Tag: Lunch

We all want to look our best when summer hits! Maybe it’s to be able to flaunt that sexy dress that’s been in your closet for several months or to be shirtless at the pool. No matter what your goal is, social outings can set you back if you don’t create a plan for yourself. If you start dieting early, you will most likely reach your goal weight. But if you’re like the majority of the population, you most likely can get there but with very little room for error. Life is life meaning that simply going to work, going to the gym and eating your home cooked meals can be boring at times. Chances are you’ll most likely fall into the temptation of going out to eat instead of eating those delicious meals you’ve prepped over the weekend. Simply eating out isn’t going to hurt your progress as long as you choose the right options.

First things first, if you plan of going out to eat, educate yourself on the menu of the restaurant. The worst thing you can do when going out to eat with friends is waiting to be seated to only find out that nothing on the menu will fit into your diet. That’s poor planning on your part therefore looking at the menu prior to arrival can save you some time and allow you to choose a few options that will work for you. Obviously the internet exist so if there’s a menu out there for a restaurant, chances are you will be able to find it after one single google search. In the event that they don’t have any information online, the phone still exist. Calling up the restaurant and asking “what are three healthy food options you guys serve?” will give you an idea of what you can possibly have then you can make the final decision upon arrival.

I know what everyone’s thinking, “how do I know what to choose from the menu?” To keep things simple I’ll say this, if you can’t eyeball a dish to estimate how much food is actually on your plate, it’s most likely not a good option. For example let’s say you order a pasta dish that has penne pasta, chicken, olives, bacon & cheese all mixed together, that will be close to impossible to track just by looking at it. Way back when I first started tracking macros in 2014, I’ve learned to know how much food is actually on my plate without a food scale. This comes with time and experience of weighing out meals for so many years. For those of you who don’t have the experience, you’ll have to choose an option that you can find via MyFitnessPal or any other calorie tracking app. This way you have a semi accurate way of tracking what you will or have consumed versus just saying “the hell with the diet” and risking the progress you worked so hard for. But what if I can’t find the option I want in MyFitnessPal? Simply just search the dish you would like to order and always overestimate. For example if I go to a local italian restaurant where I can’t find the entree I want, search the name of the entree and choose an option from another more popular restaurant such as Olive Garden, Friday’s, Applebees, etc. By default what you search for is going to be calculated for 1 serving, adjust the serving to 1.5 in order to overestimate the calories to ensure that you don’t over your calories/macros for the day.

Now let’s say you’ve been tracking for quite some time and you posses the gift of being able to calculate a rough estimate of how much food is on your plate just by looking at it, you have more way more options to choose from. If you want a grilled chicken breast, mash potatoes, baked broccoli and maybe a side of rice, you can track that. Please make sure to always ask your waiter/waitress what oils & sauce are use to cook your meal. I personally prefer my food to be cooked in extra virgin olive oil due to it being less processed compared to other oils and the antioxidants it contains. Any sauces that’s added, I ask for it to be on the side so that I can control how much of the sauce I actually consume. Next time you go out grocery shopping just grab a random sauce that sounds delicious and take a look at the nutrition facts. Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce is 70 calories for 2 tablespoons all coming from carbohydrates. If you’re someone who doesn’t have many carbs to spare, these are somethings you need to aware of. Let’s be honest if restaurants were only using 2 tablespoons of a particular sauce, it probably won’t be a big deal. But restaurants are in the business of making their dishes taste as flavorful as possible therefore keep an eye out for those minor details to ensure you are sticking to your diet the next time you eat out!

A few years ago there was theory that eating every 2-3 hours will speed up your metabolism and as a result will create greater weight loss. As a beginner I was guilty of believing this at one point until I learned how to research and understand scientific studies that disprove myths from the truth. This theory derived from individuals in the fitness industry misunderstanding the “thermic effect of food” also known as “TEF”. This caused many fitness professionals to market their meal plans and/or supplement products as the missing piece to the majority of the populations weight loss struggles. All foods have a thermic effect meaning you body burns calories to digest them. But simply eating more frequently won’t cause greater weight loss and I’ll explain why.

