#4weeks2shred: How I handle my meals

Meal prepping for a 4 week shred was intimidating. This shred isn’t too different in ideology from the other “bodybuilding” nutrition plans – high protein, lower carbs, reduced fat. I felt ok about starting it…. until I started it.

The practice turned out to be much different. This meal plan requires you to add no fats whatsoever, and a gradually decreasing carb intake. I realized that I realistically knew nothing about cooking without fats.  Like at all.

The allowed proteins are natural beefs, poultry, salmon and egg whites; allowed carbs are: brown rice, oats, quinoa, and sweet potatoes; and there’s allowed “uncounted” veggies: spinach, asparagus, broccoli, lettuce, and cucumbers. While you’re making sure you hit your protein and carb loads, you aren’t really counting calories. Kris does a good job of explaining everything on the nutrition page, and I recommended reading it (if that wasn’t obvious). I employed the help of MyFitnessPal — which really helped me figure my nutrition out.

Meats weren’t too difficult. I seared my meats on high heats, and let the natural fats coat the pan, which worked well for the steak and chicken. Other than that, I had to tap into my background in baking, and bring out the parchment paper. When proteins roast in the oven (i.e. salmon @375 for 17 minutes),  they come out beautifully cooked — no oils needed.

Carbs weren’t hard, I used plenty of seasonings such as garlic, turmeric, cumin, paprika to cook my brown rice. I purchased quinoa and kale blend from Costco which met the gluten/dairy/wheat-free requirement and I made my oats with stevia and sweet potatoes as is. If I got a sweet tooth craving, I’d throw some cinnamon on the sweet potato, mash it up with a fork, and eat it like a pudding.

Veggies, however, were tougher. I was not a fan of plain boiled veggies, even though I passionately loved asparagus and broccoli. So, I got creative. I snacked on spinach like chips. I seasoned my veggies with some bullion powder (be careful to find a lower sodium, no carb and fat free solution), and  this has pulled me through thus far. When I was dying for something crispy and flavored, I snacked on pickles. Pickles fit the macro profile since they’re just soaked cucumbers (make sure they’re dill and not bread and butter pickles) BUT I’ve tried avoiding processed foods as much as possible in the past 2 and a half weeks. For roasting veggies, I’ve seasoned them like I normally would, used parchment paper instead of foil, and added a Tbsp of water instead of oil, which faux-steams the veggies but produces decent flavors.

Snacking became tricky. Even though I’m in the gym for long hours, Because I’m currently not taking a full course load, simply working full-time was actually tapping on the breaks for me.  That being said, I discovered Quest Nutrition Protein chips — which contain 21 grams of protein, and only 5 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fat. These seriously hit the “crunch” craving for a snack like food – and I much on them a few times a week. I double up on bags, snack on some veggies, and treat it as one of my 6 meals, or occasionally snack on a bag in the middle of the day when I get seriously hungry. I’d recommended getting a few bags. They aren’t your regular potato chip but the price is well worth it… for me at least!

7 thoughts on “#4weeks2shred: How I handle my meals

  1. It seems like you have good understanding on meal plan for 4weeks2shred.
    I want to start this program but from the nutrition page, i couldn’t get how much of total calories should i eat?
    My weight it 160lbs that means i have to eat 756 calories from protein and 416 calories from carbs, in total 1172 calories. Isn’t it too less calories?
    I don’t want to loose my muscle mass and it seems like this is huge calorie deficit. It would be great if you can share your knowledge on this.

    looking forward to hear from you

    • Sanjay, without knowing too much information about your height and BF% it’s difficult to provide you any insight. The calorie deficit on this plan is pretty mean for the most part but just remember that carb calories don’t include calories from the “approved veggies”. Furthermore, there are fats involved with the meats that you eat that also add to the calories. I highly encourage you to NOT count calories but calculate your macros by grams using something like MyFitnessPal!

      • Hi,

        Thanks for the reply. Really Really Appreciated. 🙂
        You are absolutely right!
        My body fat % is 13 and i stand 5ft 8inch, weight is 160 lbs and it aim for 165 before starting this program. Right now i’m into bulking up so my calorie intake is 4000/day in which 35% carbs 45% protein and 20% fats macro i’m using. MyFitnessPal is really good one to keep all meal macros accountable, i will sure keep using it.

        As per 4weeks2shred nutrition plan, i should eat 1.18×160(my body weight in lbs) = 188.8 gram protein, 0.65×160 = 104 gram carbs. In total 188.8+104 = 292.8×4 = 1171 calories.

        Cutting down from 4000 to 1171 calories seems like a risk to me for my hard earn muscle.
        I will definitely supplement myself with BCAAs, glutamine but still i have doubt. Would be great that you answer on this.

        Thanks

        • Add me on MFP! Would love to stay connected! It’s on the top of my blog! When you’re watching macros… It’s pure protein and carb intake but as I’m sure you know, 6 oz of chicken is about 200 calories… But only 35-40 grams of protein… There’s extra calories in the food we eat so it won’t be that harsh of a cut!

          That being said… 4000 calories a day is pretty intense for someone your weight… I think Kris never recommends more than 500 calories of your maintain ends which would be around 2500…. I’m not expert on bulking though – I’m still working on cutting.

          It’s a harsh cut indeed but to give you some perspective… I lost 5 pounds overall weight and gained leaned muscle mass on 4weeks2shred, I eat about 1500-1800 calories a day and I weigh about 184lbs.

          Just make sure you’re supplementing and you don’t work out fasted, it works! Well at least it did for me!

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