Create your meal plan in 10 steps

Do you want to create your own nutrition plan and adapt it to your needs and goals? Then this nutrition guide is just the right thing for you.

Here you will learn step by step how to create a nutrition plan. We have put together everything you need to create your nutrition plan free of charge.

In the next 10 steps you will receive detailed instructions, which are divided into individual chapters. You will also find free additional information to answer any questions you may have about healthy eating.

After reading this guide, you can create your own nutrition plan.

These chapters on the topic of creating a meal plan await you:

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1. Gain or lose weight, how do I set my goal?

Nutrition plan-establish-muscle build-up-fat reduction

The first step when you want to create your nutrition plan is to lay the foundation. When setting your goal, you should first think about what your personal goal is. You should not let others influence you. You alone decide whether you want to build muscle with your nutrition plan or lose weight with your nutrition plan.

Our tip: When setting your goal, also consider the time of year: Do you really want to build muscles in summer with your nutrition plan or do you want to reach your top form in winter with thick clothing?

Users of the Foodiary App focus more on building up muscles in the winter months from October to March, while in the summer months from March to September the focus is on losing weight.

→ In these articles you will learn more about the topic of goals and how to set the right goals.

2. How long should my diet plan last?

Meal Plan Timeline

After you have set your goal in the first step, it is important that you get an idea of your current status. This includes looking in the mirror and walking on the scales to determine your current weight and note your progress later. Your current weight helps you to estimate the time needed to reach your set goal and, as described in Step 5: How to calculate my calories, to calculate the calories needed to create your nutrition plan.

Determine the duration: Lose weight diet plan

In order to estimate how long you can successfully lose weight with your dietary plan, we must first dispel a widespread myth.

We often hear about miracle diets that help you lose 2 to 3 kg overnight or in one week. This may well be true and possible, but we must be aware that losing 2 to 3 kg in this period has relatively little to do with the actual goal of losing fat and is due to the altered water balance.

Our tip: If you want to lose weight with your nutrition plan and reduce your body fat, you should expect to lose 500 grams of pure body fat per week. This is a realistic goal that will help you maintain your target weight in the long term. A diet plan for losing weight should not be low in calories, but should be designed to achieve a permanent change in diet.

If you now want to create a diet plan to lose 6 kilos of pure body fat, we recommend that you allow for a period of 12 weeks.

Determine the duration: Nutrition plan Muscle building

One also often hears about rapid successes when it comes to muscle building. But here too there are a few factors to consider. The body can only build up a certain amount of muscles. Because unlike body fat, muscles are a luxury for the body. This is due to evolution: since eating was not as easy in the past as it is today, the body stored excess food in the form of body fat. In this way, it provided for periods of hunger. Therefore, the body stores unneeded food in the form of body fat.

If you want to build muscle with the nutrition plan, progress depends not only on your training, but also on your training experience.

In this table, you will find guidelines for the kind of muscle building you can expect.

Muscle building infographics

Let us assume that you already have 2 years of training experience. Then a muscle gain of 4.5 to 5.5 kilos per year is realistic. Converted, this is about 450 grams of pure muscle mass per month. 

If you now want to build up 1.5 kilos of muscles, you should draw up a nutrition plan that lasts for 12 weeks.

→ In these articles you will learn more about the topic of muscle building and fat reduction.

We would be pleased if you recommend this nutrition guide on the topic of creating a nutrition plan to your friends.

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3. When should I implement my nutrition plan?

Period Nutrition plan

If you want to change your diet, it is important that you find the right time to start your nutrition plan. Because who doesn’t know: you set yourself a goal, and suddenly events and countless reasons come up that prevent you from changing your diet.

In the second step you have determined the duration of your nutrition plan. Now you should determine when you want to implement it. The best way to do this is to look at your calendar and mark events you have already planned. Is a wedding coming up, is Christmas within reach or is the summer holiday with the boys just around the corner?

Once you have found a suitable period of time that is close and not too much is happening, this is exactly the time when you should implement your nutrition plan.

Our tip: There is no such thing as the perfect time to start your nutrition plan. You should choose it so that you can implement it in the best possible way. Your nutrition plan should also not restrict your life, but rather adapt to it. Enjoy the events that are coming up in the time, without setting too many bans, because otherwise it can quickly happen that you start binge eating.

