Back to Basics – Kick starting your nutrition plan

I strongly believe for you to have a successful nutritional plan and lead a healthy lifestyle you firstly need to ensure you are equipped with the correct information and have strategies in place to implement what is hopefully a successful plan to adhere to.

I don’t believe one plan will ever suit everyone. You can sign up for any weight loss program and be told what to eat but if you really don’t like it will you stick with it? Do you know why you are eating those foods? What calories you are consuming and how many and why? And if you have an intolerance to food, is the program catered for you or is it just aimed at the general population.

If you are equipped with the correct information I strongly believe you would be able to adapt this to your own lifestyle and nutritional needs and be more motivated to continue and reach your goals. This is why the W2W Nutritional Overhaul program is all about educating you and providing you with the right tools to form your own strategies so that this becomes a lifestyle choice and not a short term solution.

So today I am taking us back to the basics. Over my time as a health professional many of the same questions are asked because people just don’t know where to start. The following answers these questions and demonstrates how I would go about a week of nutritional planning in our household.

Where do I start when making a weekly food plan?
My shopping is on a Wednesday so thus why I write my plan out as below. I, like I have suggested to you, will look at old recipes I have used over time (obviously healthy options) or refer to links as I have provided.

I will ensure we have the right balance throughout the week – Fish, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Turkey/Kangaroo are some of the options I look towards (obviously this will vary if you are a meat eater or not and can be changed). I choose dishes that have a great amount of vegetable/salad options and if they don’t I will purchase extra vegetables/salad to change the recipe accordingly.

A week for us may look like the following, may look boring but it is delicious! I will also give all of these meals to Olivia and Nick.

Wednesday – Baked Fish with sweet potato chips and ¼ cup of Cous Cous
Thursday – Chicken stir fry with soy sauce and garlic and vegetables (these can be fresh or frozen) with ¼ cup of brown or basmati rice
Friday – Home-made Pizza with homemade meat balls, grilled vegetables, mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach. Base is olive oil and garlic with no dressing
Saturday – Tuna Mornay (a basic old favourite) with rice and curried tuna but I add veges on the side with this or salad
Sunday – Fresh Pasta with Napoli sauce (and I would add some of our frozen veges to this)
Monday – Kangaroo steak with baked sweet potato, carrot, capsicum, tomato and spinach
Tuesday – Turkey breast marinated in honey and soy with salad vegetables and ¼ cup of brown rice

I will buy meat in bulk and freeze the meat I won’t use for the next couple of days. I will also purchase more than the recipe so that I can make extra meals and freeze them for our lunches, removing take-away temptations.

To avoid wastage I buy frozen vegetables, grilled vegetables in a jar, corn/bean/beetroot canned vegetables (always a great option to throw into a salad or add extra vegetables to a meal) along with fresh varieties, I just ensure I use these first.

When I have done my shopping, I write this list up and pop it on our noticeboard at home so that I can see an outline of the week. Note: if I have put a meal on Wednesday it doesn’t mean we have to have it that day, but it provides us with options throughout the week and because life (like everyone’s) is busy and dinners can be late due to our hours, it removes the temptation of buying take-away meals on the way home.

What about breakfast and lunch?
Our breakfasts and lunches are pretty basic and less time consuming. I always make sure I have porridge, bread, eggs and one type of cereal (my choice is special K – but our family goes through phases) in the cupboard.

With breakfast if it is cereal/porridge I am having I always have it with a piece of fruit (easy way to get your fruit intake for the day) and if I need to add a bit of sugar, a little bit of honey works well. Condiments such as vegemite, peanut butter, honey are always easy options to add to your toast. Eggs are great for weekend meals when you feel like something a little more hearty – omelette, scrambled eggs/poached eggs with tomato and avocado (try it with vegemite on the toast and cut the avocado and tomato up like a salsa and drizzle with lemon and coriander – don’t knock it till you try it) are great ways to mix up your meals and avoid getting bored.

