With increasingly busy lives, the last thing we're likely to set aside time for is planning weekly nutritious, balanced meals. But it's one of the most important if you're keen to live a healthy life. If you pre-plan what your meals will be for the week, you'll find that you're actually spending less time overall and you'll have a fully stocked kitchen leaving little room to go off the rails! It's one less thing to think about each day.
As a rule, if you stick to as much fresh food as possible and avoid highly processed, high-fat foods you're on the right track. An abundance of colourful and fibrous vegetables and fruit, lean meats like chicken, turkey, pork, beef, veal and lamb (trimmed of any fat), most types of fish are all good choices. Low-fat dairy foods such as yoghurt, milk and cottage cheese, eggs (in moderation) or some soy products like tofu are also great foods to eat.
You can eat starchy carbohydrates such as breads, rice, pasta and cereals, or 'concentrated' carbohydrates such as fruit juices or dried fruit, just don't have too much. The best carbohydrates are those that are quality, water-based, low carbohydrate foods, with high vitamin and mineral values and low fat. Fibrous fruits and vegetables are best here, we need plenty of these.
Consider these tips when you're planning:
- Reduce carbohydrates, eat them earlier in the day and make sure they are the right carbs
- Increase protein, again make good choices, proteins should be as lean as possible
- Increase good fats, found in foods such as fish, seeds and nuts
- Reduce alcohol consumption
- Consider the timing and types of carbohydrate foods eaten surrounding exercise (best to eat 1 hour after exercise and 2 - 3 hours before).
Lastly, do you remember my three golden rules?
- Eat 5-6 small meals per day (and make them nutritious!)
- Wait one hour after a hard cardio workout before you eat in order for your body to continue to burn fat stores in your body.
- If exercising later in the day, wait 2-3 hours after eating your last meal before you undertake cardio exercise again so we are burning your body's fat stores and not the food you have just eaten and learn how to plan your meals for optimal nutrition and weight loss. You'll be amazed at how a few tweaks to your diet can benefit you for the long term.
Remember to drink water, water, water - this is really important and again often forgotten.
70% of your weight loss results will come from what you eat!
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.