 → In this article you will learn more about Binge Eating.

4. How many times a week should I practice?

Nutrition plan-create-calendar

Before we calculate your calories in the next chapter, you should first think about how often you want to exercise.

The training frequency will later be an important basis for calculating your performance turnover. We cannot give you an exact training recommendation because every body has a different performance level and a different training frequency is necessary for each goal.

Generally speaking, a beginner needs more regeneration than a professional athlete. In the table you will find rough guidelines.

Experience Training Frequency
0-1 years 1-3x per week
1-2 years 3-5x per week
<2 years 3-5x per week

→ Here you can learn more about the training frequency.

5. How do I calculate my calories?

Calorie Calculation-Nutrition Plan Creation

An important basis for creating your nutrition plan is to calculate the calories you need. This calculation is divided into two parts: basal metabolic rate and exercise metabolic rate. 

Both values are later offset against each other and, in conjunction with your goal, result in your required calories.

Calculate the basal metabolic rate

The basal metabolic rate indicates the energy your body needs to maintain its basic functions. It is calculated from the following data: 

  • your body weight
  • your height
  • your age

The following formulas apply to the basal metabolic rate: 

metabolic rate male:

66.47 + (13,7 * Körpergewicht [kg]) + (5 * Körpergrösse [cm]) – (6.8 * Alter [Jahre])

metabolic rate female:

655.1 + (9.6 * Körpergewicht [kg]) + (1.8 * Körpergrösse [cm]) – (4.7 * Alter [Jahre])

→ Use our basal metabolic rate calculator for the calculation.

Calculate the metabolic rate

Power conversion indicates the amount of energy (calories) your body needs to perform everyday tasks. All your daily activities are taken into account. Simply multiply the hours of activity by the PAL values in the table. Add up the individual results and divide them by 24 to get a factor that you can use later to calculate your total requirements. When calculating, make sure that the sum of the hours does not exceed 24.

Our tip: Not every day is the same. They differ not only in that it is a weekday or a day on the weekend, but also in whether it is a training day or a non-training day.

The more detailed your calculation is, the more accurately you can determine the different total turnovers. 

We recommend that you calculate the total turnover for a training day and for a non-training day. To do this, determine the factor with the training time and the factor without the training time.

Faktor Training Frequency
0.95 sleep
1.2 only sitting,lying
1.4-1.5 sitting, hardly any physical activity
1.6-1.7 predominantly sitting, walking and standing
1.8-1.9 mainly standing and walking
2.0-2.4 physically demanding job

→ If you would like to create your nutrition plan with the Foodiary App, you can set up a separate daily schedule for each day and choose flexibly.

Calculate your total turnover

To calculate the total turnover, you multiply the value of the basic turnover by the factor of the service turnover.

Calculate total turnover

Total turnover = basal metabolism * factor service turnover

Make sure that you calculate your total turnover for a day with training as well as for a day without training. 

Calculate your calories needed from the total calories

Now we have calculated your total calories for both a training day and a day without training. In order to create your nutritional plan, we need to adjust the total calories to the calories you need.

The calculation of your target calories depends on your goal. This way you reduce your total calories if you want to lose weight and increase them when building muscle.

Your goal is to lose weight:

If you want to lose weight with your diet plan, you must reduce your total calories. The 3500 calories saved are roughly equivalent to losing 500 grams of body fat. So if you save 500 calories a day, as we also recommend, this is 3500 calories a week. This results in a weekly fat loss of about 500 grams.

If you increase the calorie deficit, you lose more weight. 

But beware! A higher calorie deficit does not necessarily mean that you lose more body fat. Your body tries with all its tricks to keep body fat as long as possible. So don’t increase your calorie deficit too much and be aware that you may have to reduce your calories further as your diet progresses. More on this later in chapter 10 Adjusting calories when stagnating.

Your goal is muscle building:

The muscle building can be divided into two categories: You can build muscles and try to keep your body fat as low as possible (muscle building lean), or you can focus on building as many muscles as possible (muscle building bulk).

