In the fitness industry, particularly the bodybuilding world, it’s regularly said that food is 80% of the recipe to achieving the physique results you desire. With this in mind, my food preparation is paramount and as structured as my workouts regimen, if not more so.
It’s fair to say that most people struggle with the idea of eating every 2-3 hours and think that everyone who does so must be chained to the oven. Also, many think that eating healthy and often to be very expensive; it’s a touch more expensive, once you factor cutting out the processed foods.
I think it best to start the article on shopping. Work out what you’re going to need to eat from a week-to-week or month-to-month.
Below, please find how I choose to spend my money.
If you want to build muscle or get leaner, eat protein, often. This can range from meat, fish, Quorn, protein powders, and even tofu.
The most cost effective way to do this is to buy in bulk. For meat and fish, high street Butchers or Fish mongers will cut you a deal for a bulk buy. Other than that, if you have an appropriate trade card, you can buy from wholesalers, such as Booker, Macro, Costco. There’s also online bulk purchase Butchers.
For your protein powders and other supplements, there are bulk direct sellers or many independent high street and online retailers who sell good-quality supplements at competitive prices. Many independents will cut a deal for a “bulk” purchase.
Carbohydrates are your energy foods. I personally like the slower digesting carbohydrates (low GI), as they have more fibre and nutrients. Foods like, wholegrain basmati rice, oats, brown pasta, sweet potatoes. These can all be purchased very cheaply from most supermarkets and the own bands are just as good as the brand names.
I will include fruit and veg in this section. This is a big portion of our shopping bill. Fruit and veg can be expensive but is an essential part of our food plan. Frozen veg and frozen berries can be a good way of cutting the cost and saving on preparation time.
Fat has been given a lot of bad press in recent years. However, healthy fats are fantastic for your body. By including them in your diet, your body can be more level in your energy levels and hormonally.
Food items I include are coconut oil (stable at high heat), nuts, seeds, cold pressed flax, oil, and even natural nut butters. Again, many can be purchased at wholesalers or a local health store.
So, that’s the components of a meal broken down – protein, carbohydrates, fats. If you include all three of the macro-nutrients in your food plan and get your calories right for your goals, you should be in a pretty good place.
Now, you might be asking yourself “How do I get all this food prepared?”
Here are some ways I make it easy:
I weigh my oats out at night and poor boiling water over them. To that, I add cinnamon, stevia (sweetener), and blueberries. Give the mix a stir and in 10 minutes the oats will be ready to eat. I leave mine overnight and eat them cold. You could even add your protein powder and have a meal in a bowl.
If you have eggs, I find it easier to crack my eggs at night into a locking plastic tub, so in the morning I just have to cook the eggs and not pick out the shell!!
You could also mix ground oats, eggs, whey, and water and make protein pancakes. These can be eaten hot or cold.
For lunch, I like to have some kind of meat and some veg with flax oil. Meat-wise, I marinade about 10 chicken breasts in herbs and spices for a day then then cook in foil, which I seal, so it’s like a massive chicken envelope and then roast it for 25 minutes. This keeps the chicken nice and moist. Once it’s cold, I chop the chicken and portion it out for the next 3 days. With the remainder of the chicken, I freeze it in plastic tubs to keep it fresh.
I like to eat a lot of vegetables. I have find the easiest way of doing this is to buy them frozen and roast them in the oven on a foil lined tray. This method works with any veg and requires very little effort.
Sweet potatoes work well to cook in large quantities. Slice each potato down the middle and wrap in foil. You then bake the potatoes until soft. I then let them cool and peel off the skins. You can then mash up the middles and keep them in a tub for a good few days. I find anything like rice goes really dry unless cooked fresh
Protein shakes are extremely easy. You can put the dry powder in the shaker and just add water as needed.
Fruit and nuts are very easy to carry around, so these are a staple to my snacking.
If you’re feeling creative, it’s quite easy to produce your own protein bars with oats, nuts, nut butter and even honey.
For our late night meals, we (Jan, my wife, and I) like to cook fresh or take something we have cooked previously and frozen.
Stir fries: Slice your meat and chosen vegetables small and cook at a high heat in a wok. You can add 5 spice, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce and you have a very nice dinner.
Curry: Chopped tomatoes, curry powder, lentils, mushrooms, peppers and onion and you have very tasty curry which you can add your choice of protein to. Reduce the mixture down and it will thicken up and make a very nice meal.
Pasta Sauce: Chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, stock cube, peppers, mushrooms, and any other veg. Again, reduce this down and you have a nice sauce to add to meat and some wholewheat pasta.
There is a lot you can do with a slow cooker, if you’re stuck for time. You can add a lot of chopped veg, meat, herbs, and some stock, and you can come home to a really nice meal.
I hope this article has given you an insight in to my eating habits and helped you nutritionally. It doesn’t have to be mega-expensive or extremely time consuming.
EAT CLEAN. TRAIN DIRTY. GET RESULTS.
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