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Lunch and Dinner Options to Fuel Performance

The goal of this post is to break your meal choices into three parts: protein, carbs, and vegetables. Looking at your meals in this way can help you reach your protein and carbohydrate goals for the day. It's important to remember that this is not a complete list of all of the options you can eat to reach your macronutrient needs for sport performance. This list should help you get on the right track to consistently reaching your macronutrient needs, and building a foundation for yourself. From there you can expand your menu and find other options if you so choose.

Below is a list of common meat options that are high in protein:

  • Chicken = 7g of protein/oz

  • Ground Beef= 6g of protein/oz (90% lean, 10% fat)

  • Ground Turkey= 8g of protein/oz

  • Tuna (canned)=8g of protein/oz (oil) or 6g of protein/oz (water)

  • Pork= 7g of protein/oz

  • Salmon=7g of protein/oz

When you first start tracking your food it can be very helpful to use a food scale. Follow the link to see one you can purchase at target for about $20. After a month or so you likely wont need to weigh your more common selections anymore as you'll be able to "eyeball it" pretty accurately.

Next is a list of carbohydrate options:

1 serving = 43g of Carbohydrates, 1.5g of fat

1 serving = 18g of Carbohydrates, 6g of fat

1 serving = 20g of Carbohydrates, 9g of fat

1 serving = 38g of Carbohydrates, 12g of fat

The 4 options listed above have worked great for me because they are all quick and easy to make. The key is to get enough carbohydrates to fuel your workouts. It's also important to be aware of how much fat is in the various "carbohydrate" options you choose because 1 g of fat contains 5 more calories than 1g of carbohydrates (1g of carbs = 4 calories and 1g of fat = 9 calories). The difference in calorie density can really spike your caloric intake if you aren't careful. That said, if you start by eating all of your protein and vegetables, you should feel confident eating the carbs and/or fats you have room for. This works because the protein is highly satiating

The last key part to your lunch and dinners, as I mentioned briefly a second ago, is vegetables. Vegetables are low in calories, provide nutrients that are vital to maintenance of health, like vitamin A and C, fiber, folate, and potassium. In order to get all the different nutrients/phytonutrients vegetables can provide it is important to eat a variety of different colored vegetables. However, at first, I believe it's important to find vegetables that you will eat consistently. For me, the key to finding consistency with eating vegetables is about finding the seasonings that you like. The seasonings that really worked for me are lemon pepper, garlic salt, and red pepper flakes. These work with a variety of different vegetables that I enjoy and can work for you too! If these are it for you though, go on a mission to find the seasonings that work for you and increase your likelihood of being consistent!

This blog post has broken your lunch and dinner selections into three parts: protein, carbs, and vegetables. The food options given are simply options that have worked well for me and others but are not your only options! I encourage you to explore and find other solutions that work for you and allow you maximize your training adaptations by improving your nutritional habits, in turn bringing you closer to reaching your over athletic and performance goals!

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