Any good workout plan needs a good nutrition plan. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot from our registered dietitian, Debbie James. Today, we’re compiling pieces of her best advice to help you construct your perfect meal plan.
How to Build Your Own Meal Plan
Many of our readers want to know what they should be eating for weight loss, for healthy weight gain, for muscle gain, and more. To help simplify your search for the right answer, look no further than the article: How to Create a Meal Plan.
Here, you will find Debbie’s step-by-step process to construct a nutrition plan that meets your desired calorie count and macronutrient content. Because you’re making it yourself, you can easily tailor your “menu” to include only the foods you will actually eat. Paired with examples of how to follow each step, and tips for success, this article is a great place to start building your nutrition plan.
If, before getting started, you’d like some general information on carbs, fats, and proteins, you can read her post: Let’s Talk About the Basics.
Healthy Meal Options and Sample Plans
As you put together your meal plan, you’ll be looking for ideas. What are examples of healthy pairings? Should you go for protein or complex carbs? What are healthy substitutions for foods you’re trying to cut-out? Fortunately, Debbie has explored these types of questions as well.
In her post on Healthy Suggestions for Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks, Debbie offers a breakdown of potential meals that are about 750 calories each.
Another post on Breakfast and Lunch Options on the Go offers some sample meals that come in at about 600 calories each.
Depending on what your daily caloric needs are, you can add, remove, or swap items with healthy alternatives from the list you made in the first step of creating your meal plan. Keep in mind that sample meal plans are not meant to be repeated every day. The hope is that you will follow the structure but switch up your food choices so you can benefit from the nutritional content in your various food choices.
Customizing Your Plan
Vegan – For vegan meals, tasty options abound. Not only does Debbie talk about Vegan Breakfasts, she offers possible food combinations to give any meal more variety and provides readers with a list of the top vegan sources of protein.
Vegetarian – What if your meal plan is leaning towards vegetarian? Here, Debbie lists some high protein and low carb vegetarian foods that you can work into your meal plan. You’ll also find her response to questions about How to Lose Weight on a Vegetarian Diet or How to Gain Healthy Weight on a Vegetarian Diet.
Low-Carb – If you’re trying to go low carb, you might be interested in this piece on Cauliflower Substitutions, the most recent craze in terms of rice and dough alternatives. Or, perhaps you want to know about the Best Time of Day to Eat Starchy Carbs. Yup, there’s a piece on that too!
Snacks are also on our radar when we’re structuring our food for the day. They keep us from getting too hungry before our next meal and can help keep us feeling full and energized throughout the day. What you choose to put on your snack list, however, is just as important as what goes into your meals. Debbie’s Super Snacking Guide offers a nice breakdown of what you should aim for when putting together your snacks.
If you still need some more ideas or feel like your options are limited by your dietary restrictions, you may find her answer to this reader’s question helpful. It offers some insight into healthy substitutions for sugary and salty snacks. Other answers share which snacks will keep hunger at bay and which can help boost your energy. We haven’t forgotten about our readers with gluten sensitivities or intolerances. This list on Gluten-Free Snacks can help guide your decision-making as well.
If this all sounds like just a little too much to read, you can listen to Debbie’s advice in many of our podcasts. Some relevant topics you might enjoy include:
What You’ve Been Wanting to Know About Fad Diets (Paleo, Keto, and More)