Most people spend more time planning a one-week vacation than they do planning their life. So today, we’re going to use the plate method to plan “all-day plates.”
This practice is all about how to prepare the perfect meal. We’ll cover what the majority of your dishes could consist of, what a post-workout meal could look like, and strategies to make it easier for you to start including more of the good stuff and less of the not so good stuff.
One of the primary focuses in my coaching program is to make your health and nutrition fit seamlessly into your current lifestyle and not to take it over. There was a time for me where I would never go out, I would cancel appointments, and miss opportunities to do fun stuff with family and friends. All because I was only allowed to eat certain foods. It really took over my life.
The strategies below, and the tips in the upcoming practice will help you fit the priorities of your health in with the priorities of your life.
WHAT IS THE ALL DAY PLATE METHOD?
The all-day plate method is a way to divide up your plate to help adjust portion sizes without weighing food or tracking calories. The plate method is used to estimate the portions for protein, vegetables, carbohydrates, and fats.
The all-day plate method can be used to help with weight loss, muscle gain, or general improvements to health and fitness.
WHAT DO THE HEALTHIEST PEOPLE DO?
Take a look at some of the people in your life that you consider to be healthy. If you don’t particularly have any healthy people in your close circle, think of someone you have crossed paths with.
They probably practice the following habits:
- Meals are often prepared ahead of time.
- Meals are typically eaten at specific times during the day.
- They never allow themselves to get too hungry or too full.
- Their largest meals are earlier in the day and become smaller as the day progresses.
- They typically don’t snack or graze all day.
- They usually don’t skip meals.
- Combine different proteins, carbohydrates (mostly veggies), and healthy fats with each meal that they eat.
- Know how to choose healthy foods at restaurants or when in a pinch.
- Almost always seem to be ready with a healthy option.
Don’t worry; you won’t have to practice all of those things. I’m going to simplify the process for you so that you become a nutrition-hacking ninja.
WHAT SHOULD YOUR PLATE CONSIST OF?
An all-day plate is going to be the foundation of your nutrition going forward. All-Day plates are the types of meals you will be eating during the day with the possible exception of after you workout. Your post-workout plates are a bit different but more on that later.
Essentially, your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks will revolve around the all-day plate method.
The basic principles of the Limitless All Day Plate are outlined below, but please review and print out the all-day plate method.
Note: This blog used to be called limitless365 before changing it to my name because I’m a narcissist 🤣
What the all-day plate consists of:
- Beverages: Zero-calorie beverages only. Water, unsweetened tea, black coffee, etc. should be easy for you now after you’ve already crushed that habit.
- Protein: 1-2 palm-sized servings of protein. You’ll adjust the size based on whether you are male or female, your body size, and the results you are tracking.
- Carbohydrates: Enough green leafy veggies to fill your plate and promote satiety. Usually, about 1-2 fist-sized servings. Choose mostly green, leafy veggies, but feel free to include any of the vegetables recommended in the Real Food Chart except for the starchy and high-sugar, post-workout carbohydrates. A piece of fruit here and there.
- Healthy fats: 1-2 tablespoons or roughly thumb-sized servings of healthy fat per meal. This will be very important for keeping your energy up, promoting fat loss, and helping you to feel satiety during the day. Note: for oils and nut butter keep the serving size to 1 tablespoon for women and 2 tablespoons for men.
Males: All-Day Plate
WHAT KINDS OF FOODS ARE BEST TO AVOID OR LIMIT USING THE PLATE METHOD?
Take a common-sense approach with this. It’s probably best to limit our intake of processed foods. That comes in a box, wrapper, through a window, or has ingredients that we can’t pronounce.
However, there is also room in our diet for those foods too. Aim to eat mostly whole foods like lean proteins, vegetables, smart carbs, and healthy fats. Make the majority of your meals at home so you have more control of what and how much you’re eating. Let’s say, 80-90% of the time. And you’ll be alright.
SOME FAQ’S ABOUT THE ALL-DAY PLATE METHOD
Q: This looks like a low carb approach. Is low carb important?
A: Very astute of you my friend. It is a lower carb approach. But no, eating low carb is not important. Carbs do not make us fat. Only eating more calories does, regardless of where those calories come from. I chose to make the all-day plate method low carb (aside from post-workout meals) because it simplified the process for clients.
Q: Can you lose weight by eating smaller portions
A: Yes, if the smaller portions help you create a calorie deficit.
Q: Can you lose weight just by portion control?
A: Yes, if the portions put you in a calorie deficit.
Q: How many meals do I eat per day?
A: Right now you just want to develop the habit of eating all-day plates whenever possible. So whether you eat six today, two tomorrow, and four the following day, you’re good to go as long as they meet the all-day plate method. So if you’re hungry, go ahead and eat. If you’re not, then hold off and let your body be your guide for now.
Q: What about snacks?
A: Snacking to me is very unnecessary and leads to overeating. I recommended eating 2-4 meals and removing snacks completely.
Snacking is usually done out of boredom and not real hunger. If you’re finding that you’re hungry between meals I suggest drinking water with lemon, increasing veggies at each of your meals, and making sure that you’re including healthy fats with each meal.
