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Zone Diet Meal Planning vs Grocery Shopping… Some thoughts over meat consumption

Have you ever thought on how much meat you should consume on a weekly basis and how to optimize costs, variation, flavour and still eat exactly perfect ammout without any waste? So here are some answers you have been searching for…

Let’s talk about meat eating…

In between blog posts and planning our meals in order to stay in the zone, we were brought to some questions…

  • How much meat should we buy… per week? Or per month? Or when I go to butcher or supermarket…
  • How many packages should we freeze? Is there an optimal time of the week when I should unfreeze them?
  • What is easier, to cook them all equally (and then get all same – and read here, BIT BORING, meal forever)? Or how can we optimize flavour and variety in order to really get pleasure and satisfaction out of food?
  • How to take the most of variation, and still NEVER WASTE, but ALSO NOT OVER EAT?
  • Am I overspending with meat? How much in the month should I separate to optimizely buy meat?

Here, it doesn’t really matter which diet you follow, if it is the Zone diet, the Paleo, Keto, Mediterranean, or even some Japanese oriented diet.


We were in need to see THE CALCULATIONS done!

Zone Diet Calculations - Meat related, We put hands on and made some simplifications, but we got to a final NUMBER, how much meat you should eat per week? If you are a woman - 1,5 kg, if you are a man - 2,0 kg.
We put hands on and made some simplifications, but we got to a final NUMBER, how much meat you should eat per week? If you are a woman – 1,5 kg, if you are a man – 2,0 kg.

Let’s get started by the AVERAGE, checking the Zone diet tables, regarding to meat, numbers don’t really vary in between veal, chicken, pork, or even fish (as long as the meat is considered high quality, with low fat content, os just lean…).

For all those meats, 1 block equals to approximately 30-40 g UNCOOKED (GREAT for our calculations). So we will use 35g average on further calculation steps

To make our lives simpler, let’s consider a woman should eat 3 blocks (35*3 = 105 g of meat per meal) and a man should eat 4 clocks (35*4 = 140 g of meat per meal). We will also consider only 2 meals per day as LUNCH and DINNER, as most of us don’t really eat prepared meals for breakfast and afternoon snacks.

In that way, in a week, a woman would need 7*2*105 = 1470 g of meat, while a man 7*2*140 = 1960 g. Not considering the meals eaten outside we got actually to great numbers and easy to remember 1,5 kg for woman and 2 kg for a man.

The Zone Diet meat consume should be approximately 1,5 kg for a woman, and 2,0 kg for a man.

So now let’s try to optimize variation, and food packages in order to prepare our meal plan and get ready to make our meal planning.

Once most of the meat packages are packaged in amounts near 500-600 g (or when you order there directly on the butcher, it is in general good numbers to order). Let’s make a plan in which ⅓ of the meals will be on chicken, ⅓ on pork and ⅓ on veal.


Meat distribution and total count for the week.

Monday = Chicken and Pork

Tuesday = Pork and Veal

Wednesday = Veal and Chicken

Thursday = Chicken and Veal

Friday = Veal and Pork

Saturday = Pork and Chicken

Sunday = Chicken and Veal

Total meals: 5 times Chicken, 4 times Pork 5 times Veal.

(Sorry if this information sounds like unconnected to the rest of the blog, and text, but this variation-combination will be used in later posts when we link the carbs + vegetables to the meat we just planned now).

Also note that having this distribution written can help you plan your cooking and keeping ingredients fresh, you can cook your chicken pork and veal, or plan to marinate or freeze portions to optimize your time.

Another hint regarding meat handling and planning meals that we do in our home, in general we choose to cook pork in the oven (specially if the cut is not so lean), chicken or pork steak, always goes marinated into frying pan or grill, and we consume veal always as a steak. In this way, chicken and pork can be quickly prepared just before each meal, and pork meals will always be ready and be cook “attention free” while we are doing other tasks in the house.

Also we always prepare our own homemade marinate… we plan to post some recipes and hints, later on the blog.


How many times per week do you plan to go to supermarket? How many times per week do you plan to cook?

This is a personal question to put some thoughts, on how to keep it fresh, both cooked and uncooked meat (and of course also side garnishes).

