Are you like me in the sense meal planning is one of the hardest things to stay consistent with? When you start getting in shape going to the gym takes a lot of dedication. Adding meal planning to the mix may seem a bit overwhelming. We are here to help you. Reach out to us on Facebook or use the contact page. You can also scan our messenger code below.
The perfect diet consists of 5 or 6 small, healthy meals. By evenly spreading your healthy calories over the course of the day and eating a meal or snack every 2-3 hours, you will stabilize your blood sugar, decrease insulin and hormone spikes and provide fuel and nutrients to maintain your energy level. Here are a few additional meal planning tips every diet should follow:
Every meal or snack should contain a balance of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and fatty acids. The ratio of each depends on your goals, ie. weight loss vs. muscle gain, but as a general rule, try for 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fats.
Calculate the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight, then add or subtract calories – add if you are trying to gain weight, subtract if weight loss is your goal. This sample meal plan contains approximately 2000 calories.
This as an eating PLAN, not a diet. Diets are restrictive and unpleasant and suffering cravings and hunger pains. This sample plan spreads good food throughout your day and provides some leeway. As an example, if you only have 100 or 200 calories for a snack, you have 100 or 200 calories that you can add to another meal or snack.
Water with every meal AND snack will fill your stomach, help you feel full, prevent overeating, and keep you hydrated. Avoid any other drinks, they will add calories to your diet and prevent you from enjoying “real” food.
Spice it up.
Find or prepare your own picante, hot sauces, low fat and low calorie dressing, low sodium spices (DASH) and consider adding fresh vegetables to every dish. Watch the salt content and avoid adding excess salt to your foods, the same goes for sugar.
Fruits and vegetables. Stock up on fresh fruit and veggies. If not in season or you need longer storage, use fresh-frozen fruits like berries and peaches and keep a few bananas on hand. Add one (or more) vegetables to every meal.
Meal Planning Example
Sample 2000 Calorie Meal Plan
Don’t skip it, it sets the tone for the day. scramble 2 eggs in a teaspoon of olive oil and add any vegetables you like, peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc. Serve with a slice of dry whole grain or sprouted toast and a serving of your favorite fruit, an apple, orange or banana with a couple of strawberries and add a cup of black coffee (only 5 calories), plus your first glass of water for the day. This healthy breakfast contains about 350 calories.
Morning Snack –
Most snack sized foods and individual fruits contain around 100-110 calories, choose a combination of 2-3 for a snack. Try a low-fat single serve string cheese with 5-6 whole wheat crackers, or a handful of almonds with fruit or a glass of skim milk, or nut butter with apple slices or whole wheat crackers. Any combination of these will keep your morning snack around 230 calories. Don’t forget your water.
If you have access to a stove, try a chicken breast or fish (about the size of a deck of cards) sauteed/pan fried in olive oil. Spice it up! Add a slice of dry sprout or wheat toast and 3-4 thin slices of avocado. A serving of fruit or vegetables and another glass of water, all for around 350 calories.
Afternoon Snack –
Choose any combination of the morning snack list OR try a single serve Greek yogurt and add one fruit serving (100 calories) berries, sliced apple, pear, pineapple, banana, etc. Keep it around 200 calories and you’ll have a few extra calories at dinner. 230 calories.
6 oz chicken or fish, or very lean beef. Add a small baked potato or sweet potato and a small raw vegetable salad and another single slice of dry sprout or wheat toast OR 5-6 wheat crackers. The danger from this meal comes from dressing for the salad and the temptation to add toppings to your baked potato. Use a small amount of lemon, vinegar and virgin olive oil to your salad and a dollop of plain yogurt topped with chives or diced onions. Add a glass of water and some fresh fruit to finish. This healthy meal is around 460 calories.
Evening Snack –
Two to three hours after dinner, but preferably at least an hour before bed, have another yogurt and fruit, or try a healthy shake with your favorite fruits and vegetables, coconut water or almond milk. If you’re in the mood for a reward, have TWO squares of dark (70% or higher) chocolate with a small glass of red wine. Any combination of these will contain about 300 calories.