Ready for a non-customary, completely-unrelated-to-fitness Antipodean reference? Good, because stone the crows, it’s almost March. That means you’re very nearly one quarter into your 2017 health and fitness regime, and judging by the bonzer Beaconsfield vibe I’ve been noticing of late, it’s all ripper!
Receiving continuous feedback from clients is what drives me to succeed and reach the next level with Positive Impact, so it’s been great to hear your views on last month’s blog and, in particular, how you can incorporate my suggestion of several “mini meals” to your nutrition rather than the traditional – and often heavily-portioned – three-pronged breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In response, for this month’s considerations, I’ve produced a standard daily meal plan you can either follow or use as inspiration to create your own. A quick breakdown with a few helpful hints have been chucked in for good measure!
Meal 1: 8am
Morning smoothie consisting of pea protein powder, kale, celery, avocado and cinnamon
Benefits: Kale is packed with vitamins and provides a great source of magnesium, iron and calcium, celery offers a substantial fibre kick and avocado adds all-important healthy fats. Cinnamon is more about the flavour but also acts as a calorie-free sweetener. Stay away from sugar!
Helpful hint: Measure just 25g of pea protein. The body can only absorb a maximum 30g at one time.
Meal 2: 11am
One small portion of mixed nuts and/or a banana
Benefits: Nuts provide protein and more healthy fats, while carbs and potassium in bananas can give you a light energy boost without being too heavy on the stomach.
Helpful hint: Steer clear of roasted, salted and flavoured nuts; stick to cashews, almonds and unsalted peanuts.
Meal 3: 1pm
Turkey, sweet potato and green vegetables
Benefits: This is ideal for maintaining a healthy balance of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Turkey is a high tryptophan food which the body uses to create serotonin – you want to keep those mood swings in check!
Helpful hint: Grill or poach the turkey for best results, steam the vegetables and boil the sweet potato to maximise its Vitamin A levels. Keeping the skin on may not be as tasty when boiling, but it’ll maintain more antioxidants than it would when baked in the oven.
Meal 4: 4pm
Pea protein and banana smoothie
Benefits: A quick smoothie will help sustain a constant protein intake throughout the day as opposed to one big hit. Plus, you can drink it on the go!
Helpful hint: Because of the naturally creamy properties in bananas when blended, I usually just add water and ice to thin the smoothie out a little. You can, however, experiment with alternatives like almond milk.
Meal 5: 7pm
Homemade vegetable soup with beans and pulses
Benefits: Amazing, right? No meat! Following an enjoyable “Vegan Week” with a close friend, I’ve since turned to one veggie meal per day and, so far… So good! Beans and pulses are a good source of veggie protein in a low-calorie soup containing plenty of fibre.
Helpful hint: No need to add extra salt and sweeteners to this one. Rinse the beans and pulses beforehand and feel free to pick a varied range of vegetables at your own discretion.
Meal 6: 8pm
One hot cup of almond milk
Benefits: You don’t need to be dairy intolerant to try this one – almond milk is low GI, contains less calories and no cholesterol or saturated fats. If you want a final protein punch before bedtime, there’s no better option in my opinion.
Helpful hint: If you’d rather a glass of hot water before bed, that’s of course equally as beneficial. Ultimately, you want to steer clear of a late caffeine intake and finish your day stabilising consistent blood sugar levels, which is exactly what switching to these mini-meals can do.
Now, the really important bit: You must keep each meal to a smaller portion size, so the more substantial options above (Meal 3 and Meal 5) should be roughly half of what you’d normally serve up based on three meals per day. You still want to consume the required calories and nutrients – the difference now being that you’re spreading them further throughout the day.
By developing a regular eating routine like this, the body will gradually adapt to your intake, recognise more food is likely to come at shorter intervals and burn calories rather than store them as fat.
DO NOT just eat for the sake of it (four or five meals can also work) and, if timing is an issue, try preparing one big meal at the start of the week and split it into portions to fill the days ahead.
I’ve noticed how eating regular mini meals prevents me from overeating after a long wait, reduces those dreaded post-meal slumps and keeps my energy levels on an even keel. Because of the smaller quantity, it also allows me to eat on the go without having to juggle a giant plate full of food in the process.
Please do let me know if you give this a try. I’d love to see what variations you make to your own mini-meal recipe book.
Right, time for me to rack off. Catcha!