Soy & Wasabi Salmon Skewers

salmon skewers

This is hands down, my favourite recipe. The taste from the soy & wasabi glaze is out of this world. Don’t worry about the wasabi being too hot, when it’s mixed with the soy and cooked, it becomes more of a salty, spicy marinade rather than the mind-blowing wasabi paste you have with sushi. Wasabi paste is available in all supermarkets now, so don’t be shy if you’ve not cooked with it before, it’s nice and easy to find.

This is perfect with my sticky coconut & coriander rice.

Adapted from Dale Pinnock’s ‘Healthy Everyday’

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp (or a good squeeze) Wasabi paste
  • 4 spring onions
  • Wooden/metal skewers

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Line a baking tray with foil.

Mix the soy sauce and wasabi paste in a medium size bowl and whisk together to form a smooth marinade with no lumps. Set aside.

Remove the skin from the salmon fillets by gently running a sharp knife just underneath the skin, away from your body. Cut the salmon fillets into 5-6 chunks. Stab each chunk with the knife to make a little cut. This allows the marinade to penetrate the salmon so you don’t have to soak it for hours. Add the chunks to the marinade bowl and use your hands to coat the salmon pieces in the japanese sauce. Leave to marinate for 10 mins (or longer, if you have time).

Clean the spring onions and chop the ends off. Slice each onion into 5 sections, each about 4cm long.

Take your skewers and thread the onion and salmon pieces alternately. Place the skewers on the foil-lined baking tray and bake for 20 mins, turning after 10. Be careful of the skewers – they get hot!

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What I Eat: Minimal Effort Macro Shopping List

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Sticking to nutritional goals is a massive challenge for most people, from those who compete professionally to those who are battling weight loss. With the amount of effort meal prep and macros can be, it’s no wonder, a full-time job and regular training routine takes up enough time as it is, before you’ve even thought about what you’re eating or feeding the rest of your family.

Unfortunately, when you start training properly, it becomes pretty obvious that the gym does not ‘free’ up calories for you to replace as soon as you get back to the fridge and if you want to reach whatever goal you’ve set yourself, nutrition is of equal importance to your workout, as well as playing a vital role in keeping you motivated and energised.

To make it all a little easier, I have a list that I order online when I’m short of time, can’t be bothered to think, too tired etc etc. It’s like that show Ready, Steady, Cook! Lay it all out, grab things and you’ve got a decent meal with minimal effort. My list comprises mostly of unrefined carbs, healthy fats and protein. These mostly whole ingredients can be made into a variety of easy, nutritionally balanced meals when you’re struggling.

It’s not perfect, as you can see I’m not a massive fan of fruit and dark green veg (oooops), but this is what fits my macros, doesn’t cost the earth and also what I won’t have to kid myself I like and then end up throwing in the bin (KALE).

shopping list

A few(but not all) ideas:

Breakfasts:

  • eggs + spinach + peppers = omelet
  • Total Greek + blueberries + oats + maple syrup
  • oats + blueberries + milk + maple syrup = porridge
  • steak + eggs

Lunches:

  • hot smoked salmon fillet + spinach + quinoa salad
  • avocado + chicken breast + quinoa salad
  • tuna + hard boiled eggs + spinach salad
  • wholewheat pasta + spring onions + tuna salad with creme fraiche mayo
  • baked sweet potato + cottage cheese

Dinners:

Desserts:

  • Total Greek + maple syrup + chocolate + blueberries
  • All the above frozen = frozen yoghurt
  • melted chocolate + almonds/brazils/pecans from mixed nuts
  • avocado + chocolate + maple syrup = rich chocolate mousse
  • chocolate rice cakes + Total Greek + blueberries

 

Most supermarkets allow you to save lists like this online, so you can literally just book a slot and press a button and your food arrives the next day. This is a god send if you’re pushed for time. Or not, I mean who actually wants to spend any time in the supermarket anyway?! To make your own list, check your MyFitnessPal or keep a food diary for 7 days. Work out what you eat the most of and how versatile these ingredients are and then just save it all, with a few options (as above) stuck on the fridge. It will seriously stop post-gym binges, late night take-outs & the hours of beating yourself up that usually follow.

