There’s no substitute for being prepared.
All too often, people try getting into tracking their food, prepping, and planning by cooking daily (which takes some time when you think about it) and then get stressed out by not having food ready or trying to do it all at once.
While it’s a process and takes some time to learn, it’s actually meant to teach routine so people can have less stress and focus their energy on things that actually matter in life.
Creating your own meal plans and have food you won’t get sick of basically boils down to one mindset approach when you think about food:
– The foods you eat (a protein source, a fat source, & a carb source) are simply ingredients. You take enough of each ingredient to hit your macros, plan your meals, and do it daily. It’s called a “meal *plan*” because it’s meant to be done ahead of time to take out the guesswork.
As someone who has been doing this for years and has become second nature, here are a few things you need to know to make meal-planning and prepping fool-proof and easier for you.
#1: Change all your measurements (“serving size” in MyFitnessPal) to 1 gram.
Not oz, not kgs, not lbs…1 gram. Why? Because grams is more accurate in terms of taking away/adding enough food and since you are planning ahead and using a scale, especially in a hurry, and it’s easier to read.
Then, when you change the serving size to 1 gram, all you have to do is play with the “Number of Servings” directly under to give you the right amount.
1 gram x 250 servings = 250g. Simple.
Example: Let’s say you’re measuring cooked chicken.
100g = 3.5724oz. That’s a pain-in-the-butt in oz. If you need more protein from that chicken, it’s easier to go from 100g to 150g instead of the oz equivalent of 5.29109oz.
Again, if you’re planning ahead of time, make your numbers easy to add/take-away.
If the serving size 1 gram isn’t available, then read #1a.
#1a: All nutrition labels, whether they say “1 scoop” or “1 serving” or “1 (any form of measurement)” has in parentheses the gram equivalent.
For example, protein powder will say, “1 scoop (32g)”.
If your protein powder (or any food for that matter whether it’s pasta or rice or chips or whatever) doesn’t have a 1 gram as a serving size, *create it*. In the “my foods” section, you just name what it is, the serving size, and how many servings are in that container. Now you will have it for yourself and you did the world a great service by inputting it in the to MyFitnessPal database.
#2: Cook foods that last in a really cold refrigerator.
Meat proteins (turkey, chicken, ground beef, pork) last *at least* 1 week (or more if your fridge is really cold like mine). For those of you saying “ew”…well this is why you’re not prepared. There’s nothing wrong with meat once it’s cooked thoroughly and in a sealed container in a cold fridge.
Example: I cooked 4lbs of ground beef at once. It lasted all week and I measured out the same amount every day. Same with chicken. The only thing I don’t do this with is fish. I’m also not the biggest fish eater.
This can be done with rice, legumes, and pasta.
I don’t do it with potatoes only because I like my potatoes hot out the over and don’t like to reheat it.
#3: Don’t want to measure EVERYTHING?
It’s a little more costly buy by prepackaged foods that have been evenly packaged so all you have to do is scan it in and call it a day.
Example: Poptarts are packages of 2. No one cares if you like them or not but follow me. You can scan it and choose 1 pop tart or 2 pop tarts. It gives you that option. Or for more practical advice, things like 1-minute rice (the ones that microwave in the cups) or things like pudding or applesauce, etc. Things that have been manufactured veerryyyy close to each other in size so when you scan it, it’s done.
Jerky and protein bars are your best friend…diet drinks/water.
#5: Going out to dinner? Lunch? Preplan.
Go to the website and look at the menu. It’s 2018. Most places are required to provide calories and macros as part of their menu. If it’s a mom & pop shop, they still have a menu. Sometimes, when choosing a meat dish, they tell you exactly the size of the meats:
Example: 8oz Filet Mignon or 12oz New York Strip (THIS is one acceptable time putting it in oz is fine. It’s an even number and they’re not adjusting it to fit YOUR intake. You have to adjust YOUR intake to enjoy the full meal).
#6: No idea the macros but the calories are displayed?
Enter the calories total in MFP then make it a priority to eat the remaining calories from protein so you can get your protein in.
#7: Keep it simple.
Stop looking for complex recipes. Not to say you can’t because MyFitnessPal allows you to input your own recipes or import from websites but eliminate complexity. There are plenty of spices, low-cal sauces, and condiments you can use to dress up your food. While your dieting, get into a routine and eat things easy to track.
Your meal plan should be good for at least a week. Yes. Eat it daily. Do this until you have gotten your routine down. Do it until you’ve mastered tracking and measuring. Then….only then…do you try swapping. If you are easily flustered, don’t immediately try to start swapping things. It won’t help your cause.
Sure, at some point you’ll want some Chicken Marsala or Chicken Parm or something that you may find hard to track and that’s ok, but it’s not a daily occurrence.
#8: Learn to say “no”.
You don’t need to eat everything people toss your way and if they don’t understand why…tough luck. You aren’t doing this for them. You are trying to get yourself in a better position to be more fit and healthy.
#9: If you want something that bad (ie: a chocolate bar or a kind of snack)…
Plan it FIRST in MFP so you aren’t restricting yourself.
Example: Want a Snickers really bad? Are you craving it? Put it in MFP first, then plan the rest of your protein, fat, and carbs around it.
When not to do this? If it’s a trigger food for you and you can’t just have one…then you don’t eat it…period.
And while I’m sure there are a few things I’m missing and have done over the years but the above is a pretty much fool-proof if you do it every day.
So start utilizing this because it will make your life so much easier when it comes to counting your macros and tracking.
Don’t know how to track in MyFitnessPal? WATCH HERE
Need coaching? www.louisguarino.com/coaching-services