Saturday, March 20, 2010

Week 7 and Starting out

Click here for Week 7 This is also a good week to start with, I have included exact calorie counts, brands and even kids modifications and of course a shopping list! Please read the "For Starters" below whether you are already doing the plans or just starting. It will help!

Once again I don't claim to have the healthiest meal plans on the planet. I have tried much healthier, cleaner eating lifestyles and although gloriously healthy it wasn't maintainable for me. I need something that is in the middle but still on the healthy side. I can't eat egg whites and plain soy beans each day but I can do a balance. I highly recommended if you are looking for a low sodium, no sugar meals. It is a good plan. We just all need to find what works best for us.

For Starters

“Be more intense about your food then you are about your workout!
You can undo your workout calories with just one meal.” S.C.

Why I do this: I do this for myself and my family and although it takes a lot of work it yields a lot of benefit. Meal planning has been essential in helping me turn from a hopeless “Junk Food Addict” to living a healthy life style. I am not a nutritional expert but I do like to read reliable journals and health articles about it. I am not selling this plan but I ask you to site me if you share my plans as I try to site others as I use their recipes. Also please give me feedback, tell me what works and what doesn't this is a work in progress!

The Benefit of Small Frequent Meals: We have heard it for years, “small frequent meals help with metabolism and are better for digestion”. This rotational system is an easy way to have 5-6 small meals daily without too much hassle. New research shows that meals that have roughly the same amount of calories and are eaten at the same time each day are even more beneficial in training the body to burn calories. When I first started doing this I was doing 6 different meals a day, 7 days a week (47 different meals!). It was a pain, and expensive! With the rotation system you get to see all of your meals on one page, it is nice to stick to the refrigerator. I also try to use the same items throughout the week making it less expensive.

Working: If you work outside of home, buy a good portable cooler and ice pack. Prepare your meals the night before!

Snack meals/Speed meals: Meal 1, Meal 3, Meal 5 are all speed meals and can be made in less than 5 minutes. The other meals may take more preparation. Rules for Speed meals: All Snacks are around 250 calories, All Snacks contain a healthy carb and protein, All Snacks can be made in less than 5 minutes, All ingredients can be bought at local stores such as Walmart, The majority or snacks should have plenty of raw fruits and veggies.

Dinner meals: are optional. I encourage you to use meals that work best for your family but are still low calorie. For this reason I have indicated on the grocery list which items are solely dinner items. I have put mine on the meal plan so that you can use them if desired. Here are my rules for dinners: Dinners are fairly easy to make, Dinners stay between 250-400 calories per serving, Dinners include a hearty serving of veggies, Less than 8 ingredients, Ingredients can be bought at a local grocery store like Walmart, Kids have to like the dinners

Calories: I try to keep meals 1-5 to 250 calories. That amount seems to hold over the appetite to the next meal. Dinner meals are slightly more, around 300. I do the counting so that you don't have to. You will still have to look at brands however in the stores and make wise choices and calculate the calories for your own dinner meals if needed. Do not add soft drinks or snacks this first week it will skew your results. Make sure for a more accurate calorie count that you are getting out your measuring cups and measuring the items needed.

Healthy Fats: I will admit my meals are not the most healthy on the planet. I use cheeses and other items that still contain some fat and sodium. I also try to use olives, almonds and avocados that contain healthy fats. If you decide to omit these make sure you are still getting a healthy fat in your diet. Add a fish oil supplement if needed.

Morning Shake: This is a pre workout shake that can be omitted if needed. If you don’t have an active life style then omit it, if it makes you sick to eat before you workout then omit it. The verdict is still out on the research of whether the protein helps you burn fat and not muscle more efficiently in a workout or not. I just say do what works for you.

Protein Whey: I buy my protein where I can get it the cheapest: walmart, sams club and costco. When I have a higher level of activity I buy it with glutamine added. I buy chocolate and vanilla and alternate.

Rotation system: The Beauty of the rotational system is that if you don’t feel like a certain meal on a certain day you have a few options. I also tried 6 meals a day with the same 6 meals repeated daily for a week. By the end I was gagging when I was eating the meals because I am someone who needs variety. This way you get variety plus meals that contain the same amount of calories at the same time each day.

Kids modification: For kids ages 1-6 don’t worry about the calories but make it a goal to get those fruits and veggies in. Sometimes the biggest obstacle that our kids have to eating healthy is us. We think they won’t like something so we don’t try it or we try it once and it fails so we check it off of our “try list”. Try to get your kids to eat well and expect to throw things away at times and expect some resistance. Don’t force them but try to make it fun. It is a process for them as well as us.

For Husband and significant others: I find this plan super useful for my husband. With 4 kids under 5 I sometimes forget about him and his meal preparation. But with the weekly plan on the refrigerator and the items all bought from the store it is very easy for him to prepare his own meals. Without the plans he lacks direction and eats junk like I do.

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