Q: How do I use the plate method when I’m eating out?
A: This can be tough. Your best bet is to suggest places you already know you can get your all-day plate at. If that is not possible, try to look online for menus and see what their options are before you go. At most places, it’s very easy to get a protein source, vegetable, and healthy fat like olive oil, avocado, or nuts. You may have to ask them to hold off on the potato, rice or bread, and instead substitute extra veggies.
Look for meals that include:
- A source of protein: Chicken, Salmon, Turkey, or Beef. Look for grilled, baked, or barbequed. Avoid breaded, battered, buttered, or fried.
- A source of vegetables: Green and leafy, salads, broccoli, asparagus, and use your real food chart and find some of your favorites.
- Zero-calorie BEVs: Stick with water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee. No sense in adding liquid calories.
- Make smart swaps: 86 the potato and ask for extra veggies. Ask if they can cook your proteins with olive or coconut oil. You can do this with rice and bread as well.
If you go to a restaurant ask them to remove the bread basket or to place it beyond your reach. Sit further away from the buffet line and don’t face it.
THE PLATE METHOD FOR POST-WORKOUT
If fat loss is your primary goal you’ll want the majority of your meals to follow the all-day plate guidelines outlined above. However, if you’re looking for a little boost in performance, are trying to add some more lean muscle, or are at a point where you feel comfortable with the progress you’ve made, you can begin adding in some healthy starchy carbohydrates or more fruit.
This is where the all-day post-workout plate comes into play. This plate is a representation of what your meal may look like following an intense exercise session.
Note: This blog used to be called limitless365 before changing it to my name because I’m a narcissist 🤣
BEST PRACTICES MOVING FORWARD USING THE PLATE METHOD
I’d like you to take a few minutes now to plan 3 days, a week if possible, of eating all-day plates. Grab a pen, notepad, and this food list to create meals for yourself. Just create three meals for each day with maybe one snack option for when an emergency hits.
Don’t get wrapped up in recipes either. They can create feelings of being overwhelmed, too much work, or become a hassle to prepare. You can use our cooking without recipes guide for help.
An example day:
- smoked salmon with spinach, mushrooms, and avocado for breakfast
- ground beef with mixed veggies and coconut oil for lunch
- dinner it might be a big-ass grilled chicken salad with olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing
- snack, I might have a handful of almonds and some celery sticks with sliced strawberries.
A few all-day plate method recipes if needed
Breakfast: Avocado-Bacon Omelets (serves 1-2)
- 4 bacon slices
- 1 avocado
- 2 tbsp. minced red onion
- 1 tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
- 1 dash hot sauce
- 4 eggs
Cook bacon until crisp. While bacon is cooking, whack your avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop the flesh into a bowl. Mash it up, but not too fine—a little texture is nice. Add onion and cilantro to avocado. When the bacon is done, drain it and crumble or snip it into your avocado mixture. Stir it all up.
Now make your omelets, one at a time. Use half the avocado mixture in each. Top with more hot sauce, if desired.
Lunch: Chicken Salad (serves 1-2)
- 1 cup diced cooked chicken
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper
- 1 artichoke heart, cooked and chopped
- 2 scallions, sliced thin, including the crisp part of the green shoot
- 1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley
- 1-4 tbsp. of olive oil as a dressing
Cut everything up and put it in a mixing bowl.
Dinner: Carnitas (serves 2-4)
- 1 ½ lb. pork shoulder, exclusive of bone
- 1 tsp. salt (optional)
Trim any major layers of fat off your pork shoulder, but don’t try to get it too lean; you’ll need the fat later on. Cut your pork into chunks roughly 1½ to 2 inches.
Put the pork in your big, heavy skillet—you want a single layer, but the pork cubes can be very close together. Cover with water, add the salt, if using, and put over
a burner set to medium-high heat. Bring water to a boil, then turn the burner down to low—you want to keep the water barely simmering. Now let your pork cubes simmer, about 3-4 hours. (If you happen to be wandering through the kitchen, turn the cubes over once or twice.)
Let your pork simmer until the water has completely cooked away. Continue cooking, letting the pork cubes brown in the fat that has collected in the bottom of the skillet. When they’re crisply brown, they’re done.
Serve over salad and topped with avocado slices.
Big Tip: Use 1-2 days per week to prepare all of your meals for that week. I like Sunday and Wednesday personally, and simplifying your food choices – like in the examples above – allows you to cook in batches. When you get sick of eating one of the meals you’ve been making, come up with another.
DO DIET PLATES AND PLATE METHODS LIKE THIS ACTUALLY WORK?
However, something like the plate method might not be the right fit for you. It’s simply another tool in your toolbox that you can experiment with and use as needed.
You can also weigh portions and track calories. Use strategies like intermittent fasting. Or follow diets like keto and paleo. Ultimately, finding what you’re likely to do over an extended period of time is most important.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NEXT
Plan your week of eating all-day plates by writing down specifically what you plan to make each day. Remember, your body has no idea what breakfast, lunch, and dinner “should” look or taste like, so get creative and have fun.
Write down your habit to practice for this week and carry it around with you, or place it in a location that is easy for you to see, as a reminder.