My Top 5 Prep Foods

No snarky commentary here! These are the foods I rely on to keep the hunger pains and sweet tooth at bay while dieting hard with my mentor John Meadows.

    1. Egg whites. Y’all know how important protein is, but when you’re deep in prep, it can actually get kind of hard to get the protein content you need to preserve muscle without going overboard on calories. Most meats have some incidental fats — even lean poultry and fish — but that’s not the case with egg whites.

      More importantly, I honestly love the taste! Egg whites are easy to dress up if you find them bland. Throw in a little unsweetened ketchup, Splenda and cinnamon, mustard or hot sauce and you’ll have a great meal.


    1. Asparagus. Again, you know it’s important to eat your veggies, but some are surprisingly high in calories. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts, while not calorically-dense like peas, corn, or carrots, still have a considerable carbohydrate content that might not fit into a prep plan. Asparagus is the most nutrient-dense vegetable I’ll go for; spinach is a close second, but tends to be harder for me to digest.

      The only downside to asparagus? It can be pretty expensive. Try to shop around and remember that seasonal fruits and veggies tend to be the most cost-effective as well.


    1. Essential amino acids. Again, go back to what I wrote about egg whites and protein: it can be tough to find ones that fit your diet without adding too many unnecessary fats or carbs. EAAs are pretty much the “purest” protein source you can get, and while I don’t think it’s a good idea to get much of your caloric intake from supplements, EAAs can offer a nice boost (especially during training) AND help to stave off hunger and improve hydration.

      Just keep in mind that both BCAAs and EAAs still have calories, just like protein — although they’re not legally required to reflect that on the product labeling.


    1. Salt. I’ve touched on the importance of salt for strength athletes before, so I won’t rehash all of that. If you’re in prep, just remember that until the very final stages, salt can help make bland foods taste better, keep you nice and bloated (good for the joints) and help improve performance. Get your salt!

      (Of course, it’s important to stay hydrated, so load up on the water along with the salt.)


  1. Arctic Zero ice cream. Everybody needs a cheat meal once in a while to help deal with the monotony of dieting. Arctic Zero is a great way to get that relief without blowing your diet — a whole pint contains just 160 calories if you get the dairy-free flavors.

I know it’s not exactly the most strength-oriented article I’ve written, but keep in mind that these foods are great for strength athletes trying to drop a weight class, too. And of course, if you’re getting ready for a show, then you probably have a whole plethora of diet tricks. I hope these ones can help you too! If so, please let me know — I’ll do a follow up on what foods not to eat during a hard diet.


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