The “TEF” of the foods you eat is a bonus. Trying to control “TEF” will only complicate your weight loss journey so instead I recommend focusing on maintaining a calorie deficit by controlling your total caloric intake versus how many meals you consume a day. Let’s say your at home doing some online shopping on your favorite fitness brands website. You have a 10% off discount code which we will use to represent the “TEF” of food. After about an hour of browsing you’ve added about $5,000 worth of items to your shopping cart which will represent a total caloric intake of food. You check out and pay the balance in full, you end up saving $500(10% of $5000) from the discount code. Now let’s say this website allows you to pay 4 installments of $1,250, for each payment your save $125(10% of $1,250). After all 4 installments are eventually paid off, you still end up saving $500($125 x 4). As you can see nothing has really changed. “TEF” works the same exact way. No matter how big or small your meals are, if total calories are the same, the results will also be the same.

Often times I educated my audience on my Instagram the benefits of certain foods with a high TEF but that doesn’t mean the more you eat, the more weight you will lose. Have you ever seen an insurance commercial or ad that claims you can save on your auto insurance by adding home insurance? Let’s say you’re currently paying $500 for an auto insurance policy and by adding home insurance at an extra $300, you save $100 on your auto insurance. You’ll have to spend an extra $300 dollar to save that $100. If we related this example to total caloric intake for the day, yes you’ll burn an extra 100 calories from “TEF” of foods but you’ll have to eat 300 more calories that will increase your total caloric intake for the day. The number one driver for weight loss is calorie in versus calories out. Therefore it’s definitely beneficial to understand the effects certain foods have on your body but more doesn’t mean better results especially when weight loss is the primary goal.

So if meal frequency isn’t as important as we thought it was, why even do it at all? There are several reasons why you would want to eat more frequently throughout the day:

  1. To control your energy levels
  2. To control your hunger
  3. To prevent bloating after eating

In conclusion if you struggle with the reason listed above, eating more frequently can benefit you. But when it comes to weight loss, everyone should focus on making sure they are not consuming more calories than what their body burns throughout the day. I personally practice meal frequency due to my busy schedule and my intense training regime. I perform better in the gym when I’ve had at least half of my calories for day prior to my training session. But when my goal is to ultimately lose weight, I put more effort in staying within my total caloric intake for the day because that will guarantee that I’m fact in a deficit and I highly suggest you guys to do that same!

 

Cheat meals have become very popular over the years. As more and more people are incorporating fitness into their lifestyle, the need for a reward after being consistent with your diet has taken off. To some dieting can be a breeze and they can do it effortlessly without shifting into bad eating habits. But for the majority of us, the thought of just dieting makes us think of all the other foods we rather eat instead of a salad, well-balanced meal or a healthy snack. Cheat meals give people something to look forward to typically at the end of each week. Cheat meals can in fact set you back but there are several ways to enjoy a cheat meal so that you don’t ruin the progress you’ve made thus far.

 

Plan Out Your Cheat Meal: If you know you’re going out to a restaurant on a certain day, spend some time looking at the menu and see what will satisfy your cravings. MyFitnessPal is a great app that I’ve used for years to track my calories as well as my macros. I honestly can say that I’ve been able to find any food or meal on the app to get a rough estimate of how many calories I’ll be consuming. Even though the calories are estimates and not 100% accurate, you still have a based line of how many calories you can consume prior to your cheat meal so that you don’t go too over your caloric intake for the day. This is great for people who can’t afford to go over their caloric intake.

 

Eat Your Calories: There are many drinks that contains calories primarily carbohydrates in the form of sugar. I honestly don’t believe these drinks are a necessity, there are more of a preference. If you can fit them while dieting great. But eliminating them completely or substituting them calories free drinks, will save you calories that you can use later for your cheat meal. For coffee drinkers look into having  your coffee black with artificial sweetener such as splenda or stevia. Soda drinkers, look into diet zero calorie options or even flavored soda water. I use flavored soda water all the time when I’m out consuming alcohol. If you enjoy certain juices, look into a more natural options that doesn’t contain added sugars. These options will still contain calories but not as much as the one with added sugar. Refer to the nutritional label to see if a product has any added ingredients.

 

Prioritize Your Protein: When we think of cheating on our diets, we usually think of pizza, ice cream, donuts, cookies, etc. which are all high in carbohydrates and fat. Not to say they don’t contain any protein but amount is very little compare to carbohydrates and fats. A strategy I’ve used in the past was to consume 2-3 meals that were high in protein but were low in carb and fat. This typically was a lean protein source such chicken breast, ground beef or  ground turkey with a serving or two of vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus. This way I get my protein in for the day and leave most of my carbs and fats to enjoy at night for my cheat meal.

