3 Simple Tricks to Eat Enough Calories, Even If You’re In Quarantine


Who would have thought that when s*** hit the fan, people would go out and fight to the death for toilet paper?


Seriously though, if you need that much toilet paper to get through a ~4 week (more or less) period at home, you’ve got other issues besides COVID-19…


Before we get into the meat and potatoes of today’s blog, remember:


For actual information on the virus itself and the overall situation, please refer to the leading health authorities such as the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization).


And whatever you do, please do NOT get your COVID-19 gameplan from Karen down the street who did in fact buy 19 pallets of toilet paper…


Now, for the fun stuff…


If you’re like me and the rest of the athletes and general population clients that I work with, you’re probably worried about how you’re going to make progress during this time. Also, for my basketball and football players out there, you either just started or are in the middle of your offseason (the best time to improve as an athlete)…


So, how can we put you in a position to get stronger, faster, more athletic, and overall better at your sport, even if you’re stuck at home…


Well, there are a number of things that we can focus on; but, one of the biggest factors that will play a role in facilitating adaptations as an athlete is NUTRITION (surprise, lol)


When it comes to nutrition, the number one priority for nearly every athlete should be meeting your daily calorie needs. If you don’t already know this, your body takes in calories via food and burns calories through a number of different factors (topic for a different post).


If you’re goal is to get stronger, in better shape, build muscle, etc. then you’ll want to be at caloric maintenance (eating as much as you’re burning) or in a surplus (eating more than you’re burning).


[For a step by step breakdown of how to calculate your calorie needs, check out my FREE eBook here]


Ok, cool…


But, there’s a really big elephant in the room that we need to address:


How are you going to get your calorie needs in if your local Karen is clearing off the shelves at the grocery store as if the apocalypse is coming?


Also, what if we end up at a point where we can’t leave the house?


Now, to implement these tricks, you’ll have to brave the grocery store at least once. But, you should be able to stock up on foods that will keep you well supplied while you remain at home and practice social distancing.


Tip #1 – Buy fresh, and freeze later.


At this point, it’s likely that the frozen section of your grocery store has been completely ransacked. Frozen meats, fruits, veggies, all gone…


You may think that hope is lost, but think again…


What you can do is buy fresh meat, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, and put them in the freezer to freeze them yourself if you know that you’re not gonna use ‘em right away.


Here is a list of foods you can freeze to help guide your decision making in the grocery store:





-Banana (peel it first, then freeze)





-Meat (beef, steak, etc)

-Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc)





Most any fruit and veggie will work, and I’m sure there are foods that weren’t included here that could be used to. If you have questions about a specific food that I missed, just shoot me a text at 818-210-4351 and let me know or join my email community here.


Tip #2 – Stock up on dry goods, even if they are a different brand than usual or a food that you wouldn’t have considered eating before.


In an ideal world, stocking up on dry goods would mean your usual rice, oats, etc. These foods have a longer shelf life and can be a great way to get your calories in, even when you’re stuck at home.


However, now is not the time to be picky. In many locations, it’s going to be tough to find the ideal options here. If they are available, by all means get what you would normally get. With that being said, do not be afraid to try a different brand or even venture out and try a food you would have overlooked in the past.


For example, if you’ve never tried quinoa before but all the rice is sold out already, now might be the time to try it!


Here are some options for you to think about buying:




-Brown rice


-Pasta (whole wheat, regular, black bean pasta, lentil pasta, etc. Get what is available)



-Beans of all varieties


-Nut butters


-Canned fruits/veggies

-Canned tuna

-Canned sardines

-Canned soups

-Protein powders

-Protein bars


If you have a tough time finding anything in your local grocery stores, you can also order quite a bit of food online through resources like Amazon, Thrive Market, Butcher Box, and many more. The biggest key is to take action NOW, because the situation is changing at such a rapid rate.


Tip #3 – Look for more calorie dense foods


You want to make hitting your calorie targets as easy as possible.


While fruits and vegetables are great for overall health/support your immune system, and I would 110% recommend that they be on your grocery list during this pandemic…


You’re going to need some extra help when it comes to meeting your calories needs.


Here’s where being a bit of a nutrition nerd is helpful:


Remember the three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat


We know that protein has 4 calories per gram, carbs have 4 calories per gram, and fat has 9 calories per gram. This means that fat is more calorically dense than protein and carbs.


We also know that protein is crucial for building lean muscle and maintaining it. So, we don’t really want to sacrifice that if we can help it.


We also know that carbohydrates are your body’s fuel for high intensity exercise. While you may be training at home (and you should be training at home) during this time, it is reasonable to assume that the duration and intensity of the training will be lower. This means that your need for carbs will likely be lower as well.


So, our priority becomes meeting your calorie needs and protein needs (if feasible with your given resources).


In the current situation, eating a diet that is slightly higher fat than usual and lower carbohydrate than usual can be helpful in accomplishing the goal of reaching your calorie target.


Some higher fat foods that can make this easy to accomplish are peanut butter, almond butter (any nut butter, really), nuts, seeds, oils, fatty cuts of meat, etc.


Notice that I did not say that you HAVE to do this. It may just be something that you want to think about, especially if your training intensity has gone down and you’re spending most of your day without movement (i.e. playing video games when you normally would be walking to and from class). If you have the resources to eat your normal amount of carbs and you still plan on training at a high intensity, then you may just want to keep your plan as is.


Another way to get more calorie dense foods into your diet is to include some lower fiber carbohydrates. Think about white rice versus fruits/veggies. White rice is much more calorie dense than fruits/veggies. This is NOT saying to exclude fruit and veggies (we all know how helpful they are for keeping you healthy, which is the #1 priority right now). What I am saying is to look for calorie dense options to eat in conjunction with nutrient dense options.


Something else you can do to get your calorie intake up is to consider stocking up on foods that you wouldn’t normally think of as “healthy.” Things like chocolate, candy, etc. are very calorically dense and typically have a longer shelf life. During a time like this, you will also be very likely to find them still on shelves in the store since most buyers will overlook them while stocking up on more standard foods like oats, rice, meats, etc.




Tip #1 – Buy fresh, and freeze later.


Tip #2 – Stock up on dry goods, even if they are a different brand than usual or a food that you wouldn’t have considered eating before.


Tip #3 – Look for more calorie dense foods


Whatever plan you have, it’s not going to be perfect.


Accept that, and do the best you can with what you’ve got!


I truly hope these tips helped make navigating the madness a little bit easier, and I will be continuing to put out related resources over the coming days and weeks in the form of blogs, podcasts, guides, lists, etc.


The best place to get first access to any resources I put out is in my email community. You can join it for free by clicking HERE!


Lastly, please be sure to reach out and let me know of any nutrition questions or concerns that you have during this time! I will do my absolute best to help you as best as I can.


It’s a time for us to get better together.


PS – Remember to play your part and practice social distancing!

PPS – Join the free email community HERE!

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