A while back we posted an article called How to Create a Fat-Loss Diet where we laid out the basic framework for determining the appropriate starting calories, protein intake, and other macronutrients required to initiate a fat loss plan.
The problem though, is that when most people set out on a plan like this they can quickly get burned out on the same old foods so finding ways to incorporate variety becomes very important.
In this article my hope is to provide you a few ways to add mix up your nutrition plan without being tied to your calculator trying to figure out calories or macronutrients all day long.
Without further ado, here are a few ways to spice up your meal prep while remaining completely on plan.
Introduce a Variety of Foods
Since LBC does not stress about optimal macronutrient breakdowns for fat loss and believes that calories are important than stressing over the relative percentages of macronutrients, our primary goal when substituting foods is to simply match for calories while remaining reasonably close to your assigned macros.
To do this with ease, we have created our handy-dandy Food Calculator App to allow for the substitution of one food for another while matching for calories.
Take, for example, the following meal:
115g chicken breast
100g brown rice
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (for salad)
1 cup fibrous vegetables
In this case you could substitute item for item to get:
122g beef tenderloin
140g russet potatoes
1 cup fibrous vegetables
And with that, you’d totally be remaining on plan.
Use a Recipe Book
Many of our clients use the Curls and Whey Cookbook for tons of great meal ideas that were designed to work well with LBC-style meal plans. But beyond that, you can always look to other cookbooks or websites for recipes or even just ideas of what to make. Sometimes just seeing something will jog your memory about and old favourite recipe that you can now modify and fit into your plan.
If recipes are your thing, rather than counting calories throughout the day, you could even write out and collect recipe cards of meals that will substitute specifically with other meals on your plan. Once you’ve done it the first time, you’ll never have to do the calculating again.
Mix Up Spices and Meal Preparation Methods
I don’t know what it is about plain baked chicken breast and lettuce that seems so initially appealing to many people who decide to start a diet plan (a close second might be tilapia and asparagus), but I can assure you that if you’re planning to diet for a while you are not going to enjoy it if you continually eat a boring meal plan like that.
If you’re used to one kind of spices, mix it up. Make your own curry powders. Cook your rice in chicken broth. Be adventurous with your seasonings.
And change how you cook things. Try sautéing your vegetables instead of steaming. Or even consider going outside and using the barbeque. I can’t even tell you how much different things like vegetables taste on the grill when you cook them wrapped in foil or on a skewer like a shish kabob.
The same goes for meats as well. Try cooking your salmon on a cedar plank in your barbeque. Or sauté your meat and veggies up in a wok and then serve over rice.
The bottom line here is ultimately that if you want a plan to last, you can’t keep eating the same boring things day in and day out forever. Even small changes will make a difference.
Your food options are only limited by your creativity. Food isn’t boring. If you’re finding it that way, it is usually the person who is making it.
If you want it to taste good, you simply have to put in the effort.