I’m trying to follow a healthy eating plan but I have a hard time knowing exactly what to eat and how often. I really need a basic day-to-day meal plan that I can follow. I stress on basic due to the difference in the types of food I have available to me in the Caribbean. I need to have something I can see and follow easily. Can you help me?
The first aspect of following a basic, healthy meal plan is having nutrient dense food available to you at all times during the day. You need to take the thought process out of eating and the way you can do this is having your meals precooked and easily available to you at all times. This creates an automatic healthy action to grab a nutrient dense meal to eat when you get hungry versus having to decide what to eat when you don’t have the right foods available. How many times have you been super hungry during the day and just grabbed whatever was around to eat? Unfortunately, it usually ends up being a processed food that is packed with sugar, fat and salt since these are cheap and easy foods to get access to anywhere you’re at (via vending machines, fast food restaurants, etc.). So, the key thing you need to remember when trying to eat healthy is to prepare! Pre-cook all of your meals on Sunday afternoon and place them in correct portions into Tupperware containers. This will allow you to easily take your meals with you and have quick access to them during the day.
Try and eat several small and nutritious meals throughout the day and focus on eating every 2.5 to 3 hours. Never let yourself get too hungry by going over 4 hours without eating. You will gain several benefits from eating multiple small meals throughout the day and the biggest advantage is that your body’s metabolism will be revved up all day long. Focus on lean protein, whole wheat starchy carbs (whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, etc.) along with healthy fats like olive oil, all natural peanut butter and nuts (almonds, walnuts). Make sure to include a lean protein source with each meal. It’s also extremely important to keep a food journal of everything you eat and drink during the day. A diet journal will help you keep track of where your calories are coming from and it will really help you monitor your intake so you can become more conscious of what you’re really consuming.