It’s a bit of effort, but saves you a lot along the way..if you try it, tweet me & let me know how you get on x

Baked Vanilla Protein Cheesecake

cheesecake

I’ve been trying to perfect a protein cheesecake recipe for ages now and have eaten a lot of luke warm cottage cheese with lumps of protein in for the cause. To be honest though, the filling was the easy bit. Trying to make a low carb base that didn’t taste like cardboard was much tougher (lolllll…..sorry).

This is perfect if you’re a) lazy and b) hate carbs. The caramel sauce is sugar free and the base is ground almonds & peanut butter. I find it easier to use cup measurements for some desserts like this where you can just chuck everything in a bowl & mix it up. If you don’t have a cup set, work out the volume of your protein scoop & use that, or convert the units online. I used liquid egg whites which you can get everywhere now. Separating eggs is fine, but if they can come out of a carton, even better!

Ingredients:

Base:

  • 3 tablespoons organic peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp Sweet Freedom (or honey/agave syrup)

Cheesecake filling:

  • 1 small pot (170g) 0% Fat Total Greek yoghurt
  • 150g low fat cottage cheese
  • 100g low fat Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup vanilla whey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional – if your whey is weak on flavour you’re gonna want this)
  • 1/4 cup liquid egg whites

Caramel sauce:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3-4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Equipment:

1 small spring form, non stick tin, greased with coconut oil.

Preheat oven to 160C/150C fan.

Method:

Put all the base ingredients into a bowl & mix until it looks like dense sand. If it’s too wet, add more ground almonds. Press into the tin with your knuckles.

For the filling, mix all the ingredients together in a bowl & whisk until the whey is mixed in properly. Pour it on top of the base & bake in the oven for 35-40 mins. Don’t let it cook like a sponge cake, it should wobble & look kind of uncooked in the middle when you take it out.

Leave the cheescake to cool at room temp for 15 mins or so, then fridge it until it’s set.

For the sauce, mix the watery and cream bits of the coconut milk together in a bowl, take a cup of it and put it in a small frying pan, along with the other sauce ingredients. Bring it to the boil and then leave it, shaking the pan occasionally, until really big bubbles form & it looks quite dark, like a whiskey colour. Take it off the heat & stir to check if it’s ready, then drizzle on the cheesecake after you’ve sliced it up.

Approx macros per slice

30g protein

10g carbs

14g fat

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My Daily Diet

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This post is for all the lovely girls who ask me what I eat & how much of it! Unfortunately it’s quite hard for women to know how much we should eat, what and when particularly if you’re trying to lose weight. Women’s media has reported for so long that if you eat a low calorie diet, you’ll be skinny. While it’s largely true that if you burn more calories than you take in, your weight will drop; eating half the recommended daily allowance isn’t the answer for most of us.

I didn’t realise how little I was eating until I started using MyFitness Pal to log my food and count my macros. I was really low on energy when I started training regularly and would crash out as soon as I got in from the gym. It was difficult to start eating my recommended daily calories, it felt like my stomach wasn’t big enough and I had to remind myself to make time to eat actual meals instead of my 1 meal a day and a bunch of snacks. I think this is the case for so many women and a lot of girls who contact me about diet & workouts are confused about why they don’t look how they want to when they’re hardly eating. Even if you don’t want to count macros all the time, it’s a good starting point to make a habit of it for a few months, until you build up an awareness of what to eat, how much and how often to make yourself feel healthier and stronger. Diet is absolutely integral to reaching aesthetic goals & building a basic understanding of nutrition is really important if you’re looking for optimum results from your workout. Training and diet is a vital partnership, results won’t be at their best if you have one without the other. Once you’ve built a foundation, you won’t have to log and count everything unless you want to, or you’re training specifically for something.

