My typical weekday schedule looks like this. My alarm wakes me up at 4:45am. After my first breakfast, I’m out the door by 5:30am and on my way to the gym. After my workout and shower I’m then catching the 7:30am ferry to San Francisco, arriving at my office shortly past 8:00am. On most days I leave work at 5:30pm to catch the ferry home. After a stop at the grocery store or running some other errand, I arrive home about 7:00pm. I then make dinner for my kids and myself, help them with homework, clean up a little, pack my lunch and clothes for the next day. I then try to get to bed by 9:30pm so I can get up and do it again. Busy schedule is an understatement.
In spite of my serious lack of time, I manage to prep all the meals I’ll be eating away from home Monday through Friday. A typical weekday meal plan looks like this:
Meal 1, Breakfast 1, 5:15am.
Hot Oatmeal with Protein Powder and Peanut Butter
Quick and easy, just add hot water. It’s delicious, taste like a eating a warm Reese’s, and contains all three macros. Make sure you buy peanut butter with no added sugar.
½ cup (dry) quick cooking oatmeal
2 scoops of powdered chocolate whey protein isolate
2 tablespoons peanut butter (substitute almond butter or other nut butter)
Meal 2, Breakfast 2, 8:30am.
Greek Yogurt with Berries
Transports easy. I buy the 4 cup size container and eat one half each morning. Tastes great, protein loaded, and the added berries contains valuable micronutrients.
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 to 2 ounce of berries (mix of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and/or blackberries)
Meal 3, Lunch, 11:30am’ish.
Grilled Chicken Breast with Fresh Spinach or a Green Salad
Transports well in a small insulated lunch bag. Pack the chicken breast right on top of the spinach inside an airtight container then warm in a microwave oven.
8 ounce chicken breast, pre-cooked, grilled, baked, or roasted and seasoned well.
3 cups fresh baby spinach or green leafy salad (go easy on the salad dressing)
Meal 4, midday snack, 3:30pm’ish
Almonds or Other Nuts
Calorie dense healthy fat that will tide you over until dinner. I recommend measuring what you need at home and not bringing the entire container to avoid munching.
2 ounce roasted almonds (avoid the salted variety, tamari are delicious)
Meal 5, dinner, 7:00pm
Lean Protein, Green Vegetable and (Intact Whole Food) Carbohydrate
This meal is where I add variety to my week by substituting different foods each evening. If you add a salad go easy on the dressing, measure carefully. Only add rice, potato or whole grain pasta if you’ve got room for carbs in your macros.
6 ounce of steak, 6 ounce of salmon, 7 ounce of white fish, 8 ounce of chicken breast or some other lean protein.
Side of asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, other green vegetable, and/or green leafy salad with 2 tablespoons of salad dressing.
Small side of carbohydrate; ½ to 1 cup (cooked) rice or whole grain pasta or 4 to 6 ounces of potato.
Meal 6, evening snack, 9:00pm’ish
Casein Protein Shake and Peanut Butter
Use this meal to get your last protein serving of the day if you’ve got the calories left. You can also substitute or add a small amount of peanut butter.
2 scoops of powdered casein protein powder
1 to 2 tablespoons peanut butter (only if you’ve got calories left to consume)
Meals 2, 3 and 4 are prepared in advance and taken with me to work every day. Sunday evening is when I prep my chicken breasts for the week. BBQ, grill, or bake dinner Sunday night, then just add a lot of extra chicken breast while making that meal. Grilling with your favorite dry rub is just one of the hundreds of ways to cook chicken breasts. A relatively hassle free favorite of mine is oven baked chicken breast. Sprinkle with rub or seasoning salt and bake in an airtight baking pan for 45 minute at 350 degrees. I cook an extra six breasts and then store them in a large Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. This will take care of my protein source for meal number 3, lunch, all week.
Sunday is also a great time to grocery shop for the week and make sure you’re stocked up on the other items that I’ll need for the week. I buy a large container of fresh baby spinach, enough Greek yogurt, fresh berries, and peanut butter. You can save a lot of money by buying items in bulk whenever possible. Quick cooking oatmeal and almonds are found in bulk in most grocery stores. My new book, Get Fit, Lean and Keep Your Day Job outlines many additional meal preparation tips and ideas.
Nutrition is 80% of losing fat and changing your body composition. Don’t leave the most important component of your transformation program up to mass market corporate restaurant chains. The best way to control what you eat is to prepare all you own meals. Think about your food options when you go out for lunch in a typical urban environment. Most of the available “food” is void of any nutritional value. It’s predominantly made from the cheapest possible ingredients; white flour and white sugar. The mass market protein sources like chicken and beef are from questionable sources chocked full of steroids, growth hormones, and antibiotics. These “food like” products will plump you up nicely and eventually lead to a long list of health problems but do nothing to help you improve your health and fitness. If you’re serious about losing fat and changing your body composition then I strongly recommend that you take control of your nutrition plan. Meal preparation is critical.