MAKE A MEAL OF IT...
Do you struggle when it comes to deciding what to have for lunch and dinner? Are you confused with what’s good and what’s bad when it comes to food and are you unsure of portion sizes? If so, read on to find out more and learn how to take control of your food intake and reach your goals in a more effective way!
WHAT TO EAT:
Let's start with what to eat. It's a lot more simple than you may think - basically you should be eating less processed food that comes from a packet - yes even if it's advertised as 'healthy', and more wholefoods that are natural and nutritious. Basically, try and stay away from the middle aisles of the supermarket when it comes to choosing your food. Yeah I know that's where all the tasty stuff is but that's not going to help you reach your goals.
If you do eat food from a packet- check the nutritional info and make sure you're choosing the option with the least sugar (RDA 25g ADDED SUGAR PER DAY) and ingredients. The more ingredients a food has, usually, the more processed it is.
To make it easier for you, I've created a go-to food list that gives you my recommended protein, carbohydrate and fat sources that you can use to build your meals.
I've also added some top fruits to include as snacks and also some herbs and spices that can add a bit of flavour and antioxidants to your grub.
How to build a meal
Choose 1 protein source from the table and team it with 1 carbohydrate source and then add in some veggies for a balanced, nutritious meal.
The portion sizes all depend on your daily calorie intake needs (more on this in a future post) but for a rough guide:
Each meal should contain a decent amount of protein such as one chicken breast or a salmon fillet. If eggs are your protein source (6g protein per egg) then aim for 3 eggs with 2 additional egg whites. I usually aim for 25-30g of protein per meal.
For example - my protein intake goal for 1 day is around 120g (1g per lb of bodyweight) so I divide this by 3 meals and 3 snacks so I aim for 30g per meal and 30g between my snacks.
Depending on your goal, carbohydrates will vary. If you're looking to lose weight, aim for as little carbs as possible - say 1/4 cup of cooked rice or mashed potato.
If you're maintaining or looking at building lean muscle (while training consistently) then aim for 1/2 cup cooked rice or mashed potato etc.
Try to consume lots of different colourful veggies to obtain a wide range of nutrients. Green means go so any green veggies - eat 'em! Brocolli, green beans, sprouts - it's all in the list above. Aim for half your plate to be filled with veggies or green salads such as spinach. Purple salads and veggies are also super nutritious such as red cabbage and beets so include them into your lunches and dinners.
Fats, although you may think otherwise, are super important and it's vital that we consume a good dose of healthy fats such as Avocado, coconut oil etc to keep our bodies running optimally. Aim for 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil when cooking (around 100kcals). I've seen some people go a bit crazy with the oil and it can add up the calorie count quickly.
If you're adding avocado to a salad, aim for half as this is equal to approx 117 cals and 10.5g fat. As for nuts, these are a great source of fats with almonds being my go-to nut. 1 serving of almonds (make sure they're plain) is usually around 13 nuts which is 80 kcal and 7g of fat.
All of the above are guidelines and are different for everyone depending on your food intake for the day. We all have a recommended daily intake of each of the macronutrients (again, more on this in my next post) so if we haven't eaten all day and have one meal at dinner (which obviously isn't the norm) you may need to consume more than the above in a sitting ro hit your targets.
Hopefully this short guide has helped you with what and how much to eat.
In future posts, I'll be explaining more about the nutritional content of different foods and how to calculate your daily calorie and macronutrient goal.
Until next time...
x Jen x