In the first option, muscle building lean, you increase the total calories by about 250 to 300 calories per day. In this way you make sure that you have enough energy and calories to build up muscles in your body. The disadvantage of this is that there are days when you use more calories than you calculated. On these days you are not in calorie surplus and therefore do not build up maximum muscle.

In the second option, muscle building bulk, you increase your total calories by 400 to 500 calories per day. By increasing the calories you are permanently in the calorie surplus, which you need for muscle building. Here is the disadvantage that there are also days on which your body does not consume the calories supplied. As a result, excess calories are stored as body fat. The longer your diet plan goes on, the more body fat you will put on and extend a possible diet.

Assign the calories to the days

After you have calculated your total turnover, we need your previously defined training frequency.

Of course it is optimal if you have fixed training days. Then you can create a document over a longer period of time that shows you when you have which total turnover. If you should train flexibly, you also have to adapt it flexibly and take it into account when you later create your nutrition plan.

Let us assume that you have 3 fixed training days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday… Your total calories should be distributed as follows:

  • Day A equals Total Calories Day (+/- target calories) with training.

  • Day B corresponds to total calories (+/- target calories) without training.

Weekday Total calories
Monday Day A
Tuesday Day B
Wednesday Day A
Thursday Day B
Friday Day A
Saturday Day B
Sunday Day B

After you have calculated your calories, you have earned a break. Use it and tell your friends about your plan.

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6. What is the appropriate form of nutrition?

Nutritional Form Nutritional Plan Establishments

Once we have calculated your calories, we will then look at the most suitable form of nutrition. This is another basis for you to create your diet plan. You should choose a diet that you can follow throughout the duration of your diet. The most effective form of nutrition will be of no use to you in the long run if you cannot maintain it for the duration of your diet. You should choose your diet so that you don’t feel restricted or abandoned.

→ We have provided articles about the low-carb diet, the high-carb diet, the ketogenic diet, the metabolic diet and intermittent fasting.

Our tip: Reaching your goal depends primarily on keeping to your total calorie requirement. Only in the second step are the nutritional form and the associated meal timing important. 

A widespread misconception is that you can only lose weight with the low-carb diet, for example. Although this is suitable, a high-carb diet is equally suitable. 

Bonus Tip: You should also know that the word “diet” is not used to refer to the reduction of fat. It is derived from the Greek “diaita”, which translated means “order of life”. So do not think that the diet is “only” suitable for fat reduction.

7. Which foods and recipes should I eat?

Recipes-Shopping Nutrition Plan

After we have discussed the different forms of nutrition, which together with total calories form the basis, we now come to the selection of foods and recipes.

To help you find the right foods and recipes for your dietary plan, we will first look at macronutrients, the distribution of macronutrients and meal timing.

The Macronutrients

Food and therefore recipes have a different number of calories. The calories are composed of the so-called macronutrients carbohydrates, fat and protein and support the body in important functions. In addition, each macronutrient provides the body with a different number of calories.

The macronutrients have the following calories (kcal) per gram:

  • Carbohydrates (1 gram) = 4 kcal
  • Protein (1 gram) = 4 kcal
  • Fat (1 gram) = 9 kcal

If we now eat a food with 20 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein, it has 132 calories.

→ You can find articles about macronutrients here.

So you see, the calories of a food are made up of the macronutrients and the calories of a recipe are made up of the food.

Now to know how many calories you eat per day, you can track all the foods in one app. So you can see if you are keeping to your target calories (total calories +/- target). 

The disadvantage of this is that you have to find out how many calories a food has and write down every food you use for your recipes. Only then will you know at the end of the day whether you have met your calorie target.

Macronutrient distribution

Not only the amount of target calories belongs in a nutrition plan, but also the distribution of macronutrients is important. 

Each form of nutrition has a different distribution of macronutrients. For example, a high-carb diet consists of 60% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 10% fat.

→ You can find out what the individual distribution of macronutrients looks like in the articles on the different types of nutrition.

The meal timing

Let us come to the supreme discipline when it comes to drawing up the nutritional plan: meal timing.

As you will learn in the articles on macronutrients, all macronutrients have a different effect on our hormonal system. We take advantage of this when it comes to building muscle or losing weight.