It took me a while to start to recognise the nutritional profile of certain foods and when I did I found I was eating more or less the same thing all the time just to hit macros. Now, I try and vary it and try new things by substituting the standard rice and chicken for other grains and lean meats like quinoa or turkey. Still, there are certain things I order every time I shop and I’ll do a post later in the week about what they are and why I rely on them.

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This is a typical food diary for me, I’m 5’5″, weigh 56kg with 17% body fat and eat 2200-2300kcal a day, with a macro split of approx 241g carbs, 165g protein and 64g fat. Sometimes I switch it up so it’s lower carb & higher fat, but try to stick to weekly macros, including if I decide to have a cheat meal.

Breakfast Calories Carbs Fat Protein Iron Sugar
3 Egg Omelette with spinach 210 1 15 19 0 1
210 1 15 19 0 1
Lunch

Chicken & Cashew nuts with broccoli

Sainsbury’s – Chicken Diced Breast, 150 g 236 0 6 45 0 0
Small Handful – Cashew Nuts, 25 g 146 6 11 6 0 2
Sainsburys – Brown Rice, 60 g uncooked 212 43 2 5 0 0
594 49 19 56 0 2
Dinner: Herb crusted grilled chicken w/sweet potato mash, kale & spinach
Mashed Sweet Potato (W/o Skin, Boiled), 250 grams 190 45 0 5 4 0
Sainsburys – Chicken Breast Fillet Portions –  150 g 207 0 3 46 0 0

397 45 3 51 4 0
Snacks
Cnp – Pro Peptide protein shake 1 X 3 Scoop Serving, 3 Scoops 230 6 3 45 0 3
Sainsbury’s – 1% Fat Milk, 350 ml 151 17 4 13 0 17
Petit Filous Strawberry – 50g Pot, 100 g 96 13 2 5 0 12
Blueberries – Raw, 25 g 14 4 0 0 0 2
Metcalfe’s Skinny Topcorn – Sweet N’ Salt Popcorn, 25 g bag 115 18 5 2 0 5
Green and Blacks Organic – Mini Chocolate Bars, 15 g bar 84 7 5 1 0 0
Sainsbury’s – 1% Fat Milk, 200 ml 86 10 2 7 0 10

792 78 21 73 0 49
Intra Workout
Haribo – Tangfastics, 40 g 136 31 0 3 0 24
136 31 0 3 0 24
Totals 2,129 204 58 202 4 76
Your Daily Goal 2,200 248 61 165 100 77
Remaining 71 44 3 -37 96 1
Calories Carbs Fat Protein Iron Sugar

Chipotle chicken, salsa & corn: Gains in a bag!

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I seem to start nearly every recipe post by banging on about how simple it is; but seriously, a blind monkey could make this one.

The secret is to buy Bart Smokey Chipotle Rub, because the whole recipe uses this massive plastic baking bag which is packaged up really small inside the spice box. Essentially, you just chuck the corn, chicken and spices in the bag and then chop up the salsa ingredients – that is literally IT. You could make it with a different brand and cover it with foil in a baking tray; but for simplicity and ease, just buy the Bart one.

If you haven’t tried chipotle yet, you’re either crazy, or living on the moon. It’s been popping up everywhere over the past year, from street food to Southern American rib & burger joints that are taking over at the moment.  The spice has a really smokey, barbeque flavour which is perfect with meat. You can buy it in rubs, sauces, marinades, jams; all with varying levels of heat. I’ve made chipotle ribs before with a sauce; but didn’t post them because it was so spicy it was inedible!! The rub I bought for this gave the smokey depth you can only achieve with this spice, but just the right amount of heat to enhance the flavour without losing it. If you’re a gym bunny who’s shoveling chicken & rice on the daily, chipotle is a must – it transforms the ordinary into an addictive must-have.

