What you will find here today is, in my opinion, the easiest possible diet to follow that will help you achieve a leaner and more fit body. And it sounds that way, too… doesn’t it? The Handful Diet – couldn’t sound less stressful, really.
In fact it’s so easy the only measurement tool you will need is your own hand. Literally, just one hand and you can start your diet today! No calories, grams, ounces, scales, serving sizes, etc…
So before I describe this diet let me get this out there, I’m not saying this is the only way. For some people tracking calories and macronutrients works great and they should continue that. For some people they will need a strict meal plan to achieve there results easier. But what I will say is that those methods also stress out many people and lead to bingeing after weeks of being 100% compliant.
So for those of you who are tired of tracking their calories and macro’s, those of you who are tired of eating what the “sheet” says each meal, and for those of you who are tired of the stressful situations that come with meal plans… This diet is for you.
I call this the “Handful” diet because your hand will be your measurement tool. I have used this diet with many clients, with a variety of goals and have been successful with many [I say many because I do have clients who need the meal plans and macro tracking to stay on point]. In fact this is exactly what I do along with my Intermittent Fasting regime.
The “Handful” diet is simple, each meal you will be required to eat a specific amount of “Handfuls” of a specific nutrient
For example, let’s look at protein. Each meal MUST contain 1-2 Handfuls of protein.
- This rule changes slightly depending on the person, their goals and typically their size. A good example would be an “anytime” meal for an averaged size female would be 1 handful of protein, but for the average size male it would be 1-2 handfuls.
- This ends up being about 20-50g of protein. Think about it like this, 1 chicken breast is about 23-26g of protein and it is about the size of your hand. Therefore 1 chicken breast is 1 handful of protein.
- This also may change when it comes to pre and post workout nutrition. Your post training meal is going to be your most protein/carb rich meal, this would call for 2 handfuls of protein.
The next question that tends to come up is, “How many times per day should I be eating?”
Well, the research on nutrient timing is pretty scattered here but what we tend to when looking at all the different research based on both timing carbs, protein feedings, and even chrononutrition – because those are the three most well studied areas of nutrient timing at the moment… is that eating every 3-5 hours tends to be most optimal. This typically leads to heaving anywhere from 3-6 meals per day, too.
From an anecdotal perspective, it’s just going to make it easier to consume the right amount of food if you spread it out like this. This is not because we are “Keeping the furnace burning”, or whatever they said in the 80’s bodybuilding era. A lot of people are stuck at a plateau because they can’t eat enough calories and this can help with that.
Finally, this may also optimize energy levels, energy expenditure, muscle maintenance during a fat loss phase, and even insulin sensitivity. Some of these, however, will only start to occur if you stick to the same eating schedule daily. This means choosing a meal split and sticking to it, every day, for 90% of your weeks/months.
Now let’s move onto carbs. This will actually be split into 3 different categories; fruit, starches and veggies.
- Veggies– For this category you will shoot for 1 handful per meal, preferably greens. This is not limited to 1 handful but it is crucial for you to consume at least 1 handful of veggies per meal.
- Starches– For this category I would recommend 1-2 handful; this would be about 1-2 cup of rice or 1 decent sized sweet potato. This also depends on goals and meal timing. If you’re like me and Intermittent Fast, I would recommend 1-2 handfuls at your feast. If your eating 4-6 meals throughout the day, I would recommend 1-2 handfuls but split into 2-3 meals post workout. This is limited to post workout for most of us, I say “Most” because everyone is different and has different goals.
- For fat loss – Starches are saved for post workout, on strength training days. These would be the days that you perform weight training, big lifts, and push heavy weight. So non-cardio days… This is the category that would fall under the “1 handful” of starches.
- Muscle/Weight Gain – For these guys, starches are aloud on any day and I would recommend them at breakfast first thing in the morning, right before training, and the meals following your workout. This could be anywhere from 3-6 handfuls of starches.
- Recomposition – This is where a lot of us fall. We don’t want to necessarily gain weight, but we don’t necessarily have much fat to lose. The goal here is to increase lean body mass and look good naked. For this goal, I would suggest saving starches for post workout only and POSSIBLY a fast acting carb immediately pre-workout (fruit or a carb drink). For this category I would recommend 1-2 handfuls of starches per strength training day.
- Fruit– This is the section people seem to struggle most with, at least that’s what I have found in my experience. Most people assume “It’s fruit, so its healthy and I can eat it whenever…”. Well, this is not the case for most. Again for the person trying to GAIN weight, you can eat as much fruit as you want just about whenever you want because you’re an indestructible garbage disposal that will not gain fat [lucky bastards!]. For everyone else, keep fruit to 1-2 cups a day and after workouts. Fruit is healthy but it is still a type of sugar and it shouldn’t be over-consumed, which is why 1-2 cups is what I recommend. If you decide to have fruit before you have trained or on rest days, make sure it is at a 4:1 ratio of veggies:fruits.
Fats are the category that gets tricky, because you need them but do not want to over consume them either. So I would recommend 1-2 handfuls of fats, for the day. This would be a handful of nuts, half of an avocado, and whatever fats are in your meat. Or this might be some low-fat dairy, meat and a small serving of almonds. Like I said it’s tricky and really depends because it is a harder measurement to do. BUT what I will recommend is to get your fats from multiple sources, don’t have your 2 handfuls all from cashews… don’t eat 2 avocados… don’t eat two blocks of cheese because you can fit it in your hand… you get the point!
So now that you can get a grasp on my “Handful” diet, I will give you an example of what a day would look like for a fat loss/muscle gain client.
- 2-3 Eggs scrambled with 4-6 oz ground turkey and 1 cup of spinach.
- [1 handful of healthy fats, 1 ½ handfuls of protein, and 1 handful of green veggies]
- 1 Scoop Protein Shake, Amazing Grass greens drink, and ¼ cup Almonds
- [1 handful protein, 1 handful green veggies, and ¼ – ½ handful of fats]
- 1-2 Tilapia/Cod Filets and 2 Cups of Broccoli
- [1-2 Handfuls of Protein and 2 Handfuls of green veggies]
- BCAA’s (just a good recommendation and what I personally drink during my workout)
Dinner (post workout):
- 2 Chicken Breast Cooked w/ 2 Cups of Veggies and 1 Cup of Rice. (stir-fry)
- [2 handfuls of protein, 2 handfuls of veggies, and 1 handful of starchy carbs]
So there it is, pretty simple. Best part about it is that it is a low stress diet that can be extremely effective.
If there is anything that confuses you here or maybe this is just too simple for you and you need a more advanced approach to Tailoring your nutrition, CLICK HERE NOW.