Meal Planning Resources
Portion Sizing Guide
Top Tips for Meal Planning Around Macros
TIP 1. Break up your daily macro totals into smaller checkpoints.
Ever feel like you’re running out of macros before the end of the day? Or maybe you have the opposite problem—you can’t seem to eat enough and you have a ton of one or two macros to eat before bed. Neither scenario is ideal and when it happens consistently, it doesn’t make for a very sustainable approach to eating.
One way we combat “macro tetris” is by using “checkpoint macros” as a reference point. Take your total macros for the whole day and divide by how many meals you typically like to have—maybe 3 or 4 during your feeding window. These numbers represent “checkpoints” in your day and should serve as a reminder of where you should be by Meal 1, Meal 2, Meal 3, etc. in order to stay on track for the day. It’s easier to think about what 20-ish grams of protein looks like, 10-15 grams of fat and 30-40 g of carbohydrates looks like vs. your daily totals. Start to plan loose meals around your “checkpoints” instead of working up to your totals each day.
TIP 2. Keep a list of household “manipulatable” meals that can be eaten in a “high carb” or “low carb” version.
Every household should have a few simple and delicious meals they can throw together any time. I challenge you to keep a list of household meals that are “manipulatable” in that they can be made in “high carb” or “low carb” versions and still be delicious. Tracking macros is NOT about eating the same thing every day. It’s about eating what you want, influenced by your mood, your cravings, or even what’s on sale at the grocery store. Make meal planning around your macros easier and simpler by thinking about which real food proteins, fats and carbohydrates go together well with or without a high carb addition.
Here are some examples >>
A low carb option of a stir fry includes ground meat + non-starchy vegetables served over a bed of cauliflower rice, while my high carb option of the same stir fry is served over rice that I’ve already prepped for the week.
A low carb option for a protein-rich meal includes eggs + egg whites + peppers, onions + salsa, while my high carb option of the same meal is served over roasted sweet potatoes or shredded potatoes (hash browns).
TIP 3. Pre-log food in your diary whenever possible
Stay on track with your macro goals by pre-logging your food in your diary and eating manipulatable macro meals around it. You know you want Chipotle for lunch? Definitely want to eat Nancy’s pumpkin pie at the office tomorrow? Maybe it’s a family dinner for your son’s soccer team on Friday. Pre-log the food you know you want to have in your diary before you eat it. Not only will you be happier and more satisfied having enjoyed these treats, sweets, and restaurant eats, but it won’t be at the expense of your goals as you “eat around” those foods with the remaining macros you have.
Another option is to sit with your blank food diary the night before and make a loose plan for your next day by logging skeletons of meals based on the food you know you have in your house.
TIP 4. When in doubt, grab P, F, C and fiber to create a meal.
A basic framework for meal planning that can do you no wrong is one that covers all the basics—protein, fat, carbohydrate, and fiber.
Basic proteins include: Chicken, poultry, bison, ground turkey, ground chicken, ground beef, steak, shellfish, fish
Basic fats include: cooking oils, avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut products, olives
Basic carbohydrates include: rice, quinoa, oats, starchy vegetables, fruits (frozen, fresh, dried)
Load up on fiber via non-starchy vegetables: brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, greens