Starter meal plan by Charlotte Debeugney

A balanced weekly meal plan for a woman training 3-4 times a week

You don’t necessarily need more calories!  The ‘average women’, working out 3-4 times a week, needs 2000 kcals a day to maintain her weight.  This is a confusing point for many of us.  It is only women who exercise a lot more than this (over 1 hour every day at a high intensity) who might need more calories.

1.

You don’t need additional protein despite the hype.  The minimum protein requirement is about 45 g per day for women, you do not huge quantities of protein if you are working out 3-4 times a week.  Note that animal protein contains roughly 30% protein. So 100g of red meat contains 30g protein.  Vegetable proteins range very roughly from 4% protein for rice to 9-12% cooked weight for beans and lentils.

2.

The basic principles for healthy eating remain varied meals, lashings of vegetables, enough, high quality protein, whole grains and healthy fats.

3.

I’ve tried to avoid talking about ‘macronutrients’, and the percentage of carbs/fats/protein you send eat, as I’d rather focus on food!

4.

You should be taking a vitamin D supplement, particularly during the months of Sept – April, when we struggle to eat enough sunlight.  You might also, depending on your haemoglobin levels, need an iron supplement.  However, iron supplements should only ever be taken on the advice of your doctor, as iron can be dangerous in excessive quantities.

5.

You can be flexible on whether you eat pre or post workout.  This really depends on you!  If you exercise in a fasted state, you may need to eat something quickly after working out.  I’ve included a snack in the programme which you can end before or after working out.

6.

You might want to ‘play’ with intermittent fasting at the weekends.  Intermittent fasting basically involves trying to go for longer periods without food and/or eating less than your daily calorie intake for 1-2 days a week.  There is some limited evidence based on small studies that it might help to improve athletic performance and reduce body fat.  The word to highlight here is ‘limited’!  One way of trying this is having a later breakfast or brunch at the weekends, with a small snack in the afternoon and your normal supper.  If, for example, you ate your supper the previous night at 8 pm, and then eat your brunch at 11 am the next day, you would have been ‘fasting’ for 15 hours, and this is a relatively easy way of trying intermittent fasting.

7.

Meal      Mon     Tues     Wed     Thurs     Fri     Sat     Sun

Breakfast

 

400 kcals

Nourish

600kcals

brunch

2 slices of whole-wheat toast with 15g peanut/almond butter and 1 banana

Bircher Muesli

40g oats soaked in 150 ml dairy or plant milk of your choice.  Leave to soak overnight with a generous pinch of cinnamon Add fresh or dried fruit to taste

Banana muffins 

Natural yogurt

Chia Pudding

 

30g chia seeds soaked in 150 ml dairy or plant milk of your choice.  Add fresh fruit of your choice before serving

Smoothie

 

150 ml milk of your choice + 1 banana+ handful of frozen + ½ small avocado + handful of frozen berries+1 tsp peanut/almond butter + 1 date

Brunch:

 

Avocado on Toast with a choice of:

 

Eggs

Sardines

Smoked Salmon

Vegan cheese

 

Fruit salad

Brunch

 

Pancakes with fresh fruit

Lunch

 

Balance

 

700 kcals

100g cooked weight protein of your choice:

 

Meat/chicken/fish/

2 eggs

Lentils/Beans/Tofu

 

120g cooked weight whole grain carbohydrate of your choice

 

Rice/pasta/couscous/quinoa/noodles

Or 3 small potatoes or 2 slices of bread/1 wrap

 

Unlimited Vegetables of your choice

 

2 tsp oil/nuts/seeds

 

1 portion of fruit + natural yoghurt or plant-based yoghurt

As for Monday

 

Eg:  Salmon and quinoa salad

As for Monday

 

As for Monday

 

As for Monday

 

This is replaced by your brunch!

This is replaced by your brunch!

Snack  - pre or post workout

 

Energy

 

300 kcals

Choice of:

 

Greek yoghurt + 20g mixed dried fruit and nuts

 

2 oatcakes with 30g cheese or vegan cheese/paté

 

2 rice cakes with 15 g peanut butter

 

1 cereal bar with a portion of fruit

 

2 tbsp hummus with raw vegetables

As for Monday

 

As for Monday

 

As for Monday

 

As for Monday

 

As for Monday

 

As for Monday

 

Supper

 

Relax

 

600 kcals

50-75 g protein of your choice, animal or vegetable (this can be mixed eg:  cheese and nuts)

 

100g cooked weight whole grains

 

Unlimited Vegetables

 

2 tsp oil/nuts/seeds

 

1-2 squares dark chocolate or 30g cheese or 2 pieces dried fruit