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How to use Do It Myself Meal Plan options

When it comes to following a meal plan we never expect it to go 100% to plan – when does life ever do that? So that’s why we’ve created a flexible approach that let’s you “do your own thing”.

The 80/20 rule is no scientific formula, but it sure is practical. And we know the more often you eat better (80% of the time), the more likely you are to choose better meals the rest of the time (20% of the time). Just remember you can’t out train a bad diet. So the aim is to give you the tools to choose better foods more often.

ATHLIV also has a bunch of recipes to use if you want to get creative in the kitchen and prepare some tasty meals for yourself, friends and family.

On the days and meals when you do your own thing, a general guide for most people is to follow the basic meal structure below. A few key points:

  • Veggies are your friend – the more the better for overall health.
  • Swap out processed foods where you can.
  • Lean meat, chicken, fish and plant based proteins are a winner for main meals.
  • Choose wholegrains to keep you feeling full.
  • Don’t forget to keep up with the dairy foods – great source of protein we often forget about!
  • Fresh fruit is always a great sweet treat to satisfy the cravings.
  • Nuts and seeds are delicious snacks – one small handful everyday is the go.

Chicken Stir-Fry

This dinner recipe is packed with your favourite nutritious veggies in a flavorful stir-fry sauce.

Preparation Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Serving: 2

Ingredients:

1 tsp sesame or olive oil

1 clove garlic

2cm ginger grated

300g chicken breast or tenderloins, cut into small cubes

3+ cups chopped vegetables any kind, like carrot, beans, capsicum, broccoli – whatever is in season, and add as many as you like!

1  tbn soy sauce

2 tbn sesame seeds (optional)

Method:

1. Heat oil over medium heat, cook garlic and ginger until slightly softened

2. Add chicken, and stir-fry

3. Add mixed vegetable and cook until vegetables are crispy and vibrant (do not overcook your veggies). Mix in soy sauce and sesame seeds to taste

4. Best served with brown rice or quinoa. Dig in!

Got questions about ATHLIV Meal Plans

The ATHLIV nutrition team has created a simple way for you to plan your weekly meals and have tasty delicious ready made meals delivered to your door with Fast Fuel Meals.

Create a meal plan in the ATHLIV app to get suggested meals that meet your nutrition and calorie needs without having to do any of the thinking!

Your fitness goals and activity level will move you into the right meal selection range for your needs. All you have to do is select the meals and days of the week, then choose to use the meals we’ve selected OR change meals to your preferred option.

Alternatively you can choose to do your own thing. We’ve given you a basic guide to help you with the food selection when going on your own.

  1. What can I have if I’m hungry?

If you’re feeling peckish while using the meal plan remember veggies are your friend! You can never have enough, so stock up on fresh or frozen veggies along with your meal plan (don’t worry we’ll have these on the menu soon so you don’t have to do any extra shopping)

  1. Can I have coffee?

Hell yes! Long blacks, piccolos, espressos can all be your friend. Ones with milk, just be cautious to avoid the full fat large coffees if you’re looking to lose weight. Just be sure to not overindulge as caffeine can play havoc with your sleep, feeling on edge etc. Up to 3 cups of coffee per day is recommended.

  1. What about alcohol?

It’s up to you! If you like to include a daily tipple feel free to continue but remember a standard drink is 1 middy of beer, a shot of spirits or a very small glass of wine. General recommendations are to keep at least 2 alcohol free days a week, and no more than 10 standard drinks in one week.

  1. Where do my treat foods fit in?

What’s life without a treat every now and again! A little bit of chocolate, a small packet of chips or some ice cream every other day will not affect your goals – just remember to be mindful while you enjoy these types of foods so you don’t go overboard.

We’ll be bringing more features over the next few months so get started, enjoy the meals and we can’t wait to hear your feedback!

Launching ATHLIV Meal Plans

If you are located in Australia then check out ATHLIV’s new Meal Planner and Delivery service! Making healthy eating accessible, convenient and most importantly delicious! 

When it comes to good health, it’s essential to combine fitness routines with good nutrition. In fact combining nutrition with exercise can support 3.5 times more weight loss than exercise alone (1). And the odds of being successful with weight loss are two times greater by combining nutrition with activity than doing activity alone (2)!

We’ve partnered with Fast Fuel Meals to take the guesswork out of what to eat. We create a meal plan based on your goals, and Fast Fuel Meals deliver you delicious, fresh,  ready-made meals that help you reach your goals faster without skimping on flavour and nutrition.

These fresh seasonal meals are put together for you in a meal plan tailored to your personal fitness and health goals you’ve set within the ATHLIV app. Or if you’d prefer to do your own thing that’s ok too! The meal planning app has the option for you to do your own thing, or swap out the suggestions for your personal favourites.

