This my friends is where it all begins. Grab a pencil and piece of paper or open up some sort of document (Excel or Word) on your computer.
There will be two posts following this one looking at my trip to the grocery store and the actual preparing of food/packing the meals.
The first step is to decide:
How many meals do you need/want for each day
What are the macronutrients you want for each of those meals
Find foods that you ENJOY and that fit within those macronutrients
How Many Meals Do I Need To Prepare Each Day?
This decision is based solely around personal preference and availability. How many meals do you want to eat each day – would you rather have larger meals less frequently or smaller meals more frequently? On a personal note, I prefer to eat more frequently, so my meals are smaller and I eat about every 3 hours. As far as availability, this is primarly dependent on your daily schedule. How often are you able to eat? Just look at your day and pick out optimal times when you can fit in a meal. My only input as far as meal timing is to make sure you are surrounding your workout with two meals. I will discuss this later as far as what kind of meals should those be.
What Macronutrients Are Needed For Each Meal?
This step first needs to be preluded by a determined daily macronutrient intake amount. There are different resources on the Internet that you can use to determine you macronutrient intake. If you have no idea where to look, check out this site. After determining your daily macronutrient intake, then you need to determine how many macros each meal should include. Personally, protein amounts stay consistent in each of my meals. Carbohydrates and fats can be manipulated so that they fall at “convenient” or effective times. What I mean by that is, there should be carbohydrates in at least one of the meals that surrounds your workout. If you can make it work, it is preferred to have carbohydrates in both of those meals. Here is an example of a macronutrient plan for an entire day.
Note: this plan is one that I have created during my competition prep, therefore my macronutrients are putting me in a “deficit” stage and are not what they would be normally. Bobby’s macronutrients, however, were figured using the link above and suited to his specific goals.
Bobby’s Daily Macronutrient Breakdown: 215230 g protein / 300 g carbohydrates / 75 g fat
-If working with 6 meals, average macros per meal : 33 g protein / 50 g carbohydrates / 12.5 g fat
Casey’s Daily Macronutrient Breakdown: 165 g protein / 80 g carbohydrates / 20-30 g fat
-If working with 6 meals, average macros per meal: 27.5 g protein / 13 g carbohydrates / 5 g fat
This breakdown does not have to be how each meal looks, I personally just like getting an average of what to work with for each meal. For instance, I typically alternate complex carbohydrates in my meals (which you will see later) and consume my carbohydrates in every other meal rather than in every meal. It’s just a personal preference, and with being on prep…this is what works best for me to reach my goals. As you will see in Bobby’s meal plan example below, he does consume a good amount of all macronutrients in each meal. Again, it’s all in preference and timing.
Find Foods You Enjoy and Fit Them Into Your Plan
Below you will see an example of a daily meal plan for both Bobby and I. For the most part, we eat the same thing every day…and that works for us! Each meal is different throughout the day, so eating the same meals each day doesn’t get old. For some people, variety is a must if they want to stick to a plan and others can eat the same thing day in and day out. It’s all about preference people. Just do what works best for YOU instead of trying to follow someone else’s plan.
This free macro-tracking template is a great resource and highly suggest you utilize it! It will save you time from having to build an Excel spreadsheet AND you can easily modify it if necessary.