you without sacrificing your health goals.
  • Find ways to make meal planning and prepping easier: This may include choosing meals with minimal ingredients or batch cooking for the week ahead.

Read more: 24 Weight Loss Smoothies, 2 Diet Plans, and 5 Belly Fat Smoothie Secrets

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  • Which foods should I eat on a minimalist diet?

A minimalist diet consists of whole, minimally processed foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Avoiding ultra-processed and packaged foods is the key.

  • Is a minimalist diet the same as a plant-based diet?

No, a plant-based diet focuses on consuming mostly or entirely plant-derived foods, while a minimalist diet is more centered around choosing simple meals made from whole, minimally processed foods, regardless of their source.

  • Will I lose weight on a minimalist diet?

Weight loss isn’t the primary goal of a minimalist diet, but it can be a potential side effect due to consuming fewer calories from high-calorie, ultra-processed foods. However, in order to lose weight on this diet, it’s important to still practice portion control and make sure you eat enough nutrient-dense foods.

  • Can I still indulge in treats and snacks on a minimalist diet?

Yes, indulging in treats and snacks is still possible on a minimalist diet. However, it’s important to choose minimally processed options that are in alignment with the principles of a minimalist diet.

  • Is a minimalist diet suitable for everyonce?

A minimalist diet can be suitable for most people, but it’s important to always listen to your body and make adjustments as needed. Consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns or underlying health conditions. 

The Bottom Line

In summary, the minimalist diet offers numerous potential benefits for both physical health and overall lifestyle. By simplifying meals and focusing on whole, minimally processed foods, you can improve your health, save time and money, reduce food waste, foster mindfulness, simplify meal planning, and contribute to a more sustainable way of living. Start by making small changes and see how this approach can have a positive impact on your life. 


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. How Can I Eat More Nutrient-Dense Foods? (2023,
  2. Health Benefits of Organic (n,d,
  3. HEALTHY HEART (n,d,
  4. Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat (2017,
  5. More Americans Spend More Time in Food-Related Activities Than a Decade Ago (2020,
  6. Nutrition Benefits and Considerations for Whole Foods Plant-Based Eating Patterns (2022,
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