I have promised you before that I would show ready food plans which you can use if you are too lazy to calculate calories by yourself. And today I’ll keep my word and introduce you one which is known as “Tags”. The creator of it is well-known Ukrainian blogger Oleg Tern.
How can you build the balanced diet? Simple rules:
1) To ensure plastic needs of body.
0,8-2 grams of high-grade protein for each kilogram of dry weight per day. 0,5-1,5 grams of fats (including indispensable fatty acids, such as Omega-3 and Omega-6) for each kilogram of dry weight. To include in the diet в vitamins, minerals, trace elements etc.
2) To ensure enough amount of cellular tissue (fiber).
Daily rate of fiber for adult human is about 25-30 grams. Excessive amount of fiber can adversely affect the body and the nutrients absorption.
3) To ensure adequate amount of energy.
With a simple formula of calculating the calorie needs (25 kcal at 1 kg for losing the weight, 30 kcal at 1 kg for keeping the weight, 35 kcal at 1 kg for gaining the weight) you can get your daily calorie rate. Subtract from it the energy value of nutrients and fill the rest with carbohydrates.
4) To ensure adaptability.
Your diet should not only be effective and satisfy your hunger, it’s also should be flexible and easy. You don’t have to stop living your normal life and change the way of social interaction. You’re allowed to add into the diet some sweet, tasty but not so healthy food for psychological comfort.
5) To ensure balance.
With proper selection of all mentioned above parameters you can comfortably and steadily lose weight (or gain it), lessen the amount of fat tissue, but keeping the muscles and your entire health. Mistakes in nutrient balance and calorie selection can lead to poor health condition or even diseases!
TOO COMPLICATED? MAYBE, YOU CAN FIND AN EASER WAY? Is it posible get a balanced food menu without any of such calculations and formulas? Avoid of regular weighings? Have wide selection of food and flexible scheme?
The answer for all these question is…
In order for you to have full understanding of how does it work, let’s go through program step-by-step, which were done by its creator during development.
1st step: Making the list of healthy diet products and its categorizing
Chicken, turkey, goose – it is all about diversity of tastes and relatively low price, which makes poultry a good protein source. Delicacy variations like quail and ostrich as some different sub products (liver, heart etc.) enlarge the selection. In addition to protein, poultry is rich in microelements, such as iron and zinс. It should be considered that poultry varies greatly by fat. Choose less fatty types of poultry meat, remove skin and all visible fat. As the way of cooking the preference should be given to stewing, boiling and baking. For flavor variety grilled poultry meat can be included in your diet several times per month. Chicken and turkey chests are lean source of protein with very low fat content. This is especially important if the goal is losing the weight.
«Gold standard» or «ideal» protein - these are the characteristics of such product due to its good amino acid profile. Besides, eggs contain vitamins and minerals. There are also some sorts rich with indispensable Omega-3 fatty acids. Egg yolk consists of quite a lot of fats, and also cholesterol, that’s why it was in “diet disgrace” for a long time. In recent years restrictions of eating eggs are removed, if they fit into daily calorie intake. But for the people with predisposition to cardiovascular diseases it is highly recommended the limiting of whole eggs intake to one per day. You can adjust nutrient balance, if you use 2-3 egg protein per 1-2 whole egg. Such combination becomes less caloriс, allows to keep all useful food properties, has good taste and satisfies hunger quite well. Eggs should be consumed thermally treated only.
Various types of red meat (beef, lamb, veal, pork) also have good amino acid profile, high concentration of vitamins, creatine, microelements, such as zinc and iron, conjugated linoleic acid. High vitamin content especially characterize the sub products. Frequently mentioned healthy risks (cardiovascular diseases, oncology), related with consumption of meat, are mainly determined by two factors: fat content and way of its processing. The risk is caused by consumption of large amount of fatty meat as well as passed through industrial type of processing: frying, smoking various products such as sausages, salami etc. Therefore the preference should be given to low-fat types of meat, cooked with boiling, stewing or baking.
Fish and seafood:
High-quality source of protein with a great taste. Low-fat sorts of fish contain big amount of protein and have low caloric content. At the same time most of the fatty sorts have high level of useful fats, in particular the essential omega-3 fatty acids. The alternation of different sorts of fish is not only the way to reduce the diet monotony, but also makes it more valuable. It should be noted that sea fish (especially big predators) can contain big quantity of methylmercury . For this reason for pregnant women and children it is recommended to limit its consumption to 2 portions per week. However if you study the proper tables of mercury concentration in fish, it will be possible to choose the safest option. Another low-fat and tasty protein source is seafood: squid, crabs, shrimp, mussels, brine, krill and others.
