Some people have a low tolerance threshold for being hungry, and upon the first smallest sign of hunger, they are eating something — regardless of whether it is good or bad. This is why it is critical to have Go-To Meals. These are meals that you do not have to think about. You don’t have to decide whether this combination of foods meets your requirements, if it is healthy, or if it complies with your diet plan. You won’t always have time to plan out custom meals each day, and you need to simplify your eating when possible. It is very important to have specific meals that you can rely on both at home and while traveling.
This is why having Go-To Meals is a savior. Some are simple dishes that you can always keep at your house, so no matter how low on groceries or time you are, you can always rely on this. If you’re out of town, you should have some options that you can count on even without a kitchen or refrigerator. These are the tools you must implement to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. You cannot afford to derail your diet plan every time you come home late, run out of groceries, forget to prepare food ahead of time, or are away from home.
“Nate, but I don’t know what kinds of foods to eat in the first place?!”
If you aren’t clear on what to eat, then you need to read my previous blog “The RichBody Diet”where I will detail what I consider to be the best approach to healthy lifestyle dieting resulting in sustainable and consistent fat loss. But, in a summary, it is a balanced diet with high protein, moderate cabs (target high fiber carbs), low sugar (only should be coming from good fruits like blueberries, grapefruit, blackberries), and moderate fat.
Until you have gotten your body to your target weight, I believe a somewhat balanced approach of specific foods can yield the best results of fat loss and maintain physical and mental performance. Super low calorie diets, or long fasts, or long term low carb diets, typically make you feel and look bad. I don’t care what people say, I have done it (a dozen times each) and I know from experience.
The RichBody Diet I am speaking of really entails high protein, moderate carbs (target high fiber carbs), low sugar (only should be coming from good fruits like blueberries, grapefruit, blackberries), and moderate fat. For example, someone eating 2,000 calories a day I would recommend them eating around 225 grams of protein (900 calories), 150 grams of carbs (600 calories), 30+ grams of fiber, and 55 grams of fat (500 calories). I like the fiber to be no less than 1/5th of your carb intake total (which can be hard to do unless you eat the right foods).
In order to understand how many grams of each you’re actually eating, you need to record your foods. You can use an internet based food diary, or keep your own hand written diary. Either way, you want to begin measuring and calculating your calories, grams of protein, grams of carbs, grams of fiber, grams of sugar, and grams of fat. This will really be crucial in your learning of what to eat, how, and why. You want to learn how to be successful, not just a gimmick to lose 10 quick pounds and have no idea how or why it works. It is kind of like the“teach a man to fish…” saying. I’m trying to teach you how to lose fat, so you can do it on your own for the rest of your life.
Go-To Meals while Home:
This is the easiest time to have Go-To Meals, and it really is inexcusable to jeopardize your diet unless you choose to cheat. You have access to cooking, refrigerator and freezer, storage, and general “Home Field Advantage.” In addition to this, you know your local restaurants and grocery stores, so there aren’t any surprises. When you’re on your home turf, you should always have an inventory of Go-To options in your home and at restaurants.
Go-To Meals while Traveling:
I’m used to going to Costco and buying boxes of 5-dozen eggs, and 10 lbs. packages of chicken breasts. Well, do you think that was available when I was visiting Istanbul or Transylvania? Hell no! I have to get creative and have Go-To Meals for traveling, which I’ll detail shortly.
Some great food choices that are RichBody-approved would involve some of the following food options:
Protein sources: Eggs and egg whites, lean beef, lean pork, chicken breast, and lean fish. You can eat fattier cuts of beef, pork, dark meat chicken, and fattier fish – but eat these sparingly and not too often. You’ll notice once you start calculating your food that a piece of ribeye or salmon has as much fat as you should be eating in the whole day (depending on how big the portion is).
Carbohydrate sources: Your goal is to choose high fiber carbohydrate choices: quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato (no butter), sprouted grain bread, oatmeal, oat bran, and beans/legumes (the best choices would be lentils, kidney beans, and black beans). There are lots of other carbohydrate sources that you can get away with if needed such as white potatoes, but you can’t smother it in butter and sour cream. There are some high fiber pastas out there that you could try just for the fun of it, and to try something new. Just focus on having your carb sources containing a higher amount of fiber. This is why white bread and white rice is garbage (among many other reasons..) – Low to no fiber.
Fat sources: Most of your fat sources will be coming from your protein choices: the yolks in eggs and the fat in your beef/pork/chicken/fish. Some will even come from your carbohydrate sources: sprouted grain bread and oatmeal. But, some other applicable ways that are RichBody-approved would be to use a teaspoon or two or coconut oil while cooking. Perhaps a couple teaspoons of Olive Oil with vinegar of your choice for a salad dressing. If you can control yourself – a few nuts or very small bite of nut butter is full of fat. My point is, you will find that hitting your maximum allowed fat grams per day will not be hard at all. This is easy. You’ll have a hard time not exceeding the allowance.
Sugar sources: Obviously, I don’t like sugar in the diet, but there are some sugar sources that are OK as long as you don’t get carried away. Blackberries, blueberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, or a banana here and there would be OK. Just don’t get carried away with fruits. They really don’t fill you up , they do spike your insulin (which makes you more hungry), snd if you are a sweet tooth kind of person, this might trigger the give me more sugar feeling. Tread carefully with sugar…
When you are at home , you should be prepping foods. Buy enough food for a few days at a time at least , and prep it at once. You can cook cups of quinoa or brown rice at a time with very little effort which can last days and days. Or, cook a couple pounds of chicken breast at a time and eat it as desired over a course of a few days. Eating at home really means that you have no excuse for not having the right foods. However, I really recommend you limit your exposure to cheat foods if possible. If you’re significant other, or kids must have “bad” foods in the house, then this could be a test for you. Be strong, and realize the taste in your mouth for a handful of seconds isn’t worth feeling guilty for the other 23+ hours in the day.
When you are traveling , just focus on eating the target foods. This will be hard. The carbohydrate sources will be the most difficult because not a lot of restaurants sell quinoa or brown rice. If they do, they are oftentimes full of other ingredients that you don’t want. When eating out, just stick to the lean protein and vegetables. Even if your day ends up lower-carb than you plan for, this is an OK problem to have. Just don’t overeat fats and carbs. You never want high fat and high carb in the same day.
All in all, remember that you won’t always have the right food options at your disposal. Many times you won’t be able to make or bring your own food, and you’ll be forced to eat at greasy restaurants and fast food joints. Just choose carefully, and think about the general foods that are RichBody-approved, and choose accordingly. Even if it isn’t perfect, it will be 100 times better than just saying “screw it, I’ll eat a cheeseburger and fries.” Trust me, stay true to the general food choices, and do as well as you can as often as you can, and the results will come. Now is YOUR time to do this. Don’t wait. You can do it!