When I'm meal planning, the first step that I take is I build out what I'm going to eat in the week ahead. Making these decisions in advance keeps me on track for my goals and saves me headaches come time during the work week when I need to figure out what to eat.
I do this by programming it into MyFitnessPal. I can conveniently create a shopping list from it, which is super helpful. I can also ensure that the food I'm meal planning is setup in a way to ensure I'm meeting all the major requirements, such as ensuring I'm eating enough, I'm eating good quality food, I have enough protein, and essentially whatever my food goals are.
I started my journey with tracking my food primarily for calories and macros for weight loss. That shifted to performance. My practice is still the same!
"A Goal without a Plan is just a Wish!"
1) Awareness & Mindfulness - we're not off the record!
It's too easy to forget that extra bit of food, or the extra helping at dinner. When you track your food, you take the guess work out of "how much did I have today" or "did I eat enough". You'd be surprised at the quality and quantity of food you're taking in when you see it written out
2) Portion control - wake up call!
Whether you like to count calories, macros, or portion servings - you can become aware of quantity you're taking in, especially when you think an extra serving of pasta is okay, but not an extra serving of broccoli! Was your meal protein heavy? As an active person you need to ensure you're getting enough protein. How about them veggies? lol
3) Quality - a calorie isn't a calorie!
Some people think that if they consume under the total calories of expenditure that they will lose weight. I like to think of the body like a high-end car. Would you put low-grade fuel in a car that requires premium fuel. No! So why would you fuel your body with processed food, high sugar, high salt, processed meats? That calorie can go a long way in the body to providing nutrients vs disease. Don't forget about alcohol - it has calories too!
4) Keep it real - no kidding yourself!
Put it all down. Don't kid yourself if you cheat and if you do cheat you better enjoy the crap out of it and get back on track LOL. You'll want to see what kind of impact that has to your day :)
Meal Plan (week of 8/7/2017):
Example of my food log:
Hi! I’m Bellona! Welcome to Bellona Rising.