Hello and welcome! We are a team of Accredited Practising Dietitians (APDs) and Sports Dietitians, who are passionate about helping YOU achieve your health and nutrition goals. We are thrilled that Body Fit Training has chosen us to create your 8 Week Challenge menus and nutrition content. This guide will help you to understand our vision, and to use our menu plans for achieving your challenge goals. We also hope to instil lasting healthy habits that keep you happy and healthy beyond these next 8 weeks.
We are available to chat with you via email or Facebook for the duration of this challenge, so if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate – please contact us! We also have 7 clinics in Metro Melbourne, and would be delighted to see you for detailed personalised advice and menu planning, should you need it!
Would you like to know more about us? Check out our website www.thenutritioncode.com.au for details about our services, our practice locations, and more fabulous nutrition content!
The Nutrition Code Team – Samantha Stuk, Jessica Fuller and Teagan Hollis
Why follow a meal plan?
Following a meal plan can make life so much easier, especially when weight loss is your goal! It removes a lot of the guesswork involved in food choices, and therefore improves the chances of results. It helps teach about portion sizes, different healthy meal ideas and flavour combinations. Following a meal plan also encourages the development of new healthy habits such as meal prepping, bulk cooking and organisation. Plus, you don’t have to think about what to cook each night, it’s all planned for you!
Why follow our plan?
This plan has been created especially for you – participants of the BodyFit Training ‘8-week challenge’! Meals and snacks have been carefully selected and compiled by The Nutrition Code dietitians, with the purpose of promoting adequate nutrient intake for overall wellbeing, weight loss and exercise recovery. It is designed to be easy to follow, and includes simple recipes that are easy to cook. We have also listened to feedback from previous challenges – for example, our plan includes repetition of ingredients, meals and snacks to improve simplicity, and to reduce food wastage and expenses.
What calorie targets have we chosen, and why?
The calorie targets from your meal plan have been particularly selected based on the NRVs (nutrient reference values). The NRVs are a set of figures created based on evidence that guide dietitians on how much food and nutrients a particular person may need.
The calorie targets we have selected:
To come up with these calorie targets we have used the following guidelines:
Please be aware that these are generalised guidelines. If you are after personalised calorie targets, we recommend that you seek further advice by making an appointment with The Nutrition Code Dietitians. You may need personalised calorie targets if you:
Why 15-20g protein per meal?
We have aimed for a minimum of 15-20g of protein per meal in both the standard and vegetarian plans. Protein is essential to good health, and is particularly helpful for weight loss, appetite regulation and reducing sugar cravings. This is because protein is slow to digest, keeping your tummy full. Protein also prolongs the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream after a meal, keeping your blood sugars stable for longer. Protein helps to preserve muscle mass, strength and metabolic rate. Studies recommend that we eat 15-20g protein every 3-4 hours (i.e. at each main meal) for optimising muscle growth and recovery.
Why bulk cooking?
This meal plan involves some bulk cooking and meal repetition. This is designed to reduce the time required for you to be cooking, which we know can be exhausting, particularly when you’re increasing your workout schedule too. Meal repetition may also reduce the grocery bill and prevent wastage of ingredients.
How to use:
The meal plan format:
This meal plan assumes you share a dinner with another person, however all breakfasts and lunches are single serves. All recipes have been created with this in mind, so meals for dinner will allow for two portions, and recipes for lunches will allow for one portion. For example, if there is a meal used for one dinner and two lunch across the week, the recipe will ‘serve 4’ (i.e. two dinners and two lunches).
We have created this meal plan so that all recipes for both men and women are the same (with men occasionally needing to add a side for additional calories), to allow for couples to follow the plan conveniently. We have also tried to minimise variations in recipes between the standard and vegetarian plans.
Sunday – the ‘start’ of the week:
We have chosen to format your weekly plans beginning with Sunday. We suggest that you use Sunday (or Saturday) for food shopping and preparing the bulk cooked recipes for the upcoming week.
How to adapt the meal plan for:
For best results, we suggest that you limit the number of times you swap out meal plan recipes for family favourites. Alternatively, seek personalised advice with The Nutrition Code dietitians, to assist with adapting your family favourites to the meal plan nutrition targets.
Incorporating Gym Foods Australia:
Gym Foods Australia prepare and deliver nutritious, ready made meals to your home – saving you time in the kitchen. If you would like to reduce your meal-prep workload, you can replace some main meals from the 8-week plan with Gym Foods meals. When replacing meals, we suggest you select options that offer similar nutrition. Check out our ‘Recipes’ book for the nutrition profile of our main meals. We have found that main meals from Gym Food’s ‘Muscle Tone’ plan seem to be the best fit for our meals!