For example, carbohydrates are good for increasing insulin levels and building muscle after exercise, but they are not good for reducing fat after exercise. A high insulin level prevents the reduction of fat.

Depending on the type of diet and the goal, there are different times when it is best to take it. In the articles about nutritional forms you can find out the best times to take macronutrients.

This is important to us: macronutrients and their distribution and meal timing are great tools and features. They help us to reach the set goal more easily. But never forget that the most important thing is to keep the target calories. Everything else offers you great benefits, but in the end, success depends on total calories. 

It’s quite tedious: searching for recipes, selecting food, checking if the recipe fits the diet, keeping track of the meal timing and last but not least, writing it all down so that you can add up your calories at the end of the day. 

It’s also easier to do this. With the app from Foodiary we support you in exactly these tasks: We calculate your calories based on your daily routine, determine your diet based on your preferences, pay attention to recipe selection and meal timing, and even suggest over 40 recipes for each meal that perfectly fit your goal.

Sounds good? Test your Foodiary meal plan for a week free of charge.

8. Which dietary supplements make sense for me?

Nutritional Plan-Prepare-Nutritional Supplements

One topic that is often discussed is the use of dietary supplements. Everyone should decide for themselves if they want to take this into account when planning their nutrition plan. Some dietary supplements can make everyday life easier, such as protein powders, multivitamins and minerals. Others are less useful, such as fat burners.

Our tip: We recommend that you supplement your diet with food supplements. Here, however, it is important to create the right foundation first. This means that you do not need creatine if your body does not have all the minerals it needs. Start planning with protein, minerals and vitamins before you start thinking about creatine and other supplements.

→ In our supplement guide you will find important information about individual dietary supplements. In our mineral guide we have summarized additional information about minerals.

9. The implementation of your nutrition plan

Implementing the nutrition plan

You have created your nutrition plan, defined the period and set the starting point? Very good, the first step to your goal is done!

Now the implementation starts. To assess your success, we recommend that you take a photo of yourself at the beginning. You will be amazed at what will change in the period of your nutrition plan. 

Our tip: It will not always be easy and perfect, you should be aware of that. But do not let a bad day get you down. It’s perfectly normal that you may eat more than you planned at one time or another, that you don’t want to say no to your beloved sweets or a glass of wine. 

The important thing is: Enjoy the “drop-out” and start your fixed plan again the next day. Don’t think, “Now everything is too late anyway” or “Because I ate more yesterday, I have to eat less today than planned”. Because the second thought is a common reason to start binge eating.

10. Adjusting the calories in case of stagnation

Diet plan-calorie-heightening

The first few weeks are over, you have already successfully lost weight or built up muscles, but suddenly you can’t go on? This is completely normal and is related to the change in your metabolism.

Metabolic change in the diet:

In a diet, your body tries to keep the body fat as long as possible and is even willing to reduce its activity. This can be shown by the fact that you are unconsciously less active or even your body temperature changes. As soon as your weight does not change over a period of 2 weeks, you should adjust your calories to the metabolic change. Then we recommend that you reduce your calories by 300 a day. Repeat this every time your weight stagnates. 

Metabolic change in muscle building:

Your body will also adapt to the new conditions as you build muscle. It still struggles to build and maintain muscle, but is forced to do so by regular exercise. By building muscle, you also increase your consumption of calories that the newly built muscles need to be supplied with nutrients.

If your weight does not change, we recommend that you increase your calories by 200 to 400 a day. Repeat this every time you do not gain weight over a period of time. 

We hope that this nutrition guide will help you and that you will be well informed so that you can make your own nutrition plan.

11. Use Foodiary to create your diet plan

Foodiary Nutrition Plan offices

We hope that this nutrition guide will help you and that you are now well informed to create your nutrition plan.

If you need help or would rather have a diet plan created, please have a look at our app: We will create your personal nutrition plan for you. Based on your goal and your food preferences, we will not only determine the appropriate form of nutrition for your goal, but also take into account your daily routines and habits.

Combined with the right and appropriate recipes, we accompany you on the way to your goal and are happy to assist you with our expertise.

→Click here for the Foodiary App.

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