At this stage meal delivery is only available in Australia in the main metro regions of NSW, QLD and VIC. Watch this space though as we have big plans to expand further.

Upgrade to the latest version of the app and check out the Nutrition tab today!

Overnight Oats

This tasty breakfast is easy to prepare, and is super tasty. It combines a great source of protein with low GI carbohydrates fueling your nutrition needs to kick start the day!

Preparation Time: 10 mins plus overnight resting

Cook Time: 0 mins

Serving: 1

Ingredients:

1/3 cup rolled oats

 ½ cup low-fat milk

1 tbn chia seeds

½ cup frozen berries or 1 small banana

½ cup fresh berries and yoghurt to serve.

Method:

1. Mix all ingredients in a small container. Seal the container and refrigerate overnight.

2. Serve with ½ cup of fresh berries in the morning, and a dollop of yogurt. Add a dash of honey for additional sweetness if desired.

Gut Health: Why all the hype?

Gut health, it’s the topic of the times in nutrition. But what do we know and why is it important?

What is “Gut Health”

When you hear the term “Gut health” it means the health of your gastrointestinal system or more simply, how your oesophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon work. Our gut is responsible for putting our body into working order. It processes the foods we eat to fuel our body, it then allows the cells in our body to absorb the nutrients to support all aspects of our body’s function.

Why do we keep hearing about it?

Well firstly, it’s a part of nutrition and medical science that we are only just beginning to understand. We now understand that it’s not just the physical functioning of the gut (i.e. the mechanical processing of food) that is important for health, but it’s also the colonies of microbes within the gut that have a significant relationship with our health.

Research is emerging to show that the diversity of “micro” bugs, aka microbiota, living in our gut play a significant role in not only keeping us “regular”, but also protecting us from conditions like type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and heart/vascular diseases. Our mental health can also benefit from a boost in good bugs too.

How to support good guts?

There are a number of factors to consider for good gut health, but for today lets consider microbiota. One goal of good gut health is to have a range of good bugs, this is what we call gut microbiota diversity. We have some influence over this by our lifestyle habits:

  1. Diet: the types of fibre (low fibre contributes poorly, high fibre has a positive impact) along with other factors like pre and pro biotics in food boosting gut microbiota diversity.
  2. Stress and anxiety: often impacts the way the gut functions and a bunch of other factors than have a negative impact on gut bugs.
  3. Some medications: like antibiotics and reflux meds can reduce the good bugs.
  4. Alcohol and tobacco: both have a negative impact on gut bugs.
  5. Physical activity: exercising regularly is associated with more diversity of bugs, which is great for gut health.

So the take home message today is to include a range of high fibre foods – think plenty of vegetables, good quality grains, fruit, legumes and lentils, and nuts/seeds. Follow your regular routine of moving your body more and staying active, and finding ways to reduce stress and anxiety without the alcohol and smoking!

Over the coming articles, we’ll take a closer look at factors like pre and pro biotics, and the types of foods that can support “gut health” so stay tuned.

Need some dinner inspiration? Then check out this week’s recipe.

References:

Koh A, Bäckhed F. From Association to Causality: the Role of the Gut Microbiota and Its Functional Products on Host Metabolism. Mol Cell. 2020 May 21;78(4):584-596. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2020.03.005. Epub 2020 Mar 31. PMID: 32234490.

Hughes RL, Davis CD, Lobach A, Holscher HD. An Overview of Current Knowledge of the Gut Microbiota and Low-Calorie Sweeteners. Nutr Today. 2021 May-Jun;56(3):105-113. doi: 10.1097/nt.0000000000000481. PMID: 34211238; PMCID: PMC8240869.

Marinated Lamb with Roast Veggies

Add a Moroccan vibe to your dinner table with this colourful lamb couscous vegetable platter.

Preparation Time: 2 hour and 15 mins (2 hours for marinade time)

Cook Time: 15 mins

Serving: 2

Ingredients:

300g lamb backstrap

4-6 cups raw vegetables chopped (any type e.g. capsicum, zucchini, tomato, eggplant)

Olive oil to drizzle

1/2 cup couscous raw (to make 1 cup cooked)

1/2-1 cups low salt vegetable stock (adjust as needed)

1 small can (125g) chickpeas, drained

1 handful finely chopped parsley

Lamb marinade:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Sprig of rosemary

Method:

  1. Mix all the lamb marinade ingredients together and marinate the lamb for 2-3 hours.
  2. Steam or roast 2 cups of preferred vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil. For extra flavour sprinkle with garlic.
  3. Grill / BBQ the lamb backstrap according to your preferred doneness, and rest while preparing the remainder of the dish.
  4. Prepare the couscous with a low salt vegetable stock according to directions, then mix with chickpeas and parsley. Add pepper to taste.
  5. Slice the cooked lamb and serve on a bed of roast veggies and couscous. Enjoy!

