Since I dropped 30+ pounds of fat nearly 15 years ago, I’ve had a lean body.
I’ve been able to eat in a way that fuels my body and helps me feel exceptional energy.
The primary strategy I’ve used over all these years – which is the same strategy that has helped men all around the world who have followed our BuiltLean Program – is go-to meals.
The power of this strategy is that the effects compound over time to transform your body in a more effortless way.
What Is A Go-To Meal?
A go-to meal is a balanced, nutritious meal that is easy to prepare or order that satisfies you. In the BuiltLean Program, the go-to meals are at a specific calorie level.
The BuiltLean eating plan is not a diet, but a strategy that includes the following:
- Go-to meals
- Eating guidelines
Depending on your personality, you may eat mostly go-to meals and really crave the structure. Some men enjoy more variety and flexibility, so they emphasize eating guidelines instead. Whether you prefer more rigid structure or more flexibility, this framework is powerful and can work for you.
Why Should You Create Go-To Meals?
1. Get Lean On Autopilot
The most important reason to create go-to meals is to help you get lean on autopilot.
Our habits are unconscious. We don’t really think about them consciously.
By consciously creating some simple meals that are nutritious we eat most of the time, we create healthful eating habits.
If you want to drop some fat, you can create the go-to meals in advance with calorie levels already figured out so you ensure your success.
Go-to meals are not a panacea for obesity and ill-health, but they can be a game changer for a lot of men to sustainably change their eating habits and improve their health.
2. Huge Productivity Hack
The fewer decisions you must make, the more time and energy you can put into other things that are important to you.
The desire to eat is deeply ingrained in our biology. The human brain is hardwired for survival. We must eat to survive.
When you are unsure what you want to eat all the time, do you know what happens?
You put in a significant amount of time and energy into thinking about it & procuring it whether or not you are consciously aware of this.
One study found that the average person makes over 200 food decisions a day!1 How does your computer run when it has 50 windows open at the same time? Usually pretty slow.
Not only will you free up mental headspace, but you will also save a huge amount of time and stress figuring out what you have to eat all the time.
3. Learn Proper Portions
A lot of guys struggle with their portions and tend to gorge themselves frequently. At points in human history, gorging ourselves was probably necessary. In modern times where food is ever present in developed societies, this isn’t the case.
After you create some go-to meals, you will start to get a good feel for portions and how much you really need to eat to feel satisfied. You will also be more keenly aware when you eat far more food than you really needed.
How Do You Create Go-To Meals?
There is no specific formula or step-by-step system to create a go-to meal.
Instead, consider the following criteria:
- Unprocessed foods
- Emphasize fruits and vegetables
- Emphasize protein
- Tasty and satisfying
- Easy to prep or order
By emphasizing fruits and vegetables – and unprocessed foods in general, your meals will have more fiber and be more filling. In addition, eating ample protein leads to eating fewer calories overall, so emphasizing protein in meals can help you feel more satisfied.
The last element to consider is the calories in each meal. I personally don’t figure out calories in all my meals upfront, but if I wanted to drop some weight, I definitely would.
What has worked well is three square meals of 600 calories each, which could be a lot of food or a little depending on how each meal is crafted.
In our BuiltLean Program, we present 10 breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Of course, we can provide more if someone wants, but 30 choices offer variety without being overwhelming.
Go-To Breakfast Examples
1. Banana Nut Greek Yogurt
2. Berry Protein Shake
3. Protein Oatmeal
Go-To Lunch Examples
1. California Turkey Wrap
2. Protein & Potatoes
3. Veggie Fried Rice
Go-To Dinner Examples
1. BuiltLean Burrito Bowl
2. BuiltLean Burger
3. BuiltLean Salad
Putting in the time to make your go-to meals is worth it. Some guys have the same breakfast every day (that’s 300+ meals a year), so it makes sense to really nail it. You also may want to iterate your go-to meals for the first few weeks to get them to fit you like a glove.
Do you have any go-to meals you really love? Any thoughts to share?
- Wansink B, Sobal J. Mindless eating: the 200 daily food decisions we overlook. Environment and Behavior. 2007;39(1):106-123. ↩