Put the Men’s Health Nutrition System in action with this daily plan. (Yep, it’s a lot of food!)

Here’s a little biology lesson: as early humans evolved, starvation and deprivation were persistent threats to survival. So they learned to store fat in flush times and burn fewer kilojoules when food was hard to come by – just like bears preparing for hibernation. If you go hungry all day and then eat a heavy evening meal, you’re doing the same thing.

Instead, try eating several small meals, consuming 30% to 35% of your daily kilojoules in the morning. You’ll feel full all day and give your body a chance to burn off what you took in – rather than sleeping on it like a bear.

First Breakfast

The foods:

dairy, eggs, wholegrains, and fibre.
If you usually skip breakfast, start with a glass of milk or a slice of cheese on wholewheat toast. Or, if you wake up ready for a meal, have oats with walnuts and flaxseeds, with some yoghurt and blueberries.

The goal:

To load up on kilojoules.

The rationale:

The protein in milk and other dairy products can increase muscle protein production, helping to promote muscle growth and fat loss after exercise.

Second Breakfast

More of the same! That’s right; eating twice in the a.m. means you’ll take in fewer kilojoules overall.
A lot of guys don’t have the time (or the stomach) to power down a third of their daily allowance first thing in the morning. So breaking up the meal keeps your energy intake shifted to the morning while allowing you to start your day without busting a gut.

Lunch

The foods:

vegetables, beans, fruits, nuts, and wholegrains. Think soups and salads.

The goal:

to pack in as much nutrition as possible.

The rationale:

lunch is the defining moment of your nutritional day. Breakfast is about kilojoule loading, and by dinner the day is shot. So lunch is your chance to feast on at least three representatives from the fruit, vegetable, or legume category – which is why soups and salads are your go-to choices at this time of day.

Dinner

The foods:

leafy greens and other vegetables, lean meats, fish, beans and legumes.

The goal:

to keep portion size down.

The rationale:

a Penn State University study found that eating a low-kilojoule salad before a main course can decrease overall food intake by up to 12%. So start with the green stuff, and then move on to lean protein or an omega-3-rich fish (like salmon or trout).

Snacks

The foods:

yoghurt, berries, walnuts, red peppers with cottage cheese, wholegrain cereal with milk, and apples and cheese.

The goal:

to stave off hunger.

The rationale:

you can’t lose weight and keep it off unless you snack! In fact, studies suggest that people who eat less often than three times a day may have trouble controlling their appetite. So don’t deprive yourself. Raid that pantry. Just choose smartly.

++ Fuelling up before and after…

Why you should eat beforehand

Pre-workout kilojoules fuel your body to perform optimally during your gym time – plus, the right mix of nutrients can help improve your mood and performance. So enjoy one or two servings of carbs and a serving of protein
up to 30 minutes before starting your workout.

Why you should eat afterward

Protein helps your body recover by providing a fresh infusion of amino acids to repair and build muscle. Meanwhile, carbs raise your insulin level, which slows protein breakdown and encourages muscle growth after your workout. Your post-workout meal should basically match what you ate beforehand.