If you're reading this post (or the simple fact that you're on this website!), chances are that you take good care of yourself by training regularly and eating right. The latter, however, is usually the harder of the two routines for many obvious--and not so obvious--reasons. It feels so good to eat/drink so bad; healthy food is usually expensive and hard to find; it takes way too much time to meal prep; I just don't know what the f&@k I'm doing.
The truth is, eating right should not be such a monumental challenge. Finding healthy, great tasting food is not that difficult, and chances are most of these ingredients are sitting in your pantry or fridge, or readily available at your local grocery store. And you don't have to be a Michelin star chef to whip up a lean cuisine masterpiece. All it takes is an ounce of research, a pinch of planning and a dash of discipline to put together a simple meal plan. It doesn't have to be perfect, just sustainable. Try this one for a week.
Breakfast (7am-8am) 1 slice Dave’s Killer bread + 1/2 Tb butter (230 kcal; Carbs 24g, Fat 14g, Protein 11g); 1 hard boiled egg (70 kcal; Carbs 1g, Fat 5g, Protein 6g), or 1/2 an avocado (91 kcal, Carb 5g, Fat 8g, Protein 2g)
Snack 1 (10am) Muscle Milk (160 kcal; Carbs 9g, Fat 4.5g, Protein 25g)
Lunch (12-1pm) Pasadena Salad (540 kcal; Carbs 38g, Fat 34, Protein 27g)
Snack 2 (3-4pm) Barebell protein bar (200 kcal; Carbs 20g, Fat 8, Protein 20g)
Dinner (6-7pm, no later than 8) 1 salmon fillet (280 kcal; Carbs 1 g, Fat 15g,
Protein 36g) + roasted asparagus, about 10 spears (123 kcal; Carbs 5g, Fat 11g, 3)
Total: 1,603 kcal; Carbs 89g, Fat 87g, Protein 128g
The total number of calories on this meal plan is relatively low (1,700 kcal is ideal, more if you are exceptionally active). That gives you some wiggle room in case you feel the need to add or alter any of the meals. Need something sweet after lunch? Try a handful of candied pecans (190 kcal, Carbs 8g, Fat 17g, Protein 2g). Got a crunchy snack craving? How about some Staceys Pita Chips (130 kcal, Carbs 19g, Fat 5g, Protein 3g). Need a nightcap? Pop open a can of Truly Hard Seltzer (100 kcal, Carbs 2g, Fat 0g, Protein 0g).
This meal plan focuses on portion control and time of consumption, rather than over-emphasizing macros. Eat early and up your carb intake on days you'll do endurance or HIIT workouts. Take on extra protein the day after heavy lifting. Split your lunch and eat the leftovers for an early dinner when you're on the road and can't squeeze in a workout.
Apply the 5-2 (5 days good, 2 days not so good) rule to this or any meal plan you choose to use. Cheat days should not be decadent, but you should feel no remorse or shame after indulging. Humpday Happy Hours are acceptable once in a while, but not too often as they would add up eventually. Take a break from from your meal plan once you get close to your goal or hit a plateau. And don't be afraid to share your meal plan with your close friends and family. Things are much much easier when you're in it together. Cheers!