THE 3:1 METHOD
The 3:1 method is a simple way of structuring your nutrition throughout the day without tracking. The way I’m about to talk about it is primarily to help with fat loss, but you can also take the idea and use it for maintenance or whilst in a surplus.
The idea is to give yourself a simple structure during the day so you don’t have to exert too much effort, and then give yourself some freedom in the evening when you’re more likely to have the time to cook and be eating more social meals.
Here’s how it works:
Your first three meals of the day (breakfast, lunch, snack) stay consistent and focus on covering your nutritional bases (protein, fruit and veg).
These meals are as health-focused as possible.
Find meals that work for you, but an example could be:
Breakfast: High protein yoghurt and 2 pieces of fruit
Lunch: Chicken (or veg alternative) and roast veg or soup
Snack: Fruit and protein bar or shake (this is optional. you can bank some of these calories for the evening meal if you don’t feel too hungry)
This way, by the time you get to the end of the day you’ve already hit 5 servings of fruit and veg and had 3 servings of protein.
Then when it comes to dinner, simply estimate your meal within your calorie bracket and you’re sorted.
This way you can include foods you enjoy, including things like a sensible dessert, whilst covering your nutritional bases and losing body fat.
Why this works:
- By this point you haven’t eaten a lot of calories, but the food choices mean that satiety is high
- It takes a lot of the cognitive load off. You don’t have to spend your whole day thinking about what you should eat
- Flexibility at dinner. This allows for some leniency in what you eat when you’ll probably want it the most.
A couple of tips:
- I would track your first three meals for a few days just so that you have a rough idea of what you’re getting in. That way you’ll be eating roughly the same amount each day so you won’t need to track any more.
- Make sure you also account for extras like coffees, juices etc.
- Be cautious of ‘health’ based nut bars, as quite often they can have more calories than a regular chocolate bar which can undo your deficit
You don’t need to stress about exact numbers. It’s more important to be consistent and then make small adjustments if needed.