Planning To Meet Your Requirements With Flexible Fueling
On the previous page I hit you with some suggestions that will help you to Stack The Deck In Your Favour when you make your own Flexible Dieting meal plan.
All that really matters is that your total intake for the day is within the ranges
specified in your custom guidelines. Your selection of foods really doesn't matter terribly much other than in terms of how much more likely or how much less likely it will make it for you to arrive on target at the end of the day.
Including foods that are both enjoyable and nutritious is obviously the best strategy for long term success.
What we are focussed on is getting adequate amounts, and preferably closer to more optimal amounts of everything we need when possible.
We're not going into excess, and we're training very strategically to ensure that it is all utilised for fuel, for recovery and to adapt to training in a manner that results in a strong, healthy, lean body condition.
Meal Timing And Frequency.
As to meal timing, frequency, how many meals you have in a day... it really
doesn't matter a hell of a lot. Forget all the urban myths. Everything that you put in is going to be put to good use, no matter what.
Consistency in your habits is important, and there is also evidence to suggest that it is advantageous to eat a suitable amount early in the day. That's good news if you like breakfast. Also there's evidence to suggest that it is beneficial to distribute your protein intake across the course of the day... but that's easy enough and will probably happen anyway just in the course of making reasonable choices for your major meals.
In any case, what's important is that we have a plan that suits you as an individual, that helps you to ensure that you're meeting your requirements consistently. So here is what I suggest:
Set your own schedule as best suits you, and stick to that schedule. The thing about “6 small meals 3 hours apart, to keep your metabolism firing” is a just a myth, but if you do have a delicious meal or snack planned every three hours, you'll be well organised, not feel like you're going hungry, and not likely to go off the plan with non-mindful snacking.
Again though, all that really matters is that you meet your targets, so set up
whatever schedule will work best for you.
Now Let's Plan Tomorrow's Meals In Advance.
Jump on to My Fitness Pal now, and go ahead and put in everything you're likely to eat tomorrow. Be honest! Don't leave things out that you know you're going to eat, because you think "well, I know that's bad so I won't count that"
Start With Breakfast.
You probably have the same breakfast most days. If it is toast and eggs, that's easy. If it is cereal, that's still easy but make sure your portion size is the same as what you're logging in your app. Measure it out just this one time.
Fruit And Nuts.
If you're following my suggestions in the previous section, you'll have a bunch of delicious fruits and perhaps some nuts in mind for your scheduled between meal snacks. Perhaps at Second Breakfast and Afternoon Tea.
Add those to the plan now, where ever you have decided best suits you.
What's For Lunch?
Lunch can be a tricky one, especially if you are grabbing something on the run at work or school. What do you usually have though? Put that into your app. How do the totals look at this stage?
You've probably still got plenty of room to work with... but if not, is there another choice that might leave you with more calories spare for your dinner and maybe a snack in the mid afternoon? Try to make the best choice that you will actually stick to.
Go ahead and add in what you're most likely to have for dinner tomorrow night. Sneak some extra vegetables in there if you possibly can.
What total did you end up with? I'll bet it's a little low, in which case now is your chance to decide what you want for your afternoon snack, and perhaps for supper.
If your total is way over your targets, go through and see if you can identify a particular choice that is throwing things off with a disproportionately high amount of calories. Maybe you can replace that with something that fits better. If it is only a little over your target calories, "a little less of this and a little more of that instead" may be all it takes.
We do need to hit our minimum targets for protein, dietary fats and fiber as well, so do your best there. Again, “a little more of this, a little less than that” is probably all it will take to fine tune and create the right balance.
Congratulations Are In Order!
You now have a plan based on the foods you like to eat, that meets your requirements and suits your schedule. Even if it isn't quite perfect, it'll be enough to get you started.