These twelve foods are the staple foods that should make up the foundation of your menu. Variety is important and you are a humane with tastebuds so get creative. Repetitiously cutting food groups and eating the same thing over and over is not ideal for long term health. Build your plan and be sure to include these 12 foods in your routine.
These Power Foods will make your meal plan a work of art.
1- Lean White Meats
These need to be the staple of our menus and most of our approach is geared around these meats. The acceptable lean white meats, or what I call the Power 4 Leans are Halibut, Tilapia, Chicken and Turkey breasts. We are talking the real thing here not over processed lunch meats. These need to be as real and as natural as possible, straight from the animal.
2- Egg Whites
The egg is a perfect food and if you’re looking for the cleanest protein on the planet your first stop is the egg white. Pull the yolk out and you have the benchmark of a perfect protein rich food! In some cases you will want the yolk. The rule I like to follow is one yolk for every 3-4 whites. PERFECTION!
If I could only choose one source of complex, starchy carbohydrates for a complete program, this would be it! Oatmeal is the one carbohydrate rich food that virtually 100% of all bodybuilders eat on a daily basis. What makes it so great? Oatmeal has a nice balance between carbs, protein and fat. You wont go wrong including oatmeal at breakfast every day.
4- Yams and Sweet Potatoes
Right behind oatmeal, yams and sweet potatoes are probably my second favorite starchy carbohydrate. Flavorful, all-natural, low in calories, and packed with nutrients and antioxidants like beta-carotene yams and sweet potatoes deliver a great post workout or activity punch. They process nice and smooth and when combined with a green veggie, chicken breast, lean red meat or white fish you can’t miss.
5- Potatoes (White & Red)
The potato has gotten nothing but a bad wrap. Why? Too many people confuse this raw natural beauty with “french fried” or “loaded”. Potatoes meet a strict criteria for burning fat and building lean muscle. They are a complex carbohydrate, straight from the ground, loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Drop them in oil or slap butter, cheese, sour cream and bacon on them and you have a perfect fat gain performance robbing time bomb. Cook up a baked potato and have it with lean white meat and dark green veggies and you have a glycemic friendly meal. Down the hatch!
6- White Rice Brown Rice & Quinoa
Don’t be too quick to snub your nose at white rice. Remember we are talking about balanced, performance and recovery nutrition. There is a time and a place for all things. Brown rice is another staple food of the body building community. For athletes looking to burn fat yet still recover quickly we turn to brown rice. For those on muscle gains or looking to speed recovery for a hard afternoon practice we need to have them chose white rice. Quinoa is one of the world’s most popular health foods. Quinoa is high in protein and one of the few plant foods that contain all nine essential amino acids. If you’re looking to go to a plant based lifestyle Quinoa is a must.
7- Whole wheat, whole grains and Some refined wheat and grains
When we are talking about a balanced lifestyle we always want to opt for whole wheat and grains. We all understand the 100% whole wheat and grain picture but why refined wheat and grain. This will upset some but the truth is the truth. When we are talking performance and recovery nutrition we sometimes need faster processing wheat and grains. When over training hits and appetite suffers turn to the refined grains to speed recovery. Bracket your workouts with them and you will recover faster and get that appetite back. Another advantage is the reduced amount of fibers. The last thing we want to create is gastrointestinal problems during workouts or events due to too much fiber.
8- Complex Fibrous Vegetables
These must be a staple. Our main choices should be dark greens like, broccoli, green beans, asparagus etc. It’s virtually impossible to overeat green veggies so load up. Couple these with a lean white protein and you will turn into a fat burning machine.
Fruit sits in the simple carbohydrate category. They process quickly and increase the glycemic load of our meals. Keep a variety of fruits in your menu. Don’t shy away from any of them. Have them mainly in the mornings and through the afternoon to keep energy levels up. Combine them with cheese or a nut butter to slow how fast they process and you have a solid snack. A great pre-workout or event snack is a Banana with Peanut Butter and Honey. PERFECT!
10- Non Fat Dairy
Dairy is a great combination food. Dairy contains carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Consuming dairy products provides numerous health benefits including improved bone health. Foods in the dairy group provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein. Keep a variety and keep them balanced.
11- Dietary Fats
Dietary fat is very important for proper body functioning. Most people have an unbalanced view of dietary fat and therefore limit or try and cut them out completely. The goal is to have good fats with every meal, which helps to maintain stable blood glucose and insulin levels. We need to look for lean fats rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids such as fish oil, olive & canola oil, avocados, almonds, nut butter, nuts, etc.
12- Lean Red Meats
Many bodybuilders believe that red meat helps muscle growth, and there may be much truth in that thought. Red meat is high in protein, B-12, iron and creatine. The problem with most cuts of red meat is the high fat content. We need to find the choice cuts and eliminate all visual fats. You should maintain a lean red meat intake of 1-2 servings a week.
There you have it.
The Dan approved 12 power foods.
Keep a variety and maintain a balance in your menu.
Get creative and Discover your ELITE.