So, now that you understand what you are eating (carbs, protein and/or fat) and are beginning to make healthy swaps to include more nutrient-dense, wuality foods in your diet, it is time to figure out a good range of calories that your body needs on a daily basis.
As a general rule, I recommend that athletes (or anyone exercising on a daily basis) add 100-150 calories to your recommended total calories, per hour of daily exercise. I recommend prioritizing a 3:1 (or 2:1) Carbohydrate to Protein snack immediately after workouts (within 30-45 min) as a way to add in your extra 100-150 calories as opposed to adding those extra calories to meals. If you workout for 2 hours on Monday and consume 2000 calories on a daily basis, I recommend adding in 200-300 calories to your diet through a post-workout Carb:Protein snack and then having a balanced meal (350-500 calories) rather than stuffing down a 800 calorie meal. If you workout for 4 hours on Saturday, I recommend having your extra 400-600 calories through a Whey protein and fruit smoothie and a few healthy afternoon/evening snacks. If you have extra calories to afford by working out a bit longer or harder than normal one day a week, I also encourage you to have a portioned control sweet treat either with your post-workout protein (ex. small cookie with your whey protein smoothie) or have a 100-125 calorie treat with a protein snack (yogurt, milk, etc.) later in the day. Although quality protein is necessary in the diet (vegan, vegetarian or meat eater), in my opinion, I feel strongly that it is most important of how you are consuming your protein (when), how much (at meals and snacks) and what (quality as opposed to unhealthy).
For a 2000 calorie diet:
45-65% of total calories should come from Carbohydrates
(I recommend a diet of 55-60% carbohydrates for athletes or athletic individuals)
2000 calories/d x .6 (60% total calories carb) = 1200 calories from carbs.
1200 calories/4 (calories per gram) = 300 grams from carbohydrates
10-35% of total calories should come from Protein
(I recommend a diet of 20-25% protein for athletes or you can choose to use 1g/kg/d for newbie athletes and 1-1.2g/kg/d for active individuals)
2000 calories/d x .2 (20% total calories from protein) = 400 calories from protein.
400 calories/4 (calories per gram) = 100 grams from protein
*Once again, I stress that is it more important to time your protein with your nutrition and to prioritize the best protein sources possible.
20-35% of total calories should come from Fat
(I recommend 20-25% from fat for athletes)
2000 calories/d x .2 (20% total calories from fat) = 400 calories from fat.
400/9 (calories per gram) = 44 grams from fat
Here's a helpful calculator
These are just examples. I recommend that you find what works for you. So long as you prioritize healthy fats, high fiber/complex carbs and lean and/or low fat protein, you can be extremely flexible with how you would like to design your diet. Some people may need the higher range of fats whereas some people may need the higher range of protein. Although simple sugars are recommended post-workout (to be combined with your protein), remember that there are many fruits and vegetables that are high in the glycemic index and should be consumed over apple danishes, milkshakes and syrupy and buttery pancakes. Above all, never forget the importance of fruits and veggies. While you may need to learn to love them, they will really help your weight loss/maintenance journey. There is nothing like feeling satisfied and full at meals and snacks, feeling good about what you are eating and knowing that you are giving your body excellent nutrients.
Hopefully this blog will be helpful as you plan out your nutrition. Most importantly, your workout schedule should always be taken into account when planning your daily nutrition intake, in order to help you maintain weight or reach your weight loss goals.
I put together a vegetarian vegetable loaf that is filled with healthy macronutrients. You've got lots of healthy carbs, some healthy protein and a little fat for a healthy and satisfying meal. You can really play around with the recipe so that you are adding in your favorite veggies (and your not-so-favorite veggies...you'll never know they are in there). You can also play around with the spices (no salt/sodium are recommended) and use any type of rice/grain that you enjoy. Lastly, you can add a meat or vegetarian meat for extra protein.
Enjoy my latest creation!
*It was yummy good!
Vegetarian Vegetable Loaf
1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables (frozen green beans, corn and peas)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/8 cup chopped jalepenos
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. horseradish
1 tbsp. flax seeds
A pinch of cayenne, chili flakes, pepper and paprika
1/2 can chili tomatoes (rinsed and drained)
1/2 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
Shredded cheese + block cheese
Bread crumbs (Italian)
1 cup instant oats
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 cooked couscous (cook according to package or container - I buy plain couscous)
1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
2. Prepare couscous and set aside (don't forget to fluff with fork).
3. Add everything in a bowl, except for couscous.
4. Mix ingredients until everything is well combined.
5. In a non-stick baking loaf pan, sprayed lightly with non-stick spray, press 1/2 veggie mixture in pan.
6. Sprinkle with about 1 spoonful bread crumbs.
7. Top with couscous and press down.
8. Sprinkle with chili flakes and a little shredded cheese.
9. Spoon the rest of the veggie mixture on couscous and press down.
10. Top with 1 spoonful bread crumbs and a few slices of thinly sliced block cheese (you can use your favorite cheese or use a little shredded cheese).
11. Bake for 50 min - 1 hour.