Now the work begins! These next steps require lots of thought, planning, preparation and some simple math. Once you get the hang of this, it’ll be something as easy as getting the coffee pot ready!
So the next step is to determine the proper amount of macro nutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) your body needs to achieve your goals. For example, someone training for a bodybuilding competition will require a larger amount of protein and fewer carbs. A bodybuilder will be creating a need for the body to take in lots of protein due to the heavy weights being lifted every single day and fewer carbs to make the body utilize the fat stores. However, someone training for a marathon would need a larger ratio of carbs to protein. They have created a need for their body to stay lightweight and with a streamlined musculature. They also require large and frequent amounts of carbohydrates based on their large amounts of cardio activity. Most folks that I work with are simply looking to lose a few pounds and gain a little lean muscle mass in the process to maintain a nicer shape. But remember…..you also have to create this type of NEED for your body to properly utilize these calories and macro nutrients! That means along with this balanced meal plan, a proper ratio of resistance training and cardio 4-5 days a week!
So let’s use a basic balanced nutrition plan for an example. The average female (based on many metabolic test results that I’ve worked with) will require around 1500 daily calories. The body uses carbohydrates for energy and protein for muscle growth and regeneration. So based on the goals, each macro nutrient category (protein, carb, fat) should be pretty balanced. Each meal will contain approximately 20-25 grams of protein, 15-25 carbs and 3-5 grams of fat. The last meal will still contain 20-25 grams of protein, but only about 10-15 grams of carbs (veggies), since the body is preparing to “hibernate” and doesn’t need the energy.Now we just need to choose the healthy, lean, fresh, unprocessed, “clean” foods that will be included in your daily nutrition intake. I opt for lean fresh meats (not frozen if possible) such as chicken breasts, turkey breast, tuna, salmon, tilapia, egg whites, and on occasion, lean steak and pork. My carbohydrate choices are unprocessed with one exception – Ezekiel Bread (all organic, sprouted grains). I normally choose steel cut oats/old fashioned oats, brown rice, basmati or jasmine rice, sweet potato, regular potato, quinoa, couscous, legumes and fresh/steamed vegetables.
Next, determine what amount of these foods will give you the grams of nutrients you’re trying to achieve. Again, I strongly recommend using an app or online program such as “Spark People” or “My Fitness Pal” to track your daily intake as well as use as a tool for learning proper portions of foods. (Each gram of protein contains 4 calories, each gram of carb contains 4 calories and each gram of fat contains 9 calories). For example, I know that 1/2 cup diced chicken breast is 22 grams of protein, 1 scoop of NAR Labs protein powder is 25g of protein (also contains 2.5g carbs), Chobani plain greek fat free yogurt contains 18grams of protein (also contains 7g carbs) and tuna contains 13 grams of protein per 2 ounces. For carbs, 1/2 cup oats is 15 grams, 1/2 cup of rice is 20 grams, 1/2 cup sweet potato is 20 grams, 1 cup of Brussels sprouts is 10g, and one slice of Ezekiel bread is 15 grams of carbohydrate. So lets use these to compile a menu. You can, of course, substitute other foods…I realize I’m one of the “weird” ones that love Brussels sprouts!! Broccoli would be fine in its place. This is simply an example to get you started. I’ve kept this REALLY simple to avoid confusion and overwhelming you with too many choices. Once you understand the concept, making substitutions will be easy…..and there are LOTS of other food choices available!!
First, figure out how many “on the go” meals you will need to take with you each day. I always eat my first and last meal at home, so I prepare 4 meals per day times 5 days per week (20 meals total) to ensure I have what I need. I will typically eat the same things every day, although each individual meal might differ slightly. This makes my mass preparation assembly line-process much easier and efficient! Get your menu mapped out:
– 4 packages chicken breasts (6 per pkg)
– 3 packages tuna
– Salmon fillets (and other varieties of lean meats for dinner choices)
– 6 Chobani Fat Free plain greek yogurt
– NAR Labs Whey Protein powder (available at www.narlabs.com) or another variety of low-carb whey protein
– 1 loaf Ezekiel bread
– 1 bag Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats
– 1 bag Splenda
– 1 bag brown rice
– 2-3 large sweet potatoes
– salmon fillet/ turkey breast/ ahi tuna steak/ tilapia (for dinner time meals)
– 3 bags frozen Brussels sprouts
Unsalted Natural Almonds
fresh or frozen broccoli
Low cal/low carb salad dressing (Walden Farm’s calorie free products can be ordered at www.vitacost.com)
Non stick cooking spray
“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray – terrific on toast and veggies!
20-25 ziplock/gladware/rubbermaid 1.5 cup containers
24-30 ziplock/gladware/Rubbermaid 0.5 cup containers
Crockpot (with disposable liner for easy cleanup) or large stockpot
10″ non stick skillet
Rice cooker or medium stockpot
Large sheet pan with sides (cookie sheet with sides)