As a rule I do not tell people what to eat, or what not to eat. I do not offer meal plans, and I won’t do them no matter how much you ask or how much you offer to pay me. That’s a job for an Actual Dietitian. Besides, the whole point of Flexible Fueling is to establish the habit of achieving appropriate daily intake from the choices of foods that best suit you.
That’s a concept many people over look. Here’s a great meal plan that perfectly matches your individual energy, macro and micronutrient requirements. Consisting entirely of foods you don’t have access to, don’t know how to cook, or just plain don’t like. How likely are you to stick to that for even a day or two? Even with some neanderthal of a trainer on your back busting your balls about discipline and will power and not wanting it badly enough?
“Eat it, it’s good for you” is an unworkable situation. Meeting your requirements how ever is easiest, with the choices of foods you’re most enthusiastic about… that’s a life long solution. For more ambitious, more advanced goals you might need to keep dialing that plan in tighter and tighter to keep seeing progress to the next level. For most people though, the ideal outcome is that you develop the ability to eat mindfully, or intuitively if you prefer, making choices on the fly that result in a total intake that is somewhere in the ball park of what’s “not inappropriate” relative to your needs.
To develop that ability though, takes practice. And to my way of thinking the most logical approach is to start by determining what your requirements are likely to be, and making a plan to meet those targets for the next few days, with foods you actually like at times of the day that best suits you.
As an active person your energy requirements are no small amount, even if you do have a weight loss goal. However without a plan it is easy to overshoot those targets, especially if you have no set schedule and just put off eating until you are ravenous. A plan or a restrictive diet that does not provide appropriate total energy will similarly result in being ravenous and over eating. A plan that is based on foods you don’t like will similarly result in being ravenous and over eating.
You probably know all of this by experience already.
Therefore in Flexible Fueling we are primarily concerned with our minimum requirements. If we have a plan to meet minimum requirements, we become aware of how much food we can fit into that plan, how much food we’re actually eating, and we include some of whatever we like and space it out throughout the day so we’re unlikely to end up reaching for something extra. We’re meeting our requirements, but not exceeding them… so we can expect great results without going hungry.
I hope that it is clear that I’m not talking about “restricting to as little as possible” but rather “ensuring we eat enough” when I talk about minimum requirements here.
For some of us, meeting that minimum requirement is not so easy. Especially for extra active people with improving performance, that minimum requirement can be quite a large amount. So if you are like me and a little short on appetite, here are some great healthy choices you might want to include to help meet your needs.
Remember… this isn’t some stupid “just add these foods to whatever your current eating habits are and you’ll lose weight because they’re magic” article like you’ll see all over the internet. These are some suggestions that you might find helpful in making your plan to meet your requirements. Actually having the plan to meet your requirements is the crucial part.
First of all, coconut is delicious and nutritious.
A while back I got into the habit of adding a scoop (15 grams) to my post training bro-tein shake (as well as a banana). There’s an easy extra 90 calories right there, along with a little extra fiber too.
First of all, nuts are delicious and nutritious.
You prefer a particular individual nut rather than mixed. Almonds are a good choice that will be some help in meeting your protein requirements, as well.
For mixed nuts though, a 30 gram serve is a good way of adding around 200 calories packed with nutritional value and including fiber. Fiber is very important.
Make sure you measure it out to the amount that you actually require to meet your targets though! Not just by the handful.
First of all, fruit is delicious and nutritious.
Everyone knows I’m famous for my love of fruit. Now… not much is really mandatory in this system, but I say why the hell would you NOT want to enjoy more than the minimum requirement of delicious fruits?
Now while the other suggestions so far have been about adding some energy content in a small serving size, fruit is about adding a heap of enjoyment for a relatively small amount of energy. And of course, that all important fiber content not to mention all the Vitamin C.
And before anyone asks, NO we are not bloody worried about the sugar content!
Have a look at the stats on this example of a fruit salad I just put together. That’s a delicious, nutritious choice for 2nd breakfast or afternoon snack that’s going to add so much joy to your day for not even 200 calories.
Let me make this abundantly clear. People who try to tell you “watch the fruit when you’re trying to lose weight” are morons. Complete imbeciles with no idea what they’re talking about.
You want to make up your plan to meet your requirements with as many delicious and nutrient packed foods as possible. You want to enjoy eating, while still being sure of success in your training and body condition goals.
Fruit is one of the best choices you can include for health and happiness.