Last week I dove pretty down the rabbit hole of planning and preparing for a great week of eating. I even went so far as to share with you an entire video of me talking you through my own personal approach to planning and preparing my meals. I hope you got a lot out of it and that my intended purpose hit the mark. I think that if we all just put in a little more time up front we'd be in better positions to make the choices we want to make. If you didn't have a chance to read that article you can here and you can also get access to my personalized meal planning and prepping approach here.
The week prior to that we talked about flexible dieting and it's potential to be combined with a more habit-focused approach as a way of helping us quantify our food intake and stop the weight gain as soon as possible. I shared with you my personal calorie and macro calculator to help you begin the flexible dieting journey if that felt like an approach that spoke to you and seeing how many of you have used that calculator it seems it did speak to many.
However when it comes to nutrition I've written many times over how I am a believe that the approach needs to be tailored to the individual and there are many ways of going about this whole "eating better" thing.
The key is to find the one that fits into your life and the one you can stick to long enough to see long-term results.
That being said I thought it would be a great idea to address another approach you can take to helping you quantify your food intake and thus make more informed decision about what foods you need to eat more of or less of and how you can become a bit more strategic with your meal planning and prepping.
This strategy of quantification mainly focuses on the idea of servings.
This is similar to the old school or new school "my pyramid" recommendations from the USDA which made all quantifiable intake recommendations not based on grams of each macronutrient or total calorie intake as in flexible dieting, but rather based on what I always felt was an ill defined term known as a "serving."
A lot of registered dietitians I've spoke with and worked with tend to be trained from this school of quantification which in truth there is really nothing absolutely wrong with it other than the fact that I think the definition of what a serving is a lot of time gets lost in translation between the client and practitioner.
However don't rule out this servings-based quantification method completely because there is a much more applicable and up to date version of it that I think splits the difference really well between tracking and logging food intake to the gram and calorie and getting an estimated quantification of what you have eaten in a given day or week which is really what most of us are after.
Quantifying the diet isn't, in my opinion, a long term necessity, but when you have a goal you want to reach it is necessary in order to make some sort of outcome-based decisions and give you feedback on whether or not adjustments need to be made to your plan.
Don't think me a genius either because the updated and easy to apply servings based approach is not of my own creation. As far as I know it's the work of the good people at Precision Nutrition and it's a system that was drilled home again when I became Precision Nutrition Certified this past fall.
The whole approach is based on the use of your hand which is why it's so easy to use.
You always have your hand on you, it personalizes the servings to your body size, and it makes estimating easy.
Remember again this approach to quantifying your food isn't about being perfect, but rather about getting information on which you can make informed decisions off of.
Start by aiming for a single recommended serving at one meal each day of either protein, carbs, veggies, or fats. Advance that until you are getting the recommended serving for each meal of the particular food group you choose and then repeat the process until you are nailing all the recommended servings for each of the food groups at 90% of your meals.
You can find pictures and explanations of the food groups recommend servings at each meal for men and women and how to use your hand to determine that recommended serving size.
Serving size for protein.
For the average male the goal serving size for each meal should be approximately two palm-sized servings.
For the average female the goal serving size for each meal should be approximately one palm-sized serving.
Serving size for carbohydrates.
For the average male the goal serving size for each meal should be approximately two cupped handful-sized servings.
For the average female the goal serving size for each meal should be approximately one cupped handful-sized serving.
Serving size for veggies/fruits (non-starchy carbohydrates).
For the average male the goal serving size for each meal should be approximately two fist-sized servings.
For the average female the goal serving size for each meal should be approximately one fist-sized serving.
Serving size for fats.
For the average male the goal serving size for each meal should be approximately two thumb-sized servings.
For the average female the goal serving size for each meal should be approximately one thumb-sized serving.
Happy moving and heavy lifting!
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