don’t prep like that…
So, we have already talked about the different nutrition models (link part 2) as well as the importance of macronutrients (link part 3). Those two posts are the foundation needed to move forward. You must first choose your nutrition model based on your goals. Then use the macro nutrients to your advantage to reach those goals. The next step is preparation. Preparation starts from planning out your nutrition and continues through meal prep weekly or daily. This is one of the biggest keys to success. It’s easy to make a bad decision if you’re stuck in pinch with no healthy option at hand. So here are some tips as well as samples to get your moving.
-First choose your nutrition model, as mentioned before, from part 2 of the nutrition blog series. The foods you use will be different on a Paleo style diet versus a macro diet. For the nutrition challenge, the majority of you will be using the Paleo model, since it is the most effective quick version. (Please read my previous notes on that before starting.)
-Get yourself one or more shaker bottles for protein and other supplements and a good meal bag. I use one made by Jax Bags from Academy. It comes with some containers, an ice pack, and a shaker for $30. On a side note, I like their bags but not their containers, so I ordered bulk containers from Amazon here.
-Make a shopping list of your foods. I like to pre plan what I want in each meal and just buy those foods. With my schedule, its easiest for me eat the same foods each day. This can be difficult for some, but it’s the easiest way to stay on track. I look at food as just fuel throughout the week and allow myself to cook some variance on the weekends. You can also do something similar by planning your morning and day time meals and then cooking something different each night, and even cook enough to use left overs as a meal the next day.
There are tons of sources on the web for nutrition shopping lists. I’ve even downloaded Paleo crockpot meal preps. You can get anywhere from one meal to a month worth of healthy crockpot recipes and shopping lists to take the guess work out of it. At one point I did a month of crockpot dinners, with leftovers for the next day. I bought all of the food, pre portioned the meals, and separated them. Each day I just had to take a zip lock bag meal out, put it in the crock pot, then when I got home from work, I had a meal ready.
-now for the prep work. I am a creature of habit, so this part is easy for me. It can be tedious for some, but I promise I gets much easier after a few tries. Set aside some time, Sunday works best for most, and prep a bunch of food. Every Sunday I cook about 7lbs of chicken breasts in the crockpot, about 3lbs of ground turkey on the stove, and a large bag of basmati brown rice, quinoa, or sweet potatoes. I have done this routine enough that it takes no time at all. In fact, I typically put the chicken in Sunday evening, then get up and shred it in the morning. Use some large tupperware containers to store your prepped food. I am not a big fan of pre packing a week worth of meals. I prefer to keep them in large containers, then portion out what I need each day. Vegetables are pretty much the only thing that I don’t prep in advance. You can simply use the microwave steamable veggies. Cook a bag each day and portion it out across your meals.
Think back to our recent post on macro nutrients. Protein needs to be in every meal that you eat, as do some type of vegetables. Your carbohydrate intake is based on the nutrition model that you choose. So those of you doing paleo do not need grains, rice, quinoa, etc. You guys will go harder on veggies. Other than strict Paleo, you may have those grains. It will just come down to the timing of them. Most of you that will continue grains will only need them on training days and only around workout times. Fat is necessary to every diet, but it is especially important to the paleo diet. Your intake of fat will be higher to replace the lack of carbs.
Look back to the previous posts for the right foods to buy and prep. I also urge you to do a little research. Taking the time to educate yourself, is the reason we aren’t starting the nutrition challenge right away. I can’t be by your side all the time to tell you what to do, so you need to understand the what and why. We are only concentrated on the basics right now and it will make big change, if you stick to it. It’s your responsibility now. If you want to make change, then accept no excuses. Education and preparation are crucial.
My general weekly shopping list (I am following a macro diet specific to me)
-6-7 lbs chicken breast and 2 packs of crockpot seasoning
-3lbs ground turkey and healthiest taco seasoning I can find
-enough bags of steam veggies for the week
-Big bag of Basmati brown rice
-bag of plain almonds
-big can of natural peanut butter
Sample meal plan from basic clean eating model
-Wake up snack: Progenex More Muscle Shake, almonds
-Meal 1: 2 whole eggs, 4 egg whites, salsa, and oatmeal
-Meal 2: Crock pot chicken, veggies, sweet potato
-Post workout: Progenex Recovery
-Meal 3: Crockpot Chicken, veggies, rice
-Bed: Progenex Cocoon, Peanut butter
(depending on training intensity and length of my work day, I may have another regular meal before bed or eat more with the bed meal)
Current Meal plan for training day
*This is close but exact to my plan. I eat macro nutrient numbers based on my body weight and training.
Wake: Proegenex More Muscle, almonds
Breakfast: 1 whole egg, 5 egg whites, 2oz ground turkey, handful spinach, ½ cup salsa,
oatmeal, small orange (or a Snickers…just kidding. inside joke.)
Workout Shake: 35g Progenex protein, 2 tablespoons of Tang
40min after workout: 6oz Crockpot chicken, veggies, 1-1/4 cup rice, 1/2 cup salsa, almonds
Dinner: 6oz crockpot chicken, veggies, salsa, 1 cup rice,1/2 cup salsa, almonds
Bed: 35g Progenex Cocoon, 2 slices of whole grain bread, 2 tablespoons natural PB