One of the most frequent questions we get asked here at BEST is “what do YOU eat?” (as if the way I (Zack) eat makes a difference for the person I am coaching).
There are some people that just want the fish given to them, and this is one of many the reasons the vast majority of folks never realize their health and fitness goals.
At BEST, we do not give out elaborate meal plans because you can find those online for free, and a meal plan doesn’t teach you anything. It doesn’t get you out of the endless cycle of needing help doing the things you are intuitively capable of doing..
So let’s agree on this: The only way you will get out of the vicious cycle you are currently stuck in is understanding what makes a perfect meal and then noticing if the meals you eat actually match the description – With 80-90% consistency.
As a certified Precision Nutrition coach, I teach the BESTies the PN ways. So here’s the inside look into how to make the perfect meal. The perfect meal has these 4 components:
- 1-2 PALMS of protein
- 1-2 CUPPED-HANDS of smart carbs
- 1-2 FISTS of vegetables
- 1-2 THUMBS of fat
(I just wrote a more philosophical post on scheduling free time for some motivation, check it out if you lack some motivation on scheduling. It may ring some bells!)
That knowledge about what makes a perfect meal is great, but you have to actually apply it. There are 2 things you can schedule to make sure you are doing what you know to do:
- Schedule your grocery shopping days 1 to 2 times per week to make sure you always have the ingredients you need. This is also a bit of budget accountability. If you are spending money at the grocery store, you are less likely to be spending money going out to eat.
- Schedule time to prep the food AND EAT IT – REALITY CHECK: Scheduling your trips to the grocery store isn’t a full proof plan by itself. If you find yourself constantly throwing away food because it is spoiled you have either a food preparation habit to practice or you have to practice slowing down your life so you can eat what you made.
If you would like a couple habit tracker sheets help with those, then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you over some things I use with my clients!
Your 4-Step Meal Making Plan
Once you get the scheduling issues out of the way you will continue with this four-step process:
1. Choose one ingredient from each of the four categories that make a perfect meal
- One protein – beans, eggs, chicken, steak, shrimp, or lentils
- One vegetable – broccoli, cabbage, green beans, bok choy, spinach, etc..
- One smart carb – Spaghetti Squash, Red Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, or chickpeas
- One fat – olive oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, canola oil, or coconut oil, butter, avocados, almonds, or peanuts
2. Make sure you use the portion sizes I mentioned above for the perfect meal!
- One to two palms of protein (20-30 grams of protein equals 1 palm)
- One to two cupped hands of carbs (20-30 grams of carbs equals 1 cupped handful of carbs)
- One to two fists of vegetables
- One to two thumbs of fat (15-20 grams of fat equals 1 thumb of fat)
You can adjust these portions based on how frequently you eat, your personal goals, and your personal results.
If you want to lose weight and you are following this portion size guide CONSISTENTLY (80-90% of your meals), then the next step you make is simply shrinking the portion sizes a little bit at a time, but don’t start shrinking portion sizes until you are 80-90% consistent.
3. Now, it’s time to get some flavor in your life so you don’t believe the lie that “eating healthy means eating crappy tasting food. Below are some examples of my favorite flavors and how to create those flavors:
- Italian – oregano, basil, fennel, capers, anchovies, olives, and oranges
- French – tarragon, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf, black pepper, lemon
- Mexican – cilantro, cumin, cocoa, ancho and chipotle chilies, lime
- Japanese – miso, sesame seeds, seaweed, pickled radish, ginger, yuzu
- Indian – cumin, fenugreek, coriander, turmeric, curry powder, ginger, fresh curry leaf
4. Cook the food.
- To flavor your 1-2 palms of protein, you will squeeze the fresh citrus juices over them
- To add flavor to your 1-2 cupped hands of smart carbs, add the dried spices
- To add flavor to your 1-2 fists of vegetables, mix the fresh herbs in with them
Now, with all that said I am not a cooking expert, but this will get people well on their way to becoming better cooks before they become a professional home chef! That’s all I try to teach my BESTies!
I hope this helps you out and at least gets you mentally engaged with the process of “catching your own fish!”
This information is adapted from a great infographic from Precision Nutrition. You can find that here.
Love ya, Zack