Before you read this article, make sure to check out my wife’s recipe book over at toughmommytips.com. The recipes in this article are great start, but Jamie has put together even more with her free recipe book that also include many of my favorites not within this article. You can find that here…Tough Mommy Recipe Book
And if you want even more, check out her meal plan which you can find here…7 Day Challenge and Meal Plan
Ok, now lets get to it!
When it comes to supporting your training, reaching your physique goals and performing at a high level, what you put in your body is critical.
Your body needs the macronutrients (fats, carbs, protein) to build lean mass, and the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) to keep all of the systems in balance for optimal health and performance.
Having quality options to support your goals is essential, and for that reason I have put together some of my favorite high performing meals that are not only delicious, but relatively easy to make.
Before we get there, check out the equation below to more specifically understand how many calories you will be looking to consume daily, based on your current weight and goals.
There are numerous, detailed equations that you can use to figure this number out, or you can go with a simple equation that has been shown time and again to be fairly accurate…I say we go with the latter!
–For weight loss, take your IDEAL bodyweight in pounds and multiply by 10 and 13.
–For weight maintenance, multiply your bodyweight by 14 and 17.
-And for weight gain, multiply your IDEAL bodyweight by 17 and 20.
The last piece to take into consideration is what I refer to as “carbohydrate cycling”. Here is an article I wrote on the subject if you’d like a more in depth understanding…Carb Cycling
In short, carbohydrate cycling refers to the idea of manipulating how many carbs you take in depending on your physical demands. During days where physical demands are higher, such as intense training days, or when you have more intense practice or competitions, it is helpful to have a few more carbohydrates. This is especially true if your goal is to build muscle or add body weight in general.
The meals surrounding your high intensity outputs are the best meals to consume more carbs. The meals further away from your physical demands can be regular meals, that can have some high quality carbs, but don’t need to have a large amount.
On the days when your physical demands are of lower intensity, most meals should be lower in carbohydrates. This helps to ensure that your body stays more sensitive to insulin (a good thing for fat loss and overall health) and this also allows you to take in a bit fewer calories if your goals include fat loss.
What I am going to do is let you know how you can make each of the meals more of a “training day” meal or an “off day” meal by manipulating carbohydrates.
Now again, if your goal is weight gain, carb cycling is still a good approach to nutrition, but you can be a little more lenient with the meals throughout the day…meaning you can (and should) be including a bit more carbohydrate to support your weight gain goals.
Ok, here are my top 5 high performing meals for breakfast, and in subsequent articles I will be providing you with 5 options for lunch, dinner and snacks.
Personally, breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.
But, the hard thing about breakfast, at least for most of us, is the “lack of time” to prepare and eat breakfast in the morning.
If you tell me that you get up between 6 and 7am but don’t have time to eat breakfast, I call bulls**t.
You should be getting to bed between 10 and 11 at the latest, and if you sleep for 7-8 hours you have plenty of time to get up and eat breakfast.
To ensure that this happens, try constructing your breakfasts the night before. Or at least most of it!
Chop any fruit or veggies you need and store them in the fridge, and take out the ingredients, cookware and utensils you need and leave them on the counter. If you can make the entire breakfast the night before, that is even better, and some of the options below all you to do so.
Easy Egg Scramble
Chop a quarter of an onion, quarter of a pepper, and a quarter cup of mushrooms. Toss them in a pan with some olive/coconut oil and let them cook for a few minutes until desired tenderness.
Depending on your caloric needs, scramble 2-4 eggs in a bowl (you can add a splash of milk). Add the eggs into the pan and let the eggs cook for 20-30s before starting to scrape the eggs away from the pan. Do this until the eggs are done.
Add some shredded cheese, chopped avocado and salsa if desired.
If you are looking to gain weight or make this more of a “training day” meal, add a slice of toasted ezekiel bread with peanut / almond / other nut butter or other spread, a banana or other piece of fruit, or baked potatoes (home fries) on the side.
**To make this the most time efficient, chop your veggies the night before, cover them and put them in the fridge so all you have to do is toss them in the pan. Put the pan on the oven with oil next to it ready to go. If you are having a side of potatoes, make those the night before as well and simply reheat them in the morning.
Easy Egg Muffins
This one is basically the same as above, but you are going to be making egg muffins instead.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Chop your veggies, and while your veggies are cooking line a muffin pan with 6 muffin cups.
