Okay, hear me out…
I don’t literally mean the same exact things ever day, unless that’s for you, then go for it!
What I really mean is this: Understanding which food and meal “staples” fit your plan and work towards your goals is KEY. Once you do, you DON’T NEED TO THINK ABOUT FOOD ALL THE TIME!
Imagine NOT having to plan every single thing for breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners each week/day.
That could save you a whole buncha time and effort!
With that being said, starting this strategy might take you a little bit of time at first, but after that it’s smooth sailing.
Here’s what you’ll do:
Make a list of meals that each include a substantial protein source, a fruit or veggie, and maybe another side or other ingredients. Literally write it down/type it up. Feel free to group them into categories like Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner if you wish… or simply understand that we can remove those labels from our meals and eat any food at any time of day.
*Note: If you’re cooking/eating with a family, partner, or group of people, you can make these lists together so that everyone has input and foods they like included.
Make a list of snacks that you/your crew enjoy. You can include some non-perishable/shelf-stable meals that won’t go bad so you can just have them available (or in your car/bag!) at any time. Include some fresh items like fruits or veggies too!
Step 3 can go one of two ways:
Use your staple meal list and appropriate portions sizes to pick 3 meals and 1-3 snacks per day. We want our protein sources to be about the size of our palm, our heavier carbs/starches to be about a small handful, our fats to be about our thumb size, and go for it on the fruits and veggies as those typically don’t add up drastically, calorically speaking. The cool thing about using our hands as help with portions is that they are proportional to our bodies! This is the kind of thing I’m talking about:
If you want to get a little more detailed with it, you can figure out an approximate caloric goal for yourself for the day and aim to fit those pre-created meals into that puzzle. To do this, take your current weight, multiply by 12. Then add or subtract 50-500 calories depending on your goals and how much weight you want to gain or lose. For example, I weighed 145 this morning. 145 x 12 = 1740. I don’t have too much weight to lose, so I might subtract 50 calories, leaving me with and *estimated* 1690 calories for the day. (I say estimated because this formula is simply a guide… if you start gaining or losing more than 1.5 pounds per week, that’s likely too much, and you can adjust the calories accordingly.) Then, I can divide that 1690 by 4 to allow for approximately 425 calories for each meal and all snacks.
Then, once we KNOW the meals we enjoy are balanced across our macronutrient needs, then we can create easier shopping lists, not have to always be looking for new recipes, and know they fit our needs and goals.
Another variation to this would be to eat the same things for certain meals and mix it up with others.
For example, I eat the SAME THING for breakfast, lunch, and snacks pretty much EVERY SINGLE DAY. (Unless I’m traveling or somehow forget to buy them or run out early, in which case I have cans of tuna and frozen everything to fill in the blanks!)
Morning Margarita (water + sea salt + lemon juice)
1 egg + 1/2 cup of egg whites
2 slices of Bacon
Coffee with a little heavy cream
Sometimes a few bites of oatmeal if my man makes it and feels like sharing ; )
(~388 calories, 29g protein, 11g carbs, 26g fats)
100g 0% Greek Yogurt w/ a little cherry jelly mixed in
Coconut, a little granola, hemp hearts, chia seeds, chocolate chips also mixed into the yogurt
2-3 slices of nitrate/nitrite free Deli Turkey rolled with a slice of American Cheese
(~360 cals, 30g protein, 34g carbs, 11g fats)
Protein Shake or Beef Jerky
Cookies (for dessert at night!)
As you can see, these staple meals are VERY fancy. Jokes… they’re absolutely not, BUT they are delicious and since I know they fit my overall intake goals, and I don’t really get sick of them, I literally eat them daily.
There’s a beauty to that if it fits for you.
Dinners, however, include approximately 20 meals that I cycle through, so we don’t really have many of the same things over the course of a month. But I know those are balanced and work, too!
So, yeah, something like this can make your meal planning and reaching your goals easier because you’re not constantly trying to figure out what to eat or how it fits on the daily.
Would this strategy work for every single person? Nope! But I’m throwing it out there in case it would help you! Even if you do this for one meal in your day, it’s one less meal to have to think about! Give it a try, and see how it goes!
Do you do something like this? What works for you? Let me know in the comments!
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As always, thank you for reading!