I recently embarked on my very own body transformation with Ultimate Performance, which consists of 12 weeks of a personalised meal plan and workout regime.
As a chef and food fanatic, I knew the biggest challenge for me would be working with my meal plan to keep things exciting.
This isn’t about ‘If It Fits Your Macros’, this is about sticking to a balanced, macronutrient diet with flexible meal ideas that are based solely around the ingredients you have been allocated for the duration of the challenge.
Therefore, my trainer gave me my broad plan featuring meat and fish, healthy fats and vegetables.
Usually, for vegetables, it says ‘AMAP’ meaning ‘as much as possible’ – which allows for most flexibility in terms of keeping food interesting. Eating lots of vegetables also helps to keep you full.
Personally what works for me, is to send a photograph of each meal to my trainer each day, so I decided to put together a ‘Best Of’ every fortnight, to share with you what delicious meals I’ve created, using just the basic ingredients from my plan and a well-stocked spice rack.
1. Chinese Chicken Stir Fry
This recipe used chicken breast, peppers, green beans, spinach, courgette and red onions. You could also use pak choi, spring onions and tenderstem broccoli.
To create this dish, simply marinade the chicken pieces in 1 tsp of Chinese 5 Spice and a pinch of Szechuan pepper.
In a pan, stir fry the marinated chicken and vegetables with one clove of minced garlic and half a chopped red chilli, together with 1 tsp of soy sauce.
Once cooked, season and top with fresh chilli.
2. ‘Pesto’ Chicken in Pecan Crumb
This recipe is slightly more complex, but seriously delicious.
In a food processor, blitz together:
- One handful of spinach
- One handful of rocket
- One sprig of fresh basil
- Juice of half a lemon
- One clove of garlic
In a dry pan, toast your nuts – whichever nuts you are allowed or would like. My plan states 30g of pecans, but walnuts, pine nuts and seeds also work well.
Add the nuts to the food processor and blitz again.
This is your basic pesto.
To create the stuffed chicken, simply slice a pocket into the chicken breast and stuff with the pesto mix.
Roast in the oven fo 25-30 minutes at 170C and top with chopped jalapenos and chopped nuts.
Serve with spinach, mange tout, tomato and tenderstem broccoli salad.
3. Steak and Sweet Potato Stir Fry
This is the ultimate steak dinner.
Slice up your steak into strips (I use rump) and marinade in 1/2 tsp of chipotle chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and a pinch of cumin.
Season well with black pepper and sea salt.
Dice up the sweet potato, season well and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, at 200C, to begin cooking.
In a pan, stir fry the steak and vegetables together with an extra tsp of paprika and 1/2 a tsp of balsamic vinegar.
Once they are almost cooked, add the sweet potato to the pan and 2 tbsp of water.
Cover the pan and cook for five more minutes, to steam the sweet potatoes.
Remove from the heat, season and serve.
You can choose whichever vegetables you like for this recipe, I love courgette, mushrooms, tenderstem broccoli and cavolo nero/kale.
4. Spicy Mediterranean Chicken and Vegetables
A really easy but delicious recipe – you’ll need a few spices, that’s all.
Marinade your chicken in:
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp garlic granules
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar.
- Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
Roast the chicken breast at 180C for 20 minutes, then slice.
In a pan, cook your vegetables with 1/2 fresh chopped chilli, 1/2 tsp garlic granules, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika and sliced red onion.
Add the cooked, sliced chicken and finish with the juice of half a lemon and a little fresh parsley.
I used fresh tomatoes, spinach, peppers, mushrooms and sugar snap peas as my vegetable choices.
5. Sesame Salmon and Sweet Potato Mash
(Please note, for those of you following a macro plan, account for the sesame seeds as a source of fat).
To create this recipe, simply marinate your salmon in the following mix:
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp garlic granules
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Juice of half a lemon
Sprinkle with 1 tsp of sesame seeds and roast in the oven for 15 minutes at 180C.
Prepare your sweet potato mash, either by peeling, dicing and boiling your sweet potato or roasting as a jacket potato and scooping out the flesh.
Add 2 tbsp of broccoli ‘rice’ (blitzed broccoli florets) to the sweet potato mash. This is optional but delicious.
Season well and serve with steamed tenderstem broccoli, asparagus and sugar snap peas.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Top 5 recipes from the start of my transformation.
It just goes to show that eating to a strict meal plan can still be exciting and tasty – with so many variations of each meal on offer. I am always striving to create delicious new flavours, so keep a lookout for the next top 5 meals as I make progress on my fitness journey. You can follow my journey from the very beginning here.
If you want to optimise your training and nutrition to get you in the best shape of your life, simply enquire on the form below…