Episode 86 - Meal Planning and Organisation for the Time Poor Triathlete

Meal Planning and Organisation for the Time Poor Triathlete

It’s time to get your sh!t together in the food department! 

I understand how time poor you are. You don’t have time to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen, preparing meals, making everything from scratch and being the next Masterchef. 

But you only have one body. And you need to decide if you’re driving a beat up Honda, putting the cheap economy fuel in it and wondering why it’s not performing at its best.

OR a high performance machine, burning the premium fuel!

If you want to be a successful triathlete, it’s time to get proactive with your nutrition rather than reactive. Which means that spending a little bit of time meal planning and organising your nutrition is key if you want to eat to support triathlon training.

To help fast-track you, I’m giving you my free Weekly Menu Planner template. It will save you at least 2 hours each week and fast track your supermarket shopping experience. 

📝 Get your FREE Weekly Menu Planner Template HERE!

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Episode Transcription

Episode 86: Meal Planning and Organisation for the Time Poor Triathlete

Taryn Richardson  00:00

Welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. The show designed to serve you up evidence-based sports nutrition advice from the experts. Hi, I'm your host Taryn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Advanced Sports Dietitian and founder of Dietitian Approved. Listen as I break down the latest evidence to give you practical, easy-to-digest strategies to train hard, recover faster and perform at your best. You have so much potential, and I want to help you unlock that with the power of nutrition. Let's get into it.

Taryn Richardson  00:36

Today's episode is all about getting your shit together - getting organised, having a bit of a plan. Because I'm a bit of a black belt when it comes to food and organisation. I mean, honestly, how else do you think I survive my crazy life? And one of the reasons why I'm really good at it  1. it's my personality. But 2. it's because food and health is one of my highest values and I will often prioritise that over other things. I'm pretty low maintenance for a female, if you can say that. Like, I don't spend a lot of money on my hair, or my nails or clothes or any of those sorts of things, but I will happily drop $20 for a really good quality cheese.

Taryn Richardson  01:28

Because I really think that you have just one body. And you need to decide if you're driving that beat up Honda and putting the cheap economy fuel in it and wondering why it's not performing to the best of its ability OR do you drive a high performance machine and put the premium fuel in that - or the way that the world's going electric, and you recharge every day? Now I understand how time poor you are. I know you don't have time to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen meal prepping, making everything from scratch - like grinding your own curry paste, kneading your own sourdough bread (although a lot of us did that through COVID), or maybe even like brewing your own kombucha. But it doesn't take that much time and effort once you've got systems in place to fast track you through this. And I really want to set you up for success - like that's what I live for. I need you to get your shit together and get organised. And I'm going to help you through that today.

Taryn Richardson  02:28

Last week, I talked you through my Ultimate Grocery Guide for Triathletes. If you haven't downloaded it yet, go and grab it now, it's free. Head to dietitianapproved.com/grocery. So I put together this Ultimate Grocery Guide for you to help you shop SMARTER and FASTER. So that you're confident that you're making Dietitian Approved choices every time you go to the supermarket. And you're filling your trolley with the right nutrients that you need as an endurance athlete - which ultimately in the long term is going to save you time and money.

Taryn Richardson  03:00

Now today, I want to show you how to plan that out. It's so important. It's like my biggest tip - is to have a plan. You need to be proactive, rather than reactive when it comes to nutrition. And part of that is understanding your needs on different types of training days and having a food plan to match that, rather than feeling exhausted and then playing catch up later. Because that's not going to end well. We're not high performance machines if you're doing that. And tiredness and fatigue is one key indicator that that's not working properly. Further into that hole is low energy availability, RED-S, stress injuries and just being sick and broken.

Taryn Richardson  03:43

Now that's something I can teach you inside the Triathlon Nutrition Academy. If you're interested in that, make sure you have got your name on the waitlist. I am doing a little sneaky opening in April for our waitlisters only, if you're keen. So head to dietitianapproved.com/academy. We don't have our big open week until July. But I've had so many people kicking themselves and they want help now, you know, like, yesterday, like, everyone wants to do everything yesterday. So I've decided to do a waitlist only opening in April. So make sure you have your name on that list if you're interested.

Taryn Richardson  04:16

Now when it comes to fuelling, I want you to make a decision around that based on what you need. Not what you want, or what you think you want, but what you actually need. And there is often a big disparity between what you think is right and what you actually physically need. Now so that you have a plan, and you're going to the supermarket and getting what you need, rather than impulse buying all the discounted chocolate bars at the checkouts or having to run back to the supermarket multiple times in a week because you've forgotten something or you haven't actually sat down and thought about what you're eating. And it's a daily thing, like that is definitely reactive, that is not proactive.

