T Nation

Calories Or Combinations?

Hi all,

Despite having trained with weights for the past 12 years I’m a relative newbie in terms of following the nutrition guidelines found on T-nation such as having P+C and P+F meals etc etc. I’m still in the process of developing my own food log so that I can plan my meals a lot better. I’ve been reading through all the articles here on the topic and should get myself sorted out soon.

I do have one question though, is it more important to make sure you have the right amount of calories each day compared to how you combine the carbs, protein and fats?

I’ve always been a fairly healthy eater (eg eating heaps of fruit and veggies, drinking heaps of water, staying away from bad breakfast cereals etc) so I have found making changes to my diet so far relatively easy, all I have had to do is cut out some junk foods and add supplements such as fish oils and flax oil.

The main trouble I am having is planning on what to have for dinner each night as the eating plan I am trying to follow clashes with what what either my wife wants to eat or what is easy to make if we are restricted for time, which is happening a lot at the moment. I workout in the mornings so I have P+C early on and P+F in the afternoon/evening. My wife has just started training at my gym and mostly goes in the evening so you can see that there is a clash when I have been stuffing myself with food all day since my workout and she is hungry after the workout and looking for an easy meal like spaghetti bolognaise or some pasta dish which is easy to make (they are often my favourites as well) as well as full of carbs to replenish her energy supplies. We also like eating stir fries with heaps of veggies but then there is the issue of having rice, although we have converted to brown rice from white.

So is there a problem having these type of meals occasionally? They are not unhealthy at all in terms of being junk food, it’s just the nutrients combination I’m worried about. Or is getting the calories more important? My guess is the calories but I am willing to be corrected!


[quote]bg100 wrote:
I do have one question though, is it more important to make sure you have the right amount of calories each day compared to how you combine the carbs, protein and fats?

Assuming that you are having protein with every meal, are eating six mor more small meals daily, and you are addressing post workout energy needs then I would say yes, calories are more important than mutual exclusion of fats and carbs.

Here is away around your evening meal problem. If you make the protein part of the meal from relatively lean protein and then add some carbs to it for you’re wife and stir in some fat for yourself. So if you make a bolognaise sauce out of lean beef, serve you’re wife’s portion with some pasta and stir in some flax oil (or any other fat such as olive oil or even cream) for your portion of bolognaise.

Thanks guys for the advice so far. I just want to bump this post again to see if there are any more opinions compared to the others given already.


I don’t see a big problem having an extra P+C meal from time to time. If you are determined to stick to a P+F at that time, you’ll have to plan ahead.

Keep a bunch of precooked chicken breasts or some other easy/fast protein staple handy.

You can go for the chicken breasts and sauce, your wife can go for the pasta and sauce. You can have meat and veggies and your wife can have rice and veggies.

With very little extra work you can still share a meal and/or the work of preparing it, some of the foods, and cater to your individual timing needs.

Anyway, since you are the one with the extra dietary needs, don’t be shy about doing extra effort on your own to make it happen. I’m assuming it is well worth the extra effort on your part, if needed, to support your wife regularly working out and staying in shape too.