Meal Planning, What I Eat and What I Don't

Many people find that they do best in their endeavor to live fit and healthy lives when they have a plan.  They need a regimen to follow, be it in the gym or in the kitchen.  I am definitely one of those people who needs a specific training plan in hand when I hit the weights.  I can't wing it.  I can't just show up and run on the treadmill and then toss some weight around.  I need structure.  At one point I couldn't even imagine training without a personal trainer.  Someone to say, oh yes you can do one more set, one more rep, etc. 

As for my meals, I have only successfully followed a meal plan once in my life.  This lasted all of one week.  Pauline Nordin's Fighter Diet, to me, is a very easy and intelligent meal plan.  It focuses on vegetables, which is no secret, a lot of vegetables.  I like vegetables, but trust me, if you aren't a "big fan" then her plan is not for you.  I suppose I also follow a meal plan when I juice.  I have lasted three days drinking juices as outlined by the cleanse, no problem.   

The rest of the time?  I couldn't live by a set meal plan.  I mean, I suppose that I could if I really  wanted to, but I don't.  At this stage of the game, for me, it's easy to just pull from my go-to foods, keeping it simple.  If I find that my body fat percentage is climbing, I scale back on the fats a bit, reduce my generally heaping portions a bit and find all goes right back to where it should be.  I never really  freak out.  A slice of pizza, some wine, etc., these things will happen in my life.  An unexpected invite to dinner will happen.  I'm not competing, I'm in generally good health, I have a strong body that works hard in the gym to keep me sane.  A recurring set meal plan has no place in my life.

That said, it is NOT a free for all in the McDermott house.  At least for me, what he can manage to eat without training is another unfair story.  When I'm squeezing out that last rep on the leg extension machine, and I can feel that awesome nauseous, oh, my, I need oxygen, feeling, it is only because I have fueled my workout properly, and all without a set plan.  You have to fuel that therapy session (this is what I call training).  This is why, over the last week while taking antibiotics, I did NOT train (imagine what a dream I was to live with last week...).  I couldn't eat enough solid food to fuel a good workout.  Not even enough to fuel a poor workout.  The moral of the story is, I can execute my written exercise plans without a specific meal plan.  How?  Again, keep it simple, have a go-to list for each meal category, don't try a million new fad-health-foods and keep tabs on yourself.  In other words, if you had pizza Saturday night, maybe a bacon-egg-and-cheese-french-toast sandwich shouldn't be your Sunday brunch.  Got it?

To give you a sense of what my go-to's are I'm going to list them below.  This is not meant to be all inclusive of what I eat, but it is pretty much a good summary.  I make my meal plan up as I go along by restocking the foods below and repeating what I eat, day in and day out.  When we go out to dinner or when we are at a party or on vacation, I deviate, but trust me, if any of the below are available, I go there first.  I'm listing the foods I eat in each category in the order of how often I eat them.  So, the foods at the top of the list are those that I eat most and towards the bottom of the list are what I eat maybe once or twice a week.  I have also included my "no-no" list.  These are out of bounds for me.  Some because if I do eat them, they are trigger foods that result in a total, all out, you can't stop me, binge.  Others, because they just don't interest me.  Like potato chips.  I was blessed with absolutely no desire to ever eat chips, from childhood.  Put me near a bag of pretzels however..., you get the picture.  Nutella, pretzels, TV...chocolate fingers.  If you have questions about any of the foods that I have listed, please feel free to contact me via email or facebook or whatever method of social media you prefer.

Breakfast

  • Ezekiel Bread or Ezekiel English Muffin,  Organic Light Cream Cheese, Sunbutter, Fresh Raspberries or Blackberries
  • Ezekiel Bread or Ezekiel English Muffin, Peanut Butter, Fresh Raspberries or Blackberries
    Van's Power Grain Waffles, Nut or Seed Butter, 1/2 Banana
  • Homemade Protein Muffins (Chocolate Coconut, Banana Chocolate, Pumpkin, etc.) in Greek Yogurt
  • Homemade Protein Muffins (Chocolate Coconut, Banana Chocolate, Pumpkin, etc.) with Nut or Seed Butter
  • Greek Yogurt, Peanut Butter, Stevia, Cinnamon
  • Oatmeal or Oatbran, Nut or Seed Butter,  Stevia, Cinnamon, Fresh Raspberries or Blackberries
  • Poached Eggs (2), Generic English Muffin Toasted Plain, Spinach Steamed, Applegate Turkey Bacon (2-3 slices) , Ketchup
  • Poached Eggs (2), Generic English Muffin Toasted Plain, Smoked Salmon (Brunch)

Lunch

  • Mixed Salad Greens, Avocado (1/4 Cut), 1 Serving Organic Salad Dressing (Annie's Green Goddess for example), Cucumber, Bell Pepper, 1 Serving No Salt Added Cottage Cheese or 2 Servings Calabro's Brand Fat Free Ricotta
  • Broccoli Slaw, Avocado (1/4 Cut), 1 Serving Organic Salad Dressing (Annie's Green Goddess for example), Cucumber, Bell Pepper, 4 Ounces Ground Chicken or Turkey
  • Mixed Salad Greens, Avocado (1/4 Cut), 1 Serving Organic Salad Dressing (Annie's Green Goddess for example), Cucumber, Bell Pepper, 4 Ounces Grilled Chicken
  • Steamed Vegetables (Broccoli, Cauliflower, String Beans) with 2 Turkey or Chicken "Muffins" 
  • Steamed Vegetables (Broccoli, Cauliflower, String Beans) with 3-4 Ounces Fresh Roasted Turkey Breast or Eye Round Roast 

