The sun is finally starting to shine through (here in Michigan), and summer is finally here! The lack of vitamin D during the colder months may have reduced your ambitions to stay on your workout program and shot your ability to reduce your food cravings. Well now is the time to get back after it before summer comes. In order to shed body fat while maintaining and even build muscle, you need to have a […]
Diets: Good or Bad?
Before we dig into the details I have to admit that this blog kind of goes against my nutrition philosophy, to some degree.
I don’t believe in diets but I do believe in trying them to see what they are like, take what is useful from them and ditch what does not work. Many clients out there who prefer this method of eating are well intended and have a lot of great principles. But staying on a certain diet forever (Paleo, vegan, Keto, Atkins, juicing, etc.), is almost impossible for most of us, long-term.
I also feel that sticking to a meal plan is also virtually impossible, long-term. I do believe there is a time and place to follow a meal plan. For example, a month before a wedding, making a weight cut for a sporting event, getting on stage in a physique competition, etc. And yes, you can learn a lot from going on a meal plan but we have to think about the long haul here.
The question you must ask yourself when going on a meal plan or diet are:
- Does this diet/meal plan make sense for me?
- Can I do this long-term or is this just a short-term solution?
So, instead, I like to illustrate how to eat correctly with diagrams, graphics, templates, and guides.
The Food Plate
Many diets out there are saying the same thing anyway. Eat more vegetables, consume adequate protein and healthy fat, drink more water, and avoid sugar are principles that most everyone can agree on.
The folks who push to count macros (carbs, protein, fat), and calories have a wonderful message as well: eat enough for you and eat a balanced diet. If you are mindful of portions and eat how I explain later in this post, you will not have tracked every morsel you put into your body, but it may take some weighing and tracking in the beginning. Just not long-term.
I first want to start off with what your average plate of food or super shake should look like. You don’t have to make all of your meals look like this but I will say that if you make an effort to eat at least one meal like this, you are on your way to a good start.
- ½ plate veggies
- ¼ plate Meat, Eggs, Fish
- 1/8 plate fruit and or starch
- 1/8 plate fats
Here is a detailed breakdown of the food plate and some extra tips on how to make it happen.
- Most of your plate should be covered with fresh leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, arugula, collards, or other greens. Broccoli, asparagus, cucumber, peppers cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are also great options that provide a great nutrient punch. In the end, find the veggies you like and start there. Raw is best, but minimally cooked and frozen veggies are good as well.
- Proteins such as grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, organic turkey chicken and eggs should make up around a quarter of your plate. If you are a vegan, you can focus on more nuts, seeds, quinoa and possibly a vegan protein powder supplement.
- Eat whole fruit and ditch the processed types of fruit (applesauce, juice, etc.). About 1-3 servings a day should do the trick.
- For optimal energy, satiety and fat loss, make sure you consume nutrient-dense fats that come from coconut oil, grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Avoid processed oils.
- If you are very active and/or need some extra energy, adjust your carbohydrate intake accordingly. Stick with starchy veggies, potatoes, sprouted grains and rice.
- In a time crunch or to get a ton of nutrients in easily, make a super shake. Pick a protein powder (grass-fed whey, hemp, brown rice, chia), liquid (water, coconut water, almond milk), fat (coconut or coconut oil, nuts or nut butter), veggies (spinach, kale, green food powder) and fruit (berries, banana) and blend with ice.
This meal plan is designed to illustrate what a possible good day of eating could look like. It is not made to be YOUR meal plan but should provide a roadmap for what yours could look like.
7 Day Sample Meal Plan
A Guide And Roadmap, Not A Meal Plan
I am hopeful that you have found this post useful in your pursuit of healthy eating! It is a long-haul journey that will take a lot of trial and error. Stick to these tried and true roadmaps. Stay mindful of eating fresh and local foods. Reduce sugar, and drink lots of water. You are on your way without counting calories or trying the next trendy diet you saw on Facebook.
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