 

Intermittent Fasting: This is great tool for someone who just wants to take a break from tracking their meals. Lets say you’re able to function without eating for a certain amount of hours, you can enjoy a big meal later that evening. There are certain days where I want to over indulge and there are some days where I want a small treat. Intermittent fasting a great way to save your calories for a wedding, party or a day where you want to eat freely but not have to worry about calories/macros. Quick disclaimer while it’s still possible to go over your calories, implementing this practice and keeping your eating window small and not let it carry to the following day, you should be able to enjoy the foods you love without hurting the progress you’ve made.

Meal prepping can be an easy task for someone who has done it many times. Similar to anything in life, the more you do something, the better and more efficient you will become. It’s okay to struggle the first few times. The good news is that it won’t this way forever. I’ve utilize meal prepping since that beginning of my weight loss journey back in 2011.There are golden rules that I follow when I’m short on time or just don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen. If you can incorporate these tips, your meal preparation will be breeze which will allow you to focus on others tasks for the day.

 

First things first, step foot in your kitchen and take a look around. Do you have an oven? Do you have a rice cooker? Do you have an indoor/outdoor grill? I want you guys to be aware of all the possible tools you have available to you that you can utilize while you meal prep. There’s no sense in using the stove for all your foods, if you have to wait for one items to be done to start cooking the next. Think about how can I cook everything I need all at once? The more foods that can be cooked simultaneously, the less amount of time you’ll spend simply waiting. You want to be as efficient as you can in the kitchen based on the amount of food you need to prep. If you’re someone like me who preps the same things for weeks or even months, start playing a game against yourself where you try to beat your time the last time you prepped. This can be fun and challenging but the main benefit is that it makes you think of ways on how to reduce the time you spend prepping your meals. I highly suggest you try this!

 

Shopping at the supermarket today is very different from a few decades ago, from what I’ve been told of course. We have variety of convenience items being sold to make our lives easier. Please keep in mind, additional convenience will cost some extra money. Remember the last time you went to the car wash on a beautiful day and purchased a basic wash for your car? Then you see another car just drive right pass you to get their wash while you were still waiting in line? That’s a VIP service that will cost you some extra dollars. Is it worth it? Absolutely if you’re someone who doesn’t like wasting time waiting in lines which brings me to my next tip. Buy vegetables that can be microwaved or can be eaten as is. I use Cauliflower Stir Fry Crumbles a lot during my preps especially when I’m trying to cut weight. I fill up to about half on each tupperware right out of the bag and it actually cooks or softens when I warm it up in the microwave prior to eating. Extremely convenient but worth it in my opinion.

 

If you’re undecided about what you would like to prep for your protein source, you’re overthinking it. If it doesn’t need to be chopped, marinated for a couple hours or sauteed first then baked, its probably going to be a good and quick choice. Anything that starts with “ground” are my staples. Ground turkey, ground beef, ground chicken, etc. are all great options because you can toss it in a pan, stir it a few times, season it, stir it a few more times and before you know it its fully cooked. Bonus tip in case you’re always on the go, add your condiments to all of your meals right after you get done prepping. I like to add mozzarella cheese, sriracha sauce and sriracha ketchup to my meals. This allows me to just grab my meals and go without having to think of what to add the day of.

 

I hope that now everyone reading can see easy and simple meal prepping can be. The more you have think about that foods you would like to eat for that week, the more difficult it will become. If you follow these simple rules moving forward, meal prepping will always be a breeze to get done. At the end of the day, you and only you should enjoy the foods you’re eating. If it’s boring to others, who care because as long as it’s bringing you closer to your goals, that’s ultimately all that matters!

Diets have been growing over the years. Its almost feels like a new diet is created every day in the attempt to help people lose weight. You may just been browsing on social media and saw a post from your favorite Fitness Icon promoting Intermittent Fasting or Keto. Before covering the most popular diets of today, I would like to say this, there isn’t any special diet that would cause massive weight loss. Which ever diet you choose, the determining factor on you losing weight is ultimately “calories in versus calories out” or in simpler terms “burning more calories throughout the day than you consume”. Please keep that in mind while I go over various diets and how they can apply to you.

