Golly I get SICK of food sometimes, don’t you? Just the THOUGHT of eating… makes me tired. That’s what can get to some people’s heads. The constant thought of eating, dieting, cooking, storing, grocery shopping can create challenge, overwhelm and disgust for many. What can we do?
Make meal prep FUN again!
Obviously, it is not always going to be fun. If you have a specific dietary need, a very specific goal in mind (aka a bodybuilding show prep or specific illness) or other circumstance that prohibits food options, it can be monotonous. But, if you are thinking of a healthy lifestyle to LIVE BY, this is for you!
Life Balance through Food
I’m sure you might be thinking, well what does this have to do with life balance? A lot.
First, food is something as humans, we revolved our lives around it. Honestly, who doesn’t go to a coffee shop or restaurant to MEET with someone? To GATHER? To collaborate, laugh and enjoy one another’s company? Everyone does! The meal below was from my recent meeting with a client I do some freelance writing with. Although I did not cook this myself, I have learned how to balance most of my own meal prep with foods I also will be eating out with a group.
Second, because food is so prevalent in our society, it is easy to fall into eating something out of habit or because it’s available. If you see it, odds are, you will crave it or eat it. That is why in an office or local gathering place where food is visible and accessible, it makes it tough to overcome temptations. Who wouldn’t want to grab a cookie or slice of cake if it is just sitting there, calling your name? That is where create this “lifestyle” comes into play.
Third, if you are following specific health goals or dietary needs, sometimes you feel pigeon-holed to specific foods and specific places. With the expansion of social media and the Internet, there are WAY more options to get ingredients from local grocery stores or health stores! But the best thing you can do is start to experiment with different foods to see how your body responds. I know right now, I can’t go near avocado because my skin breaks out in about an hour of eating it! I know, sad day. That little green fruit is one of my favorites! That’s why becoming aware of foods and your body’s response is helpful. But, let’s get into macronutrients and making meal prep FUN!
What are macronutrients
Food is made up of and starts with calories. The production of energy is a calorie. Each food differs in calories, based on its ingredient and chemical make-up. The large building blocks are macronutrients and micronutrients. We will focus on macronutrients.
The three macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Each of these equates the following calories per gram:
Macronutrient Calories per gram: Protein 4 – Carbohydrate (carb) 4 – Fat 9
When beginning to learn about food, knowing these three macronutrients (aka macros) is the simple way to understand what you are eating and how to meal prep balanced meals.
Today’s nutrition labels have been used for over 20 years. The Food and Drug Administration recently redesigned the label to make it clearer on what is in your foods from a macronutrient level. This can also help you identify the correct serving size for each meal. Understanding what makes up different foods, whether processed and prepackaged or whole ingredients, will allow you to better prepare meals for you and your loved ones. As you learn more about your own personal goals and health, you can adjust your daily food intake and macronutrients.
Take your macros to the meals
Once you start to learn about macros, you can transform your daily eating. Take a look at the labels on foods, research on the Internet for standard serving sizes for foods and see what each one equals.
I work with a coach who prescribes my macro goals for the day. Depending on your goal of weight loss, weight gain, body composition change or macro maintenance, the calculation is a bit different. One free calculator I recommend is from the website, “If It Fits Your Macros“.
Take your goals or your meal plan and analyze the different proteins, carbs and fats for each food. Once you have those down, you can begin to explore new foods! One of my meals I made was mashed potatoes using almond milk, dill, sea salt and black pepper, green beans, and some “chicken tenders” using egg whites, flour, spices, salt and pepper, sprouted grain bread and cooked in my air fryer.
Use an app to help you learn at the speed of your finger tips! I like MyFitnessPal for a free option. One that has a few more offerings is MyMacros+ and you can put in your specific meals, create recipes (that’s how I know all the macros of my healthy baked goods), water intake and more!
I eat the same meals 90% of the time. The other 10%, I add some type of variation in the protein source, vegetable or carbohydrate. That’s just what works for ME. And I don’t prefer to eat out, I like to cook myself. Right now, I’m eating chocolate DAILY. Mind you, it is between 70-85% dark cacao, organic chocolate. Not a cheap food! But I’m embracing the change.
This also gives me some flexibility to bake some healthy treats from my Healthy Desserts Ebook! Special holiday offer, get it for $12! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
My meals did not used to be that way. But through learning and time, I know that my body can digest it and my mind and body benefit. This is what works for me right now. It could change within the next year. Only time will tell! But for me and others who learn tracking macros and flexible meal prep, it creates much more balance in life.
One of my meal prep clients texted me the other day to thank me.
Just wanted to say, you have really had a great impact on my eating. Better choices.Julie
She worked with me for about 6 months and I was able to help her understand different foods to swap and eat that could benefit her body. These are just small steps for someone wanting to make a lifestyle change. She does count her macros with an app, but is now learning outside of the app with her own recipes and home cooking.
Use the above to guide your fun, healthy meal prep! Let me know how else I can help.