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Meal Planning

Meal Planning

Since getting back into training I’ve been receiving so many requests to feature a sample meal plan of what I eat. To be brutally honest my diet is my downfall; the training part I can do and give 100% but more often than not it’s my diet that causes issues. Sometimes I think I’m making healthy choices when I’m not, my portion control is terrible and I have a tendency to skip meals. With going to the gym at least five times per week at the moment I really need to clean up my act in terms of my approach to food or I simply won’t see the results. I met with my trainer Ste today and he put together this one month plan for me to follow so I thought I would share the extremely helpful and informative professional advice. ‘The following meal plan is primarily aimed at those who currently have no structured eating plan through the week and so eat what is most readily available to them. This is designed to help decrease body fat and help in the building of lean muscle throughout the body when combined with a regular resistance training programme. It’s also to improve overall health by avoiding foods that may be detrimental to our health. By having a structured meal plan for each day I would hope that people will find it easier to avoid foods that will cause them to gain weight and more importantly, body fat. I’m aware that some people may already be following an even stricter diet regime which is fine and I hope that maybe those people will still have something to gain from this plan even if it’s just the best way to avoid having to cook up as many meals by following the pattern in the plan so that they can cook some foods in bulk to have on consecutive days. To those who are extremists when it comes to diet and believe that the only way is Paleo or that diets must be far more strict than this, please realise this is made for those that are new to a meal plan, or that simply do not want to take their nutrition to that extreme a level, myself included in this. I believe that with a more structured plan like the one below, with more regular eating times, higher protein through the diet, more varied carbohydrates and fats, that cleaner eating and more sustainable fat loss results can be achieved.

Meal Planning

After reading through the plan below you will see that it’s not entirely restrictive in what you can and cannot eat. There is a cheat meal placed in on the Saturday later in the day as I feel it’s a more common time for people to indulge, and if this is built in to your plan you can be guilt free and still maintain a positive outlook on your diet by returning to cleaner eating the following day. Along with that there are some more enjoyable snacks on given days such as homemade flapjacks and protein pancakes. The plan is varied from day to day but of course, some meals are being re used throughout the week. You will notice that as often as possible one day should lead into the next with food preparation. If you look to Monday you can see I have advised to have a chicken salad for the last meal of the day, this can be made in larger quantities and refrigerated for the next day’s lunch as you will see in meal 3 for Tuesday. This will make preparing your food easier since you know what the next day’s meals require so you can cook up to two days in advance and sometimes three. Unfortunately, like with most things, there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to nutrition or even with exercise. Some body types will respond differently to this plan than others. Some people expend more calories on a daily basis and thus require more calories per day where as others may require far fewer. Before trying this plan I would recommend using an app such as ‘My Fitness Pal’ to check how many calories you are currently taking in and what amount of those calories is made up of carbs, fats and protein. If you are eating less carbs than what is listed in the plan and not dropping body fat then they may need to be reduced further to bring back the results of body fat loss. My advice would be to either bring down the portion size of the carbs in each meal or limit out some of the starchy carbs and try and take in the majority of your carbs through plant based foods. However if you are unsure as to whether your carbs are the problem, you should try the plan and see how the change in diet affects you. The amount of meals per day is what throws most people off these plans, however studies have shown that more, portion controlled meals spread evenly throughout the day is more effective towards both burning body fat and increasing lean muscle. Also, not all the meals are entire meals; some are just light snacks, the odd well timed desert or even just a protein shake.

Meal Planning

In day one I have used this as an example of a training day. I have not placed pre and post workout meals in to every day as not everyone is going to go to the gym every day nor do they need to, but just to show the structure of how to plan a training day I have used myself as an example for the day as I train before work on Monday so I structure a small protein and carb meal both before and after the gym for both energy and recovery and a larger carb and protein meal a few hours before the session to bring my glycogen (energy) levels up as high as I can to get in a good workout. I hope that you’ll gain something from this plan and that it can help you in achieving your results but please feel free to chop and change both the meals and times as you see fit. Not everyone will follow the same schedule with training times, work times or rest so make changes where you need and if you don’t like a meal, try to find another similar substitute for it which will give you the same amounts of macronutrients. The final point I would like to make is that I have purposely left out quantities in this plan as that would limit this plan to only a very particular demographic. It’s up to you to find out what your body can handle and what it can’t. For those looking to lose body fat you may need to pay particular attention to your portion size, calorie control and carbs per day and for those looking to build up muscle while maintaining an already low body fat, you may need to increase to portion size of your protein or if you’re like me the carbs too and replacing the protein shakes for weight gainers. Enjoy the plan and please let me know if there are any questions by contacting me on Instagram or Facebook and again remember this is an aid in your nutrition, not the final solution.’

Meal Planning

Monday –

Meal 1 – Eggs, wholegrain toast, 2 slices of Cantaloupe

Meal 2 – Protein Shake, Banana and pre workout for energy before afternoon gym session

Meal 3 – Protein Shake, 2 rice cakes for post workout recovery

Meal 4 – 2 Chicken Fillets, wholegrain rice and green beans

Meal 5 – Greek yoghurt, blueberries, and a spoonfull of Manuka honey

Meal 6 -Chicken, spinach, chopped mixed peppers, lettuce and cashew nuts 

Tuesday –

Meal 1 – Porridge, blueberries, Protein Shake

Meal 2 – Fruit salad, chopped apple, strawberry, pineapple and mixed berries

Meal 3 – Chicken salad from night before

Meal 4 – Protein shake or bar, choice of nuts and/or seeds to snack on

Meal 5 – Beef, sweet potato and broccoli. Beef can be hand made into burgers

Meal 6 – Small snack of peanut butter rice cakes if needed to fill a gap

Wednesday –

Meal 1 – Fruit salad, chopped apple, strawberry, pineapple and mixed berries

Meal 2 – Protein pancakes, topped with almonds and fruit

Meal 3 – Salmon fillet, boiled eggs, pasta

Meal 4 – Greek yoghurt with granola

Meal 5-  Fish fillets with homemade coleslaw and mixed salad

Meal 6 – Flapjacks, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, oats, flax seeds and honey

Thursday –

Meal 1 – Protein pancakes from day before

Meal 2 – Protein shake, banana and pre workout for energy before afternoon gym session

Meal 3 – Greek yoghurt with granola

Meal 4 – Tuna salad, sweetcorn, lettuce, peppers, cucumber and onion

Meal 5 – Protein smoothie, blended natural yoghurt, mixed fruits and protein powder

Meal 6 – Steak, sweet potato fries and broccoli

Friday –

Meal 1 – Eggs, wholegrain toast, 2 slices of melon

Meal 2 – Peanut butter rice cakes with flaked almonds

Meal 3 – Beef lettuce cups, ground Beef wrapped in a large lettuce leaf

Meal 4 – Poppy seed bagel with turkey, mixed leaves, and avocado

Meal 5 – Quest protein bar

Meal 6 – Chicken stir fry with mixed vegetables and noodles

Saturday –

Meal 1 – Omelette with meat and veg of your choice

Meal 2 – Fruit salad

Meal 3 – Small bowl of porridge

Meal 4 – Small tossed salad

Meal 5 – Cheat meal

Meal 6 – (Optional) something low calorie post cheat meal

Sunday –

Meal 1 – Scrambled egg on wholegrain brown bread

Meal 2 – Diced chicken pieces

Meal 3 – Roast chicken, sweet potato, broccoli and carrots

Meal 4 – Mixed Nuts, Cashews, hazelnuts, almonds etc.

Meal 5 – Homemade beef lasagne

Meal 6 – Strawberry greek yoghurt 

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