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    ICON Meals Catoring To The Competitor In Each Of Us

    ICON Meals Blog — healthy eating

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    This is Why Your Diets Don’t Work by Mike O'Hearn

    This is Why Your Diets Don’t Work by Mike O'Hearn
    Have you noticed how people jump onboard with a popular fad diet, lose 5, 10 or even 20 pounds…only to gain it all back and then some? Why does this happen? It’s actually a simple concept, and once you understand it you will be forever saved from the tortures of yo-yo dieting. 

    Read more

    Mental Nutrition

    Mental Nutrition

    From Michael Mastrucci (@themacrodiabetic)

    We often associate things like exercise and diet with physical improvement while mental-specific activities like reading keep our mind sharp. However, something I don’t see or hear enough of is how our food choices play into our mental state.

    At one point, we all learned how to track calories/macros and how this affected our physique. Through this, we discovered how to manipulate food choices to allow us the ability to fit “fun” foods into our diet plan. While I’m a proponent of flexible dieting, there’s plenty of people that take these “fun” foods (or more of an IIFYM approach) to an extreme.

    I believe it’s important to find a balance between both nutrient-dense and nutrient-void foods to allow you to truly enjoy your nutritional protocols…but if consistently leaning towards more nutrient-void foods begs the question; have you ever considered how food affects your mind?

    Whether it’s the ability to focus for long periods, processing information, or just clear-headed decision making, your brain NEEDS nutrients just as much as your body.

    While everyone runs on different wavelengths, and some can get away with a more “loose” sort of diet, it’s extremely important to pay attention to not only how our food choices make us feel or operate physically, but mentally as well.

    Enjoy that donut, cereal, ice cream, or whatever treats you love indulging in, but don’t rob yourself of proper fuel just because it fits your macros.

    How To Eat Healthy In College

    How To Eat Healthy In College

    From Michael Mastrucci (@themacrodiabetic)

    College students are no strangers to full class loads that include cramming for exams, late-night studying, and regular assignments or projects. Many students take on part-time (and some even full-time) jobs to keep some money in their pocket, be it for course materials they may need, some weekend spending money, or trying to get ahead on their savings. While everyone works for that end-goal or "light at the end of the tunnel" there's no doubt things can be hectic and feel like they might never let up.

    But amidst the chaos in trying to keep the pace going and not fall short on whatever deadlines you may face, it's of the utmost importance to NEVER neglect your health.

    Sometimes it seems like all you have time for between classes and studying is to reach for a pack of ramen, an energy drink, or some fast food on the corner. And while all food is sustenance in some way, WHAT you put in your body determines just how far and well you'll be able to perform both physically and mentally.

    While I'm not here to bore you with a word problem, assuming you hear enough of those in math class already, think of your body and mind as a car. You have a long trip ahead of you and need to ensure your car doesn't just drive as long as you need, but that you won't have any permanent breakdowns along the way. Knowing your car runs on a certain type of fuel, ask yourself: what would putting the WRONG fuel in my car do for my journey? Would it be able to function optimally to get me where I need to go?

    You see, food is the same.

    By choosing relatively unprocessed, whole-food sources you're providing your body with the ability to remain healthy and your mind the opportunity to remain focused on the demands placed on it. Of course, this can be easier said than done, as those quick grab-and-go types of foods aren't just convenient (and often cheaper than the healthy stuff), they tend to taste better too. But the keyword here is "cheap" and opting for foods that give you the RIGHT nutrients offer you more than just "growing big and strong.”

    Back in my college days, I put a lot of the wrong fuel in my body. Sleepless nights studying were often fueled by too much caffeine and convenience store snacks. This often came at the cost of lethargy, low energy throughout the day, and just feeling like I was in a constant mental fog no matter how much I slept or tried to get into a studying groove during my classes.

    How I wish I had ICON Meals then!

    What I enjoy most about them is how they don't just give healthy options to choose from (be it their weekly Signature Menu or their custom meal options) but they all taste great. These days my routine stays just as busy between auditing classes from my degree as well as running my own web development company. This keeps me extremely busy and I don't have time to stop what I'm doing to cook every single meal, much less spend my weekend grocery shopping, cooking, and prepping the following week's meals in advance.

    ICON Meals doesn't just take the guess-work out of what I'm going to eat, they save me massive amounts of time I wouldn't have otherwise, allowing me to grab a healthy meal and keep grinding away at everything on my plate (pun intended).

    Even when I DID start taking care of myself with a proper fitness and nutritional routine I never considered a meal-prep/delivery service before. But if I'm going to spend the money grocery shopping just to spend chunks of time weighing and cooking the food only to package it up for when I need it, why not just have ICON Meals do the majority of it for me?

    All the food is properly weighed out and comes from REAL food that isn't processed. It's minimally seasoned (especially the custom meals) so I can spice dishes up a different way if I want to. They have options for protein, carb, and vegetable sources I enjoy having regardless of whether I made them myself or used them!

    Treat your body right by feeding it right. Remember that good practices make good habits and that even after your time at school, things stay busy. For that reason alone, while your education sets your career up for success, ICON Meals sets your nutrition, body, and mind up to keep you going.

    Stay connected with blog author Michael Mastrucci on

    Want to be featured by ICON Meals? Submit your stories to info@iconmeals.com or send us a DM on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!

    8 Ways To Feel Full While Cutting Calories

    8 Ways To Feel Full While Cutting Calories

    From Michael Mastrucci (@themacrodiabetic)


     

    Two hormones have a major influence on energy balance: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin mediates long-term energy regulation and is responsible for decreasing hunger. Ghrelin is the yin to leptin’s yang, a fast-acting hormone that increases hunger.

