Eating small meals throughout the day is one of the most effective ways to promote the loss of body fat, while still fuelling the body properly for strenuous training. Unfortunately, few people know how to plan ahead effectively, and either fail to prepare enough food to fuel them throughout the day, or fail to make time to consume food throughout the day.
Here are a few tips:
1) Make a time sheet, listing the hours of the day down the page. By each approximate hour, label where you eat Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. See where the gaps are, and plug in three Snacks so that at no point in the day will there be a space exceeding 3 hours without food.
2) Next, allocate calories, making sure to front-load them. If your calorie goal is 2,000 per day, you could eat 500 per Main Meal, and then distribute the remaining over the other three Snacks. The sheet will show you when you are supposed to eat next, and the approximate number of calories you should consume at that time. Don’t sell yourself short and “save” calories for later. This is a poor choice for the metabolism. Eat 2/3 of your daily calories by dinner time.
3) Know your portions. Estimating calories isn’t easy. Different foods are prepared with varying amounts of inputs like water, sugar, and fat. Size can be deceptive. This is another reason one should eat a whole food diet. Even though it may be less exact than a packaged food listing the calories for you, you’ll be “safer” and will have a hard time over-doing your calories. Whole foods are very filling.
The following is a very general guide to whole foods portion sizes and calorie values (very general, but it’ll work just fine):
WHOLE GRAINS: brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat angel hair pasta, barley, wheat berries, thick rolled oats
>>>> 1 cup = 250 calories, 5g of protein = the size of your fist, an 8-oz coffee mug
BREAD: 100% hearty whole wheat/grain
>>>> 1 slice = 120 calories, 5g of protein = nice thick, heavy store-bough pre-cut slice,
>>>>100 grams = 250 calories, 10g protein = about as much as a deck of cards weighs
BEANS: kidney, garbanzo, black, white, lentils, split peas
>>>> 1 cup = 250-290 calories, 12-17g of protein = the size of your fist, an 8-oz coffee mug
POULTRY, EGGS, HAM:
>>>>3 oz chicken = 100 calories, 21g of protein = the size of a deck of cards
>>>>3 oz turkey = 90 calories, 21g of protein = the size of a deck of cards
>>>>1 large egg = 80 calories, 6g or protein = most eggs are large
>>>>3 oz ham = 90 calories, 16g of protein = the size of a deck of cards
>>>>3 oz salmon = 150 calories, 21g of protein = the size of a deck of cards
>>>>3 oz cod = 90 calories, 21 of of protein = the size of a deck of cards
MILK: skim, 2%, and whole (respectively)
>>>>1 cup = 90, 120, 150 calories; 8 g of protein = the size of a regular coffee mug
YOGURT: plain nonfat, lowfat, whole (respectively)
>>>>1 cup = 120, 130, 150 calories; 12, 10, 8g of protein = the size of a regular coffee mug
CHEESE: cheddar, cottage, cream cheese
>>>>`1 oz cheddar = 110 calories, 7g of protein = 1 cubic inch
>>>> 1/2 cup cottage cheese (non-fat, 2%, regular fat) = 70, 90, 110 calories, 13g of protein = 1/2 a regular coffee mug
>>>>1/2 oz cream cheese = 50 calories, 1 g of protein = 1 tablespoon
NUTS: as a group, averaged
>>>>1 oz = 175 calories, 5 g of protein = 1 cupped handful
>>>>1 oz peanut butter = 100 calories, 4 g of protein = 1 tablespoon
>>>>1 large banana = 120 calories, 1.5 g of protein = 8″
>>>>1 large apple/pear =110 calories, 5.g of protein = bigger than a tennis ball
>>>>1 large peach/orange = 70 calories, 1g of protein = bigger than a tennis ball
>>>>1 cup of berries = 70 calories, 1g of protein = size of your fist
VEGETABLES: as a group, averaged
>>>>1 cup = 30-60 calories, 1-3g of protein = size of your fist
When you’re trying to shed body fat, but still gain muscle, you have to be wise about your protein consumption. A person only needs 5-15% of his total daily calories derived from protein to remain healthy. If you only ate plant-derived foods, and consumed a sufficient number of calories per day, you would get enough protein. When exercising often at high intensities, however, the body will want more protein. This protein by no means is absolutely necessary, but it will take significantly longer to make the same grains in strength, fitness, and recovery if only 5-15% of your caloric intake is represented by protein.
For this reason, I have listed not only general calorie values, but also general protein values. If your goal is body fat reduction and increased performance, you should be sure that you are getting a good portion of protein with every meal, and a little with almost every snack.
Here’s an example:
BREAKFAST = 1 cup of whole oats cooked in 1 cup of 2% milk. = 370 calories, 13g protein
SNACK = I cup of lowfat yogurt with a sliced banana = 240 calories, 11g protein
LUNCH = Turkey (2 oz=60 cals) sandwich on 100% whole wheat bread(2 slices=240), with cheddar cheese (1oz=110 cals), mustard(15), mayo(75), tomato, lettuce. = 500 calories, 31g protein
SNACK = handful of nuts = 175 calories, 5g protein
SNACK = 1 apple = 110 calories, 0.5g protein
DINNER = 1 cup of brown rice, side of broccoli, baked salmon (2 oz) = 380 clories, 32g of protein
>>>> GRAND TOTAL = 1775 calories, 92.5 g of protein!
What have we accomplished here? A low-calorie, low-maintenance, whole foods, high-protein diet (RDA is 60g protein per day for a 25+ year-old male). Protein hides everywhere; as long as you eat often, eat a variety, and eat enough, there is no reason why you wouldn’t get sufficient protein. This diet was created to resemble attainable eating habits of the average person who meets with me in my training office.
Eggs, protein powder, cottage cheese, and legumes are other foods that were left off this mock-up diet, and would have easily raised the protein intake.