Taryn Richardson  05:00

So what I want to give you today is my Weekly Menu Planner Template. It is honestly something that saves us at least two hours every single week. So I'll pop the link in the show notes but go to dietitianapproved.com/planner to get that now. I literally print this out weekly, take it to the shops with us every single week. And it means that we only shop once. And that is a massive time saver. We do it on the weekends when we've got more time. And you know, it's me because I love this. I love going to the supermarket. But it means that in the chaos of our weekdays where we're both trying to exercise, work, parent, all those sorts of things, we're not having to duck to the shops for a couple of things that we've forgotten to cook dinner. Or we're not like scrambling at lunch time going, "Crap! What's for dinner tonight? I don't want to cook. Do you want to cook? What should we have? I don't know, I can't think straight because I'm trying to concentrate on other things."

Taryn Richardson  06:00

We sit down we have a family meeting once a week. We talk about what nights are absolute chaos, what nights are cool, calm and collected, who's going to cook, what they're going to cook and on what specific days. Then we write a shopping list for exactly what we need to make those specific things. And we reconcile that with what's actually in the cupboard, in the pantry, in the fridge so that we're using up all of our vegetables that are still in the crisper, potentially. We're having a look at what we've got in the cupboard or our pantry first before getting to the shops. Because otherwise if you don't look, you end up with like six cans of red kidney beans, and three bags of rice and you've got like 6 million things of cummin because you've forgotten whether you've got it or not.

Taryn Richardson  06:45

Now, I'm not triathlon training at the moment. But for my athletes, I get them to sit down and match their fuel and their recovery to their training week as well. So they have a look at what days they need to eat differently based on training demand. And also what nights and days are going to be busy. Like, maybe you've got evening training. So you're not going to want to cook something really long and complicated there. I also don't want you running to the shops after training to get something to cook for dinner. You need to already have that organised the day before, or you're pulling something out of the freezer for those nights, or getting someone else to cook for you (Jeez! That'd be nice). But you're going to need a plan.

Taryn Richardson  07:29

Inside the Academy program, I'm going to show you how to build your own meal plan so that it is fluid and adaptable and can change depending on what's going on with you when you're training. Whether you're in your key race field, and you want to be eating a particular way to maximally support that training block. Or are you in the offseason and you're trying to make some different adaptations through this time? I think it's really valuable for you to have the skills to build your own meal plan. Because if things change, like you're sick, you go on holidays, curveballs get thrown at you, you get stuck in meetings, or you have a really busy work week or something like that, you know how to adapt that plan for yourself. Whereas if you had a strict structured meal plan that somebody gave you, you didn't understand the science behind it and why you were doing certain things, then you would have no ability to change that on the fly. So it's kind of like give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Whereas, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.

Taryn Richardson  08:33

I think that's really valuable because my goal is to set people up for long term health. Obviously, performance in sport - that's what I love. I'm a total science nerd. Love sport, love food - it's like the match made in heaven. But if you understand the details and the complexity and all of the decision making that would go in behind the scenes of what looks like a simple meal plan, then that honestly sets you up forever. It's not a eight week plan that works for this one race. You know how to build for a race and then you know how to flip your strategy for the offseason. I think that's super valuable.

Taryn Richardson  09:10

So let me talk you through my Weekly Menu Planner Template. Some of you may have seen it before. Our Academy athletes have these filled out for them. So they have specifically, these are the meals, here's your shopping list, here's the recipe to go with it. Go forth and prosper. You can just purchase that separately if that's something that you want to play with. I'll pop the link for that in the show notes as well. But if you go to dietitianapproved.com/recipes, you'll see the option for our Weekly Menu Plans there as well. There's some for all seasons of the year no matter where you are on the world - if it's summer, winter, spring, autumn, you can dip in whichever way you choose to eat at this time of the year.

Taryn Richardson  09:51

So the Weekly Menu Planner, I'm gonna give you the blank version. It's got space to write your meals for the week. I'd suggest focusing on dinners. And then there's a shopping list section that goes with that as well. And what's really important with a shopping list is that your items are separated out for where you get them. Who's ever used a massive big shopping list and just written things down as you think of them and then you go to the supermarket and then you start running back and forth - different sections to the next because you didn't get everything from that section in the first go. And then you're like, "Ah, crap! I forgot bread. I'm going to have to go back to the bakery section. Oh, no, I forgot toothpaste, I've got to go back there."

