meal-timing-guidelines

Meal Planning Guidelines

You can work out all you want, but if you’re eating junk, you won’t get anywhere. There is a fitness adage that states, “Abs are made in the kitchen”, and a (unofficial) ratio that claims weight loss is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. It may seem extreme, but it’s true. Nutrition has to be aligned if you want to see results in your body. This is coming from a girl who could eat French fries and ice cream with every meal, so believe me, I feel your pain. Kate Moss once said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” I would challenge her and say – Nothing tastes as good as being HEALTHY feels. 

Good-Food-Fridge-Healthy-Eating

Eating clean is more than just incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your daily meals. A lot of thought and preparation is required so it’s important to make your meal plan as efficient and effective as possible. Personally, I am not vegan or vegetarian, I don’t follow a specific diet and I do not have any dietary restrictions or allergies.  I structure my meals to be consumed every 2-3 hours – each including a protein source in combination with carbohydrates, and healthy fats. By having a protein source at every meal you stay full – without over eating. And by alternating carbohydrates and healthy fats your body gets the nutrients it needs to be efficient and healthy without being bland, boring, and tasteless. Dieting sucks, right? That’s the thing – it doesn’t have to. I’ll add some fine print right here – I am not a nutritionist, but I’ve played around with A LOT of nutritional methods and have done a lot of research. I’ve found the below outline to be really effective

Breakfast: protein + carbohydrate
Snack: protein + healthy fat
Lunch: protein + carbohydrate
Snack: protein + healthy fat
Dinner: protein + carbohydrate

Check out this very BASIC breakdown for more dets:

Protein:

This can be anything from beans, fish, poultry or lean beef. A major benefit of any protein source is that it keeps you full and provides vital nutrients to build muscle and keep your metabolism charged. Protein is essential for muscles to gain mass (read: “tone”) and recover after hard workouts. Load up!

Carbohydrates:

I’m talking about starches, fruits, whole grains, or vegetables. Basically, carbs provide the energy that fuels muscle growth. After consumption carbohydrates breakdown into smaller parts that get absorbed by our bods and are used as energy.

Healthy fats:

Think oils, avocados, nuts or seeds. Healthy fats benefit our bodies, but should be consumed in moderation, so go easy, a table spoon of olive oil or almond butter, half an avocado, or a handful of almonds does the trick. These babies will help aid heart health, keep arteries flexible and support overall health.

So, now we put it together! This might be a typical day of applying the above guidelines:

Breakfast: 3 eggs (scrambled) + 1/2 cup steamed broccoli
Snack: 4 slices of deli turkey (or other deli meat) +  1 handful of almonds
Lunch: 1 chicken breast + 2 cups steamed kale + 1/2 of a sweet potato
Snack: 1 Greek yogurt + handful of blueberries + organic granola
Dinner: 1 turkey burger (no bun) + 1 sliced tomato + 1/2 cup brown rice

Regardless of eating habits the golden rule should be: eat when you’re hungry, choose clean ingredients and stay hydrated.

Please note: the above are all whole food sources, the less crap from a box labeled “low fat” or “fat free” you put into your body the better. True story.

Image via: Nutrition Rx

6 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Effects of Skipping Meals to Save Calories

  2. Thanks, your specificity here is incredibly helpful. I’m trying to change how I eat and I’m definitely trying out this eating model you’ve laid out.

    When following this template and deviating from the specific foods you’ve laid out here, do you have guidelines you follow on how much of something to eat? For example, about how many grams of protein should I aim for in each meal or snack? Calories? Carbs? Or maybe I am worrying about the wrong things?

    • Hi Emily! Thanks so much for reading and for your comment. I think you’ll find that this eating model is not only effective, but allows you to stay full and actually ENJOY your food. Not your typical “dieting” plan! I tend to eat smaller portions so that I don’t over eat. My eyes are definitely bigger than my stomach – always! My serving sizes are about as big as my fist and if I’m still hungry after I’ve eaten my meal I go for a second round of veggies or fruit. I don’t focus on macros or a measurement per se. I’ve found that my body is happiest and healthiest when I’m eating whole food sources for my meals, and eating my meals when I’m hungry. Does that make sense? If not, shoot me a message in the “Contact” tab. Good luck!

  3. Hi! Another Emily here… I have a question about this. The above sample meal plan is roughly 1200-1300 calories. What would you recommend adding on if you are training for a half marathon? I calculated my BMR and should be eating around 500 more calories per day. I just don’t want to underfeed myself!

    • Hi Emily! Thanks so much for the comment and I’m sorry for the delay in responding! As mentioned above that plan works for my body, but I would expect that it wouldn’t be sufficient for someone else, ESPECIALLY if you’re training for a half marathon. Congrats, by the way!! The half marathon distance is an amazing race, but so challenging! Keep me posted on how you do! I would suggest adding in more carbohydrates and more protein into your meals. This includes adding a pre and post training run meal. Do what works for you especially as you settle into a training routine. As you get closer to your race try not to switch it up. I have found that Van’s protein waffles with a bit of almond butter or steel cut oats are a great pre-race meal, and a protein shake with skim milk is a good post run meal. I have my post-run meal within 20 minutes after I finish and then will have a full blown meal anywhere from 60-90 minutes after that. I hope this helps! If you’d like more information please send me an inquiry and I’ll respond to you directly!

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