First of all, I’d like to say sorry that it has taken so long to get this post up. I had it ready earlier in the week but could never quite get a good enough photo of meal six. Anyway. Let us begin …
Let me start this by saying meal plans are hard, y’all. Especially if you know jack about nutrition. For me, the eating portion of wellness is the hardest part to learn and stick with … which really sucks when you learn nutrition is 80% of the equation (some even say 90%).
So many times people ask me “what did you do?” or “how long did it take?” or “you cut out carbs, didn’t you?”
I answer question one by saying “yes,” because I didn’t (and still don’t) follow a specific plan. I answer question two by also saying “yes,” because the phrasing indicates I’m finished and that’s not true and never will be. I answer question three by laughing hysterically.
Five years ago when my doctor told me I was in horrible condition, she suggested a strict diet and I was heartbroken because I loved food so much. Cooking is more than a necessity for me — it’s a stress reliever, a show of affection and a way of life. The idea that my lifestyle was going to have to change was devastating to me.
So I had to get smart. No, I didn’t go on the Mediterranean Diet that my doctor recommended. No, I also didn’t go straight into eating nothing but salads. Instead, I just started experimenting. Paleo was all the rage back then and I was interested in the idea of eating plenty of animal protein paired with vegetables I actually liked. Mediterranean was wanting me to eat a bunch of seafood (that I won’t re-heat at the office) and drown everything in olive oil (no thanks). Paleo just seemed more sustainable to me.
But I didn’t eat strictly Paleo. I took things I liked from it and started implementing them little bits at a time. I still liked rice so I still ate it. I still liked deep-fried foods so I didn’t cut them out (though I did start limiting them). Ultimately, over the next couple of years I spent my time trying things and more things and more things. Some stuff was amazing, some stuff flopped. I never stopped myself from having treats and I never forced myself to eat stuff I didn’t like.
Eating has to be enjoyable, after all.
The point I’m trying to convey here is that there wasn’t a fix-all diet or meal plan for me and there isn’t one for you, either. I chose Paleo because it seemed the most sustainable way for me to restrict my caloric intake, eat “cleaner” AND enjoy what I was eating all at once. If you don’t know where to start, I would suggest researching the many eating philosophies out there, choosing one that fits your lifestyle best and using it as an outline to get you going.
It’s a process but it will pay off in the end.
If you’ve followed me on Instagram for any amount of time, you’ll know that I’m all about that meal prep life. Not only does it save me time throughout the week by having all of my meals portioned and ready for me but it also helps me plan ahead and make sure that I’m getting my caloric requirements met each day while having more control over what those calories are made of.
If you’re interested in tracking macros, I plan on sharing a post in the next week or two that details all things macro and how I break mine down. If you’re just getting started on your weight-loss / fitness journey, however, I’d suggest telling macros to buzz off. Learn your calorie requirement first and get good at it — THEN we can start looking at macros.
Baby steps, y’all.
It was baby steps that helped me lose 100 pounds and it’s going to be baby steps that will help you achieve your goals as well.
They’ve also helped me develop this week’s meal plan:
Meal One: Breakfast
Oatmeal, Protein Shake
480 Calories; 38g Protein; 7g Fat; 67g Carbs
I keep packs of Quaker Instant Oatmeal at my desk at work. I also have a short blender bottle and a can of Forza Pro whey protein by Forzaone. For this breakfast I mix two packs of oatmeal with warm water and serve it alongside a protein shake consisting of one scoop of whey with about 16 ounces of water. Simple, cheap, filling.
Meal Two: Mid-Morning Snack
265 Calories; 5g Protein; 3.5g Fat; 58g Carbs
Back to that oatmeal. One could ask why don’t I just put three packs in my breakfast and that’s valid. I just chose to include it here to make me feel like I’m eating more. Nothing special about the banana.