Snacks

  • Raw Unsalted Cashews
  • Quest Bars 
  • Peanut Butter (1 TBSP) 
  • Hard Boiled Egg Whites (5)
  • Ak-mak Crackers, Light Cheese Wedge or Cottage Cheese (1 Serving)
  • Greek Yogurt, Cinnamon, Stevia
  • Green or Beet Juice, Fresh
  • Quest Nutrition Peanut Butter Cup (1 cup)
  • Cheese (Brie, Goat, Cheddar "REAL CHEESE") with Raw Honey
  • Apple, Plums, Misc. Whole Fruit
  • Ak-mak Crackers, Hummus
  • Blue Diamond Dark Chocolate Roasted Almonds
  • Rice Cakes (Plain or with Nut or Seed Butter) 
  • Natural Ice Cream or Frozen Yogurt
  • Protein Shake (Very Rare) 

Dinner

  • Burger (Turkey, Chicken or 96% Lean Beef), Whole Wheat Low Calorie Bun or Whole Wheat Pita, Ketchup, Light Cheese, Avocado, Red Onion, Tomato, Small Salad or Sweet Potato (3 Ounces)
  • Sirloin Strips or Organic Chicken Tenders, Cooked Bell Peppers and Onions, Garlic, Organic Refried Beans
  • 6 Ounces Grilled Chicken, Steamed or Roasted Vegetables (String Beans, Brussels Sprouts, Mustard Greens), Organic Dressing or Dijon Mustard, Quinoa or Brown Rice (1 Serving)
  • 4-6 Ounces Ground Chicken or Turkey, Mixed Greens, Avocado, Organic Dressing
  • Egg Whites (5-6), Spinach, Cottage or Ricotta Cheese, Pita or Sweet Potato, Ketchup
  • (2) Poached Eggs, Generic English Muffin, Turkey Bacon (2-3 Slices) , Ketchup
  • BBQ - Chicken Breast OR Burger (Same as Above OR Miniature Turkey or Chicken Sliders on Wheat Slider Bunds), Applegate Organic Hot Dog (1)  on Wheat TJ's Hot Dog Top Split Bun, Organic Baked Beans OR Corn on the Co
  • Amy's Spinach Feta Pocket, Side Salad, Annie's Dressing
  • Crock Pot Chili, Light Cheddar, Avocado
  • Salad Greens, Organic Dressing, Avocado, Tuna - 1 Can - No Salt
  • Sushi - Salmon and Avocado or Tuna and Avocado, Sashimi
  • Pan Seared Salmon (6 - 8 Ounces), String Beans, Sweet Potato (3 Ounces)
  • Pork Tenderloin (6 Ounces), Dijon Mustard, Vegetables, Sweet Potato (3 Ounces)
  • Filet Mignon (4-6 Ounces), Mushrooms, Spinach (Steamed), Sweet Potato (3 Ounces) 
  • Breakfast for Dinner (Protein Pancakes or Oatmeal, Rare)

Beverages

  • Coffee with Skim Milk
  • Water
  • Red Wine
  • All Greens Juice
  • Green Juice with Apple
  • Beet Juice
  • White Wine
  • Irish Tea with Skim Milk
  • Green Tea
  • Monster Energy (White Can, Rarely due to Artificial Sweeteners)

Treats

  • Red Wine - Weekly
  • Pizza *Flatbread, Sicilian, Grandma Style or with Protein (from a Pizza Shop, NOT Domino's, Pizza Hut, Etc.) - Once a Month
  • Chocolate, Irish Brand *Cadbury Fruit and Nut or Simply Lite from Trader Joe's - Once a Month
  • Greek Yogurt - Flavored (Chobani Bites, etc.) - Once Every Few Months
  • Prosciutto and Cheese, Italian Bread - Cooler Weather, When Entertaining Guests
  • My Own Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies (1 Hot out of the Oven)  - Once Every Few Months
  • Cold Pasta (Prepared, Iavarone Bow Tie Pasta Salad)  or Cheese / Lobster Ravioli at Restaurant - Once Every Few Months
  • Neighbor's Homemade Rainbow Cookies (TO DIE FOR) - Once Every Few Months, Winter
  • Fast Food - Grilled Chicken Sandwich of Some Kind - Once Every Few Months When on Road Trip or Long Drives
  • Spirits, Mixed - Once Every Few Months  
  • Diet Soda (Rarely, 3 or 4 per Year)
  • Beer, Guinness (Rarely, Winter, 2 or 3 Pints) 
  • Seafood Fra Diavolo, Not Fried (Once a Year) 
  • Lasagna (Christmas) 
  • Struffoli (Christmas)

Never

  • French Fries
  • Fried Food
  • Deli Meat
  • Breakfast Meats
  • Soda
  • Flavored Drinks
  • Regular Beer
  • Cake (Aside from a BITE of Wedding or my OWN Birthday cake)
  • Packaged Cookies or Pastries
  • Frozen Meals
  • Fast Food Meals (Burgers, Fries, Pizza, Fried Chicken, Sandwiches, Etc.)
  • Ice Cream, Generic
  • Chocolates (Hershey's, American Brands, etc.)
  • Chinese Food
  • Mashed Potato or other Potato Dishes
  • Beef Hamburgers  (Only 96% Lean, at Home)
  • Generic Peanut Butter or Jelly or other Spreads
  • Chips, Potato or Other
  • Dips or Creamy Dressings, Mayo
  • White Bread or Bagels, Breakfast Pastries, Muffins, Doughnuts
  • Candy (Sweedish Fish, Gummies, Etc.)
  • Cereals or Granolas, Packaged, Generic (ONLY Oats)
  • Latte's or Coffee Drinks, Smoothies
  • Chain Restaurant Foods (Blooming Onions, Etc.)