 

IIFYM(If It Fits Your Macros)

This diet is extremely popular and used by most of the fitness community because of the flexibility you have between the foods you can consume. Generally speaking you can eat what ever your little heart desires if at the end of the day you don’t go over the three macro nutrients, protein, carbs and fats. If you are someone who practices self control and can limit the amount of processed foods you consume on a daily basis, this can be the diet for you.

 

Intermittent Fasting

This diet is similar to IIFYM only difference is that you have a window when you don’t eat and a window when you do. The idea behind this diet is that the less amount of time during the day you have the eat, the less chances you have of going over you total caloric intake for the day. I personally use this diet on the weekends mostly when I know I’m going to eat a bad meal to end the night. It works great for people who prefer to save their calories towards the afternoon/evening and not indulged throughout the entire day.

 

Paleo Diet

The purpose this diet in simple terms, is that if it doesn’t growing from the ground or can’t be hunted, you shouldn’t eat it. A paleo diet typically includes foods such as lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds which completely eliminates the need for any processed foods. Foods such as cereal, donuts, pasta, etc. shouldn’t be consumed. This is a perfect diet from someone who doesn’t like processed foods to begin with and enjoys eating whole foods that obtain a solid nutritional profile.

 

Keto

In order to be in ketosis your overall calories need to be divided primarily by fats(70%), moderate protein(25%) and very little carbs(5%). In my onion this this is a very strict diet that requires a lot of discipline meaning very little room for error. If you eat any form of carbohydrate that increasing your blood sugar levels, it can take you out of ketosis. If you consume too much protein it can take you out of ketosis. Please keep this in mind if you thought about giving this diet a try. But if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy eating frequently, enjoys feeling satiated throughout the day due to the high consumption of fats and isn’t a huge fan of carbohydrates, this may be the diet for you.

 

Carb Cycling

There was a time period where everyone thought carbs was the enemy when it came to obesity. So instead of completely eliminating carbohydrates all together you break down the days of the week between low, medium and high carb days. This allows you to lose fat, still able to perform physically and overcome plateaus that come about in a weight loss journey. I’m sure you’ve heard your gym buddies talking about their “refeed days”. “Refeed days” are the same as a “high carb day” where you replenish you’re glycogen primarily from carbohydrates in order to power through another week of dieting. I personally enjoy this diet because on low days, I can consume lots of vegetables and on the med/high carb days, I can eat the carbohydrates that I enjoy. I’ve never been a huge fan for vegetables but when you limit the carbohydrates, vegetables allow you to increase you food volume while keeping a low caloric intake.

From the professional body builders to the single dad who works as a full time web developer, meal prepping can help you achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. To the people who say “I never have time to cook” or my favorite “I’m too tired to cook when I get home”, incorporating this practice will relieve some stress on what to eat during the week. If you can dedicate 1 or 2 days each week, you’ll always have your meals ready and prepped when you need them.

 

Meal prepping isn’t meant only for fitness enthusiast. Put yourself in a mother shoes that needs to prepare her husband and kid’s lunches every morning, along with breakfast, then make it to work on time to then arrive home after a long work day to cook dinner for the family. Can you imagine how crazy that mother’s day will be if she did that every single day? It sounds extremely stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Most foods can be precooked and stored in the fridge or freezer to maintain freshness. Vegetables and carbohydrates can be cooked in 30 minutes or less which are other factors that can be used to your advantage when prepping.

 

If you’re driving to work, riding the bus or just home watching TV, pay attention to all the fast food and restaurants advertisements. If your meals are already prepared, why would you waste your money on something else? Chances are that you won’t which is the main benefit for this practice. Many of my coworker’s are always contemplating what they want to eat for lunch and if you’re not a boss for a company, your lunch time is limited on average to 30 minutes. Long story short, the fast and easy option is most likely fast food going to be the winner. It will save you money, time and keep those unwanted pounds off if you dedicated a few hours to plan out your meals.

 

With our busy schedules, some of us can forget to eat which is never a good idea because we need fuel to get through our days. One of the vital components of our metabolism is energy formation. When your meals are waiting for you, there is no excuse to eat when it’s time to eat which is the beauty of meal prepping. I like to think of the human body as a car. What does a car need to function gas right? Therefore we as humans need gas in the form of food, in order to function properly and power through out our days.