A meal plan doesn't have to be complicated if you don't want it to be. All you really need is a plan. Below, I've categorized and prioritized the steps to building a simple and effective meal plan.
Starting with directions and then a brief explanation of each phase of the planning. This will allow you to figure out what the caloric target zone is for your specific goal, and get you started in building your perfect meal plan. Complete with a handy list of preferred food and how many grams of micronutrients they contain.
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Simple Meal Planning
Follow this list to calculate how many calories you need to lose/gain weight.
Calculate your RMR (BMR)
Calculate your DAILY ACTIVITY CALORIC EXPENDITURE
Add 1-2 together. This is your current DAILY CALORIC INTAKE. Either reduce your CALORIC INTAKE by 200-300 a day for weight lose or increase you CALORIC INTAKE by 200-300 to gain weight.
Figure out your MACRO BREAKDOWN to attain your specific goals
Decide what MEAL FREQUENCY is manageable for your lifestyle
Prep, prep, prep. Take control of your nutrition.
Calculate Daily Caloric Needs
RMR (BMR) Calculator
Women: 655 + lbs in KG (kilograms) x 9.6 + Height in cm. x 1.8 - age x 4.7
Men: 655.1 + ( 9.563 x weight in kg ) + ( 1.850 x height in cm ) – ( 4.676 x age in years)
vvvv You can use this simple Caloric Calculator vvvv
Maintain Current Body Composition: Current weight x 14
Lose Weight: Current weight x 11 or 12
Calculate Daily Activity
Sedentary: RMR x 1.2
Light Activity (Light exercise 1-3 x per week): RMR x 1.375
Moderate Activity (Moderate exercise 3-5 x per week): RMR x 1.55
High Activity (Hard exercise 6-7 x per week): RMR x 1.725
Extra Activity (Very hard exercise and physical job or 2 a day training): RMR x 1.9
Macro Ratio Breakdown by Diet
Male, lean: 40% Protein, 30% Carbs, 30% Fat (if on caloric reduction diet)
Meal, gain: 40% Carbs, 30% Protein, 30% Fat (if on caloric increase diet)
Women, lean: 45% Carbs, 20% Fat, 35% Protein (if on caloric reduction diet)
Women, Gain: 40% Protein, 30% Fat, 30% Carbs (if on caloric increase diet)
All above ratios subject to adjusting based on hormonal imbalance
Simple Macro Ratio Breakdown by Body Weight
Male, lean: .6-.7 gram protein per bound of body weight, Fat .3 - .5 gram per pound of body weight
Male, gain: .8-1 gram protein per pound of body weight, Fat .3 - .5 gram per pound of body weight
Carbs: Subtract the sum of the protein and calories from your daily intake, and divide by 4 to get the number of grams
Carbs: 4 cal per gram
Protein: 4 cal per gram
Fat: 9 cal per gram
For better understanding follow along with the plan below. This is based on a male 5'8" tall and weighting 150lbs, and highly active. If they wanted to gain weight they would follow the recommendation below.
RMR = 1564.9. Based on the information from the website, www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator
Highly active active male, 1564.9 x 1.725 (daily activity) = 2704.6 daily caloric intake.
I want to gain weight, 2700 + 200 = 2900 calories a day to gain weight.
I used the caloric breakdown from above. Carbs 30%, Fat 30%, Protein 40%.
My final calculations for my macro nutrient (percentage of calorics needs broke down into grams):
Carbs: 30% = 870 calories divide by 4 = 217 grams
Fat: 30% = 870 calories divide by 9 =96 grams
Protein: 40% = 1,160 calories divide by 4 = 290 grams
Decide when you will eat your all your meals throughout the day.
Try to be realistic about this, making things simpler is the best way to succeed.
If you feel full quickly, consider eating many small meals throughout the day.
If you tend to eat a lot in one sitting, consider eating 3 big meals a day with small snacks in between.
Food Library, What to Eat and
HOW MANY GRAMS ARE IN WHAT:
Now I just take the numbers from above and start plugging in the foods from below.
Chicken breast (4 oz) - 30 grams
One Chicken Thigh - 10 grams
One large egg - 6 grams
Ground beef (4 oz) - 26 grams
Steak (4 oz) - 28 grams
Goat meat (4 oz) - 29 grams
Lamb (4 oz) - 30 grams
Most fillet of fish (4 oz) 24 grams
Tuna (4 oz) - 26 grams
Pork Loin (4 oz) - 29 grams
Ham (3 oz) - 19 grams
Whole Milk (1 cup) - 8 grams
Cottage cheese (1/2 cup) - 15 grams
Plain yogurt (1 cup) - 8 grams
Tofu, firm (1/2 cup) - 10 grams
1 tbs. olive oil - 14 grams
1 tbs. coconut oil - 14 grams
1 cup avocado - 35 grams
2 tbs. peanut butter - 16 grams
2 tbs. almond butter - 18 grams
1 oz raw cashews - 12 grams
1 tbs. butter - 11 grams
1 large egg yolk - 5 grams
1 oz cheddar cheese - 9 grams
1 cup low fat cottage cheese - 2 grams
1/2 cup cottage cheese - 5 grams
1 cup whole milk - 8 grams
1 cup greek yogurt - 8 grams
1 medium apple - 21 grams
1 medium banan - 26.7 grams
3 medium apricots - 11.8 grams
1/2 cup blueberries - 10.2 grams
1/2 cup cantaloupe - 22.3 grams
1/2 cup fresh cherries - 12 grams
1 small fig - 8 grams
1/2 medium grapefruit - 17 grams
1 cup grapes - 15.8 grams
1 medium mango - 35.2 grams
1 medium orage - 15.4 grams
1 medium pear - 25.1 grams
1/2 cup watermelon - 5.7 grams
1/2 cup beans (black, kidney, etc.) - 17-19 grams
1/2 cooked lentils - 20 grams
2 medium beets - 16.3 grams
1 oz Jicama - 2.5 grams
1 small baked potato - 29.3 grams
1 medium yam - 31.6 grams
1/2 cup pumpkin - 10.1 grams
1 cup butternut squash - 14.6 grams
1 cup cooked barley - 41.6 grams
1 cup cooked pasta - 42.6 grams
1 cup cooked brown rice - 44.8 grams
1 cup cooked white rice - 35.1 grams
1 cup cooked wild rice - 35 grams
1/2 cup cooked rolled oats - 27 grams
1 slice while grain bread - 16 grams
1/2 cup cottage cheese - 3 grams
1 cup whole milk - 11 grams
1 cup greek yogurt - 12 grams
Prebiotic, Probiotic and Digestive Enzymes
• Gas and bloating after meals
• The sensation that you have food sitting in your stomach (a rock in your gut)
• Feeling full after eating a few bites of food
• Undigested food in your stool*
• Floating stools (an occasional floating piece is fine, but if all your poop consistently floats, that might be a sign something is wrong)
• An “oil slick” in the toilet bowl (undigested fat)
Start with a simple plan to address leaky gut or gut flora.
Digestive enzymes: Removing enzyme inhibitors like grains, legumes
Inulin: Powder or capsules
Fiber: Psyllium Husks
Manage chronic stress
Get to know your bodies Sympathetic and Parasympathetic modes, research
The good news is that since digestive enzymes are very safe and reasonably cheap, you can always try them and see if you notice any difference in your digestion.
*If you’re serious about your health, I encourage you to periodically look at your poop—it’s one of the simplest ways you can gain insight into your health. Take a glance a few times a week. If there’s a significant change, have a talk with your doctor; it could be a sign of something going on.
Supplements to Research