Meal Audibles: Preparing For The Unexpected Meal

“Omaha Omaha” were often the last words defensive's heard before getting beat for a big play.

The Omaha chant was a signature of what made Peyton Manning one sports greatest players.

If you don’t follow sports, that's fine,  just know Peyton Manning was one of football's greatest player and that he has a valuable lesson to teach you today.

What made Peyton so great was his preparation. Peyton prepared meticulously so that on game day he would know exactly what he had to do.

But what set him apart from everyone else was his ability to respond to unplanned situations. Whenever he was in a situation that wasn’t ideal he would change the play on the field and adapt. He’d yell out Omaha signalling to the team they were going to Plan B, then hike the ball, and beat the defense.

In football this ability to change the play on the fly is called an audible.  It’s a backup plan from when situations on the field are not as expected.

For diets, these unexpected situations come up frequently. I'm sure we can all recall a time when we had a well-planned diet thrown off by an unforeseen situation. Maybe it was a birthday party, maybe a late night at work, or maybe your dog learned how to open the fridge.  

Whichever the situation we need to be able to respond like Peyton - to adjust and act decisively. Yelling “Omaha” is optional but encouraged.

That’s why I’m going to set you up with some meal audibles. Meal audibles are your backup plans for when life happens and they're the secret to how people can achieve results in a chaotic world.


Meal Audibles

Strategy #1  - The Quick Meal

I get lazy, I get tired, I get busy. I’m sure you do as well and if you’re like me the last thing you want to do in these moments is to spend 20+ minutes to cook a meal.

Now when these situations arise, it’s easy to grab a snack, or swing by the drive through on your way home. Neither of these options is good for your goals, and cooking isn’t appealing either.

This is where a quick meal comes in. A quick meal is your at home option when in need. It should be a healthy option you can make at home with little to no effort.

The microwave and freezer are your friend. I suggest always having some form of microwavable veggies and a protein source tucked away for when you need it. Pop each in, or a food of your choosing and in 5 minutes your healthy nutritious meal is ready, and the situation is avoided.

I suggest coming up with 2 or 3 quick meals to have on hand. They don’t have to be perfect but they have to be easy. One of my personal go-to's is to microwave a bag of green giant frozen veggies and some grilled chicken.

If i want a snack, I may make a power yogurt - 1 cup of Greek yogurt, 1 scoop of protein powder and a handful of frozen berries. Prep time - 2 minutes.

Strategy #2 - Take Out

A home cooked meal is always ideal,  but life happens and there will be days when you won’t have time to cook or you won’t have food in your fridge.

This is a great time for some take out. Unfortunately, take out usually means pizza, Chinese or some other greasy and unhealthy meal but it doesn’t have too.

The goal when you pick up the phone is to not have to decide - because every decision you have to make is another opportunity for you to choose the wrong meal. I’m not saying you can’t make good decisions, but I’m acknowledging that when we're hungry and tired our food choices suffer.

Instead you want to have the decision made ahead of time so all you have to do is pick up and order - no thinking involved.

To do this, I want you to find one or two restaurants close by which you can order from.

Look at their menus and find a healthy meal that fits your needs. Determine if you have to make any substitutions for example changing fries for veggies, etc.

Write their number and your meal and keep it close by. When life happens, you call that number and order what's written. Simple execution.

Eating Out


Take out brings us to eating out. We eat out for many reasons such as to celebrate holidays or to enjoy times with friends and since this situation will arise it's important, we address and prepare you for it.

The combination of peer pressure, large portions, and tasty options can make eating out a treacherous situation to navigate if you're trying to eat healthy.  However, eating out does not mean you're doomed. You just have to be prepared and here are 5 strategies for you to make it out of the meal all right.

Strategy #1 - Plan ahead

If possible, find out what restaurant you will eat at and look up their menu. Like our take out audible search and find the item that fits your needs.  You’ll want a well balanced meal with a source of filling protein and nourishing vegetables. If you’ve been active during the day, then you may include a side of whole wheat grains, or another starchy carbohydrate (avoid the fried stuff).

Strategy #2 - Substitute

Restaurants cater to you the customer so make a substitution if you have too.  A substitution may cost an additional dollar or 2 but consider it well worth it. Think of it as your 6- pack tax (or other goal of your choice).

Most meals come with some kind of carbohydrate because they're cheap to produce and help to fill up the plate. If you haven't been active, then substitute the potatoes or rice for another side of veggies.

Substitution 2 - Ask for sandwiches without the bread (Sub in a tub), or burritos without the tortilla (burrito bowl).

Substitution 3- If you order a salad, and know they skimp on the meat ask for extra. You’ll want an adequate source of protein for your meal.

Mix and match items till you get the meal you want.

#3 Cut the meal in half

Restaurants are notorious for serving way too many calories in their meals.  To overcome this either order small, or cut the meal in half when you receive it. Ask for a to go bag and put half of your meal away before you start.

#4  Exercise or fast before the meal

If you know you cannot be trusted then I suggest the following -

Fast during the day. If you know your going to pig out for dinner, then keep your meals during the day light. This will keep your daily total calories in check.  

Exercise during the day, before the meal if possible. Exercising make your body and muscles more receptive to the nutrients consumed during a meal. This means it the food you eat will be more likely to go towards replenishing what was spent working out than being stored as fat.

#5 Cut the Drinks

Beverages are a quick way to add calories to a meal. Drinks add calories and provide little nutritional value.

Alcohol can be equally detrimental as sugary beverages but if you're going to drink anyway you can still mitigate the impact.

Recognize beverages as a source of calories. Once you do this, you can adjust your meal accordingly by picking an item with fewer calories. It all adds up - food or beverage.

Water is the ideal but occasionally you may want something more than water and you can find several alternatives in my article below.

Don’t Drink Your Calories - A Guide For Cutting Out Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

If you will get a beverage opt for something with some nutritional value such as a smoothie.

Put a limit on the number of drinks you have. This will help limit the amount of calories you consume, and how much alcohol your body has to deal with. After the drink limit switch to a club soda alternative.



Know what to expect and have a plan. But also be prepared for when "life happens"

That's what the meal audibles in this article are about - preparing you to handle those compromising situations.

Grab a piece of paper and write down - 

  1. 2- 3 quick meals you can make. Be sure to have the ingredients on hand when the time comes.

  2. Find a restaurant in your neighborhood, search there menu and write 2 meals you can order that are inline with your goals.

  3. When eating out, practice the above strategies.

MY goal here at Fitness Made Clear is to help give people the tools they need to live a healthy and fulfilling life. 

Support the cause and help get this information to those who can use it the most by sharing below.