How do you create a meal plan? A meal plan is simply a map of what you will eat. Planning your meals allows you to take control of your nutrition. Need to lose weight? Your plan should focus on macronutrients and calories. Need to lower your blood pressure? Your plan should focus on low sodium food choices. Also, adopt a science-based diet like Keto or Mediterranean diet, so you don’t have to re-event the wheel. Here is how to meal plan when you are just starting a fitness journey:
Calculate Calories –
You will learn more about nutrition, nutrients, and portion control. You will eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods as you eliminate those calorie-dense junk foods. Meal planning will also save time shopping and food preparation in the kitchen.
To begin your meal plan, you need to calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure or TDEE, the number of calories you burn each day. Start by calculating your basal metabolic rate (BMR) using your age, height, current body weight, and activity level. Your BMR is the number of calories you need daily to sustain your current body weight. To lose weight, subtract 200-500 calories from your BMR to create your new calorie target. Women should not go below 1200 calories per day, and men should not go below 1800 calories per day. To make this easier, visit Calorie Calculators and plug in the values.
Plan Calories –
You can plan this on paper, or there are websites and apps that you can use by simply inserting your choices of foods; for example, Eat This Much is an excellent online meal planner. You should select your foods by macronutrient: protein, carbohydrate, and fat, and let the meal plan do all the calculations.
Your initial meal plan provides an outline and suggestions; now customize your plan with foods you like in servings that fit your calorie requirements. Using any online meal planner will show your plan in total calories and macronutrient ratios. You can easily adjust your plan to increase your protein intake and decrease carbohydrates and fats. Adjustments in your diet provide quick weight loss and add more lean muscle to your body!
The Last Word on Using a Meal Plan to Start a Fitness Journey
Your healthy meal plan should include:
- Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
- Little saturated fat, sodium and sugars, and NO trans fat.
- Controlled servings and portion sizes.
- Unlimited water with every meal and snack.
Finally, use a protein-based diet, eat fiber and drink water. Also, match your diet with 30 minutes of exercise or biological activities. Fat loss is about eating fewer calories than the calories you used to move. Please keep it simple. Eat less and move more. What do you think? Please share your response in the comment section below so that others can benefit from your experience.