The great thing about spring is that it can give you a chance to make cleaner eating easier as there are a lot more fresh food options and the warmer weather will make you more inclined to opt for lighter meals.
Whether you’re trying to bulk up or get lean, we’re going to be using that to our advantage. There will be plenty of servings of fruits and vegetables on the menu. The other invaluable product you start to find this time of year is fresh spices. Even the most avid bodybuilder can get sick of plain grilled chicken breast. Fresh spices can completely change the flavour palate of our favourite muscle foods without adding unwanted macronutrients.
1. NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES
Every day you’ll plan to get in at least 4-6 servings of non-starchy vegetables per day. These include all green, leafy veggies such as kale, varieties of lettuce, spinach, collard greens, etc. as well as cucumbers, cauliflower, sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, and all the other veggies that you enjoy. It can get pricey, but if you can, try and choose organic vegetables when possible. It can make a difference.
You’ll also be aiming to have protein with each meal on both days in order to insure that you are maximizing muscle protein synthesis. Acceptable sources include beef, skinless poultry, lean cuts of pork, fish, shellfish, game meats, dairy and eggs. Just as organic veggies are preferred, high quality protein such as grass-fed, free range, and Omega-3 are also recommended. And while macronutrient counting can have it’s practical limitations, you should be aiming for approximately 1 gram of protein per pound of ideal bodyweight (meaning if your goal is to be 225 pounds, you should aim for 225 grams of protein per day).
3. STARCHY VEGETABLES & COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES
Starchy vegetables and other complex carbohydrates will also be part of your plan and be prioritized on training days. Carbs are critical for muscle glycogen replenishment and maximizing training performance, so if you are a carbo-phobe it’s time to start changing your tune. Preferred sources are oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes/yams, barley, millet, quinoa, beets, and summer squash.
4. HEALTHY FATS
Healthy fats are critical for your hormonal system to function properly as well as delivering a feeling of satiety. Good sources of healthy fats include avocados, raw nuts, seeds, egg yolks, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, olive oil, macadamia nut oil, and walnut oil. Keep in mind that fats have more than twice the caloric density of both carbohydrates and protein per gram so try to be aware of portion size here and think more in terms of teaspoons as opposed to generous pours when it comes to dishing out the oils.