How to make a weekly meal plan

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Published: March 21, 2019

Getting fit is quite the task. And it does not only include exercise, even though that is quite a large part of it. Getting fit (and staying fit) should include a good balance between exercise and eating healthy. However, many who are trying to get fit struggle with creating a weekly meal plan. It sometimes even seems more strenuous than actual exercise! But, of course, it doesn’t have to be like that. There are ways of creating a good weekly meal plan specifically for you. Here are some tips on how to make a personal weekly meal plan.

The first step to making a weekly meal plan – find out your calorie maintenance level

If you want to lead a healthy lifestyle, it is vital to learn how to eat healthily. The first step of this process is actually knowing how many calories you should eat. Even though it does not have to be really exact, you should at least have a basic idea. Now, calorie intake is quite individual, even though there are average values. That is why you should learn about your calories maintenance level. This depends on your gender, size, and levels of activity throughout the day. The best solution would be to get an appointment and measure your BMR. However, that can be expensive, so many opt for the cheaper version – using an online calculator. It isn’t too accurate, but it’ll do the trick.

Vegetables in water
It’s vital to eat healthily

Then, decide on your goal

The internet is full of non-specific meal plans. And while they’re probably healthy, they may not be that useful to you personally. That is, they may not be useful with regard to your goal. For instance, some people may want to gain muscle, while others want to lose weight. And some just want to maintain their weight while doing regular exercise. It is important to keep that in mind when looking to make a good weekly meal plan.

It is all about combining exercise and eating a well-balanced diet. If you’re unsure whether you’re able to create a good exercise plan, you should hire a fitness instructor Dubai. They will be able to create an exercise plan that will fit your needs perfectly. Also, they will be able to provide you with the necessary push to achieve your goal.

If your goal is to lose weight, then you should, of course, consume fewer calories than your maintenance level. Experts most often recommend lowering calorie intake by 20 percent. That means, if your maintenance level is 2000 calories, then you should lower your daily intake by 400 calories for steady weight loss.

However, if you want to build muscle, you should eat more calories every day. This gives your body enough calories to make new muscle tissue. Now, ideally, if you’re a man, you should aim to increase your calorie-intake by 200-250. When it comes to women, it is usually about half than that.

Man standing in front of chalkboard
Your calorie intake depends on your goal
Your calorie intake depends on your goal

Now, distribute macronutrients

Basically, in order to make a good weekly meal plan, you should distribute well between proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Now, you need first to calculate your macro intake, which is fairly easy to do. Just know that 1 gram of protein is 4 calories, 1 gram of fat is 9 calories, while 1 gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories.

When it comes to intake of protein per day, adults should consume about 1 gram of protein per pound of weight. However, anything between 0.8 and 1.5 grams is good for people who exercise. As for fat, it should amount to about 25 percent of your total calorie intake every day. Then, whatever space is left should be filled with carbohydrates.

Food high in protein includes chicken, turkey, fish, milk, eggs, and nuts and beans. When it comes to fat, eat fish, almonds, walnuts (and other types of nuts), olive oil, etc. As for carbohydrates, they include fruit and vegetables, potatoes, beans, rice, various wheat products.

How to calculate your calorie intake

As we’ve already mentioned, now it’s easy to create your own weekly meal plan that includes macronutrients in such a way that will help you achieve your goal.

Let’s say you’re looking to lose weight. Also, let’s say your calorie maintenance level is 2000 calories. If you want to lose weight, just reduce your calorie intake by 20 percent, that is, by 400 calories every day. That means that you should eat 1,600 calories every day.

Now, you should eat 150 grams of protein each day, in line with your current weight. Then, add the 25-percent fat intake, which, in this case, is 400 calories. Divide it by 9 to see how many grams of fat you need each day. It amounts to about 45 grams. Since 150 grams of protein is actually 600 calories, then it is easy to calculate that you should eat another 600 calories (or 125 grams) of carbohydrates. That means, 150 grams of protein (600 calories), 45 grams of fat (400 calories) and 125 grams of carbs (600 calories) is all you need for a healthy daily diet.

Some additional tips on making a weekly meal plan

Now, using what you’ve learned, it’s easy to make a good and healthy weekly meal plan. What is even better, you get to determine what you’ll eat and when you’ll eat it. But, a common piece of advice is to not let yourself get hungry. When we go hungry, we’re more likely to overeat later, and that can mess up your entire plan. Also, it is good to have light and healthy snacks between meals. That way, your body will constantly be working and it won’t actually store that much fat.

Woman eating an apple
Introduce some healthy snacks between meals

It is best to just experiment with various recipes, see what you like and what you don’t. What is also good is to take an hour or two every weekend to make your own meal plan. It’s not that difficult, and you will certainly be much more satisfied with your own choices than with something that someone else prepared for you.

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