Do you work your ass off in the gym? Yes, of course you do! You show up. You strive for new PRs. You row until you want to barf. You work hard!
But, do you work your ass off OUTSIDE of the gym? The time and energy you put into deciding what foods you’ll be eating is just as important as the time you put in at the gym. We’ve all heard the expression, “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This definitely applies to us, my friends.
Planning is THE most important part of hitting your nutrition goals, and for most of us, hitting our nutrition goals is THE most important part of making physical changes to our body. And yes, of course our crazy/awesome/seemingly impossible/torturous/amazing workouts are helping us to get stronger, leaner and closer to our goals too! But, imagine how awesome you would feel during your workouts if your body was getting the optimal nutrition to be able to WORK in the best way possible.
Eat too much and you’ll carry extra body fat. Eat too little and your body will go into survival mode and hold onto EVERY little calorie you put in. Eat too few carbs and you’ll feel lethargic. Eat too much protein and your weight loss may stall.
In conclusion, our bodies are picky SOBs sometimes. The best way to combat this is to have a game plan for your day, whether you are trying to hit a certain macro goal or just generally eating healthy. A game plan will help you know what/how much groceries to get without wasting a bunch of food, help you stick to healthy choices even when your week gets busy, and give you incentive to eat in when fast food sounds good.
Here’s how I plan out my weeks, in a very simple way. I don’t usually think about the exact recipe I am going to be using (although I know not everyone loves to just whip together creations like I do!), but I plan out generally what I’ll have for my days and purchase foods accordingly. For example…
Breakfast: Protein, Starchy Veg/grain, Fat, Fruit
AM Snack: Quest Bar
Lunch: Protein, Veggie, Fruit, Starchy Veg, Dairy
PM Snack: Quest Bar
Dinner: Protein, 2 Veggies, Fat, Dairy
For myself, a Protein is usually 6 oz. of lean meat. Starchy Vegs/Grains are usually right around 100 calories. For Veggies, I try to stick to green/lower GI veggies. A fruit is about the size of a fist. Dairy is about 2 oz. of cheese. Fats are a tsp. of liquid or a couple tablespoons of avocado. All of these are pretty “standard” serving sizes.
When I plug these amounts of food into MyFitnessPal to track my macros, it’s usually fairly close to my goals, and this is a much easier way for me to plan my day and sort of “pace” myself throughout the day so that I’m not left with only 2 veggies for dinner.
I usually have about this same game plan every day of the week, so I know that for Monday-Friday, I’ll need 3 proteins each day, or 15 total proteins for the week, 2 fruits every day, or 10 fruits for the week, and so on.
If you want some help trying to find this type of “game plan” for you, send me a message either via Facebook (Laura Saar) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’d be happy to help!
Now, on to a recipe!
Pecan Crusted Chicken
1-2 lb. Chicken breast
½ c. chopped pecans, finely chopped
Optional: 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
2 T. Dijon
2 T. Honey
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder
Preheat oven to 375.
Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and place on a greased pan.
In a small bowl, mix together the Dijon, honey and garlic/onion powders.
Evenly spread this over the chicken.
Evenly spread the chopped pecans over the chicken, then sprinkle Parmesan over the pecans.
Bake the chicken for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.