S: The Satisfying Meal
The S Meal is comprised of protein (fatty or lean) + good fats + nonstarchy veggies.
It’s the fats that make it an S meal. Carbs are limited to 10 net grams or less per serving and may come from dairy, berries, tomatoes, or up to ¼ cup of canned beans. We don’t specifically count the carbs in non-starchy veggies.
S Friendly Protein:
Any cut of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, etc. Any fish — wild sockeye salmon is especially good. THM doesn’t count macros, so just have a reasonable piece of protein. A meal/snack here and there with a lower amount is okay, but protein does make you full (satisfied!) and is comprised of building blocks your body needs.
S Friendly Fat:
Good fats for cooking are any that are solid at room temperature: butter, coconut oil, red palm oil, lard, bacon grease. The THM founders do not eat pork, but these still qualify as valid fats!
Good fats for salads or other cold applications: MCT oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, sesame oil.
Acceptable fats include heavy whipping cream or half’n’half, cocoa butter, cheese, nuts, peanut or other nut butters, pumpkin, sunflower, or other seeds and their butters.
Oils to avoid: canola oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil
S Friendly Veggies:
Eat in abundance:
Lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbage, cucumber, peppers, okra, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, bean sprouts, daikon, radishes, turnips, garlic, kohlrabi, asparagus
Eat in moderation:
Brussels sprouts, avocado (limit ½ per serving), tomatoes, onions, squashes (spaghetti, butternut, acorn, pumpkin), carrots, peas, rutabaga, jicama, beets, eggplant, parsnips
A few S meals I enjoy, just to give you an idea what that looks like on a plate:
• steak and Caesar salad (hold the croutons)
• beef stew made with turnips, radishes, celery and maybe some veggies from the moderate section
• grilled pork chop with oven-roasted veggies (okra or green beans or broccoli = yum!)
• sausages and fried cabbage
• panfried salmon on top of a tossed salad
• bacon, eggs, and a veggie medley
• taco salad with a small amount of black beans (hold the chips or tortilla)
• roast chicken with THM gravy over mashed cauliflower, and a salad
• beef and broccoli stirfry over konjac noodles
• homemade soup with any S-approved veggies
If you’re familiar with the ketogenic diet, you’ll find a lot of similarities between THM S meals and keto. The biggest difference is that, in THM, we also enjoy carbs in other meals, and are not striving for ketosis.
For Advanced Study…
While there aren’t technically any limits to how much fat you should ingest with an S meal, it can make a difference if your weight loss comes to a stall. So this section is NOT for folks just starting into THM. Please don’t worry about the fat content (other than making sure they are on-plan fats) until you have a really good handle on separating fuels and following THM principles. With that in mind, sometimes it is a good idea to vary the amounts or types of fats in your S meals.
A light S meal may have an S-approved protein like a beef steak, pork chop, or chicken leg but cooked on the grill with little to no fat. You might have a salad with a couple of teaspoons of an oil-based dressing. So the protein doesn’t fit into Fuel Pull because it isn’t lean AND/OR there is more than 5 grams (one teaspoon ish) added fat, but it’s still fairly light.
We don’t count calories in THM. It’s all about ‘food freedom’ so it’s sustainable for the long haul, so don’t think more Light S meals are necessarily better because they’re lower calorie. On the other hand, variety is a good thing, right?
A heavy S meal contains fats from cheese, cream or nuts, etc. Enjoy them! But if weight loss is slow or stalled, this might be a place to cut back. An example might be a taco salad with seasoned ground beef and greens, but also shredded cheddar, sour cream, avocado, and a ¼ cup of black beans.
A deep S meal is focused on pure fats (the good fats above) but none of the acceptable fats. It’s focused on the S-friendly veggies but none of the ‘eat in moderation’ veggies. In other words, zero carbs. No avocados (since they have carbs as well as fats) and no berries. This brings the focus to healthy fats with no distractions. Your body definitely knows which fuel to burn in a Deep S meal.
An S Helper is an S meal (any level) that includes half a serving of certain carbs (10-20 grams). This might be bacon and eggs with one slice of sprouted toast. Fruit added to an S meal will always create a crossover, not an S Helper, even if it’s a small amount. Ingredients trump numbers.
Please Note: I am not an authorized Trim Healthy Mama coach or blogger.