Some guidelines should be:

  • Try to never let unfrozen meat in fridge without any seasoning for more than 2 days (ground meat, seafood or all poultry = birds should never stay unfrozen for longer than 2 days, red meat such as beef, veal, lamb and pork can be safely stored for up to 5 days).
  • Use seasoning and marinates, garlic, salt, lime, vinegar, pepper, oil, etc. But don’t over trust the marinated, still keep the 2 days in the fridge rule!
  • Try to never let cooked food in the fridge for more than 2 days (freeze it when cooked), even though as a general rule, food should be safe to eat at maximum 4th day.
  • If there is some hard to go or to find item (like there is a special butcher you like to buy some kind of meat, try to calculate how much of that product you will need – consume, buy for the whole month and freeze separated by weekly portions.
  • Be careful and research on specific meal ingredientes to be kept in room temperature, specially fruits and vegetables, or how to take the most of their preparation (that will be explored in future articles).

We hope that is helpful and that will give you some guidelines for next time you go to the grocery store, butcher or supermarket. Do you have any question or suggestion? Please post in the comments and we will do our best to update text to fill up the gaps and help you further 😀

Hope we all are able to prepare delicious meals, lose weight and save money!

Nutrition is one of the key factors on fitness results, so follow the blog to learn more!

8 comments on this post

    Sujandar Mahesan

    The Zone Diet meat is a new thing for me. I never thought about how much I am consuming per week. But this article has explained me the importance of taking care of my weekly meat consumption. If it is only allowed to eat 2 kg of meat for man then I have been way over it. I am from now on going to try keep it under 2 kg.

    Thank you so much for sharing this post.

    Reply

      admin

      Hello Sujandar.

      Welcome to Sparta and to living in the Zone. The Zone diet aims to keep insulin level in the blood constant, and to not over eat from PROTEIN or CARBS. 

      The calculations and guidelines take into consideration average lean body constitution. If you are a bigger guy (not counting the fat weight), you can eat more than it is calculated, else you should reduce in order to take better advante of your meals,  your daily and sports activities.

      This is a guideline to become more healthy and fit. The zone diet is actually one of the least restricted diets we got to know.

      There are more articles and discussions over the Zone diet being prepared. I will post here as soon as possible, and I will come back to give you the links.

      See you around Sparta!

      Reply

    Ciara

    I feel as though I maybe shouldn’t comment on your post as I am a vegan and haven’t consumed meat in many, many years– but, I wanted to contribute to your well articulated post. 

    I want to say that when people can, they should either A) Own their own animals when possible to slaughter or B) Find a reputable, organic, grass fed farm that allows their animals to graze. I think there are so many healthier ways to consume meat, than buying from the grocery store. It may take a little more research, a little more work, but you will be doing yourself and the planet so much good!

    Thanks for sharing,

    Ciara

    Reply

      admin

      Hello Ciara, thanks for the visit and comment, and first of all, you are very welcome to the website and discussion.

      We absolutely don’t discriminate between meat eaters, vegetarians or vegans. In the same way, that adaptations of your meal plans can be into the Paleo, Keto or Zone diet, vegans can also perform in sports and live happily and energetically, as long as they take their time making sure they eat enough Protein from their ingredients of choice.

      We agree, we try to contribute for a animal cruelty free world. And rethink and reeducate our meat consuming, if you see by the other comments, some of our readers realize they are eating far too much meat, and should reduce.

      Unfortunately, we didn’t explore further the vegetarian and vegans choices, once the post was exactly for the meat consuming share of our readers.

      But we have interest and hope to contribute for the vegan community and help them choose and calculate their proteins in order to be healthier and fitter (yes, we know there are many vegans and vegetarians who are fat, and ; or also don’t eat enough of protein on their diets).

      Cheers! 

