Skip's Advice on Meal Plans:

Although a fair amount of how you look is determined by the amount of activity you do, the true key to changing the shape of your body is how and what you eat.

The human body (as with all organisms) is designed for activity. Understanding that, if the body is constantly active, it will require a constant supply of fuel. It's a simple concept of physiology that most people aren't aware of, but once you understand how your body reacts to food (or the lack of it) it will make bodyshaping much easier.

So, the purpose of this page is to give you a rough idea of how to structure your meals such that you can effectively reach your fitness goals.

Below is a sample of things I eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and in between.

Since everyone likes different foods and have different dietary requirements, the information below should just be used as rough outline of the types of things you can eat throughout the day.

A few things to keep in mind...

  1. To stay healthy, the average person should intake approximately 2000 calories per day. At that level, they should keep their total fat intake to less than 65 grams per day, with less than 20 grams of that being saturated fat. Below is the table that you'll find on the back of most foods sold in the United States.

    2000 calories/day 2500 calories/day
    Total Fat less than 65 grams less than 80 grams
    Saturated Fat less than 20 grams less than 25 grams
    Total Cholesterol less than 300 mg less than 300 mg
    Total Sodium less than 2400 mg less than 2400 mg
    Total Carbohydrates 300 grams 375 grams
    Total Fiber 25 grams 30 grams

    Total Calories per Gram Fat = 9
    Carbs = 4
    Protein =4

    So basically, when developing your meal plan, you want keep your fat intake relatively low (less than the recommended daily allowance) and make sure that the majority of your calories are coming from carbohydrates.

    I eat 3-5 times per day. 3 is the absolute minimum. Breakfast (MEAL #1) is a MUST!

    I usually break my meals down like so (times are appoximate):

    7:00 AM Breakfast (Meal #1) 400-500 calories
    10:00 AM Snack #1 (Meal #2) 100-250 calories
    12:00 PM Lunch (Meal #3) 400-500 calories
    3:00 PM Snack #2 (Meal #4) 100-250 calories
    6:00 PM Dinner (Meal #5) 400-500 calories

    Total # of calories per day: 1700 - 2100 calories
    Total grams of fat per day: less than 50 grams

    Eat frequently!

  2. The key is you should eat frequently, and in moderation. Don't eat a gigantic meal at any of the meal times. Distribute your food evenly throughout the day. Your body responds better to this and it helps to speed up your metabolism and keeps you from ever feeling ravenously hungry or sluggish.

    2000 calories should be enough to keep you going. If you find it's too much, you can cut down each of your major meals from 500-600 calories down to 400-500 calories. If you feel you're not getting enough, you can increase your calories by 50-100 each meal. You want to stay around the 2000 calories per day level.

    If you're really active, you can increase that to 3000; that'll help you put on more size, improve your strength, etc. See how you feel for the first week or so.

    Also be sure you remember to take a multivitamin supplement of some sort each day. Vitamins help give your body added material to repair the damage done during the day.

Here are some sample foods you can have during each meal:

BREAKFAST (MEAL #1):

  • Oatmeal or Grits
  • Scrambled Eggs & Toast
  • Cream of Wheat
  • Bagel or Muffin
  • Waffles, Pancakes or French Toast

So, say on Monday have Oatmeal, Tuesday have scrambled eggs & toast, Wednesday have Cream of Wheat, and so on. The key is variety. Once you get into the habit of eating more frequently and on a more routine schedule, then start to monitor your fat and calorie intake with each meal. 500 calories for a major meal (breakfast/lunch/dinner) is a good target. Again, breakfast is VITALLY IMPORTANT! You MUST have BREAKFAST!

SNACK #1 (MEAL #2):

  • Fresh fruit (apples, banana, pear, grapes...whatever you like.)
  • A small sampling of Lunch.
  • Half a sandwich (chicken, turkey, or tuna)
  • A "PowerBar" or other food supplement

LUNCH (MEAL #3):

  • Baked Potato and a skinless chicken breast
  • Turkey, chicken or tuna fish sandwich
  • Pasta with low fat/calorie sauce
  • Rice, broccoli, and chicken

SNACK #2 (MEAL #4):

  • Fresh fruit (apples, banana, pear, grapes...whatever you like.)
  • A small sampling of Lunch.
  • Half a sandwich (chicken, turkey, or tuna)
  • A "PowerBar" or other food supplement
  • Something dessert-like if it's under 200 calories (a brownie or cookie)

DINNER (MEAL #5):

  • Pasta, a vegetable, and a meat/protein source
  • Rice, a vegetable, and a meat/protein source
  • Potatoes, a vegetable, and a meat/protein source

Experiment with foods you like, make sure your caloric intake stays around 2000 per day and see how your energy feels with that. If you feel like you don't have enough energy to perform normally thoughout the day, increase some of the meal's calories by a little bit.

The trick is you want to BALANCE your caloric intake throughout the day.

500 + 250 + 500 + 250 + 500 = 2000 calories (or something similar to that).

You NEVER want to be lopsided:

0 + 0 + 500 + 0 + 1500 = 2000 calories.

Evening it out will make your body healthier and happier.


Creating your Personalized Meal Plan

Here are some websites that you may find useful regarding nutrition:

Creating a meal plan isn't as difficult as it seems from the outset. To set up a meal plan here's what you have to think about:

  1. Make a list of foods you regularly eat (including your favorite foods). Depending on your goals (gaining weight or losing weight), you may have to remove some of those "favorite" items (or reduce their quantity) when compiling your meal plan.

  2. Make a list of foods you wouldn't mind eating if it meant you'd be getting better nutrition. (ie. vegetables)

  3. Write down the times you normally eat.

  4. Write down the times you'd like to ideally eat (i.e. every 2 hours). Sometimes it's difficult to time a meal exactly, so give yourself a 30 minute window on either end.

  5. Calculate how much money you have to budget for food per week.

  6. Divide that number by 7 (# of days in the week) and then divide that by how many meals you eat per day. For me, each meal I eat costs a maximum of $3.00. Some meals are significantly less than that because I prepare them myself. Therefore, it all balances out if I go out to dinner once a week and spend close to $7-10 on one meal.

  7. Once you have all your lists together, plan out which foods you'll eat tomorrow, and at which times. Make sure you time your pre-workout meal for 1 hour before your workout, and your post-workout meal for immediately after your workout. Planning out your meals may require that you cook your meals the night before to take with you to work/school, or perhaps you can have a meal replacement bar instead (especially when you don't have the opportunity to sit down and have a full meal; examples of which are meetings, and between classes).

  8. Once you have your meals planned out, calculate the serving sizes you're planning to have, and visit http://www.nutritiondata.com to figure out the macronutrient and caloric values of each meal.

  9. Purchase a scale to measure your food (a digital one is best). Depending on the brand, they cost $14-35 at Target (or any other kitchen supply store). This is so that you can accurately measure out your serving sizes.

  10. After totaling your calories, if you find you're coming up short, you can either add a meal, or increase some of your serving sizes. If you find you're taking in too many calories, or too much of one thing (like fats), remove one meal, or cut your serving sizes for one or two meals.

Those guidelines should give you an idea of how you can plan out your own meal plan so that you're consistent, and you have variety.

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