5 Tools For Easier Gainz. Nutrition Edition

Upon first glance, getting leaner is actually a pretty simple concept.

Now there are some differences between individuals, but for most people it can be summed up with:

1. Eating fewer calories than you expend. Somewhere in the region of a 10% deficit is often sensible to start with.

2. Eating sufficient protein, approx. 2g/kg of bodyweight.

3. Eating at least 20% of your total calories from fat sources.

4. Making up the rest of your calories with carbohydrate.

5. Eating plenty of fruit and veg to get enough micronutrients and fibre.

6. Working out how to incorporate your favourite foods into your diet. This helps hugely with adherence.

(NOTE: you can work all this out by using my Free Get Shredded Toolkit)

Simple as it may be, at times it gets tough.

You’ll be hungry, a little bit grumpy, low on motivation, and you might find yourself with less energy than you’re used to… you’ll be eating less food than you’re perhaps used to after all!

I’m certainly not immune from these feelings. I’m currently one month into a cut, and as I SERIOUSLY love my food I personally find it really difficult to cut back on my calories. Hunger has been starting to become a bit of an issue, and it may just be psychological, but this hunger has made me feel a bit “empty” and has made motivation a bit of an issue for training.

However, I’ve been loving a few “tools” that really help, and I’ll be using them all the way through to help me hit my goal.

These 5 tools will help make you feel less deprived, give you a full belly and *GASP* might even make you enjoy your diet!

 

1. Zero Syrups and Flavdrops

 

90% of the time my breakfast is porridge, made with plain old oats and unsweetened almond milk.

A pretty low calorie and very filling breakfast. Eat that on its own however and it tastes and resembles something you’d use to put your wallpaper up with.

We could combat this with a nice splodge of honey or syrup. However, they are pretty high calorie density foods and do very little to keep us full.

I should note that as a big fan of flexible dieting, If you really love your honey or syrup, go at it as long as you factor their macros and calories in to your diet.

However I think there’s a better, MUCH lower calorie alternative.

Enter the magic realm of Zero Syrups and Flavdrops.

IMG_2340

They have practically zero calorie value (not enough to bother tracking anyway) yet still provide a ton of flavour.

My current favourite combos are the chocolate fudge Zero Syrup with frozen cherries, or white chocolate Flavdrops with some chopped up fresh strawberries stirred into my porridge.

Both pack some serious flavour without adding any calories.

Win.

They are also ideal for making macro friendly desserts too, I’ve used them on a fair few occasions for topping or adding to a protein pancake (I’ve got two types: Greek yoghurt pancakes, or the standard protein pancake) batter, as well as a topper or flavouring for when I make my one ingredient ice cream.

Some people might be worried about the “chemicals” in these sorts of products.

You shouldn’t be at all concerned as none of the ingredients have been shown to be harmful to our health.

The Zero syrups contain:
Water, a natural flavouring, cellulose (a fibre present in plant foods), xanthan gum (a thickening agent, naturally produced by a bacteria, which is harmless BTW), some potassium, some sodium, an artificial sweetener called sucralose, which has been shown to be harmless in the amounts we are likely to eat as well as lactic acid, which stops the food from going off, and again is harmless in the amount given.

The Flavdrops contain:
Some flavouring, a colour and sucralose. Again, all of the ingredients present have not been shown to be harmful in the amount that we’re likely to eat them in.

So let’s now put the whole avoiding foods because of chemicals things to bed now please!

 

2. The Spiralizer 

 

Vegetables are seriously filling. The combination of water and fibre make them pretty potent hunger busters.

We would all be doing ourselves a favour if we ate more of them. But when I say more of them I don’t just mean plopping a few steamed carrot batons and florets of broccoli on the side of your plate.

This is both boring (boring food is a serious crime in my opinion) AND not enough portion-wise to help stop the grumbling noises from your stomach.

Instead we should be trying to make our veg take a bit more of a centre stage role and be a proper part of a dish.

The Spiralizer helps us do just that. It turns veg into spaghetti or noodle like strands or can cut them up into crisp shaped pieces.

Give it a try with my beef ragu and courgettini or try making curly fries with it from potato or butternut squash:

 

3. Xanthan Gum

 

It received a brief mention earlier in point 1. but it deserves a proper shout out all of its own.

Xanthan gum is a thickening agent that you can buy in the supermarkets in the “gluten free” or health food sections or online. If you add half a teaspoon to a whey protein shake it gives some serious thickness, and along with ice gives it a similar texture to a proper “diner style” milkshake.

This thickness makes it feel a lot more substantial and filling, allowing you to turn a boring, non filling watery whey protein shake into something pretty tasty that will keep you fuller for a whole lot longer.

It’s also an essential ingredient for making protein fluff, a mix of whey protein, xanthan gum and a small amount of liquid (either water or milk) that when aerated with a whisk turns into a giant protein marshmallow cloud, which makes a great snack or dessert on its own, or as a base for our next point!  

 

4. Macro Buffer Bowls

 

Allow me to set the scene.

You’ve counted your macros throughout the day, logging your foods on MyFitnessPal.

You’ve eaten mostly single ingredient whole foods, a decent amount of lean protein and vegetables and treated yourself to a slice of cake while you were at Costa earlier, smug in the fact that you can get it to fit to your plan.

However, after dinner you realise that you’ve got a weird mix of 45g protein, 10g fat and 25g of carbohydrate left.

How are you going to fill in the gaps?

Make a macro buffer bowl of course.

I keep a ton of primarily single ingredient macronutrient foods handy in my kitchen so that when I need to cap off my macros at the end of the day I can bring a load of these foods together to make a glorious dessert-esque concoction that is both tasty AND supports my goals.

May I suggest popping off to the supermarket and stocking up the following (not an exhaustive list of course):

Carbohydrate
Haribo/jelly type sweets
Marshmallows
Frozen yoghurt
Meringues
Fruit, fresh or frozen

Protein
Quest bars
Whey or casein protein powder
0% fat Greek yoghurt

Fat
Nuts or nut butters
Cream
Chocolate
Ice cream
Cookies, biscuits etc.

Just a small selection of my fave macro buffering foods!

Just a small selection of my fave macro buffering foods!

You might be thinking based on most of the above

“JB, why are you recommending I eat unhealthy foods?”

Well, a few “junk” foods in the context of a generally healthy diet does not make an unhealthy diet. Especially if you’ve covered all your dietary bases throughout the day; getting in enough lean protein, veg and healthy fats.

If this is the case, treat yourself and factor in a few treats.

Your body and your mind will thank you!

5. Quest Bar + a Black Coffee/Diet Soft Drink

Quest bars have taken the health & fitness world by storm over the past few years, and for good reason.

They’re packed full of fibre and protein, both known for their satiety inducing effects, and are pretty tasty to boot.

My name is James, and I’m an addict

I should note here that fibre is essential to keep high whilst dieting, not only for helping to keep you full, but also to keep you nice and regular. Because eventually your food intake might end up quite low towards the end of a diet, you need fibre to help add bulk in your intestines to help keep you from bursting blood vessels when you’re trying to squeeze one out.

Welcome to the glamorous world of dieting.

I’ve been using them as a low calorie snack in between meals with pretty good success. The combination of them with a coffee or a diet drink seems to fill me up even further.

They are all actually pretty tasty, although without question, the best flavours are tied between Cookies & Cream and S’mores. However Cookie Dough, Apple Pie and White Chocolate & Raspberry do get an honourable mention.

You can buy them here from as far as I know, the cheapest place in the UK, Predator Nutrition.

What are your favourite ways to make your diet easier? Pop them in a comment below!

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