How can you get all the protein you need on your bodybuilding diet without getting sick of the three Cs: Chicken, Cooking and Chewing? Many bodybuilders cook up to a dozen chicken breasts at a time, choking them down over a period of days.
They repeat that process endlessly, making mealtime one of the least pleasant parts of being a bodybuilder. It may be unpleasant, but it’s also necessary there simply is no substitute for the anabolic drive obtained from a whole-food meal that’s high in protein and consumed at the right time. Protein shakes also play an important role in helping a trainer get all the protein he needs every day (at least a gram per pound of body-weight daily) because they make it easier to do this.
So, how do you meet your nutritional needs without making mealtime a misery? We offer the following suggestions.
1. Shop Till You Gain
Try to do as much of your food shopping as you can at once. By shopping only once a week (or even less frequently), you can greatly reduce the amount of time you spend foraging. Removing these daily errands from your schedule allows you to spend more time on what’s important for growth: training, eating and recovering from your workouts.
2. Join A Warehouse-Style Store
The annual fee (usually 50 bucks or less) is well worth the savings you’ll accrue by regularly shopping at a discount warehouse. You’ll find almost all the foods on your menu at a club store, simplifying your weekly shopping trip.
3. Buy Meat In Bulk
Whether you shop at a discount-style store or a regular grocery store, you can often save as much as 50% by buying in bulk. Whatever your favorite types of meat boned chicken breast, lean cuts of beef or even pork buy large discounted packages. Divide them into individual portions.
Freeze most of them (make certain they’re properly wrapped so they don’t spoil or get freezer burn), and put those that you’ll be using within a day or two in the refrigerator.
4. Buy Ready-To-Eat Foods
Bodybuilders overlook a lot of bodybuilding-friendly foods because they get so focused on chicken breasts and rice. In addition to the basics, buy canned fish (sardines, salmon and tuna) and meat. Buy high-protein canned chili. These have long shelf lives and they’re convenient.
5. Eat Foods That Contain Fat
Cheese, nuts and egg yolks are great high-protein foods (and nuts and cheese, if properly stored, also stay fresh for a long time). They contain fats, making them satisfying snacks to curb junk-food or carb cravings. Reduced-fat cheese is probably the best option, but don’t fear the real thing, either. Great snack choices include boiled eggs, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, mixed nuts, cottage cheese and white cheeses, such as mozzarella and Swiss.
6. Drink Milk
Milk usually stays fresh for a week or two after purchase. For those times when you don’t even have what it takes to mix up a protein shake, you can just pull milk out of the refrigerator. Consume 32 ounces, and you get 36 grams (g) of protein with only about 360 calories.
To boost your recovery and anabolic drive, add fat-free or low-fat milk to your protein shake for an infusion of carbs.
7. Prep Food Once A Week
Doing most of your food prep once a week provides a solution to one of the most difficult bodybuilding-nutrition issues: time management. Devote a couple of hours to cooking once a week, and the rest of the week you will be able to make bodybuilding meals in a modicum of time.
The goal is to prepare as much food as you can without spending all your time in the kitchen.