Hi guys, I am starting a new job next week. Planning on using this as a way to kickstart a healthier weekly routine as I have friends who religiously meal plan but I have always seemed to float from day to day (via frequent trips to the supermarket). Getting organised is likely to save me time and money as well as reducing the chances of falling off the healthy eating wagon. As a way to get me going with this, I decided to visit a dietician for advice as I have read so many conflicting articles about ideal ratios of protein/carbs etc at this stage that I was getting a bit confused...plus I have some issues with skin breakouts recently and would like to figure out what may be causing it.
Anyway, her advice was great! Quick summary below
- Have three meals and two snacks per day, or four smaller meals
- Give up food tracking and just go by the proportion of meat/veg/carbs on my plate. Reduce carbs in the evening meal unless I have exercised after work.
- Try to eat within an hour of getting up (as metabolism can slow down by 30% otherwise)
- Ensure I include protein in EVERY meal
- Eat a handful of nuts or one spoon of nut butter every day (improves skin, hair etc and increases average life expectancy by three years )
- Eat oily fish at least twice a week (and/or take fish oils) for overall health and good skin/hair etc
She said to up my protein intake to keep my blood sugar stable and stop me from getting hungry (and hence going off the rails...) She emphasised the importance of having it in every single meal, as having balanced meals/snacks keep us full and stop the headaches/energy crashes associated with carbs alone. So she wasn't a fan of my daily breakfast of porridge, almond milk and chopped apple (which I thought was saintly...) She suggested adding greek yoghurt/nuts/protein powder to ensure it is more balanced...without that, she compared it to eating a bowl of potatoes!!!
She said not to bother calories counting as it would drive me mad, be impossible to keep to in the long term and only encourage the on/off the wagon attitude that I am prone to. She suggested thinking in terms of plate proportions instead. And to factor in the time of day. So for breakfast and lunch, have around 30% protein (ideally lean meat, fish, eggs, tofu etc but can also be your chilli, chicken curry etc), 40% carbohydrate (starchy carbs or fruit), 30% vegetables or berries. An easy way of remembering this is that the protein serving should be the size of your clenched fist. And in the evening, stick to this if I have had a workout. But on the days I don't exercise, change this to 50% vegetables or berries, 30% protein and 20% carbs. As protein is important for our muscles/joints/bones and veg is important for our overall health (and skin!) but our bodies don't need the carbohydrate fuel just before we go to sleep.
She said keeping to this 90% of the time will be effective for losing body fat and no need to weigh, measure food if the plate proportions look broadly ok. I thought that this was great advice as it takes a lot of the work out of eating healthy and it also means that I can have the same dinners as my partner in the evening but while I am aiming to lose weight just ensure I have half the rice/pasta and double the veg.
Any feedback on the above would be welcomed, I think it sounds quite sensible so am going to give it a go for the next three weeks and see how I get on.
So, on to the meal planning! Breakfasts during the week will be overnight oats and I like omelettes at the weekend. I have read about making egg muffins to freeze and eat during the week but never tried it…has this worked for anyone else?
I need a big lunch in the office or I get too hungry to concentrate…I always used to buy my lunch but am going to make a big effort to prep them at home and take them in every day. Am thinking brown rice/quinoa/cous cous, chicken or tuna, feta or halloumi, peppers, courgette ribbons, peas…not sure how to add flavour to keep them tasty. Salad dressing or hummus maybe?
Quick dinners can be baked chicken or fish with veg and rice/pasta but I’d also like to batch cook some stuff. Will start off with chilli and curry and as the weather turns I might freeze some soup as well.
Snacks that include protein are trickier…so far all I’ve got are oatcakes and nut butter, carrots/celery and hummus. I’ve found recipes online for protein balls and oven roasted chickpeas so I will try those this week and report back.
All feedback and other suggestions from regular food preppers would be very welcome!! Including ways to convince my partner (who is naturally slim) that this is a good idea and won’t mean sacrificing our tastebuds