Why Recipes WON’T get you Lean

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recipe book with food

You don’t need any complicated recipes to get a lean body.

People often ask me to give them recipes for “healthy” meals. When I post a food photo on my Facebook page I often get fans asking for the recipe. The truth is, I’m not really into recipes. I’m no chef, and although I can cook and feed myself and my family (Ok, my husband does more of the cooking) pretty well, I don’t have any interest in learning to make food from recipes. I’m more of a “pinch of this”, “dash of that” kind of girl. Actually, there isn’t even much of that. I eat healthy, physique-building meals without measuring much of anything or spending any time searching recipes on Pinterest.

Here’s how I do it:

Building a Meal

Step 1 – Protein

I always start my meal with protein (chicken, fish, seafood, beef). About 30-40g of protein (a small-medium chicken breast) is a palm-sized amount. An average-sized woman normally would have one palm-sized amount per meal, while most men will need 2 palm-sized amounts of protein. It varies by your activity level and current leanness as well, but the important part is: Start the meal with your protein.

Step 2 – Vegetables

Now it’s time to add the veggies. Take 2-3 servings of your favourite non-starchy vegetables (asparagus, spinach, peppers, romaine lettuce, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, etc.) and put them on your plate, either raw or cooked by steaming/sauteing/baking.

Step 3 – Starches/Oils

If you’re lean and deal well with carbs then you might be adding sweet potato/potato/rice/squash/corn at this point for some meals. Maybe you’re going low-carb to get lean and aren’t adding starchy carbs most of the time. Maybe you’re just adding some oil in the form of olive oil, coconut oil, macadamia oil, or organic butter. Great. Put it on the plate…maybe on the veggies.

Step 4 – Spices/Sauces

The flavouring is what most people think is most important, but it really doesn’t take much to make your food tasty. Pick whatever spices you enjoy and shake them on your protein and veggies. Occasionally I make a nice sauce with Greek Yogurt mixed with spices. Other times I just use that old sugarless standby – mustard. Easy. Delicious.

Are you Trying Out for Masterchef?

I know, there are some people who really enjoying cooking and who delight in marinading their chicken for hours and then seasoning and salting their veggies to perfection. If that’s your hobby, great! But it’s necessary to know any proper recipes to eat right and get the body you want.

Keep it Simple

Protein, veggies, starches/oils, spices/sauces…that’s all there is to it. Making food this way means that you aren’t adding a lot of unnecessary ingredients and physique-destroying elements that most restaurants use (like vegetable oils, sugary sauces, wheat, and greasy sauces). Keep it simple by keeping it lean and clean. If you’re constantly looking for recipes you’re just complicating your life.

You’re giving yourself another reason to fail at your nutrition journey. Keep it simple. Keep it easy.

You can spend all that extra time hitting the weights at the gym. That’s much more productive.

Ivana Chapman

P.S. Want help putting a sensible nutrition plan together? My Lean365 Online Membership Program can help! Check out the details HERE.

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 5-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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