Serves 4 (small plates (1 chicken breast, 1 cob, 1 serving salsa) or 2 large. If you want something more substantial, a baked sweet potato with low fat cottage cheese would go well with this.

Ingredients:

  • 4  British Chicken Breast Fillets
  • 4 whole sweetcorn
  • 27g pack Bart Smokey Chipotle Rub
  • 1 tbsp clear honey

For the salsa:

  • 400g can black eyed beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lime

Method:

Put the chicken and sweetcorn in the marinade bag, with the honey and chipotle, tie it and shake it up to coat. Leave it to marinate for about 20 mins while you make the salsa.

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For the salsa, just chop all the ingredients and combine in a bowl with the oil and lime juice.

Preheat the oven to 190C/180C fan and put the bag in a roasting tin to cook for 25 mins. Be really careful opening it, steam burns are nasty! Serve with the salsa!

Tip: This is an ideal BBQ dish, cook as above and finish off on the coals!

Approx Macros: 395kcals, 10.5g fat, 31.2g carbohydrate, 43.8g protein per serving

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Thai salmon burgers with lime & ginger quinoa

salmon burgers

Unfortunately I can’t take credit for this recipe, but I had to post it because its one of my favourites, super nutritious and absolutely packed with protein. The key ingredients, salmon, quinoa and edamame (soy) beans are all rich sources of it and one serving should contain at least 42g. The Thai spices make this fun and tasty to eat, a nice change from chicken & rice…

Adapted from Dale Pinnock’s Healthy Everyday

Serves 4 (or two if you’re hungry)

Approx Macros:

Protein – 42g, Carbs – 50g, Fat – 23g

Ingredients
  • 4 skinless salmon fillets, cubed
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Thai green curry paste
  • Juice of 2 limes, plus wedges to serve
  • 2cm pieces of ginger
  • 200g quinoa
  • 150g edamame beans (fresh or frozen)
  • Large bunch fresh coriander, coarsely chopped
  • Splash olive oil, for frying
  • Salt & pepper
Method
  1. Place the salmon, garlic, Thai curry paste and half the lime juice in a food processor, season with salt, and process into a smooth, mince-like texture. If you don’t have a processor or blender, steam the salmon then flake it and mix with the above ingredients.
  2. Remove the mixture, divide in half, and using your hands, form 4 burger patty shapes (or 8 small ones). Set aside in the fridge to firm up slightly. If you’ve pre-cooked the salmon, make sure it’s completely cool before you fridge it. You could freeze the burgers at this point too.
  3. Put the quinoa in a pan with the piece of ginger, cover with boiling water, and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until just tender (if your edamame beans are frozen, at the same time, boil these for 3-4 minutes in a separate pan until tender) .
  4. Drain the quinoa and stir in the edamame beans, remaining lime juice and coriander. Season with salt & pepper. Stir well and set aside.
  5. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, add the salmon burgers, and fry for 5 minutes on each side, or just until solid & warmed through if salmon is pre-cooked.
  6. Place some quinoa on the center of each plate. Place the burger on top and garnish with coriander and lime wedges

Sin-free Fried Chicken

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I’ve been trying to create a healthy version of fried chicken for ages and have tried so many combinations in search of that crispy, crunchy coating with the juicy, soft chicken center. I’ve finally found the resounding winner- thank god- or I’d be starting to look like I was on some kind of dirty bulk..just in time for summer!

Fried chicken will always have a high fat content, because it’s cooked by hot fat soaking into the meat. This recipe minimizes damage limitation by using coconut oil a raw, pure fat source which is easily synthesized by the body and perfect for high-heat frying. Instead of a carb loaded batter, I used a beaten egg, dessicated coconut and quinoa flakes. The quinoa flakes are like really fine porridge oats, with a high protein content. It fries up really crispy and the coconut gives it a bit of a Caribbean feel. I serve this with chipotle sauce, which I’m obsessed with and sweet potato fries & coleslaw (recipe coming up soon!)

