I keep getting asked, “How do you do it?” and by that people at work mean set up my daily lunch so I am staying up on my nutrition requirements as I work out. I mentioned this statement to Sam, my trainer, who suggested I write a blog about my experience. For many years, I have always prepared my breakfast and lunches for the week on Sunday. Today I am going to share with you some of my tips for meeting your fitness goals through nutrition. Be warned, I am not going to give you diet tips but more about planning your meals.
My Top 5 Nutrition Tips
- Plan your menu
- Shop smart
- Prepare in advance
- Portion control
- Pack your lunch
Plan Your Menu
When getting my nutritional requirements for the week ready, I start on Saturday. The first thing I do to get ready for the week is pull out my cookbooks. Some cookbooks I reference most are The American Heart Association’s Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol and The New American Heart Association Cookbook. I find the recipes in both of these cookbooks to be easy to prepare and fulfilling at the same time. Other times, I just think about what I want to eat and come up with some form of “recipe”; for example, the image here is of a coleslaw I made. It is half a head of cabbage, one red pepper, one green pepper, and shredded carrots. I then made a vinaigrette dressing I found in another cookbook.
The next step is to take those recipes (usually no more than four) and put them into an Excel Spreadsheet along with the rest of the meals for the week. After this, I check the coupons in my grocers mobile app and go to the store.
The grocery store can be a bit overwhelming for anyone trying to stay on a diet. Your first instinct may be to buy those “low-fat” frozen meals to help meet your nutrition needs. Let me tell you, those things are full of salt; don’t believe me read this article “Should you defrost your diet?” from NBC. Over processed foods have been shown to hurt your diet rather than help your diet, but there are exceptions. For example, the coleslaw I made can be made with pre-shredded cabbage and carrots instead of having to shred them yourself. Take about a time saver! Next, if you are buying any meet, check the label. Chicken, for example, can have a lot of sodium added in the processing so read the labels carefully. When you get home you need to prepare your meals.
Prepare in Advance
On Sunday, I start my day off by preparing many dishes like vegetable sides that will reheat well and making things like the coleslaw. This process takes some getting used to as if you are over eager, you will spend the entire day cooking. Instead, prepare what you must for the next day. As an example, yesterday I knew I only needed the coleslaw for lunch today so I made that and the dressing. Tonight, as I prepare dinner I will make a vegetable casserole that will get me through the rest of my nutrition needs for the week. Next comes portion control which is key to meeting your goals.
Controlling portions is probably the easiest way to help you meet your nutrition needs when trying to slim down. My typical breakfast is cereal, cottage cheese, yogurt, and fruit. I measure out both my cereal and cottage cheese using the recommended serving size from the container and put it into individual containers that I can reuse each week. For lunch, I made the coleslaw so I measure out the serving and the dressing for the week into another set of containers along with some carrots in a different container. This way, when I get ready to leave my house in the wee hours I don’t have to think I just have to pack my meals.
Pack Your Lunch
So I am sure you are asking yourself, is all I eat for lunch the slaw and carrots. The answer is no. I have a serving of protein and some cheese. Each night as I am cooking dinner, I take a few seconds to make a sandwich. In the morning before I leave for work, I pull out my breakfast and eat that before I leave for work. Then I pull out my planned lunch and daily snacks and put them into my lunch bag. Remember that Excel Spreadsheet I talked about? That document is printed and hangs on my refrigerator so that as I pack my lunch and snacks I can reference it to make sure I am putting the right things in my bag. I have already portioned out everything for the week so it is pretty easy to stay on my nutrition plan for the week.
I hope this helps you plan your meals better. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask either in the comments below or send my a message using my contact form. Please feel free to share this post with anyone you feel would benefit.