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Nutrition

I will be recording sample meal plans and recipes that will hopefully help you plan your own healthy eating routine.  It is important to plan calorie deficit very carefully so as not to go too low to start with, ideally you want to eat just low enough to be making gradual progress, e.g. 1 or 2 lbs per week or a few cms off your measurements or a noticeable difference in the tightness of your clothes.  Remember that the scale is not the only gauge you should use when measuring your progress.

If you have been eating very low calories for a prolonged time and you are not making any progress it can be beneficial to get yourself back up to maintenance levels for a fortnight and start decreasing in small intervals after that.  Maintenance calories would usually be 14 or 15 x your body weight in pounds.  Initially I will be aiming for 1,800 calories a day with the emphasis being on eating good quality protein, slow release carbs, loads of vegetables and essential fatty acids spread out over 6/7 meals in the day.

Why is Protein Important?

A chocolate-flavored multi-protein nutritional...

A chocolate-flavored multi-protein nutritional supplement milkshake (right), consisting of circa 25g protein powder (center) and 300ml milk (left). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether your goal is to get into shape for a figure competition or to trim fat and get toned for the holidays, protein is an essential part of your daily nutritional needs. Many people, women especially, believe that increasing their protein intake will cause them to “bulk up” – this is a myth!

There is a lot of contradictory advice about on nutritional needs. For instance, people are advised to cut out carbohydrates or cut out fat in order to lose weight. The problem with this is that leaving out any major food group is not conducive to a long-term lifestyle change and can result in metabolic problems. Including adequate protein in your diet is essential for getting that lean, toned look.

Some of the following are where I get my protein from: beef, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, whey protein, cottage cheese, greek yoghurt and other dairy products. Meat is considered a “complete” protein and it contains essential amino acids. Vegetarian sources of protein include lentils and all pulses, nuts and seeds, and whey protein, to name a few.

There is some dispute over the correct amount of protein that people should be eating in their daily diet. The amount really depends on your personal nutrition goals. I generally work towards an intake of 1 – 2 grams per kilogram of bodyweight (1kg = 2.2lbs). To get an idea of how much protein you should have in your diet, multiply your body weight (in kgs) by 1 or 2. For me (as of today) that means I need a protein intake of  between 74 – 148g per day.

Regardless of where you obtain your protein from, red meat, white meat, or no meat, meeting your daily protein goals is an important part of your nutrition.

Over the last 5 years I have tried many different protein powders.  I buy my whey protein from MyProtein – this is due to their  company philosophy and the fact that the products are reasonably priced due to minimalist packaging.

A Healthy Dessert Avocado, Coconut, Cocoa and Stevia

This is a recipe I have been using recently when I fancy something that tastes like I shouldn’t be eating it. It is a very simple dessert and all you will need to make it is a blender and a fridge.

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With 25g of healthy fats it may not suit everyone’s macro-nutrients, but it is full of goodness and extremely tasty.

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To bump up the number of grams of protein I suggest adding a scoop of protein powder per dessert. To reduce the number of grams of fat you could use low fat coconut milk or make the portions smaller. Find the recipe here on HubPages – I hope you enjoy it.

Healthy Go To Snacks

Be Prepared

One of the best ways to keep on track with your nutrition plan is to be prepared. My personal nutrition plan includes 3 meals and 3 or 4 snacks every day. In order to avoid having to make choices when I am hungry I always have some healthy snacks sitting in my kitchen ready to grab.

It is inevitable that as you lose fat you will be hungry, but if you are prepared, then the choices you will make when snacking will be healthy ones that complement your lifestyle choices rather than sabotage them.

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These are my top healthy go to snacks:

  • Boil up a few eggs and store in the fridge: I would eat 1 or 2 of these for a snack, they will provide you with protein and healthy fats.
  • Defrost some berries: I usually have a bowl of these sitting in the fridge, they can be eaten on their own or added to a smoothie.
  • Make some sugar free jelly: now the healthy aspect of these is debatable because of the artificial sweeteners but I find them very useful for when I want something sweet, they are very good mixed with a TBSP of Greek yoghurt and defrosted berries
  • Cottage cheese: this is great as either a savoury or sweet snack – with chopped vegetables such as carrots it is a handy dip or with berries it makes a sweet snack, it is also a good source of protein.
  • Protein powder: for a very quick snack I would always reach for the protein powder, 1 scoop mixed with water or sometimes milk. Alternatively, add it to some fruit and make a smoothie.

I will add to this list as time goes on, but I would love to hear of other people’s go to snacks, please add yours to the comments below.

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