Meal planning is essential for dietary success. If you fail to plan your meals, you might as well plan to fail, get an electric wheelchair and go shopping for super-stretch sweatpants! Without proper meal planning, you leave your results to chance. This isn't Las Vegas, and we don't want to gamble with your diet. What happens at lunch goes home with you!
If your game is fat loss, you need to have a winning plan. Devouring random, over-processed foods lacking quality nutrients won't produce quality results. If you're looking to build muscle, you'll need to have calorie-dense snacks with enough calories to pack on serious mass.
If this sounds intimidating, don't worry. Meal planning doesn't have to be a grueling grind. Start using these tips to get started achieving your nutritional goals!
Make A Most-Wanted Meal Plan
First, pull out a few favorite recipes that taste great and meet your nutrient needs. For best results, be consistent and use these recipes frequently.
Variety can keep you interested in your diet and help curb drive-through cravings. One or two go-to meals per week will ensure you're not constantly fretting over food prep.
Plus, if all your meals are similar in terms of macronutrients, meal planning will be a cinch! You'll only need to know the macronutrients for one or two meals, so adding up your daily totals won't feel like calculus homework.
Below you'll find two recipes of my favorite healthful, flavor-packed recipes. They're easy to prepare and can be used for muscle building or fat loss. Bon appétit!
Ginger Shrimp Skewers
- Mix together the oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and sugar to make a marinade. Place the shrimp along with half the marinade in one Ziplock bag and shake to distribute. Let sit for 20 minutes. In another bag, place the chopped vegetables into the remaining marinade and let sit for 20 min.
- Once finished, pierce ingredients on 3-4 skewers, alternating shrimp and veggies. Place the skewers on the grill and cook for 4-6 minutes, or until shrimp is done, rotating throughout cooking time.
- Serve with wild rice if desired.
Ginger Shrimp Skewers Recipe PDF (27.2 KB)
Tomato Turkey Meatballs And Wild Rice
- In a large bowl, mix together the turkey, eggs, spices and oats until well blended. Form into meatballs and set aside on a plate.
- In a large skillet, heat the 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Once warm, add the onion, pepper, and garlic, sauting until vegetables are tender. Remove and set aside.
- Heat the remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil and then add the meatballs, turning as they cook. Cook for 5-8 minutes or until slightly brown. Add the veggies back to the skillet and pour in the 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes longer until flavors are distributed. Serve on top of a bed of cooked wild rice.
Tomato Turkey Meatballs And Wild Rice Recipe PDF (28.8 KB)
App Into Your Calories
Most of us are fused to our phones. Luckily, phone/iPod app markets are loaded with fresh calorie-counting possibilities. With a good app, you can quickly find the caloric and macronutrient values for anything from sugary snacks to complete and healthful meals.
If you're often on the go, an app can be extremely helpful. Use it as a quick, by-your-side guide to all the foods you eat (or might eat) throughout the day. Stay mobile, but stay accountable.
One of my favourite iPhone apps is My Diet Diary.
For Fast Results, Cook Slow
Slow cookers are often overlooked, but they earn top marks for meal prep! Because they're so easy to use, slow cookers simplify your prep time and also produce power-packed meals.
By slow-cooking, you can easily produce tender chicken breast or steak without constant monitoring. Simply toss your desired meat, vegetables and sauce in a slow cooker before work, and when you get home in the evening, you'll have a full meal ready to rock.
Slow cookers are also pretty hefty, which means you can cook enough food for two or three meals with no extra effort. Sometimes slower is, well, faster!
Get Supp Smart
Supplements have come a long way since the days of tasteless whey, and there's now a cartful of great choices to help you plan your meals and hit your goals.
Meal replacement shakes, for example, are perfect for people who need full meals but have zero time. If you're on a muscle-building binge, an MRP can save your bacon (or replace it).
If you'd rather have something solid to eat, protein bars and other protein-packed snacks are hard to beat, and they're far better than the sugar-coated belly-bombs you'd otherwise snag at the local gas station.
Two of my personal favorites are Kay's Naturals Protein Chips and Kay's Naturals Protein Pretzels.