      Reply

    Dammy

    After reading this Post I could for sure say you really did your homework,  I am sure my meat consumption per week is probably 3kg or more I try to reduce the intake weekly but you can’t just resist meat. Your Math looks accurate as I concur with you that 2.0kG of meat is all but enough for a man. Weight watching is essential in the human well being you need to put this in mind every single time you go to store to refill. Buy less meat. This post passed a very strong message across I will definitely put in mind to buy less meat approximately 2.0kG of meat when next I visit the store very helpful post. Keep up the good work

    Reply

      admin

      Hey there Dammy, the main reason we made this post is, many athletes and common sense says, “if you want to build muscles, eat MORE”, but actually this is a total mistake…

      Eating more meat, will generate sugar levels higher than desirable, and even you are over eating, it will make you feel more hungry and less emotionally stable.

      This sugar in your body will end up being converted into FAT, and get the opposite effect than desired.

      The zone diet is very clear, the main difference from an elite athlete and a ordinary guy who has low levels of fitness activities, having in mind both have the same lean body structure is: FAT CONSUME. 

      The elite athlete should adjust his high quality fats consumption until necessary to have the energy and sports performance necessary, by high quality fats we mean exactly more avocados, olive oil, all sort of natural uncooked nuts, with poly unsaturations…

      For sure eating less meat will make you feel much better, and also perform better in life, your brain will work better, give it a try and let us know! 

      Cheers,

      Reply

    Nuttanee

    When I was younger, I was carless about the food bills but now I am in charge of it. What I usually do, I will get all the meat that I want to eat for the week. (I go to the grocery store once a week) and I will pre portion the beef out to 2 servings for my husband and I, and I will freeze them. For Pork, I like to get the big pork shoulder and I will braised it. After it is fully cooked and cool down, I portion it again in the square plastic container (square saves space) and label them in the freezer. One thing that is annoying about my method is, if you forget to thaw the frozen meat you are doomed. However, I do save a lot of food cost and waste. 

    For vegetable or salad, this is the hardest one since they go bad the fastest. I will buy the pre washed salad (make sure they are dry, soggy ones mean it will go bad) and I will lay it out on the plastic container for a healthy lunch and just throw my protein on top.

    This seems like a lot of work , but after you do this over a month, it will get faster, healthier food choice and save a lot of money.

    Cheers!

    Reply

      admin

      Hey there Nuttanee, YES, it is very hard to organize a full system for proper food management, and this is one of the main goals of the posts. We really appreciate your feedback.

      By calculating the weekly ammount, we hope to improve our views on how to shop, and how to organize our own cooking system. We do also something similar, one of outr sins, is that we at our house, don’t separate per portions, we always leave big portions all together…

      We cook for example, one package of chicken, and we eat half, and leave half in the fridge. 

      We buy a BIG part of pork (in general we use PORK LOIN – because it is SUPER LOW FAT and easy to handle either in the oven, or as steak). If we decide to cook in the oven, we usually fry it a bit with FLOUR (wheat or corn), this will SEAL the meat and keep its liquids INSIDE throughtout the cooking process, and in the end, the meat will be WET inside and YUMMY! 

      Another trick we love when managing pork, it to home marinate in WHITE WINE (with some additional citric acid – orange, lemon or lime), the wine is completely absorbed by the meat and the result is simply fantastic. 

      Once these parts of pork are HUGE (around 1.5 -> 2 kg) we freeze half, and consume the other half in couple of meals.

      Regarding vegetables, lately we are buying some good vegetable mixed (mostly oriental – chinese, of course the asian mix is yummier, or mexican). And we cook them fresh and eat in max until next day. Also we have been giving preference to broccoli and cauliflower… we leave them washed – dry and CUT in a big tuppleware (it is like a big circunference one, flat, so they stay separated), and we cook them in 5 minutes steamed… and eat it in the same day!), and we have always fresh, ready to be super quickly cooked.

      Salads, we mostly prepare a big bowl always for dinner, coz salad preparation is always a bit more tricky.

      We are tryiing to adjust and improve our own methods, maybe we should always separate the portions per meal, to not overeat… This is actually the impression I had, we were over eating meat, coz we always had the whole big portion available, and end up having “bigger eyes”, and ammounts of meat that should allow us to have more meals, were ending more quickly.

      Well, that’s it I guess, thanks for the tip, and for taking the time to read the article and share your experience with us!!  Cheers! 

      Reply

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