Last week we talked about building your own AH meals in Phase 1. We encourage you to stick to our meal plans or at least to the basic ratios for the first two weeks of Phase 1. This allows your body to reset and its signals to become more trustworthy. Once you’ve reset though, many people choose to enter Phase 2.  Here is where the freedom of the Always Hungry Solution really comes into play. If Phase 1 is all about retraining your body, then Phase 2 is about creating a plan that works for your life. We encourage you to experiment in the kitchen, and the best way to start is by understanding what’s included in a Phase 2 meal and try a few things.

How to Know When to Move to Phase 2

Yes, if you are doing well in Phase 1, you can stay there for a while. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with different whole kernel grains or starchy vegetables to see how you tolerate them.

You don’t have to go all the way into Phase 2 either. If you want to ease in slowly when you are ready, just try adding a grain or starchy veg with one meal and see how your body does. Or, try increasing the slow carbs you are currently enjoying and reducing the fat a bit to see how you do with Phase 2 ratios. Different grains may affect you differently as well. So maybe try a different one each week or every few days. Any Phase 1 meal can be incorporated into Phase 2 as well. You could use Phase 2 ingredients with Phase 1 ratios or vice versa. Phase 2 is about increasing flexibility. You can choose to reduce fat a bit or add new types of carbs or not. Freedom!!!!

Understand Phase 2

If you’re not sure how to get started, read over the Phase 2 meal plans in Always Hungry and Always Delicious to get an idea of how we put foods together. Almost every recipe in Always Delicious has a meal plan for each of the phases. Simply browsing through these can teach you how to adjust meals between the phases.

If you’re calculating on your own, remember that fat has 9 calories per gram as opposed to 4 for carbs and protein. It’s why fat has been feared for the last 40 years. It has double the calories, however it is also more satisfying and doesn’t raise insulin. So, it works with your body instead of against it.

What’s in a Phase 2 Meal?

In Phase 2, calories come from 40% Fat, 35% Carbohydrate, and 25% Protein. But just like Phase 1, Phase 2 meals begin with your choice of protein, followed by fat and carbohydrates. We have a useful info-graphic to give you a step-by-step guide to building meals. Click here for the Phase 2 Meal Builder Info-Graphic. (We also have a Phase 2 Meal Builder available in a simple flow chart!)

Forget Counting: Phase 2 Meal Builder

Just like in Phase 1, you can easily build your own meals by forgetting about calories and ratios. Start with 4 – 6 ounces of protein. Fattier proteins will call for leaner sides and dressings while leaner proteins will need fattier sides and dressings. To see which proteins are fatty and which are lean, check out the Equivalents Table on pages 50 – 51 of Always Delicious.

Then you add lots of non-starchy vegetables, such as salad greens or blanched vegetables with dressing (see our How to Blanch Vegetables video tutorial here). In Phase 2, whole kernel grains (like brown rice, quinoa, and barley), starchy vegetables (like sweet potatoes and winter squashes), and and a few sweeteners (like honey and maple syrup) can begin to be reintroduced to your diet.

We recommend adding one new carbohydrate at a time so you can judge how your body responds. Some grains may work great with your body, but some may leave you feeling bloated or drained. Adding one at a time back into your diet allows you to easily determine which grains are a good fit.

Finally, add good quality fats to your meal based on the fat content of the proteins you’ve chosen. And that’s it!

Remember to Listen to your Body

As with all phases of the AH program, the most important part of putting meals together is making sure the food you eat leaves you satisfied and energized. Listen to your body as you stretch your wings in Phase 2. This is a great time to make use of our Daily Trackers (found here) to really tune into your body’s signals of satiety, energy, and overall well-being.