Minestrone soup

Serves 2-4

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 parsley sprigs, chopped
1 basil sprig, torn
2 tablespoons tomato paste
400g can tomato diced
400g can drained beans e.g. kidney, butter, cannellini beans
400g chopped vegetable (any type like mushrooms, capsicum, eggplant, zucchini)
500ml water or stock (add extra if needed)
50g pasta or rice

Parmesan cheese to taste
Pepper to taste

Method

  1. Sauté diced onion and garlic in a large stove pot with olive oil
  2. Add all other ingredients to the pot
  3. Bring to boil
  4. Simmer for 1/2 hr out until vegetables and pasta tender
  5. Serve topped with parsley, grated cheese and pepper

Boost your immunity through good health

Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is key to helping your immune system function properly. Whilst we can’t guarantee that a perfect diet can warn off all coughs, colds and viruses, one thing we can do is support our immune system to work at it’s best through good nutrition.


An immune supportive diet is one that is packed with vitamins, minerals, good fibres and plenty of phytochemicals like antioxidants. The more unprocessed foods and plant based foods you have in your diet the better. And variety is key!
To have a really strong immune system the nutrients essential to fight infection include vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, and the minerals iron, selenium, and zinc.


So where to find these nutrients? The best way is to include at least 5 serves of bright coloured veggies every day, get 2 serves of fruit, and include a variety of grains, nuts and seeds daily, along with good quality proteins. Here are a few tips to get those specific immune supportive nutrients:

  1. Vitamin A: oily fish, egg yolks, cheese, tofu, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes.
  2. B vitamins: legumes, green leafy vegetables, fruit, nuts, fish, chicken and meat.
  3. Vitamins C: oranges, lemons, limes, berries, kiwifruit, broccoli, tomatoes and capsicum.
  4. Vitamin E: nuts, green leafy vegetables and vegetables oils.
  5. Vitamin D: food sources including eggs, fish and some milks and margarine brands may be fortified with Vitamin D (meaning extra has been added). But most people need just a few minutes outdoors most days.
  6. Iron: meat, chicken and fish. Vegetarian sources include legumes, whole grains and iron-fortified breakfast cereals.
  7. Zinc and Selenium: found in oysters and other seafood, meat, chicken, dried beans and nuts.

Putting it all together
To optimise your immune system, choose a good variety of bright coloured plant based foods, and keep those energy dense, nutrient poor processed foods to a minimum.


Beyond diet, there are other measures you can take to stay as healthy as possible like not smoking, keeping alcohol to a minimum, getting enough sleep and of course exercising regularly.


Stay healthy this winter with this delicious and veggie filled minestrone soup.

Can you boost your metabolic rate?

Fast, slow, average metabolism? Regardless of body size and composition there are a number of factors that impact a person’s rate of burning energy – that is fundamentally your metabolic rate.

Some people have a slower metabolism meaning they burn fewer calories, storing more as fat in the body; that’s why some people have difficulty losing weight by just cutting calories. Whereas those with a fast metabolism tend to burn calories faster – explaining why some people can eat a lot and not gain extra body weight!

Factors that affect your metabolism

Despite gimmicks out there promising to boost metabolism, there are a number of biological factors that impact your rate of burning calories:

  • Age – metabolism often slows with age,
  • Genetics – it’s in your DNA literally!
  • Health conditions and hormonal changes.

Ways to rev up your metabolism

Whilst there are some factors you can’t change, a sluggish metabolism may possibly be sped up naturally by making small changes to your diet and lifestyle. Looking at what you’re eating and what types (and intensities) of activity you’re doing can make a difference.

  1. Eat more protein and eat it regularly over the day – a couple of reasons for this is that protein keeps you feeling fuller for longer so you don’t go snacking on energy dense, nutrient poor foods all the time. Secondly, protein tends to have a higher “thermic effect” compared to fats and carbs – this means your metabolism is revved up more whenever you eat and digest this food.
  2. Add in more strength training – resistance training is known to help boost muscle mass, and more muscle mass means a speedier metabolism.
  3. Pick up the pace – HIIT training can help keep your metabolism firing for as much as a full day!
  4. Enjoy sleep and manage stress levels.

There are other foods like green tea, caffeine and chilli that have been said to boost metabolism. However, the key to success really is consistency with food and exercise routines, paying attention to intensity and details of macro nutrients like protein.

Whilst plenty of marketers out there will make magic promises to speed up your metabolism, your aim should be to prevent your metabolic engine from slowing down by keeping up your muscle mass and fueling your body with good nutrition.

Check out this recipe for a delicious high protein, low GI meal Mexican bowl.