Lunches I may be a little more boring for people, rice cakes/corn thins and bread is stock standard in our household. As I am pregnant at the moment I avoid the night before meals due to listeria possibilities so these are given to Nick. So for me some lean meat, grilled veges or salad veges, and cheese satisfies my hunger. These are also easy options to have sitting at work, but night before meals also works wonders.

How to fill out a food diary?
How this has been filled out may depend on whether you are using an app or online program (see meal planning on the website for suggestions) or simply writing it in a diary of your own. To count calories (which is optional) it is best to use one of the online programs and have them do it for you. You can buy calorie books and enter the individual food and count it this way, it does become rather time consuming and I think this is a good way to STOP you from writing a food diary, which is what we definitely DON’T want you doing.

Ensure that when writing a food diary that you list the portion sizes because this could be where you are going wrong. Also remember to write any food you may have picked at while cooking meals or perhaps the leftovers of your children’s meals, again an easy one to forget about and what could be affecting your weight loss/management plan.

Breakfast
½ Cup of muesli with small cup of frozen berries, and ½ sliced medium banana, with ½ cup of milk
1 x green tea
Snack
1 x small apple
2 x tim tams
Lunch
4 x soy linseed corn thins with tuna, cheese and tomato
1 x 75g tub of nestle diet yoghurt (vanilla)
Snack
1 x 75g uncle tobys muesli bar (choc chip)
Dinner
200g pasta (roasted vegetable fresh pasta) and Napolitano sauce with 2 white dinner rolls with butter
2 x 125ml glass of Rose
Snack
150g of choc chip ice-cream
1 x waffle cone
Water intake
1 litre of water

How many calories should I be consuming each day?
The amount of energy you need each day to maintain your weight depends on your age, gender, height, weight and physical activity level. Your weight history can also influence your daily requirements.

Various weight management plans will indicate that females wanting to lose weight should aim for 1200-1500 calories and males 1800 calories per week. However, watching clients over the years this hasn’t worked for everyone and with that, they may have gained weight.

For any healthy diet, I would be recommending you use a nutritional calculator and a great one exists on the Eat for Health website that will take into account age, gender, physical activity etc. http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/eat-health-calculators
If after sticking with these numbers things are still not working for you, we will re-asses on an individual basis – so please contact me, don’t just give up!

What should I be consuming everyday and how much?
As I mentioned in the W2W Nutrition Overhaul guidelines before signing up, I recommend the best ‘diet’ to follow are The Australian Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines provide advice on simply eating for health and wellbeing and to be honest it was all I did to lose the weight after having Olivia and feeling myself again 
They’re called dietary guidelines because it’s your usual diet that influences your health. Based on the latest scientific evidence, they describe the best approach to eating for a long and healthy life (NHMRC website).
Along with the scientific evidence, these guidelines have taken into consideration individual preferences, intolerances, nutritional choices, and have provided you with a source of information to make healthy food choices. The guide also provides you with advice on how many serves of these food groups (assisting you with portion control) you need to consume everyday depending upon your age, gender, body size and physical activity levels. (NHMRC website)

Rather than me re-creating the same information, check the website out for more information on the following: keep these in mind when writing your plan this week.

References:
About the guidelines
http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/about-australian-dietary-guidelines

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating – in graphic form
http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/guidelines/australian-guide-healthy-eating

Recommended serving sizes for an adult
http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/recommended-number-serves-adults

What is a serve?
http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/food-essentials/how-much-do-we-need-each-day/what-serve

Meal Plan/Food Ideas based on the guidelines (have also put one on our website)
Check out these food plans on the Eat for Health website. These are based on the genders average height/weight and light activity so some changes may need to be made on a case by case basis.

Women aged 19-50 http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/adg_sample_meal_plan_women.pdf
Men aged 19-50 http://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/adg_sample_meal_plan_men.pdf

Has this helped you? Do you have more questions that need to be answered? Then email me at catherine@wall2wallfitness.com.au and I can add it to the weekly updates so this can be shared with everyone or topics/fact sheets on the website.

Stay Healthy
W2W

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