Is knowing what to buy when you do your grocery shopping something you struggle with? Not sure whether you’re buying the right stuff? Hopefully this post will give you an action plan that will structure a week’s nutrition relevant to your goal, enable you to be prepared and know exactly what you need to get to make life as easy as possible.
Online meal plans are brilliant, eat exactly this or that and you’ll lose weight. That’s grand if you don’t do shift work, have a day off, or quite simply you don’t like the food that you’ve been advised to eat. So why don’t you make your own meal plan? Write down on a piece of paper a table with days of the week across the top and the meals you eat each day down the side, for example ‘breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, evening meal, supper’. Now you’ve got the template to create your food plan.
The next step is to create your perfect week. Think to yourself, if I was to eat perfectly for the next 7 days, what would it look like? We recommend getting a protein source in at every meal, this could be a meat of some description, eggs (the white), greek yoghurt, dairy, protein powder or something along those lines. If dairy doesn’t agree with you, it might be a good idea to use a protein supplement that isn’t milk based such as rice, soy, hemp or pea protein. If you’re a vegetarian, utilising foods like quinoa , buckwheat, algae sources and soybeans will be important. For example choosing to combine cheeses and beans, rice or corn can create a complete protein source within a meal, which will in-turn vastly benefit your muscle protein synthesis, growth and recovery from training. Secondly, plan your fruit and veg. What veg do you like? We recommend getting veg into your meals and snacking on fruit. It’s handy to keep an apple or banana at work, in the car or to hand. Also you can get fruit in most shops if you’re out and about. If you don’t like preparing veg, our ‘go to’ is Bird’s Eye steam bags of veg. They’re cheap, quick and easy. The last consideration is a portion of starchy carbohydrate such as rice, pasta or bread. The amount of this required will generally vary depending on your goal. If weight loss is your goal, portions will be minimal, if weight gain or sports performance is your goal, carbs will need to be utilised a lot more.
If you tend to make the same recipes, for example beef stew, chicken curry, shepherds pie or chicken and broccoli bake, plan these in. Cooking in bulk will allow you to eat the same thing for lunch as you had for dinner the previous night. Or have it 2 nights in a row. Make extra and freeze it for two weeks time.
What about a ‘cheat meal’? If 80% of your food intake comes from fresh food, or real non processed crappy food then certainly have a meal of whatever you wish. Although be mindful not to go overboard. An extra 200-300 calories once a week likely won’t affect progress, but an extra 1000-5000 calories most definitely will. Plan in your ‘treat’ so you can look forward to it.
Now you can make your shopping list. You can see in front of you exactly what you need for the week ahead. If you’re going away for a few days some week, take this into consideration and adapt it appropriately. Tesco and Asda have a very handy service that allows you to shop online and get everything delivered, something that might be worth considering if you don’t have time to go shopping.
If you want a free one week template to create your perfect meal plan, contact us and we’ll send it through. Nutrition needs to match your training. If you’ve got a body composition or sports performance goal, don’t let lack of preparation be the thing that holds you back.