Scramble 6 eggs and then add the cooked veggies to the egg mixture. Divide the egg mixture into the cups until the cups are about 4/5 off the way full.
Add some cheese on top if desired, and cook for 15-18 minutes.
Place in the fridge to have the next day. You can either pop them in the microwave for 30s or eat them cold.
To make this more of a “training day” meal, or if you are looking for some extra calories, place 1 or 2 of the egg muffins between a couple pieces of toast or english muffin (Ezekiel again is a great choice) and eat them as an egg sandwich.
**Again here, if you are going to make them in the morning, chop and cook your veggies and line your muffin pan the night before…but I suggest making them the night before and putting them in the fridge.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal
For the peanut butter lovers out there, this one’s got your back!
In a sauce pan, bring 2 cups of water and a tsp of salt to a boil. Add 1 cup of old fashion oats and let the oats cook for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times.
Add 1-2 Tbsp peanut butter (or other nut butter of preference) and stir until it has melted in. Add in 1/2 – 1 tsp of cinnamon depending on preference, 1-2 Tbsp of honey and 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder. Stir until everything is combined.
If you don’t have vanilla protein powder, add in 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt and 1 tsp of vanilla. You may need to adjust the vanilla depending on how strong you want the vanilla flavor to be. Or if you enjoy chocolate peanut butter, use chocolate protein powder.
I like to then add in chopped apple (1/4 to 1/2 of a medium apple), a few raisins and some chopped walnuts. You can vary the chopped fruit here if you’d like.
This amount will typically be two servings, but if you are looking to add weight try to consume to whole serving!
This is more of a “training day” meal option as the carbohydrate load here is pretty significant. But even if your goal is weight loss, it is your total caloric load that is most important. If this meal works into your total calories for the day it is good to go for those of us looking for fat loss.
**Do all of this the night before to save time in the morning. Put the oatmeal in the fridge and in the morning you can either eat it cold (it is still awesome) or you can heat it up in the microwave.
Overnight Red, White and Blue Oatmeal
It doesn’t get much better than your meal “cooking” itself overnight.
In a bowl that can be covered (either a pyrex that has a lid, or a bowl you can put some tin foil or plastic wrap over) add 1 cup of oats.
Add unsweetened vanilla almond milk until the oats are almost covered, then stir in 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt.
Stir in 1 – 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup and 1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon. Once everything is well combined add 1/2 small banana sliced, 1/4 cup blueberries and 1/4 cup sliced strawberries. Lastly, you can add in a small amount of chopped walnuts.
Stir everything together, cover and place it in the fridge where it will be ready for you in the morning.
This again is more of a “training day” or weight gain option, but can be consumed for fat loss as well as long as the caloric load works into your daily calorie needs.
Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie
Protein shakes or smoothies are a classic staple in a “healthy” nutrition regimen, because they work!
Not only can they be chalk full of powerful ingredients, but they are quick, tasty and can be consumed on the go. Here is my favorite protein smoothie.
Freeze 1 cup of carrots either in a bag, or in your personal blender cup (we use the Ninja blender and I put my carrots right in my blender cup and in the freezer to save even more time in the morning).
In your blender, add your frozen carrots, 1-2 handfuls of spinach (I promise you can’t taste it), 1 scoop protein powder (vanilla or chocolate works), 1/2 -1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 – 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 tsp vanilla and a small handful walnuts. If you don’t have protein powder add 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt and 1-2 Tbsp of honey or pure maple syrup.
Add 8-12 oz of unsweetened vanilla almond milk and blend to desired consistency. If the smoothie is too thick you can add more almond milk, and if it is too thin you can add some ice cubes and blend again.
To make this more of a “training day” option, add in 1/4 cup of oats before you blend it all together. You can also top it with raisins and/or shredded coconut, or you can blend them in to make it even easier.
Next up, lunch!
So there you have 5 high performing meal options for breakfast. Most of the recipes can be individualized to your specific taste preference (use different veggies, add some meat to the eggs, use different fruit for the oatmeal, etc.).
And all of the recipes can be manipulated depending on your goals. Add in some more carbs to the lower carb options (eggs and smoothie) or simply eat a smaller portion of the higher carb options (oatmeals) if you are looking for fat loss.
Keep your eyes open for the lunch and dinner options!