We all want washboard Abs, great chest and arm muscles and if you’re a lady a nice tight butt and slim hips. You may be prepared to put in the hard physical work necessary and hit the Gym, train or workout 5 times a week, but that’s only half the battle. What food you buy, what food you eat and how you eat,to my mind at least, is the hardest part of the battle. Most of us are prepared to shift the weights , hit the treadmill and wear the Lycra to get fit, it’s the healthy eating and laying off the booze that leads us astray.
I’ve written before about the need for consistency and firmly believe that if you eat and train well 80%+ of the time then you can allow yourself the odd bad night or weekend. However there is no getting around it, the food that you eat is critical if you want to shed those pounds, reduce body fat and finally show those long hidden abs.
One of the biggest issues and regular excuses that people make is the time and effort it takes to prepare healthy food compared to so called “convenience” food. Yes it may well take a bit of extra effort when shopping and preparing your food but it is worth it. The key is to BE PREPARED! When you go shopping you need to know what to buy and what you are going to do with it. I’d also suggest that you prepare at least some of your meals in advance. I often spend 45 minutes on a Sunday or Monday and knock up 4 or 5 meals that I can have for lunch every day the rest of the week. It may be slightly boring but it will be healthy, good for my waistline and contain lots of protein to help me build muscle and shed fat. With Summer coming fast and not much time to get into swimsuit shape why not try this for the next month and see what happens.
Below is a brief shopping list of some of the things to buy weekly or put in your store cupboard that will help you eat clean, healthy and become lean. Below that is a simple recipe that I use that will make your 4 meals that you can stick in the fridge and just microwave as needed.
Steak, Chicken Breasts, Turkey breasts, Turkey Mince, Lean Pork, Lamb cutlets, Fish – Pretty much any and all types of fish are fine. Vegetables – Brocolli, Cauliflower, Avocado, Greens, Salad leaves, Green beans, Onions, Asparagus, Red Peppers, mushrooms, Spring Onion, Carrots, Beans & Lentils, Sweet Potato, Brown rice. Fresh Ginger, Chilli’s, Garlic. Fresh herbs like Coriander, Basil, Tarragon, Mint. Lemons, Blueberries, Strawberries, Banana’s, Apples, Pineapple, Melon. Dried spices such as Turmeric, Cinnamon, Paprika, Black pepper. Coconut oil ,Olive Oil and some light soy sauce for cooking and dressings. Bags of mixed nuts for snacking. Greek (Not greek “style”) Yoghurt or Skyr Yoghurt. Pure peanut butter or nut butter. The final thing would be a good Whey Protein powder. That’s pretty much it. If you cook and eat exclusively from that list of ingredients above you will a) be eating very healthily and b) in combination with regular exercise be almost guaranteed to become leaner and more muscular.
Foods to try to avoid would be: Bread, Pasta, Potatoes, Sweets, Crisps, Chocolate bars, cakes (all pretty obvious). Almost all packaged and processed foods (wherever possible, it’s very difficult to completely eradicate these). Sweetened drinks, fizzy drinks and booze (again a couple of beers or glasses of wine at the weekend won’t hurt much).
So now you’ve bought all the right things….what to cook. Here is a simple recipe that you can knock up on a Sunday, stick in the fridge or freezer and will give you a healthy, muscle building lunch or dinner for the next 4 days or so. Other than the ingredients above the only thing you’ll need is a good stack of smallish Tupperware boxes with lids.
Right, lets kick off. Firstly. Get a large bowl of water on the boil. Add in enough brown rice to make 4 small/medium sized portions. Add a dash of salt and leave to simmer away for approximately 25 minutes (Brown rice takes longer to cook than normal rice and retains a firmer texture even when cooked).
Then in a large frying pan or preferably a wok do the following. Add two tablespoons of Coconut oil and heat. Then add one large diced onion, a couple of carrots cut into small round slices, one red pepper diced, a handful of mushrooms diced, 2 cloves of Garlic finely chopped and a large thumb sized piece of ginger sliced or chopped. Depending on if you like your food spicy or not you could also add anything from half to a whole chilli chopped. Fry this off for a couple of minutes until everything starts to soften. Then add in one large Turkey breast cut into smallish cubes (one large turkey breast is normally equivalent in size to around 3 chicken breasts). Continue to fry this for around 4 to 5 minutes. Then as the Turkey starts to brown off add the following. 2 large teaspoons of Turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon of paprika and half a teaspoon of Cinnamon. Continue to cook and stir for around 3 more minutes. If it starts to dry out add a bit more oil as needed. Also grind in a good heap of fresh black pepper. Once you know the Turkey is cooked turn out the heat.
When the rice is cooked, drain any remaining water and also then pour a kettle of boiling water over the rice and drain again to remove excess starch. Then once the water is gone tip the rice into the Turkey and veg mix and stir until it is thoroughly mixed through. Then add in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil and a couple of teaspoons of soy sauce and stir thoroughly again. At this point you want all the rice to darken slightly to show the soy is mixed right through. If you want you can also finely chop a couple of spring onions and stir those in. Allow everything to cool down, split equally into about 4 Tupperware boxes, put the lid on and either freeze or refrigerate. When you want to eat it just microwave for a couple of minutes and away you go. The whole dish including chopping the veg and turkey takes a max of 30/35 minutes and that’s 4 meals done.
There are a whole load of variations of this type of thing that you can do and I’ll do more recipe’s as time goes on. In fact if anyone would like to see videos of recipes such as this please let me know.
I hope you found this helpful, your comments are welcome.