A Guide to Planning Your Meals by Coach Pat
You’re signed up for our Nutrition Challenge. You’ve cleaned out your cupboards and pantry of all the unhealthy food you shouldn’t be eating any more. Now it’s time to plan out your week of meals. This task always seems super daunting, but just a little thought goes a long way. It helps to know right now that some weeks will go better than others. There will be a little bit of research and trial and error to be had – but we’re here to help. Remember, this is a process.
Once you get your InBody results, you’ll know exactly how much you’re suppose to eat each day based on your goals (weight loss, general health, and performance). Use this Katy Hearn Macronutrient Calculator to figure out your daily expenditure. Read Coach Travis’ post about how to calculate your daily macro needs.
Scour Pintrest, google search “healthy crockpot recipes”, or hit up Mark’s Daily Apple, OMG Paleo, or one of the thousands of other paleo websites for recipes. Choose 1 or 2 recipes that look tasty. Plan on making more servings than the recipe lists so you can have leftovers. Use our nutrition chart to compare ingredients. Consider substituting ingredients out if they don’t fit your nutrition plan – that’s okay.
Or just use the meal template guide and the recipe and grocery list that you’ll receive when you sign up for the Nutrition Challenge.
Based on the recipes and what you need to eat for each day for the week, make a grocery list of the foods you’ll need to buy at the store.
Example – Figuring Out Breakfast
I usually eat 4 eggs every morning along with a cup of oatmeal mixed with a massive tablespoon my favorite peanut butter (Buddy’s Cinnamon Raisin) and either sliced bananas or berries on top. 4 eggs times 7 days equals 28 eggs for the week. Based on that I’ll need at least 7 bananas or 4-6 packs of berries for the week. I typically buy bananas because they are cheaper and I usually only buy berries if they are on sale. I usually make a big batch of steel cut oats (2 cups worth) that will last me 6 or 7 days. Each bag is roughly 4 cups. So one bag will last me two weeks. One jar of peanut butter lasts me 2-3 weeks. I usually buy two so I don’t have to worry about that ingredient for a while.
The peanut butter item brings me to another point. If planning your meals out, doing any cooking whatsoever, and grocery shopping is new for you, your first couple of trips to the grocery store will be more expensive than the subsequent trips. This is because you’ll need to buy salt, pepper, any condiments, oil, butter, spices, etc that you don’t have. You only have to buy these things once in awhile, so after your first few trips, things will get much cheaper.
Now your trip to the grocery store has never been easier. No wandering the isles wasting time. You know what you need to get ahead of time. Get in, get your groceries, get out. As the weeks and months pass, you’ll begin to know off the top of your head exactly what you need each week, making things even easier.
Plan on making most of your meals early on in the week. As the week goes on, typically what happens is we get tired and decide against the extra effort. Next thing you know – some of the food may have gone bad and you’ve eaten out 50% of the time.
You can do all of your cooking in one day, or spread it out over a few dinners (Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday dinner). I find that doing one prep day takes too long for me and is kind of exhausting, which deters me down the road from doing it. That’s why I spread it out. Other people prefer one big prep day – try both ways out and do what works for you.
An important note about “Plan Bs”
Planning is a fantastic thing. However, we all know that “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy.” Part of good planning is factoring a back-up plan, aka a “Plan B”, when things don’t go according to plan. There will be a weekend or weeknight when you may have been out of town or had a long day of work, and when you come home you are tired and not feeling like making any meals or going grocery shopping. This WILL happen. Have some fall back options.
- Non-perishable food items or frozen food options
- Canned tuna with a tasty condiment + frozen vegetables + sweet potato
- Healthy restaurants
- Chipotle is my go to
- There is a restaurant a couple of blocks from my house – I’ll order their grilled chicken and walk over if I’m in a pinch
- Ordering a burger and removing the bun or half the bun is a great way to go in just about any restaurant.
Take a minute or two every day and look at your calendar or just think about the day ahead. Consider when you’ll take the time to get in your nutrition. Consider any long periods of time where you won’t be able to eat, and how you’ll fit in a break to fuel up before or after. Some days will allow for more time to sit down, other days you’ll have to get creative when you’re crunched for time.
The first few weeks of planning will seem a bit stressful. This is because it isn’t a habit yet. Stick with it. Soon planning will become second nature to you.
Stay tuned for more posts about how we’re setting everyone in the gym up for success with our upcoming Nutrition Challenge!
- The CFM Nutrition Challenge starts Sunday, January 8th at 8 AM – 11 AM
- Cost – $60
- Length – 6 weeks
- Baseline workout before and after the challenge
- Paleo Pot-luck and Q&A on February 4th
- InBody testing before and after the challenge
- Grocery lists, meal plans, community, and results