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!