Sour milk products:
Low-fat (3-5%) cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, as well as feta and ricotta cheeses (fat content within 3-7%) will enrich the diet not only with protein but also with important microelement calcium. These products may well vary the taste of the food, because they can be consumed in different forms: sweet, salt, without additives, in combinations with vegetables, fruits and other nutrition products. More fatty cheeses are very high caloriс, and their intake should be rationed. If you don’t calculate calories, you can feast a piece of fatty cheese once a week in a zigzag. Protein shakes, made from milk powder, egg white or soy, are quite good source of diet protein with a full content and various flavors, also they are easy to use. Do not overestimate this particular food stuff – it is more like food additive than a complete food substitute, but there’s no reason to avoid it anyway.
Legumes can also be added to the protein group products despite their high content of carbohydrates. Soy and all soy products accordingly are also legumes. Despite some warnings about content of phytoestrogens in them, there’re no reasons for complete rejection of such nutrition products. In average portion of any soy product the content of these substances have no any risks for health. Peanut due to high fat content should be rationed as well as other nuts (see “Useful fats sources”).
Buckwheat, oats, barley, barley cereal, rice of different varieties - delicious and healthy complex sources of carbohydrates. At a moderate caloric they content a large number of nutrients, including vitamins and fiber.
Durum wheat products:
It is pertinent to mention Mediterranean diet, which is one of the recognized versions of rational healthy nutrition. In addition to usage of olive oil, it has a large number of products from wheat durum: macaroni, spaghetti, ravioli, sheets for lasagna. Thanks to Mediterranean cookery, these products have gained worldwide popularity. In addition to high taste qualities, such pasta saturates very well, digested within 8 hours, provide good control over your appetite.
Bread is an integral part of most traditional and modern eating habits. However, not only rich composition of this product should be noted but alsoquite high calorie content, especially it is crucial when losing the weight is the goal. Prefer breads coarse rye bread, low-fat variants of pita bread. White bread and baguettes are not excluded, but if the goal is weight loss, their consumed number must be limited.
Potato – another product with undeserved negative reputation among slimming people. It doesn’t have any threats to your shape, as long as it fits in the right diet scheme. While potato is rich in useful minerals, and being processed properly without any fat addition, has a fairly moderate caloric content.
In this section we can also remember about the soups. They cannot exactly be called a carbohydrate product. The broth itself often contains a lot of fat, and this will hardly improve your diet. However one portion of low-fat soup is approximately equal in calories to the portion of another carbohydrates. So if you want to have soups in your diet, you can cook them several times in a week
Planning a list of food, don’t forget about additional sources of healthy fats. These include vegetable oils (olive, flaxseed, canola and others), nuts, dried seeds (after heat treatment healthy fats lose their properties), green and black olives, avocado, and fish oil in capsules. A sufficient amount of fat in the diet is necessary for normal functioning of the endocrine system, good mood and wellness, healthy skin, hair and nails and many other body functions.
It should be borne in mind that any excess fat and calories will not bring you positive results and may adversely affect health in the long term. Normalize the consumption of these products. In one day you need to eat 15-20 grams of vegetable oils by adding them to salads or other products, or 30-50 g of dried nuts and seeds, or you can use olives and avocado in the form of food supplement. You can also use fish oil capsules according to the instructions for use (after consultation with your doctor).
Vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits have rich mineral content, vitamins, biologically active substances such as fruit acids, pectins, gums, etc. Important component of them is cellulose. Modern city inhabitants consume it in 2-4 times less from normal value and this increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, disrupts the digestive system
Raw vegetables and greens, mushrooms, corn, canned vegetables (green peas), processed vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, turnip greens), beans, carrot, cabbage, radish, green onion, seaweed, fennel, parsley, spinach, arugula, sorrel, and others. Try to consume plant foods of different colors. This will expand the selection of the beneficial nutrients in the diet. Prefer raw plant foods, especially leafy green vegetables, but do not ignore the thermally processed vegetables and fruits and even pickles in moderation. Include more seasonal products in your diet, they often have better taste and much cheaper.
Most expert organizations in the field of health, including the World Health Organization (WHO), recommend to increase the consumption of vegetables and fruits to 5-8 servings per day, and note that this positively effects on health and life expectancy.
Adequate hydration is essential to the health and wellness. Wide range of drinks is used for quenching the thirst, each of which has both advantages and disadvantages.Some drinks contain extra calories. This is their main disadvantage, consumption of several cups per day equals in calories to one portion of solid food. Also these liquid calories almost not saturate at all, and these drinks contain less useful nutrients. It is important to consider this fact if you want to lose weight. In this case, liquid calories should be avoided. At the same time, their disadvantage can turn into an advantage when gaining the weight. If you are unable to move it from a dead point, liquid calories will help to increase calorie intake without overloading the digestive system.
