Hey all! As you have probably heard before, working out is 20% and eating right is 80%. I know what you're thinking: "this can't possibly be right. Working out has to be worth more than that!" Well, let me tell you that it isn't. I too had this same thought and it wasn't until a few months ago that I realized the 20:80 is real; you cannot out exercise a bad diet. Eating right is KEY to ensuring your progress goes fast and smooth. I bet you've also heard the saying abs are made in the kitchen. For the longest time I didn't understand this either, but again it is true.
Eating nutritious, whole foods gives your body what it needs to have energy, have a good immune system, sleep better, and much much more. I started eating healthier when I was in high school, but I didn't start eating clean, whole foods until more recently. I try to stay away from processed food as much as I can, however sometimes it's hard to completely get away from (protein powder, Larabars, QuestBars, healthier ice cream, etc. are all processed to some degree). I stick with the six major food groups: grains, dairy, fruit, healthy fats, meat/eggs and vegetables/legumes. You should only be eating a certain amount of servings from each food group. Each country has slightly different suggestions. Australia has different suggested amount of servings than the United States. I follow Kayla's H.E.L.P guide, which uses Australia's suggested amounts of servings, which works for me. I honestly am not sure how much it matters if you go with Australia over US or some other country.
Before I get into what a day of my meals looks like I want to share with you what my restrictions are. I can't eat too much dairy - I actually try to not have dairy all together mostly in the summer because it makes my allergies worse, but I find the amount Kayla suggests is okay for me. If my allergies are really bad I'll substitute the dairy for non-dairy. I also don't eat meat a lot. I'm not vegan or vegetarian, but I personally feel meat is overrated and isn't completely necessary, but I do eat it for one meal every day. I came across somewhere that once said "meat should be a garnish; not the main dish" and I believe that is very true. I also can't eat legumes too often as they make me gassy. I was cutting out eggs because I was thinking it was causing a reaction I was having - but I am slowly introducing it to my body again so we'll see what happens.
FINALLY, we get to what you've probably been looking for! Here is what one day of my meals looks like:
Breakfast: 1/2 cup of old fashioned rolled oats oatmeal with a pinch of stevia, a Tbsp. of chocolate PB2, chia seeds and 1/2 a banana (sliced). I also drink my pre-workout at this time before my workout (I use Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy in Watermelon).
Morning Snack: Cellucor protein powder (I've been using Whipped Vanilla, but I just got Cinnamon Swirl and I can't wait to try it!) with 1/2 banana and 1 cup almond (I also like to use hemp) milk. One hard boiled egg.
Lunch: Sandwich consisting of: 2 slices of Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted bread, 4 slices of organic turkey breast, 1/4 avocado, small handful of baby spinach (raw), slice of organic provolone cheese, mustard. 1/2 a baked sweet potato on the side. To mix it up a bit I'll substitute the sweet potato with some homemade kale chips - seriously so good with a sandwich!
Afternoon Snack: 1 Larabar (either Cherry Pie or Apple Pie are my favorites) and 1 Greek yogurt with 1 pinch of stevia mixed in.
Dinner: My homemade power bowl: 1/2 cup (or more depending on how I feel haha) basmati brown rice with lime juice & cilantro, 1 roma tomato (sliced), small handful of cooked green beans, handful of cooked kale, Quorn chicken (this is vegan; not real meat), 1/4 avocado and for the dressing I use: lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon, lime juice from 1/2 a lime and salt & pepper to taste.
And here is what another day looks like:
Breakfast: 1 Greek yogurt with a 1/2 sliced banana. Pre-workout drink.
Morning Snack (Okay, this isn't really a snack but more of a post-workout meal haha): 1 to 2 servings of Kodiak Power Cakes (one serving makes 3 pancakes, 2 servings makes 6. It all depends on how I feel) mixed with water, 1/2 a banana (sliced) and some Agave syrup; 1 cup of coffee with 2 Tbsp. creamer. (I like to use creamer, but I'm trying to find other alternatives. You could use almond or soy milk if you prefer)
Lunch: Two whole grain wraps with turkey, 1/4 avocado, tomato, spinach and some cheese. I love to heat this up on the stove/microwave. Either 1/2 a sweet potato or 1 cup of kale chips on the side.
Afternoon Snack: 1 hard boiled egg. I'll usually have tea at this point in the day (or if it's a real bad day I'll have another coffee to pick me up haha)
Dinner: Same as above. I love my power bowl!
All of this fills me up and then some. This doesn't mean that I never go off of this. I'll make a healthy dessert every once in awhile or I'll go out for dinner. I try not to restrict myself, but instead, use healthy alternatives that taste just as good if not better! Black bean brownies for instance are absolutely delicious and so much better and healthier than the real thing.
The two examples above total out to be about 1,635 calories or so, but I don't count my calories every day and I don't really recommend it. The macros on the first example was decent with a total of 239g carbs (56% - my goal was 53%), 37g fat (20% - my goal was 25%) and 99g protein (24% - my goal was 22%). This was following Kayla's H.E.L.P guide and her suggested servings. I don't count my macros everyday, but it's good to see that I am close to all of my goals when using Kayla's H.E.L.P guide!*
So, there you have it. A glimpse at what I eat. There are days where I eat more than this, but for the most part this is what I eat and I feel full and happy with it. This isn't to say that you should eat exactly the same as I do as we all have different goals and different bodies. I would definitely recommend Kayla's H.E.L.P guide to anyone, but I would also recommend figuring out what works for you. If you need to eat more than 1,600 calories then by all means do it. Don't eat less though because your body needs the food to recover from your workouts. Macro-nutrients are a great way to ensure you are getting enough carbs, fats and proteins - My Fitness Pal has an app that can calculate this for you, all you do is enter the food you eat. I hope I helped you out and I wish you the best of luck on your continued journey of health and fitness!
* My goals and macros may be different than yours. Please take the time to find out and calculate what YOUR goals should be so that you get the best possible gains you can have. The website I used to calculate what my macros should be is right here. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask and I will answer as best as I can.