Okay, let’s go through how to design a diet.
P+F = Protein + Fat
P+C = Protein + Carbs
PWO = Post Work Out
The first thing you do is pick the times you are eating. You’re shooting for either 5 or 6 snack-sized meals per day. They should be roughly 3 to 4 hours apart. And you want to spread out your meals as much as possible from when you get up to when you go to bed. You’re not eating more … you’re just spreading out what you are eating a little bit better.
Add in your workout if you’re doing resistance training. Your workout should be 1.5 to 2 hours after a meal.
Right here is probably a good point to tell you that you need to create one menu plan for your workout days and a second one for the days you don’t do resistance training. The reason for that is that you get some starchy carbs in the meal following resistance/strength training (not cardio!)
Note: Remember that you should never do resistance training out of bed, on an empty stomach! That’s a big no-no!
Next pick which meals are P+C and which are P+F. Start the day with your P+C meals and end your day with P+F meals. If you eat 5 snack-sized meals, you need 3 P+C meals and 2 P+F meals. If you eat 6 snack-sized meals, you need 3 P+C meals, 3 P+F meals.
Make sure you have a P+C meal following resistance training. You need a P+C meal following resistance training even if you train late at night.
Let’s determine protein requirements. Take your body weight and divide it by 5 if you’re eating 5 meals per day. Divide your body weight by 6 if you are eating 6 meals a day. That’s the number of grams of protein you need to eat per meal.
Now go to www.fitday.com or www.nutritiondata.com and look up every type of protein you like to eat. Look up things like 5 egg whites and 1 whole egg for an omelette, chicken breast, shrimp, scallops, tuna, top sirloin, lean ground beef. See how many ounces of a given meat you have to eat to hit your per-meal protein number. Jot down the numbers on a piece of paper so that you don’t have to look things up every time you’re planning a meal.
About now you have something that looks like this:
06:00 P+C PWO Meal
Write down the type of protein that you will be eating for each of your meals. Try to get 5 different types of protein every day. An example might be something like:
egg white omelet w/ one whole egg
Now let’s add the fat into your plan. To calculate total daily fat requirements, multiply your body weight by 0.4g. A person who weighs 150 pounds would require 60g of fat per day. Divide that number by 3. 1/3 should be olive oil, 1/3 should be flaxseed oil and 1/3 should be saturated fat.
1/3 in the example I used above is 20g. I already know 1 tablespoon is 14g of fat. So I would tell our 150 pound person that they needed 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil (21g of fat) and 1.5 tablespoons of flaxseed oil (21g of fat) per day.
Add the olive oil to one of your P+F meals, and add the flaxseed oil to another P+F meal. You’ll get the rest of your fat from the lean cuts of meat, eggs, and dairy you choose.
So now your menu is looking more like this. I’m not putting in portion sizes, but at this point you would know how much P and F you are eating in a given meal.
…egg white omelet w/ one whole egg
…shrimp + flaxseed oil
06:00 P+C PWO Meal
…chicken breast + olive oil
The next step is to add in 3 servings of fruit, 1 serving of beans or legumes and 1 brassica. Brassicas, of course are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, bok choi and kohlrabi, to name a few. Do a search on Google for a more comprehensive list.
Green beans do not count as a serving of beans. Beans are defined as fava beans, navy beans, kidney beans, red, pink or black baeans, lima beans, mixed beans, garbonzo beans or chickpeas.
At this point your menu is going to look like this:
09:00 P+C (Fruit)
…egg white omelet + pineapple
12:00 P+C (Fruit)
…tuna + blueberries (over lettuce)
…shrimp + flaxseed oil (over salad)
06:00 P+C PWO Meal (Fruit)
…protein powder + oatmeal + raspberries
09:00 P+F + Beans + Brassica
…chicken breast + olive oil + beans + broccoli
You’ll notice above that I added in the oatmeal in your PWO meal. The meal following a resistance training session should be a whole-food starchy carb P+C meal. Starchy carbs, of course, are defined as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, yams, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, or amaranth.
Notice that the protein source in every meal is different. Go for variety! Notice that every fruit in every meal is different. Again, go for variety.
The serving size for fruit can be found on www.fitday.com or at www.nutritiondata.com. A serving is not large, roughly 80 to 100 calories. The serving size for beans is 1/2 cup.
You can add in a high-fiber, low-calorie green veggies to any meal you want. Hold the sauce! High Fiber, low-calorie veggies have health benefits and the fiber in them will keep you feeling full. You cannot overeat fibrous green veggie carbs, and you don’t need to measure, weigh or count them.
For example, you might want to add in some celery to your tuna meal or some mushrooms to your omelet. You could put your shrimp on top of a salad. (Note: Make a tasty, low-calorie dressing out of vineagar & Splenda.) And you could top your beans with a few grated onions and have a spear or two of broccoli with your chicken.
BTW, adding this in for everyone else, here’s a list of protein, fat and carb sources:
Green veggies like asparagus, bamboo shoots, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, collards, cucumbers, endive, green beans, herbs (parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.), kale, leeks, lettuce (all types), mushrooms, mustard greens, okra, onions, peppers (green, red, yellow, orange, hot, etc.), pickles (not sweet), radicchio, salsa, sea vegetables (Nori, etc.), scallions, snow pea pods, spinach, sprouts (bean, alfalfa, etc.), tomatoes, yellow squash, zuchinni
Fruit like blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, papaya, nectarines, plums, pineapples, apples
Beans & legumes of all descriptions, all colors and all sizes
- Processed carbs like donuts, muffins, cookies, cake, chips, crackers, pretzels
As a general rule, the more processed something is, the worse it is for you. About the only carb that comes in a box that’s good for you is probably slow-cook oatmeal, oat bran and steel cut oats. Even then, you can’t eat unlimited amounts.
Monounsaturated fats like those found in avocados and olive oil
Polyunsaturated fat – especially and specifically flaxseed oil and fish oil, either that or coldwater fish and wild salmon (not farm raised)
Fat found in fresh (not roasted) nuts
Saturated fat found in leaner cuts of meat, eggs and dairy get an honorable mention, too.
Though fat intake needs to be regulated/managed – as an example, don’t eat nuts out of the bag or you’ll really rack up some calories – it is required for health!
- Fried food
- Transfatty acids
- Hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils