LESSON 5- The 3 Basic Meal Components

3 Basic Meal Components

By: Chad Davis

BOWADX President


Building a meal or snack shouldn’t be rocket science. So, don’t make it harder than it has to be. Building a meal is simple. Let’s compare it to building a home. To build a home, you would need lumber for structure, electricity to operate your tools, and basic tools to build the home. Let’s not forget the insulation to keep your home within livable conditions when it’s hot or cold outside. That’s simple, right? Well, it’s just as easy to build a meal. You need building material, energy, tools and insulation.


Your building material is protein which contains amino acids used to build muscle. Examples of protein source are chicken, turkey, fish, lean steak, dairy and eggs. Your electricity or energy comes from carbohydrate sources such as low glycemic and minimum insulin spiking fruit, whole grains, oats, yogurt, sweet potatoes and whole wheat pasta(The Glycemic Index will be explained a bit more at the end). You also need your tools. Otherwise, you would be stuck with a big pile of lumber and nothing to cut, hammer and nail with. Your tools are vitamins, minerals, and enzymes which come from fruits and vegetables. Your major meals are incomplete without these. Beware of carrots and corn which can contain higher sugar and starch. Finally, don’t forget about your insulation. You had better have this for your home or you will live in misery. Your insulation comes from essential fat. The best sources for healthy fats are nuts, almonds, avocados, olives, olive oil, flax oil, and fish oil.


Now remember the key here is balance. Too much of a “good” thing is still unhealthy. You don’t need a whole lumber yard to build a home. You don’t need a power plant for electricity. A power pole will do just fine. You also don’t need 3 extra layers of insulation to properly insulate your home. For example, olive oil and nuts are great and healthy, but too much of it will get you too much fat. Beware of how much fat you need in a meal and don’t overdo in that area. The same applies to good sources of carbohydrates. Don’t overdo a shake with fruit, yogurt, soy milk and granola. Why? Because there will be enough sugar in it for you and two others, even if items in it are on the healthy side. Be aware of how much protein, carbohydrates and fats are in each of your meals and snacks.


It may take a little extra time at first to count things out, but like anything that becomes a habit or way of life, it will become rather easy over time. You will actually know your food, calories and component count like the back of your hand in no time. To be honest with you, if your body is your temple, you should know exactly what goes into it. Below is a “basic” example of what I recommend for each meal as well as some snacks.


How do you come up with how much protein, carbohydrates and fat you need in each of your meals?


It’s Simple, check this out.


1 gram of protein has 4 calories.

1 gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories.

1 gram of fat has 9 calories.


Here’s a great ratio to start out with for building your meal. This ratio has worked extraordinarily well for me and my clients, male and female alike.

40% protein/ 40% carbohydrates/ 20% fat


Here’s how I do it.


Let’s say, I based a diet on 1600 calories.


1st Step:         Determining the number of calories per meal.


1600 calories / 6 meals = Approximately 265 calories per meal


2nd Step:        Determining calories of proteins, carbohydrates and fat per meal.


265 x 40% = 106 calories of protein per meal or snack.

265 x 40% = 106 calories of carbohydrates per meal or snack.

265 x 20% = 53 calories of fats per meal.


3rd Step:        Converting calories to grams of protein, carbohydrates and fat.


106 calories of protein / (4 calories per gram of protein) = 26.5 g protein

106 calories of carbohydrates / (4 calories per gram of carb) = 26.5 g carbs

53 calories of fat / (9 calories per gram of fat) = 5.8 g fat


The Glycemic Index Explained


I am sure you have heard the hype on the latest discovery in weight management by now. It has been termed, “The Glycemic Index”. However new to some it may be, it is actually not that new at all. It has been used in conversation by most competitive fitness athletes for the past 10 years. I think it is just now growing in popularity due to the need of discussing the value of quality carbohydrates and their importance in maintaining a high performance metabolism. Can you lose weight on a diet deprived of virtually all carbohydrates? That would be a yes. However, you must understand that your central nervous system almost entirely runs on the fuel provided by carbohydrates. Compile that to its use by your lean body mass, and you have one big reason to include quality carbohydrates in your diet. To totally drop all carbohydrates out of your diet would just cause you to be one cranky and lethargic individual who no one would want to hang around. Remember, this is not just about reaching a weight loss goal through the use of a quick scheme fad diet. It is about creating a lifestyle change with lifetime benefits.


This healthy lifestyle needs to be one that does consist of carbohydrates! The key is quality carbohydrates in the right amounts. If you are wondering how to discover which carbohydrates are OK and which are not, you simply need to understand the glycemic index. You will find it easier to say than understand, yet I believe I have discovered a way to simplify it down a bit.


First, let me give you a brief rundown of the glycemic index. The index is basically a scale that rates the speed at which carbohydrates are broken down into glucose(blood sugar). In other words, it tells you how fast the oatmeal you just ate reaches your blood stream in the form of glucose.