For example: Our Sweet Chilli Chicken Stir Fry (from week 2) has a similar nutritional profile to the Gym Foods Muscle Tone ‘Cashew Chicken’.
If you would like to have ALL meals supplied by Gym Foods Australia, that’s also ok! In this case, we suggest you follow the Gym Foods guidelines for selecting the most suitable plan (i.e. use the BMR calculator found on the ‘Nutrition Calculator’ page via the website – https://gymfoodaustralia.com.au/nutritional-calculator.php)
And a tid-bit from the team at Gym Foods Australia – these meals are best enjoyed with a side of steamed vegetables. We suggest Birds Eye Steam Fresh pouches 😉
What if I don’t like bulk cooking?
You are able to edit out bulk cooked meals by either; a) reducing the recipe quantity; or b) cook the recipe to direction, and freeze the leftovers. You can plan to use leftovers in future days/weeks, or save them up for a ‘rainy day’. You will need to select another recipe, either from the menu plan or the ‘easy meal ideas’ list, to fill the gap. Alternatively, select a meal from Gym Foods Australia, takeout or restaurant (discussed below).
What if I want to do MORE bulk cooking?
That’s great – bulk cooking is an excellent habit! You can select any of the weekly recipes to cook in bulk, swapping out other meals to make room. Since all of our meals are of similar nutritional value, this shouldn’t disrupt your daily nutrition intake too much. One thing we do suggest, however, is to opt for meals of <400 calories for bulk cooked lunches (in line with our current meal plan format).
What if I don’t like a meal/snack option?
You will be provided with an alternate snack list, and an ‘easy meal ideas’ spreadsheet, which you can use to substitute any snacks/meals you don’t like. You can also substitute recipes you don’t like for any other recipes used in the 8-week plan. Please note, the meals and snacks offer similar amounts of calories, although carbohydrate, protein and fat content may be different. Try to swap main meals for recipes with a similar nutrient profile. Try not to swap out too many fish options (unless you don’t like fish), or tofu options for vegetarians, as the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and tofu are important for muscle recovery!
What if I don’t want this much variety?
Creature of habit? So are we! The reason behind this much variety is, we hope to cover everyone’s unique preferences – food preference, bulk cooking preference, etc. If you would prefer to limit your meal variety for simplicity, you can choose to repeat your favourite weeks throughout the challenge, and discard weeks you don’t fancy.
Do I need to adapt this meal plan on Saturday’s to account for a larger workout?
No, you do not need to adjust the meal plan. However, if you do feel extra hungry, we have provided an additional snack list, from which you can select one additional snack.
Do I need to take a dietary supplement?
If you are following the standard meal plan, you shouldn’t need to take any supplements unless you are eliminating a specific food group (i.e. dairy) or have elevated requirements (i.e. a diagnosed deficiency, pregnancy and breastfeeding).
If you are following the vegetarian meal pans, you shouldn’t need to take an iron supplement unless you are iron deficient. We have included iron rich foods (nuts, tofu, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables) and combined these with Vitamin C to assist in iron absorption. Try to avoid pairing iron rich foods with caffeine and calcium if you are concerned about iron deficiency. Vegans may need a Vitamin B12 supplement. We recommend vegetarians review their iron levels every 6-12 months, and for vegans to review their iron and vitamin B12 levels every 6-12 months. If you have had deficiencies in the past, we suggest you seek personalised advice with The Nutrition Code dietitians.
On the topic of supplements, stay tuned for our blog post on supplements and muscle recovery, to be released during the challenge!
What about eating out at restaurants, takeaway, alcohol and ‘unhealthy’ treats?
A little indulgence throughout your weight loss journey may actually help you rather than ‘ruin your diet’. For some people, cutting out certain foods altogether and following a strict plan is easier than trying to include treats in moderation. For others, the ‘all or nothing’ approach can be detrimental – because when you deny yourself something, you end up wanting it even more!
If you would like to include restaurant meals, treat foods and alcohol during the 8 week challenge, we recommend you follow the 90/10 rule (i.e. eating by the book 90% of the time, and flexible 10% of the time). If you typically eat three main meals and three snacks each day (i.e. as per the meal plan) this amounts to 21 main meals and 21 snacks per week.
Therefore, the 90/10 rule allows you to have two main meals and two snack indulgences per week.
When using this strategy, please consider the following:
For guidance on restaurant and takeaway meals, see of ‘Tips for Eating Out’ supplementary document.
Examples of acceptable treat portions of food and alcohol are listed below:
8 Week Menu Plans – Supplementary materials