Meal Three: Lunch
Grilled Chicken, Roasted Broccoli, Steamed Rice
475 Calories; 45g Protein; 6g Fat; 50g Carbs
Talk about stereotypical. The quintessential meathead meal prep lunch is baked chicken, brown rice and steamed broccoli. I try to take it to a different level, though, by grilling my chicken (marinated in Italian dressing), roasting my broccoli with a dash of garlic powder and I go with steamed white rice because brown rice sucks. Portions are: 8oz chicken, 1 cup of rice, 8oz of broccoli.
Meal Four: Mid-Afternoon Snack
Banana, Dry Frosted Flakes
248 Calories; 3g Protein; 1.5g Fat; 62g Carbs
Carbing up in the afternoon. They’re needed macros, man! I went with another banana because it’s a good source of complex carbs and I chose Frosted Flakes because it was a pretty easy say of portioning out something that’s sweet but not a killer. I get an afternoon sweet tooth — bite me. The banana is just a banana and I’m portining out 1 cup of cereal.
160 Calories; 30g Protein; 2g Fat; 5g Carbs
I almost always end up at the gym after work so I keep another can of whey protein in my locker. I mix a scoop with 16oz of water and kill it before heading home for the night.
Meal 5: Dinner
Korean-style Ground Beef, Steamed Cauliflower Rice, Roasted Carrots, Fried Eggs
828 Calories; 76g Protein; 45g Fat; 22g Carbs
This was probably my most calculated meal and I’ll explain why. First of all, I use a slightly modified version of this recipe for my ground beef (subbing coconut sugar for regular, subbing all mirin in place of sake, subbing coconut aminos for soy sauce). For this week, I chose to go with 85% lean ground beef which goes against nearly all diet advice but it greatly helps me with my fat macro as it’s sometimes a little on the low side. I went with steamed cauliflower because I’d rather get my carbs from a dessert treat than through more white rice and I went with carrots because of color and I just like them. I roasted the carrots the same way I did the broccoli above. Finally, I’m topping it all with two fried eggs because I needed more protein / fat and everything just tastes better with a fried egg on top.
Portions for this is 8oz ground beef; 1.5 cups cauliflower rice; 6oz carrots; 2 large eggs
Meal 6: Dessert
Peanut Butter Toast
520 Calories; 20g Protein; 36g Fat; 42g Carbs
About a year ago I decided that I wanted to work an evening treat into my macros. These are typically carb/fat heavy but I like them so I put them in the meal plan and work around them. This treat includes two slices of Dave’s Killer Bread (thin-sliced) that I’ve toasted in my oven before topping each with 2 tablespoons of Target brand Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter. It’s warm and it’s carby and it makes me ready to go to bed. Everybody wins.
If you’re interested, the final calculations vs. what my actual need looks like this:
Calories: 2,976 / 3,000
Protein: 217g / 220g
Fat: 101g / 88g
Carbs: 306g / 332g
It doesn’t hit everything perfectly but I don’t expect it to. Frankly I don’t even want it to as trying to hit your macros 100% perfectly will do nothing but drive you crazy. Furthermore, going over on your calorie requirement by 100 calories or so … OR falling short a little … isn’t going to make or break your plan. Sometimes we stress about the details when we should be stressing about getting stronger, getting prettier and being better people.
One more thing …
So What Are You Drinking?
Water. Lots of water. If you know me you know I’m married to my 2.2-liter bottle and take it everywhere I go. Is it obnoxious, yes. Do I hate being that guy? Sometimes yes. Do I ever worry about not consuming enough water? Never. Having this with me also helps me make better decisions when I’m confronted with sodas and whatnot when I’m at a lunch with coworkers or if there are treats at the office.
I also drink 3-5 cups of coffee every day. In the words of Nathan Explosion, I take my coffee blacker than the blackest black times infinity. I don’t typically care much for sugar or creamer in my coffee anyway so I don’t feel like this is an issue. If you DO enjoy it, go for it as the macros for a reasonable amount of sugar and creamer are minuscule. You’re really only going to run into game-changers when you hit the Starbucks drive-thru for basically anything but a black coffee. Sorry about it.
Anyway. That’s how I’m eating this week. What y’all got?