Ultimate Meal Planning Guide: Chapter 1

The Cr8 Fitness Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning

Chapter 1: How To Plan A Healthy Meal

Plan Your Meals To Nourish Your Body, Not Simply Fill It Up

Before we can plan a whole week's worth of meals, we need to start with just one meal, and we need to figure out what we are doing all this planning for anyway, right? I mean it doesn't take any planning to go to a fast food joint and fill my stomach, so there must be something more we are trying to do

Here's what I mean.

Good meal planning is more than just about getting rid of the rumble in our tummy. It's about providing nourishment - giving our body what it needs to be healthy and work as it should. There is nothing that has more to do with how healthy you are (and good you can feel) than the food and drink you consume.

Remember Hippocrates? It's ok if you don't, but he is widely considered the father of modern medicine. Here's what he had to say about it;

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food"

I don't know if ole' Hippocrates was the first naturopathic doctor, but he knew what he was talking about. We know now what he didn't know; that many if not most of the diseases in the western world are lifestyle related, and a huge part of that is what we eat. Is there a place for medicine? Of course. But I think a worthy goal is to stay off the medications, and in that regard good eating just makes good sense.

With that in mind, take a look at the infographic below. While it's primarily focused on planning a healthy dinner meal, the principles apply to all of our meals.

meal planning

Building Your Meal

You see that we are not shy about emphasizing protein as the foundation for healthy meal planning. Getting enough protein is super important, especially if you are trying to lose weight (body fat). While you will have to eat less calories to lose weight, don't eat less protein. This is a straight path to muscle loss and a weight "rebound" when you are done.

Once you choose your protein source (beef, chicken, pork, etc.), decide on how you are going to spice it up - literally. You can mix and match your own seasonings and spices, and there are also a lot of really tasty spice blends you can buy pre-made in the store. You don't have to settle for plain grilled chicken all the time. You can "taste the world" with a little creativity.

Next on your plate go some healthy fats. Good Fats help keep you full, add flavor, carry fat-soluble vitamins, are anti-inflammatory, and are good for heart health. Get some of the good stuff on your plate with your meals.

Focus on your vegetables next. Veggies provide so many good things - vitamins, minerals, and fiber, just to name a few. There are literally hundreds of vegetables to choose from, and they can be stir-fried, roasted, steamed, sautéed, grilled, sliced, diced, and riced. The possibilities are truly endless.

"Other" carbohydrates are things like rice, grains, beans, and potatoes (starches). There is nothing wrong with these, we just don't want to emphasize them when planning our meals. You can eat a lot of these foods very quickly, they are very calorie-dense, and in excess they can make it hard to lose or maintain weight. 

Here's what your plate should look like, most of the time. If you choose to add starches once in a while, eat less fat and eat a reasonable amount of beans, rice, or potato in its place. 

meal planning

Keep It Simple

The "Super Simple Shopping" list at the bottom of the infographic is designed to get your meal planning ideas started, without overwhelm. If you did nothing more than fill your grocery cart with these items from week to week and keep your cupboard stocked with spices, you would never run out of healthy meal ideas and options.

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