As a dietitian and coach, one of the top questions I receive is: “What’s the best way to eat?”
This question strikes so many throughout their health journeys. Can you think back to times you committed to changing your nutrition only to revert to previous habits? Can you recall various diets or eating strategies you attempted with high hopes only for the results to fall flat? Not being able to sustain or figure out the “best” way to eat is usually not due to lack of effort.
There are several external barriers in today’s world that can make it difficult to implement and stick with healthy food habits:
- We’re short on time. Convenience options reign. Planning, grocery shopping, and meal prep can seem out of reach with our busy schedules.
- We hear conflicting messages about nutrition. There’s a lot of dogma in the world of nutrition, and when opinions are loud and confusing, it can leave us not knowing what to do.
- The “right” way to eat depends on so many factors and changes over time. Yet, we tend to think in absolutes when it comes to food (e.g., good versus bad, healthy versus unhealthy).
At Life Time, we believe there’s a better way to address healthy eating — one that is straightforward, easy to implement, and customizable to individuals’ body’s needs.
Introducing 1-2-12: Life Time’s Nutrition System
This system was built by combining nutrition science with over 30 years of experience from Life Time’s master coaches and dietitians with real-life clients.
The 1-2-12 Nutrition System is designed to break down each of the barriers listed above. It shows you step-by-step ways to make healthy eating both enjoyable and convenient (whether you have time to cook or not). It ensures you consistently implement the foundational aspects of nutrition. And it can adjust to what your body and schedule demand in any given week. But perhaps the best feature? It’s sustainable for the long-term.
The 1-2-12 Philosophy
The system guides you into the exact strategies that Life Time dietitians use when coaching clients — and implement for ourselves:
- 1 daily protein shake to easily boost your intake of clean protein and set a healthy tone for the day.
- 2 whole-food meals per day with at least 30 grams of protein per meal and that are packed with flavor and nutrients to help you feel your best.
- 12-hour daily eating window to give your digestive tract a much-needed daily break and implement a gentle guardrail to curb mindless eating.
Think of the “1,” “2,” and “12” as our three-ingredient “recipe” for a healthy way of eating.
The reason we emphasize protein intake in this system is because consuming a high-protein diet is the No. 1 winning strategy of our most successful clients. It supports body-fat loss and maintenance of lean muscle tissue, helps naturally control calorie intake (without counting), dampens cravings, steadies energy levels, quickens workout recovery, improves resilience to stress, and can help optimize sleep quality.
This philosophy — combining a high-protein approach with a high intake of vitamins and minerals within a consistent time frame each day — may sound simple, but it can be truly transformative for your health and well-being. (Read more: “3 Habits Life Time Dietitians Do on the Regular”)
The 1-2-12 Kit
The magic of healthy nutrition happens when you bridge the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it. We’ve bundled together everything you need to do just that. The kit includes:
- The 1-2-12 cookbook: A hardcover guide including more than 70 signature high-protein and gluten-free recipes, easy meal-prep strategies, and the science behind how the system works to optimize health and achieve results. The book also outlines three meal-prep methods to suit your personal time and cooking preferences. You can pick one or mix and match. They include:
- Minimalist: A low-to-no cook method that outlines exactly what to buy and pair for quick, nutritious, and simple meals.
- Ingredient prep: Learn how to batch cook ingredients (e.g., meat, veggies, and starches) and easy ways to flavor and assemble meals.
- Full recipes: Tried-and-true, easily scalable recipes that yield four servings with 30 grams of protein each.
- 2 meal containers: Glass storage containers with lids to portion out your daily meals so they are ready to enjoy. (We lean toward glass for food storage to minimize plastic exposure and pollutants in food.)
- Life Time Vegan+ All-in-One Shake Mix: Our go-to protein powder for a daily shake that serves as an easy meal or snack replacement. Each serving has 30 grams of protein, 17 essential vitamins and minerals, and a fruit and veggie blend to fuel metabolism and optimize health. Plus, it has added fiber, digestive enzymes, and probiotics to support gut health and help decrease bloating. It is creamy and tastes amazing with water or in one of our signature shake recipes in the cookbook.
- On-the-go shaker cup: A vessel to make your daily shake even more convenient.
How to Get Started
The kit is coming soon to your local Life Time club. It is also available for pre-order right now.
Hear From Those Who’ve Tried It
To make sure we developed the most comprehensive, results-driven kit, we tested the 1-2-12 Nutrition System with several people with various family structures and goals. Some were cooking just for themselves, some were cooking for two, and others were cooking for families. Their goals ranged from weight loss and muscle gain to athletic performance and general health.
- “With all of the different programs and diets out there, this seemed to be a very clear and obtainable way of eating without restriction.”
- “I loved the ease of the system. After just two weeks, I felt so much better. I lost five pounds and felt like my cravings were gone and my energy was higher.”
- “The shakes were a very easy and convenient way for me to get my morning started off right. I felt very satiated afterward and I was easily able to go three to four hours without feeling hungry for lunch. I also felt like I had more energy. There was also peace of mind for me knowing that I was getting enough protein without having to think too much about it as I have before with macro counting.”
- “I am learning that it’s all about what works best for you. Not everyone’s meal prep is going to look the same or be perfect and that’s OK. I’m a working mom and wife and I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself to make full recipes if I don’t have the time.”
- “I feel more confident with my choices in how I meal prep and how much of each food type I need.”
- “The recipes were simple to make and were good for a family!”
- “I can easily get caught up in what’s ‘healthy’ versus what is ‘not’ and I felt like it was very clearly laid out and there were many options to choose from.”
- “I find that when I meal prep, I am less stressed out during the week and am much more likely to stay on track with my healthy eating and fitness goals.”
- “I found the system extremely helpful. It has a section on flavorings (marinades, spice rubs, sauces, and dressings), which is great because one of my biggest problems when cooking is not adding enough flavor to my meals.”