Taryn Richardson  10:30

The key thing with writing a shopping list is to separate it into specific sections. So have a section for the fridge, and the freezer, and the deli. And then you've got a section for your fruit and vegetable items. And then there's a section for aisle foods. So when you're working your way through a supermarket, then you can get everything that you need from that specific section before moving on to the next. That way, you're less likely to forget things, you're spending less time on your feet, and you are a much more efficient grocery shopper. I told you I love this stuff!

Taryn Richardson  11:04

Now, I have also developed a new Virtual Supermarket Tour. If you do want to come and explore the supermarket with a dietitian, you can come grocery shopping with me from the comfort of your own home. And I'm going to show you how to navigate the supermarket like a dietitian pro. It includes some of those tips that I've just talked about, but so much more. And it's going to show you where to focus your time and your energy. I'm going to teach you how to read a food label because far out they're confusing. And there is so much marketing BS on those things it's not funny. And then I'm going to show you how to pick particular products.

Taryn Richardson  11:39

So, in the Virtual Supermarket Tour, I'm obviously walking you through an Australian supermarket and using Australian brands as the example. But the information is translatable no matter where you are in the world. So how to pick things like canned tomatoes? Like, what are you looking for when you're picking a can of tomato? Because there's like ten million options. How do you know what's the best one? How to pick things like tinned tuna, canned corn? How to decide if the kombucha that you're purchasing is actually kombucha? Or if it's just flavored lollie water? Milk alternatives and what are we looking for on a label there? Muesli, or you know, a healthy version of granola. Biscuits, crackers, muesli bars, and then how to pick the best fruit and vegetables.

Taryn Richardson  12:25

There are lots of tips when it goes to grabbing these things that can help you make sure you're getting the freshest and the best out of the selection. So ultimately, it's designed to fast track your research. It's going to save you so much time and also money. So go and check it out - dietitianapproved.com/supermarkettour. Stef, the videographer has sent me the bloopers to review. And I am proud to say that they will feature at the very end of the supermarket tour. You're welcome to check those out. I might post those on socials, we'll see.

Taryn Richardson  12:59

So a few things to help you there if getting yourself organised with food is something that you need help with. So go back and listen to last week's episode, if you haven't yet, about my Ultimate Grocery Guide for Triathletes. If you haven't got that yet, go and grab that now - dietitianapproved.com/grocery. And also go and grab my free Weekly Menu Planner Template and start to use that for next time you go and do your supermarket shopping. Get yourself organised in a way that will ultimately save you time and money. Go to dietitianapproved.com/planner to grab that now for free. Now once you've got both of those two freebies, you've printed them out and you started to have a look through them, your next step is to actually come into the supermarket with me and I'll show you around. You could literally take me in your pocket and have a dietitian give you a supermarket tour of your local shops.

Taryn Richardson  13:55

Now if you're already doing those things, then that is awesome. You are one step closer to treating your body like a high performance engine. Remember, we need to be proactive when it comes to nutrition and not reactive. So having a plan and then putting some things in place to make that easy for you. Like schedule a repeating date in your calendar or your diary for where these things happen. If you're a solo person, then you can do whatever the hell you want. That's amazing. I'm very jealous. If you have a family, then pick a time that you're all available, you're all free, you're not stressed, you're not running around still trying to do things and sit down and actually plan that out. Particularly if you've got kids, it's a really good strategy to involve them in that decision making process because then they're more likely to eat the food. And it just teaches them some really great life skills also. I ask my two year old and four year old what they want to eat. So I don't think you need to wait for a particular age to start doing those sorts of things.

Taryn Richardson  15:01

And then once you've got a plan and you've shopped, and you've got yourself organised for the week, give it a crack. There'll be things that come up that work or don't work. And that's not a time where you go, "This doesn't work, I'm giving up." Tweak it and evolve it for next week to a system that works for you and your family. What I do may not work specifically for you. So you've got to figure that out for yourself. But I've given you some good tools to get the ball rolling.

Taryn Richardson  15:30

And hey, if you want to dive deeper and you want me to help you with meal planning and organisation and doing all the things, then make sure your name is on the waitlist for our Triathlon Nutrition Academy program. We officially open doors again in July, but I am going to send a sneaky little opening to those people that are on the waitlist. Head to dietitianapproved.com/academy now. I'll see you next week!

Taryn Richardson  15:56

Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or want to share with me what you've learned, email me at [email protected]. You can also spread the word by leaving me a review and taking a screenshot of you listening to the show. Don't forget to tag me on social media, @dietitian.approved, so I can give you a shout out, too. If you want to learn more about what we do, head to dietitianapproved.com. And if you want to learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, head to dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smashed in the fourth leg - nutrition! 


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