Nutrition plays a pivotal role in reaching health and fitness goals - and yet, it can be one of the most puzzling aspects to decode. Recently, I have shared my own journey of gaining control of my diet, from extreme calorie restriction to thoroughly enjoying flexible dieting and reaching my goals. I have spoken about the benefits of understanding the principles of nutrition and curating your own sustainable meal plan, and how doing so can be a complete game changer.
Since then, I’ve received lots of questions of how exactly I plan my meals. Today, I thought I’d share a complete step-by-step tutorial on creating a balanced Meal Guide.
Although you can use any nutrition tracking software for this, recently I’ve been enjoying using the revamped nutrition planning features in the BBR app:
- Freestyle Macros, which enables me to create my custom calorie and macronutrient split within minutes
- And our new and improved Food Journal - I use it to incorporate both my favourite BBR recipes and my own meals!
Let’s get right into it, ladies!
Step 1: My macros
Currently, I’m sitting around maintenance targets, which is usually along the lines of:
- 1950 calories
- 140g of protein
- 220g of carbs
- 56g of fats
After years of training and nutrition planning, I know how my body responds to certain nutritional targets very well, and can come up with a suitable split pretty much in my head! However, this comes with lots of practice.
Fortunately though, with the BBR Freestyle Macros feature, you can get started on your flexible dieting journey even with minimal experience! By using the feature, you can:
- Get an estimate of your maintenance range - and how to tweak it depending on your goal
- Set individual macros safely, following evidence-based recommendations
- Import your custom split into our in-built nutrition tracker, BBR Food Journal
- And repeat this process as many times as required - making planning “refeed” days, short-term fasts and diet breaks a breeze if you use any of these or similar strategies
The possibilities are endless, and I’m extremely proud of this feature!
I generate my Freestyle Macros, and then save them to my Food Journal.
Step 2: Mapping out my meals
My custom macros have now been saved to my Food Journal (please note they may be slightly rounded here - this is normal).
Now, to the most fun part - mapping out my meals!
As I follow a flexible dieting approach, I change up my meals quite frequently. In saying that, once I’ve found something I absolutely love, I usually stick to it for a very long time!
A great example of my staple is breakfast. Lately, for breakfast I’ve been having Golden Crumpets with butter and honey, and a side of egg omelette, so that’s what I input into the journal. I have also decided to incorporate a Golden Gaytime ice cream for a little treat, so I enter it too. This will be the “non-negotiables” of my day, and then I will tweak the rest to suit.
I love how the new Food Journal update lets me categorize foods into meals, makes the experience so much more structured and satisfying!
Next, I decide what I’d like to have for my main meals - lunch and dinner!
Today, I feel like a Chicken Avocado Club sandwich. This is one of the BBR recipes - so I log it via the Add Recipe button as my Lunch, searching for it in the list of recipes.
Finally, for dinner I’m going to have one of my staples - protein pasta with veggies and pesto.
Please note you don’t HAVE to track non-starchy veggies - I tend to track them though, as it helps me keep track of my fibre intake goal.
Step 3: Fine-tuning my meal guide
After logging all the above meals, I still have leftover calories and macros for the rest of my day - which is great, because I haven’t incorporated any nutritious snacks yet!
I like having some kind of a protein shake in the afternoon, and the Berry Surprise from the BBR recipes happens to fit my leftover macros well.
I have also added a Mixed Garden Salad to my lunch to increase veggie intake and promote satiety! A version of it can be found in BBR Foods, so I simply logged that one.
Step 4: Reviewing my meal guide
After all additions, here’s the final meal guide I came up with:
I’m happy with how closely I’ve been able to hit my calories and macros - e.g. I went a little bit over my carbs, however ended up going a little bit under protein and fats which has compensated for the calorie difference. At BBR, we recommend hitting protein closely, as well as staying within ±10 g of carbs and ±5 g of fats - and the meal guide I have created is a good example of meeting these guidelines.
If I wanted to be really precise, I could have decreased my serving of honey to free up some carbs, and add a dash more butter to my crumpets to hit the fats. However, I don’t believe it’s necessary, and the level of precision I have created is enough.
And there you have it - a complete step-by-step guide to creating a balanced Meal Guide using the BBR App! Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and gained more confidence for implementing flexible dieting.