I will explain it this way. Think of the glycemic index scale as a speedometer that goes from 0 to 120mph. Now, if you are driving through most small towns, you will probably see speed limits signs reading 55mph. If you exceed that limit you will be breaking the law. The same applies to the glycemic index. When looking at the glycemic index, you want to stick to low glycemic carbohydrates. These are simply carbohydrates rated at 55 or below on the glycemic index scale. Let me put it this way. I will quickly compare a white potato to a sweet potato. A white potato has a glycemic index of 91, compare to a sweet potato of 49. This is just telling me that the sugar in the white potato is traveling to my blood stream at 91mph. However, the sugar in the sweet potato is traveling to my blood stream at 49mph. Are you still following me? You might be wondering what the significance of knowing that means. Let’s look at it further. In normal conditions when sugar, also known as glucose, enters the bloodstream, it provides a signal to the pancreas. The pancreas reacts to the sugar in the blood by producing insulin. Insulin is like an ant. It works really hard, and it gets the job done quickly. Insulin’s job is quiet simple. It pretty much is designed to take the sugar out of the blood and store it in designated places. It prefers to stick the sugar in the muscle tissue. This stored form is called glycogen. However, once the muscle tissue is full, the quick acting insulin has to put the sugar somewhere else. Guess where that is? It’s stored as energy in the form of fat! That is right. That is why a fat free diet is often not the answer. Too much sugar, healthy or not, still leads to excess body fat storage. The key for carbohydrates is learning the glycemic index to have a grasp of which are higher and which are lower in ranking on the scale. The low glycemic carbohydrates take longer to hit the blood stream and are just overall slower to be broken down, mainly based on the unique bond structure of the carbohydrate. This slow release gives your body adequate time to handle the sugar little by little. This highly decreases the sugar overload and spillage effect that leads to the excess being stored as body fat.


Understanding the Glycemic Index can be a big factor in preserving energy. There may be times where you will need quick jolts of energy. It might be for sporting events or going for a mid-day power jog. I actually sometimes prefer high glycemic carbohydrates immediately after a work out to quickly fill my deplenished muscle glycogen stores that can lead to a negative state of muscle loss. On the flip side, I am usually looking for consistent and sustained energy. It is no fun feeling short circuited, stuck behind a work desk. I am sure you and most can relate to this. How many times have you eaten Thanksgiving dinner and two hours later, crashed on the couch? When ingesting too much food or excessive high glycemic carbohydrates, we are often driven to an energy crash within a couple of hours. It is usually a reaction from a negative drop in blood sugar. Simply stated, you just went empty on blood sugar due to an excessive insulin spike. Conditions like this are no fun unless you are aiming to get in a quick power nap and need a sleep aid.


I hope this insight proves to be helpful in your lifestyle and weight management progress. I have included a helpful chart below. It lists a large number of carbohydrates and their Glycemic index ratings. I recommend making copies of this chart and placing one on the refrigerator, one in your car, and one in your wallet or purse. You will soon find we are all creatures of habit, and you will have it memorized in no time.


Finally, understanding the Glycemic Index principle is important for everyone, yet it holds even more significance for those with diabetes or those at risk for getting diabetes. Diabetes can cause excessively high blood sugar conditions that in turn lead to arteriosclerosis and stored body fat due to the lack of insulin or forms of insulin resistance. Whatever your need may be, weight loss or general health, utilizing the Glycemic Index can benefit you in more ways than one. Learn it and put it to use. In no time at all you will feel more energized, more alert and see the desirable changes that will occur in the mirror right in front of your eyes.


Below is an example of the impact high and low glycemic carbohydrates have on insulin levels. Again, you want to stay away from the high glycemic carbohydrates due to the high insulin and blood sugar spikes they produce.




High and Low Glycemic Breakdown of Carbohydrates



High Glycemic Carbs– Causes high blood sugar and unwanted insulin that can lead to excessive fat storage(Ex. white potato, white rice, rice cakes, white bread, most cereals, pretzels, bagels, bananas, watermellon, dried fruit, fruit juices, etc…)


Low Glycemic Carbs– Causes Slower Time-Released Insulin Spikes which yields longer lasting energy with less opportunity for fat storage (Ex. oatmeal, wheat bread, brown rice, berries, whole wheat pasta, vegetables, whole grains, beans, Quinoa, apples, pears, etc… )

Glycemic Index


The following is a list of good(Low Glycemic) and bad(High Glycemic) carbohydrates. STAY AWAY from the bad. They will only hinder all the hard work you put into your body. Stick to the good carbohydrates and they might be the missing link you have been looking for to lose that unwanted body fat. Remember; eat your protein and vegetable portions at the beginning of the meal to lessen the insulin spikes even more.

Good Carb Chart


Bad Carb Chart

I know this portion of Project Lean Hunter contains A LOT of information. You may need to read this lesson a couple of times. Just realize that this info is of most importance and can make the difference in excellent success verses a constant spinning of your wheels and time.

God Bless and Remember, God is Great; Loves You; Sent His Son Jesus; Shoot It Straight!

-Chad Davis

BOWADX President