The overarching principles of how I eat are to get the majority of my calories from meat and vegetables while avoiding going into ketosis. Pavel Tsastouline explained the first premise with his quote of “meat for strength, vegetables for health”, and the reason for avoiding ketosis is simply that I have not known anyone that achieved a high level of strength while being in ketosis.
If the goal is fat loss, I have found success by sticking primarily with a vegetable medley of carrots, cauliflower and broccoli and eating a lot of it in order to stay satiated without taking in much in terms of calories. For weight gain, one could introduce some manner of potato (sweet or otherwise). I’ve also enjoyed oatmeal as a carbohydrate source.
I am the type of person that can eat the same thing everyday for months on end, so there is little variety in my diet when it’s up to me to prepare my food. My primary protein source is ground beef, but I will also cook pot roasts, chicken tenderloins, and steaks. I enjoy eggs, but find I have to eat a ton of them to get satiated, and don’t enjoy the effort that goes in to making so many at once. I know I should eat fish, but I just plain don’t. I also drink 2 protein shakes a day, one first thing in the morning and one post training/dinner. When I am losing weight, I use skim milk, when I am gaining weight, I use whole milk.
"Will it get me jacked? What did the chicken total?"
For vegetables, I primarily buy frozen veggies. I like vegetable medley of carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, but if that’s not available, I go with frozen broccoli. I’ll buy bagged salads if I’m feeling lazy and want to make a taco salad on occasions, but in general I keep things very simple.
I also aim for at least a gallon of water a day. When training volume gets really heavy while food is light, I move up to 2 gallons, which helps me feel fuller longer. I am a diet soda fiend as well, and find it’s helpful for variety and satisfying any sweet cravings, but I also and simply a caffeine addict.
Cooking does not need to be complicated. Food simply must be safe to eat so that you can keep training and getting stronger. It also doesn't take a long time to cook basic meals, and preparing food ahead of time will really shave off time invested.
3 basic tools you need in the kitchen are a good frying pain (or foreman grill), a slow cooker, and a corningware style dish that you can cover. Chicken and pot roasts can be cooked in a slow cooker while you are at work/school and requires just a few minutes of prep, ground beef can be browned in a frying pain in about 8 minutes, and veggies can be cooked in the corningware dish in the microwave in about 5 minutes. A meal takes almost no time to prep, while still being very filling and helpful for recovery/training. If you want to get more complex than this, you are free to do so, but I survived in a hotel room for 2 months on a business trip using a foreman grill, slow cooker and corningware dish while still setting PRs in the weightroom.
You aren't Kali Muscle, don't even try.
MEAL: Pot Roast and veggies
1 pot roast (whatever size you want. The bigger the roast, the more leftovers you have)
1 packet of onion soup mix
Mixed veggies (as much as you want. You can’t overeat veggies)
Put pot roast in slow cooker. Cover with water until at least top of roast is covered. Throw in onion soup mix. Set slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours. You can either throw veggies in for the last 30 minutes or cook them in a corningware dish (mix in some water, cook covered for 2.5 minutes, stir veggies, then cook again covered for 2.5 minutes).
MEAL: Ground beef and veggies
Ground beef (at least 1lb. Percentage is up to you. I like 93% lean)
Mixed veggies (as above)
Taco seasoning (optional)
Brown ground beef in frying pan until there is no longer pink present. You can make into patties if you desire. Once beef is cooked, you can mix in taco seasoning for flavor, or eat plain. Make veggies in microwave as detailed above. If you want more condiments, I like sour cream and taco sauce, and cheese can be helpful for adding fats.
MEAL: Slow cooker chicken
Chicken (tenderloin or breasts)
1 jar of salsa or 1 can of tomato sauce
Mixed veggies (as above)
Like the pot roast, throw the chicken in the slow cooker, cover it either with salsa or tomato sauce (whatever you’re in the mood for) and let cook for 6-8 hours on low. You can top with cheese for the last 20 minutes if you want to add some more flavor, and either let the veggies cook in the slow cooker or in the microwave, as detailed in the pot roast instructions.
Those are 3 very simple meals with few ingredients necessary, and a limitless amount of variations possible. The slow cooker is an amazing tool for a busy trainee, because it makes huge meals with zero effort. You can use it to hardboil eggs, make chili, cook ribs, make mashed potatoes, pretty much anything you can dream of. Additionally, it makes cheap cuts of meat very tender and tasty, which will be great on your wallet.
Hopefully you’ll be able to gain something from the above. It works for me, and the minimal amount of thinking/planning involved makes it easier to invest more time in training and getting stronger.