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Try this: a savory 7-day meal "plan" for the aspiring gym rat frustrated with nutrition

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

As a fitness and nutrition coach, I've always advocated for personalized nutrition plans that allow my clients the freedom to make choices aligned with their unique tastes and preferences. I firmly believe that when it comes to nutrition, one size definitely does not fit all. That's why I've never write meal plans. (Not to mention, it's out of my scope of practice.)

Still, life has a way of upending everything, so here we are.

After my recent bout with cancer, everything changed once again. The journey not only taught me invaluable life lessons but also shook up my own relationship with food. With the daily addition of thyroid hormone medication, my energy levels have fluctuated wildly. I no longer have an inkling of a desire to meal prep—or even cook, if I'm being honest. My appetite has become a ghost. Some days, I found myself barely eating at all.

As a coach, I've always emphasized the importance of feeding our bodies with the right nutrients. It's a principle I've ingrained in all of my clients. Each and every one could recite my rant on why we need to eat carbs, and why cutting out carbs is not a sustainable method for weight loss. Yet, despite my nutritional self-righteousness, I've realized that I have been veering far from that path myself. And that's no way to live.

Rethinking my nutrition

I decided to embark on a journey to rediscover the joy in nutrition. To find new ways to savor foods while keeping my kidney health and new metabolic needs in mind. I wouldn't call what I've thrown together a "meal plan" per se. Rather, consider this a list of potential options for those days or weeks or months you're feeling lost with what to do with your nutrition.

Listen, I understand that feeling of being overwhelmed and frustrated when you're faced with a fridge full of ingredients but have no absolute clue how to use them. That's why, more often than not, I'm grabbing a handful of almonds to eat instead of whipping together a meal to sustain me. Maybe it's the trauma of cancer. Maybe it's the weight of ADHD. Maybe it's a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B. Whatever the root cause, I know I know better, and I want to help you do better.

So, check out the list below and see what tingles your taste buds. I've got breakfast, lunch, dinner and even snacks covered, and if you're a fan of Italian, Mexican, Thai, and Argentinean cuisines, you may feel especially inspired. And don't forget to sound off in the comments if you try any of these meals.

Breakfast Options

  1. Scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes, served with grilled asparagus, avocado, and a side of whole-grain toast.

  2. Oatmeal cooked with unsweetened almond milk, topped with sliced bananas and chia seeds.

  3. Cheesy egg white omelet with diced tomatoes and bell peppers, served with a side of kale and sliced strawberries.

  4. Thai-style mango and coconut milk smoothie with a pinch of ginger. Add a scoop of plant-based protein powder for your protein kick.

  5. Egg white omelet with bell peppers, onions, and lean turkey, served with sliced avocado and an everything bagel.

  6. Chia pudding made with unsweetened almond milk, topped with blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries, plus a dollop of smooth almond butter.

  7. A bowl of fat-free Greek yogurt, topped vanilla almond granola, sliced bananas, and light blue agave drizzle.

Snack Options

  1. Fat-free Greek yogurt with sliced strawberries and sprinkled with cinnamon.

  2. Low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese with a handful of mixed berries, drizzled with sugar-free chocolate syrup.

  3. Roasted chickpeas spiced with paprika, cumin, and a dash of cayenne.

  4. Hummus of choice with pita bread and red pepper strips.

  5. Raw veggie sticks with homemade guacamole.

  6. Sourdough toast or brown rice cakes topped with maple almond butter.

  7. Baby carrots and snap peas with Italian dressing made from olive oil, vinegar, and Italian seasonings.

Lunch Options

  1. Grilled chicken breast, topped with cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, and served with a side of couscous and steamed asparagus.

  2. Grilled chicken and black bean bowl, served with quinoa, bell peppers, and zucchini, and topped with salsa and avocado.

  3. Tofu stir-fry made with broccoli, carrots, snap pea, and daikon, served with brown rice and flavored with a sweet chili sauce.

  4. Grilled lean beef strips marinaded with chili and lime, served with wild rice and a side of black beans with diced bell peppers and cilantro.

  5. Homemade tuna salad with red onions and celery, served with leafy greens and sliced cucumber, wrapped in whole-grain flatbread.

  6. Grilled lean beef steak with chimichurri sauce, served with a side of cilantro-lime cauliflower rice and grilled asparagus.

  7. Grilled turkey skewers with homemade cashew sauce, served with steamed broccoli and white rice.

Dinner Options

  1. Baked salmon flavored with ginger and garlic, served with stir-fried ginger wok chop and brown rice.

  2. Roasted spaghetti squash tossed in basil, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil, served with grilled mushrooms and lean Italian turkey sausage.

  3. Grilled chicken topped with mango salsa made with diced mango, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and a touch of jalapeño, served with grilled Mexican street corn.

  4. Grilled tilapia spiced with coriander, thyme, oregano, and cumin, served with roasted cauliflower and broccoli.

  5. Lean beef sirloin, topped with a spicy tomato sauce, served with quinoa and steamed green beans.

  6. Baked cod, spiced with garlic and oregano, served with steamed broccoli and zucchini noodles toasted in a basil red sauce.

  7. Grilled shrimp flavored with cilantro and lime, served with a side of roasted sweet potatoes and spinach sautéed with garlic.

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