I read this sentence regularly in Women’s Health magazine. Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand regardless of your goal, trying to lose weight, gain weight, build muscle, improve endurance etc.
My view on it is that it’s very personal. We are all built differently and our bodies respond differently to exercise and food intake. I see so many people (including myself) embark on a restricted meal plan, exercise routine and the result is perhaps successful for short periods but over time it’s not sustainable.
When I launched this blog last week most of the private messages I received were around food prep. So here are some methods that work for me which you can adapt. I don’t count macro-nutrients (Carbohydrates (sugar), lipids (fats), and proteins) daily but I do look at the overall mix of food I include in my diet and that’s usually adjusted depending on how active I am that day.
A typical week for me would be to setup on a Sunday. I’ll start with a blank piece of paper and write out 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners to alternate from Monday through to Thursday (12 meals in total). I then look at my menu and figure out if I’ve included enough of each food group to keep me fueled. My work schedule is usually full on and I tend to eat at my desk which isn’t ideal so I need to be ready with the right mix of food. If you are unsure, then there are some good app’s and tools that you can look up to track your macro-nutrient intake until you get use to the amount that is right for you. The best guide for me is testing it out and listening to your body, it will tell you if you feel sluggish or energised.
With meal prep the most important thing to remember is:
- Make it simple to start with, over complicating it will stress you out and you’ll not enjoy it
- Make it a relaxing event, playlist on, small glass of red in hand as a treat
- Look at the value of calories, do your research so you can adjust it based on your weekly activity
- Enjoy food, don’t force yourself to eat things you don’t like
- Get inspired for ideas on Instagram, Pinterest, websites and friends, there is so much information out there
A sample menu plan that works for me:
Monday and Wednesday
- Breakfast – Slice of Frittata
- Lunch – Sweet potato jacket chilli
- Dinner (Post exercise) – Soup and Rye bread open sandwich
- Snacks – I only have one in the afternoon if I’m exercising but again that’s just how my body responds well. Usually a couple of oat cakes with cottage cheese or an apple with nut butter