Ingredients:

  • Chicken strips, or breasts cut into strips
  • Dessicated coconut
  • quinoa flakes
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt & pepper to season

Method:

Beat the egg into a shallow bowl & season generously with salt & pepper. Cover a large plate or tray with a mixture of the quinoa flakes and dessicated coconut (how much you use of each is up to your individual taste) and more salt and pepper. Get another plate out and put it next to this one.

Dip the chicken strips in the beaten egg, then roll across the quinoa-coconut plate. Make sure the chicken is totally covered in the quinoa and coconut. If it’s not sticking, dip it back in the egg and then coat again. Keep doing this until all your chicken strips are coated and on the clean plate.

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Heat a large frying pan on a high heat and add the coconut oil. It will need to heat to a high temperature, so when it looks shimmery, drop a few quinoa flakes in. If they turn into crispy, golden flakes within a few seconds, the oil is hot enough. Add the chicken strips carefully. Turn them with tongs after a couple of minutes and fry until the coating is golden all over. Cut one in half to ensure the chicken is cooked through, then drain the rest on a slotted spoon over kitchen paper.

Serve and enjoy, guilt free!

Chocolate protein banana loaves

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Banana bread is one of life’s greatest comforts, but it can be far from wholesome. I bought these little loaf cases from Waitrose a while ago and have been wanting to use them for something I can snack on during those 3pm sugar cravings I know so well. No longer a straight-up carb party, I’ve added a whey/casein blend protein powder to this, to level the nutritional content a bit.

I’ve used hazelnuts, but walnuts or almonds would work well too, as would vanilla or banana whey. If you don’t care about the protein evaluate your priorities
substitute with flour instead. If you want to lower the fat content, leave the nuts & chocolate out altogether and switch the almond milk for water. Play around with it to suit your taste/macros.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium bananas, mashed
  • 2 scoops of whey protein
  • 170g whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 egg whites
  • 10g stevia
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 150ml almond milk
  • few squares 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • Handful of chopped hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp Maca powder (optional for a superfood boost/slightly malted flavour)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C, 170C fan.

Mix all the dry ingredients together, except for the nuts and chocolate. Mix together the wet ingredients, including the bananas, then add them to the dry. The texture should be like a thick, stiff cake batter, that falls off a spoon when you tap it sharply.

Add the hazelnuts and chocolate and stir up together. Put into greased cases, as above, or a large greased loaf tin. I use coconut oil for a clean grease. Fill them very slightly past half way, as they’ll rise.

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Baking time depends on your oven and the size of the loaves. I baked mine for 30 mins, a larger cake will take 45-50. After 30 mins uninterrupted baking (do not open that door) insert a skewer or sharp knife and it should come out roughly clean. If it’s covered in uncooked cake batter, give it another 10 and check again. When they’re baked, leave to cool slightly on a wire rack.

Will keep in an air tight tin for 4-5 days.

Pre-workout Protein Porridge

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This is the ultimate pre-workout, especially if you’re a morning person. Slow release carbs for steady energy release, plenty of protein for muscle building and good fat for synthesis & even more energy. The syrup/honey and cacao nibs also provide an instant kick to get you going when the birds aren’t even singing yet.
I like to add peanut butter for flavour, if I’m knackered I sometimes put a tsp of Nutella in too (I know, I know, but COME ON!) You could also use nuts, seeds, fruit or spices like ginger, nutmeg & cinnamon. Switch it up!

Ingredients:

– 1 cup instant oats
– 200-250ml milk
– 1-2 scoops whey powder
– 1/2 tbsp peanut butter (optional)
– squeeze of Sweet Freedom syrup/honey
– cacao nibs

Method:

– Make a protein shake with they whey and milk, as usual. Add a bit more milk to make it thinner than you’d usually drink

– Put the oats in a bowl and chuck the shake on top. Stir it up really well and microwave on high for 1 min 50. Leave to cool for 30 seconds and add more milk if it’s too frothy or stodgy.

