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Have you ever found yourself without a plan ordering a pizza then proceeding to eat most of the pizza and regretting it after? Or opt for the vending machine instead of fruit or something healthier? Without a plan – you are much more likely to make a poor choice. Convenience is sometimes not a good thing – unless you have made it convenient for yourself to have a healthy option.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Yes, planning takes time – but eating poorly takes its toll. I look at it this way – if I have a plan, AND if I prep my food for the week, I have a much lower chance of eating something that isn’t good for me. Every time I eat something not good for me – it takes twice as long to work it off and I won’t feel great. Does this mean I eat perfectly all the time? Heck no, I’m not perfect and I have a sweet tooth. I love food! But I do work at it all the time and I notice a big difference when I’m filling my body with good food versus unhealthy things. For me, when I eat bad, I feel sluggish, my joint pain is far worse, I don’t sleep well and my digestive track goes off the rails. I know this now because of two things. 1. Changing what I eat and sticking to it initially for a good month straight and 2. Journaling about how I feel physically each day. That may be more than you would be interested in doing but I can tell you – You learn a lot by taking the time and writing things down.
How do I Meal Plan?
I often will have my previous meal plan out to start and I’ll pull 3-4 cookbooks off their shelf and take it all to the table.
I have two guides that I use for daily nutrition goals and both are influenced by the workout plans I have that week. IIFYM is a great resource if you track your macros and Beachbody has leveraged Autumn Calabrese’s portion container system for multiple programs now, I particularly like the 80 Day obsession set up because it introduces timed nutrition. Those two systems are my guides. I like to think I get about 4 good protein servings in a day, 4 vegetable servings, 2 carbs, 2 fruits, 1 healthy fat and 1 seed or dressing. I also try to keep my oil usage down to maybe 3 times a day. From a macro perspective – I strive for 30% Protein, 30% Fat, 40% Carbs. I’ve had to adjust my macro % before based on how my body was responding. If I’m working out really hard all week – or running long distances – I’ll often up my calories – add another carb and protein serving. Now, this is what I do – It’s based on my weight, workout, and goals. You may be in a completely different place. All of these resources are guides for me – I highly recommend if you want to really work on your nutrition to see a registered dietician and seek the advice of your doctor for any new workout program or diet.
Now back to the meal plan – I find the easiest way to get started is dinners – What’s for dinner is always the big question! I used to dread that question when I didn’t have a plan – What am I going to make? Do we have everything? Do we have sports tonight? How much time do we have? Dinners are a great place to start and will often set the tone for the day. Do you eat the same thing for breakfast? Is that your Shakeology meal? Sometimes I’ll do a mock grid on my table with post-it notes so I can move things around as I start to fill in the week. Also, I will add recipes and meals to My Fitness Pal as I plan – that way when the day comes -it’s easy to add it to my day. I make that part of my planning.
Once you have a good plan for the week – I star things I can make in advance, make my grocery list and I’m off. I’ll either prep those foods I can that afternoon or the next day of the weekend if I want to break it up.
I’ve created some digital printouts of my weekly plan if you want to use it in your journal or for your fridge. I try to eat every few hours or so throughout the day – making about 5 meals in total per day.
I’d love to see your journals and hear what works for you! Please share so we can all learn!
Try New Things!
Are you in a food rut? Check out your local library. My library has been an incredible resource for me with regards to trying new cookbooks. If I hear about one that they don’t have they will often order it for me to give it a try. I’ll make 5-10 recipes from it to decide if its one that I want to add to my personal collection. I love trying new foods and for me – this has made the transition from being a sad dieter to a healthy dieter so much easier and more exciting. I’ve discovered foods I didn’t even know about and cultures that I want to learn more about because I love their food! Experiment – explore and eat up!
Get the right container for the job
Portion control can be a big problem for people – let’s say you make all the right choices but then make enough that you can have seconds. Now while you have eaten healthier food – you have eaten more than you need. Some people don’t have the “I’m full” switch that kicks in when your body has had the right amount of food. I know this from personal experience because my husband is like this. If I make it – he will eat it. The best thing you can do for yourself is portion your food out in advance. The Containers that are sold with many Beachbody programs are great for this purpose.
Using the container program by Beachbody you start to find quick easy solutions to prepping. I like to eat a diverse salad for one meal of my day. I use Salad Jar’s to store my salad – on my meal prep day I wash and dry all the ingredients cut everything up and then layer my jars starting with the potentially wettest ingredient to the dryest. I personally don’t add protein to my jars but I have seen people do that. It makes it a fast meal – with lots of vegetables ready to go. Small snack zip lock bags are also the perfect size for the fruit or purple container in the system. I will wash and dry all my fruit and separate them out into baggies so I can grab and go all week with a perfect portion of fruit. The same works for vegetables – but personally I am good if I go over in the vegetable department especially if they are steamed.
Find things that work for you and if you need help and are not doing a full Beachbody program – check out portion fix. It is a great nutrition program to help you get on track. Nutrition is everything!!!
Hopefully, this gets you going. I am here if you have any questions – Pinterest is also a great resource. I’d love to hear what works for you!
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