Juices, fresh fruit drinks, stewed fruit drinks, limonades:
They contain natural sugar as well as refined. Positive side in this group of drinks is a pleasant taste. They often contain vitamins and minerals, especially fresh juices. This beverage group is a good thirst quencher and helps to avoid dehydration at high temperature.
Milk and other liquid milk products:
Good source of calcium and protein. Fat content should be considered in these products, especially by those who easily gain excess weight.
Coffee and tea:
Caffeinated products such as coffee, tea and mate, rich in minerals, vitamins and biologically active substances and are valued for their taste. At the same time it’s irrational to consume them in too large quantities - 1-2 cups per day is enough. Herbal teas (mint tea, hibiscus and other) are suitable for expansion taste diversity and do not contain caffeine. In tea and coffee, you can add sugar, in this case, they become high-calorie drinks with above described properties. If you like the sweet taste, but don't want to consume extra calories, you can use sugar substitutes, for example, honey.
Carbonated drinks contain dissolved carbon dioxide, due to what they shift the acid-alkaline balance to acidic side. Being constantly intaken, it can disrupt the acid-alkaline balance and adversely affect, for example, on bone tissue health. At the same time there’s no reason to eliminate them completely.
2nd step: Making the diet scheme
At the beginning of this week we discussed the concept of calorie balance, and we strongly recommend that you start to deal with your diet with the so-called "balanced" scheme.
In what cases a balanced diet will fit to you?
- if you don’t have a goal in gaining or losing the weight, you just want to eat with health benefits;
- if you start a new cycle of weight loss or weight gain, in order to properly adjust your diet and get in the mode;
- every 4-6 months as a pause in the diet, if you have a lot of excess weight and duration of weight loss will be a year or more.
The set of products obtained at the first stage can be divided into any convenient number of meals, but at first it is recommended standard four. Each of these meals will consist of 4 parts (the size of each part/portion will be described in the next step), one for each category of products - protein, complex carbohydrates, salads, water (beverages).
Within 3-4 weeks, observe your diet scheme, controlling the weight dynamics. Note that the weight may vary during the day, so try to weigh in at the same time and look at the average weight in a few days.
If your weight is stable, calories intake is equal to their consumption. If you don’t set a goal to change the weight, you can eat according to this scheme, exercise, gradually improving your physical condition. You should return to this same scheme after cycles of weight loss or weight gain.
If the weight reduces, then you have a calorie deficit. Depending on the purpose, you can either adjust the calorie content, increase the size of portions, or leave it as it is, if you want to lose weight and you feel comfortable in the current scheme.
If the weight increases then you have excess of calories. Principles of correction are not different: adjust the portion size, choose less fatty food. If you adhered irrational diet for a long time before, then take some time to adjust the diet, it’s better to wait for stabilization of the weight than to reget into a vicious cycle of incorrect weight loss.
For the start try to eat at regular intervals and gradually choose the most convenient option. You can also change the order of reception of meals in the scheme and even to break the diet by increasing the number of meals, for example split the fruits for several intakes. However, before change something, try the standard scheme, it might suit you most.
By the way, there are no restrictions on the choice of time schedule for meals in this scheme, do as you wish. For example, if you like late dinner, it is permissible, although it is advisable to eat at least 1,5-2 hours before bedtime.
3rd step: Defining the portion size
Serving portion size is approximately equal to your fist size. This is a landmark, which is always with you. It’s easy because it literally allows you to have always at hand the ability of determining the portion size. In addition, your fist is proportional to the size of your body, therefore this parameter was also founded by some individualization. Owners of too big or too small fists can increase/decrease portion size by 10-15%. There is no need to be afraid to make a mistake or some error in the measurements, because they will not have a significant impact on the final result.
If you want more accurate numbers, you need to weigh the portion of the protein dish or fruits. For women its average weight is 140-160 grams, for men - 200-220 grams or little more (but not less). For fine diet tuning you may count food calorie content and ingredients in the menu from time to time, but often this is not necessary.
We have introduced you to this ready-for-use scheme in a first approximation, but we recommend you to download beautiful PDF file with all the diagrams and plates using this link.
And in conclusion I would like to remind you that "Tags" diet is an improved version of the other developed by Oleg food scheme, called "3 fists". Which one to use is up to you. In general they are very similar, except that "Tags" is more detailed and is currently the author supports and develops this work.