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It’s not as hard as you think…
Well, maybe for some people.
But once you get a better understanding of the things you need to consider when creating a meal plan, it may be a bit easier to do.
Whether your goal is to lose weight or gain weight YOU NEED A MEAL PLAN.
You need to know what you are going to eat and when you are going to eat it. It makes the process much smoother, and reduces the chance that you will slip up and eat something you shouldn’t.
There are many benefits to having a meal plan.
Any time I am being very strict on myself in my journey you can bet that I’ll make a meal plan for myself.
For me it’s the only way i’ll stay on track.
In order to create a meal plan there are first a few things you should have a basic understanding of.
Those things are Calories, Macronutrients, and Micronutrients.
Let’s get into it.
Also known as kilocalories or kcal for short.
A calorie is a unit of energy, and it is defined as the amount of heat energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kg of water from 0 to 1 degrees.
Calories are needed for our bodies to function.
They provide us with the energy that we need for brain function, muscle function, and just to live…periodt.
Different foods contain different amounts of calories.
The more calories you take in the more energy your body will have and vice versa.
It’s important for you to know how many calories your body needs so that you do not take in too many or too little
In regards to weight gain and weight loss
About 3500 calories equals 1 lb of fat.
So that means when you eat 3500 more calories than your body needs, they will stored in your body as a pound of fat.
If you eat 3500 less calories than needed, your body will need to burn 1 pound of fat to make up for that deficit. That’s how you lose weight.
This is why knowing how many calories you eat is important.
And also why you should know how many you are supposed to eat.
It is really hard to lose or gain weight when you don’t even know how much you are supposed to be eating to accomplish that.
Here is a calorie calculator so you can find out your number
Macronutrients are our protein, carbohydrates, and fats and are usually measured in grams.
These are the nutrients that our bodies use in the largest amounts, and are what make up a healthy diet.
is used in the body for growth.
It is also imperative in the reparation of tissues, and for muscles.
You may have seen many weight lifters taking protein shakes or making sure their meals have plenty of protein.
Again, this is because it is needed for muscle repair, growth and maintenance.
are broken down into glucose which is our main source of fuel, and is needed for many major organs to function properly, one of the most important being the BRAIN!
lots of people think cutting carbs is necessary to lose fat but that is actually not true.
We NEED carbs to live.
it’s more of matter of the kinds of carbs you are eating. good carbs or bad carbs.
A few good carbs include veggies, fruits, and nuts.
Bad carbs are found in processed foods and drinks like sodas, fast foods, candy, and other sweets too.
is needed in the body for energy, insulation & protection of organs, and more.
These are not the same kind of fat that you would find on your body, and eating them does not mean you will gain more fat. Fats are a vital part of a healthy diet, so don’t skip out on them!
There are 3 kinds of fats
Trans fats are the ones most professionals recommend us to stay away from. Click the link above to learn more about them.
Micronutrients are our vitamins and minerals.
These are important for development and disease prevention, and they are only required in small amounts.
Hence the term micro.
While we only need these in small amounts, deficiencies can cause major issues, so pay attention to these as well.
Some examples of micronutrients are
- Vitamin B
- Vitamin C
So now that you have a very basic understanding of things you should consider when eating we can talk about how you can create your own meal plan.
Step 1: Calculate your calories and nutrients
Aim for about 1-2 pounds a week.
Step 2: Review your schedule.
Do this for the entire week.
What do you have to do Sunday-Saturday, and at what times?
This is how you’ll decide when you have time to eat each meal and snack.
Aim for 3 meals and 2-3 snacks a day.
Pay attention to serving sizes and don’t forget your water!!
Step 3: Plan Your Meals
Find recipes of foods that you like for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Be sure to find out the amounts of calories and nutrients that are in these meals too.
Then add your meals into your schedule at the time you plan eat them.
Remember this is what you’ll eat for the next 3-7 days, so make sure it’s something you like.
Check out some of my favorite meals here!
Step 4: Make A Grocery List.
Now that you know what you are eating it’s time to shop!
Head over to the store and get your food.
Step 5: Meal Prep
I highly recommend that you do this for at least 3-7 days.
I like to do 3 days max, because I hate leftovers.
Prepare your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks so that they are ready to go when you are hungry.
Separate them into containers, and organize them in the fridge.
If your meals aren’t ready to go, you’ll be more likely to go get something quick, especially if you are pressed for time.
If you’re like me and hate leftovers here are a few tips that help me get over it.
- If you can, heat them up in an oven or on the stovetop instead of the microwave. Leftovers taste waaaaay better this way.
- Prepare your meals for 3 days at a time, or cook twice a week. At 3 days old your food will taste much better than 7 day old food.
- Cook things that taste better as leftovers, like stir-frys or spaghetti or whatever it may be to you
Step 6: Pack Everything Up
This isn’t really related to actually making the meal plan, but if you go to work
or do anything that requires you to be out of the house for an extended
amount of time go ahead and pack up your food into a lunch box the night before.
In the morning you’ll be able to just grab it out of the fridge and go,
So you’ll save yourself some time.
Having a balanced diet that includes the recommended amounts of calories and nutrients, and that’s prepared and ready to go is going to be a determining factor on if you reach your goals or not.
You can’t play with your nutrition and expect to still reach your goals.
You can’t just wing it like I do with most things in my life. Lol
As they say, it’s 80% nutrition and 20% exercise.
Always remember that!
If you still don’t feel like you can create your own meal plan, or need more guidance after reading this here is great place where you get a meal plan made every week for you for only $5 a month!
You can’t beat that!