– If using peanut butter, stir it in now. Add the toppings & enjoy!

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Macro right for your type!

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Forget calories, if you want to buff up, you need to start counting your macros. Macronutrients refer to your daily protein, carbohydrate (including sugars) and fat intake. They are basically a solid way of eating healthily and ensuring your body gets  all the energy and power it needs to function within your daily calorie intake.

Macros are especially important if you’re trying to change your body. When I first joined the gym, one of my primary reasons was so I could look good but still eat what I liked. When my results quickly hit a plateau and I sought help from a PT and the internet (of course, who wouldn’t?!) I discovered that unfortunately, you can work out every day of your life, but if your diet sucks, your body will too.

I felt incredibly tired after workouts, when what I was actually hoping for was a new lease of energy and life. Why was I spending £50 a month and lifting all these weights if I was sabotaging myself in the kitchen as soon as I got home?

I committed to change my diet in January and since amping up my strength training (more on this coming soon) I’ve been really into counting macros. Knowing I am getting the right amount of protein for toned, lean muscle, enough carbs for energy and the right amount of healthy fat to keep me feeling full makes me feel like I’m making the most out of my workout. I feel healthier and full of energy, no matter how late I have to stay at work, or how early I have to get up. They say abs are built in the kitchen and since counting macro’s my tummy is flat every day!

The key to tracking macros is simple now that there are so many great nutrition apps. How far you get into it depends on your lifestyle and goals. You can track macros simply, or you can work out your split per meal and get really rigid with it. Generally though, unless you’re training 5+ times a week, keeping it simple will help you maintain it as part of your lifestyle.

So if you want more energy, better results from your workout and increased strength and fitness, start in your kitchen.

1. Find your body type

Everyone’s body is different and will require a different calorie intake. Find out whether your body shape is Ectomorph, Mesomorph or Endomorph. Superskinnyme is helpful if these words look like Spanish to you, they even have a calculator.

2. Know what you need  for your body type:

The values below are based on a sustainable body fat loss of 1/2 a kilogram a week. If you want to maintain your current body fat (this is not weight, but the percentage of your body which is just fat) then you can increase your calorie intake slightly, by up to 500 Kcal per day.

An Ectomorph female of 50kg will need around 2050 calories a day and the macro breakdown will be as follows:

Protein – 150g    Carbs – 227g    Fat – 60g

For every 10kg of weight, add 300 calories, 30g protein, 8g fat and 27g of carbs.

A Mesomorph female of 50kg will need around 1780 calories a day, with macro breakdown of:

Protein – 150g    Carbs – 201g    Fat – 42g

For every 10kg of weight, add 30g protein, 6g fat and 21g carbs.

An Endomorph female of 50kg will need around 1540 calories a day and the macro breakdown will be as follows:

Protein – 150g    Carbs – 132g    Fat – 46hg

For every 10kg of weight, add 30g protein, 8g fat and 11g carbs.

3. Track your macro intake!

Download the My Fitness Pal App, a kind of high-tech food diary. You just type in what you’re eating, or even better, scan the barcode using your phone camera and it automatically registers all of the macro nutrients and also the micro nutrients too (vitamins and minerals). You can click on the pie chart button and basically ensure you’re meeting your daily intake.

Macro Tips:

If I’m planning dinner out and know what I’m having (ie. a massive, greasy burger…) I try to log ahead of time, so I can still have a treat and ensure the rest of my food that day fits into my macros…guilt free!

If you’re not used to training or working out regularly, 150g protein will seem like a lot. I sometimes need 2 protein shakes to meet that if I’m not having a lot of meat or fish that day. If getting a lean, toned look is your primary goal, protein is your most important macro to meet and you may want to consider shakes for convenience. Otherwise, get used to carrying turkey breasts around in your pocket for an opportune snack.

I hope this guide has made macros friendly and simple. If you use it or want any advice, comment, contact or tweet me!