     

    When you’re cutting, putting your body in an intentional caloric deficit, the body’s subconscious response is to increase ghrelin which leads to cravings and hunger pangs. This is true even in short cutting periods. And if you give in to these cravings, your cutting will have been for nothing! Here are eight ways to counteract the body’s hunger response:

     

     

    ICON Meals - Caffeine

    1. Caffeine

    Black coffee’s caffeine content can blunt hunger. However, it’s not a panacea and I wouldn’t recommend downing a pot later in the day.

     

    ICON Meals - Distractions

    2. Distractions

    There’s nothing like watching your favorite show or a movie during dinner to help you chill out after a long day, and mild hunger can fade when our minds are distracted with entertainment. Take care to fully enjoy your food — chew thoroughly, swallow, set your fork down, take a sip of water. It’s not a race.

     

    ICON Meals - Fasting

     

    3. Fasting

    Some people have no trouble pushing their meals until later in the day, and fasting can be effective for fat loss — but it is definitely not REQUIRED. Before jumping on the fasting bandwagon pay close attention to how it affects your energy levels. There’s no reason to force your body to take on additional stress when already in a deficit.

     

    ICON Meals Flavors

     

    4. Flavor

    If you’re finding your food a little bland, adding spices and other flavors can make it more palatable without adding excessive amounts of sodium or sugar — ICON Flavor Seasonings are a great example. Too much salt and sugar can numb taste receptors over time, leave you feeling hungry, and make lightly-seasoned foods less satisfying.

     

    ICON Meals - Hydration

     

    5. Hydration

    Drinking water is far better than eating more calories when maintaining a deficit. Most importantly, you need water to help regulate a vast number of physiological processes and stay healthy. Drinking water before and after a meal (and in between bites) helps to promote fullness and keeps your digestive system working properly.

     

    ICON Meals Grilled Chicken Lean Box

     

    5. Nutrients

    Whole foods are your best bet for overall health. 200 calories of potato chips are mostly empty of valuable nutrition —instead, opt for veggies or micronutrient-dense foods to get far more bang for your caloric buck. Additionally, nutrient-dense foods often provide your body with better energy levels and can be much easier on digestion.

     

    ICON Meals Mentality

     

    6. Mentality

    Going to bed hungry is a big pet peeve of mine, so I like to save the majority of my daily calories for the last meal of the day. This doesn’t agree with everyone, and that’s ok. After you’ve eaten dinner, it’s important to remember that you’re not going to starve. If you get those post-dinner cravings, drink water, stay occupied, and see how you feel in 20 minutes.

     

    ICON Meals Sleep

     

    7. Sleep

    Sleep affects hormone regulation, and lack of it will put leptin and ghrelin out of balance. To prevent cravings and dips in your energy, your body needs to get full, complete rest. This is doubly important when you’re intentionally depriving yourself of calories.

     

    ICON Meals Fork

     

    8. Utensil Size

    Psychological tricks can help us feel fuller without actually changing our food. Smaller silverware and dishes visually trick our minds into thinking our portions are larger and therefore more satisfying.

    Holiday Weight Loss Guide

    Holiday Weight Loss Guide

    Here’s a story that may sound familiar - a person starts a new diet with a weight loss meal plan and they’re really excited about how it’s finally going to change their health around. Maybe there’s some early success! Eventually though, six months or maybe even two years down the road, the diet fails. It happens to so many people that it’s almost an expectation.

     

    A scientifically sound weight loss meal plan is a fantastic foundation for losing weight. Obviously what you eat matters, A LOT. But that’s not enough — without a long-term strategy for success in place most diets are doomed to fail. We want you to take the weight off and keep it off, so here are three ways to make your weight loss meal plan successful for the long haul.

     

     

    1. Set Realistic Goals

     

    Goals should be concrete daily objectives like “drink a gallon of water a day for 30 days” or “work out arms for 30 minutes today.” Writing down and working toward short-term activity based goals is a common strategy for successful professionals in all walks of life — athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs — but those goals have to be realistic to have any chance of working. 

     

    The best strategy is to reverse engineer your long-term visions to create short-term goals. Let’s say you want to lose 5 pounds in a month. Twenty minutes of cardiovascular exercise in addition to cutting out processed sugars everyday is a rational, attainable goal. 

     

     

    2. Healthy Caloric Deficit

     

    Putting yourself in caloric deficit (burning more calories than you ingest) is absolutely essential for weight loss, but it is incredibly easy to do so in ways that negatively affect your health and sabotage your long-term goals.

     

    Cutting too many calories too fast will send your body into survival mode, crippling your metabolism as it desperately stores away all energy from everything you consume — your lizard brain thinks you are starving. Your body won’t want to burn fat.

     

    Instead, figure out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight and cut that number by 20%. This shouldn’t be enough of a change to trigger your body’s survival mode. Not sure how many calories you’re taking in every day? Keep on reading.

     

     

    3. Accurately Count Calories

     

    We know, we know. Counting calories can be a demanding chore, but it really is necessary for long-term weight loss success. Good news though — a good weight loss meal plan (like our Lean Box) does the work for you! The calories of every meal are already counted for you — simply put the numbers into your favorite nutrition app, or write them down old-school in a nutrition journal. 

     

    And don’t forget — document EVERYTHING. A little snack here and there might not seem like much, but those calories add up too. 

     

     

    In It To Win It

     

    If you’re thinking about investing in yourself and getting healthy with a weight loss meal plan, congratulations — you deserve to live your best life! Help guarantee your self-investment is successful in the long run by adding these tips to your weight loss strategy. 

     

    ICON Meals Signature Menu