How Do You Build a Meal Plan?

We're going to show you the key points to look for in order to successfully build a balanced meal plan. It may be less complicated than you think!
How Do You Build a Meal Plan?
Saúl Sánchez Arias

Written and verified by the nutritionist Saúl Sánchez Arias.

Last update: 21 October, 2022

Building a meal plan isn’t difficult if a series of basic concepts are clear. It’s essential to cover your daily requirements to prevent deficits.

However, the matter could be complicated if there are underlying conditions or if you have to take certain medications. These conditions could alter the state of the body.

Before we begin, we must emphasize that it’s not only diet that matters when it comes to preventing the development of chronic and complex diseases over the years. Other good habits should be maintained over time. For example, practicing physical activity on a regular basis is essential.

Caloric intake when constructing a meal plan

One of the first points to look at when constructing a dietary or meal plan is caloric intake. Your daily expenditure must be taken into account to establish a balanced pattern that doesn’t cause negative alterations in the state of your body composition. However, in many cases, it’s really not necessary to count calories. It’s sufficient to promote the presence of fresh foods in your diet.

These products have a high nutritional density, a low-calorie content, and abundant amounts of fiber. The latter is a substance that has been shown to increase the feeling of satiety, so it will be less likely to overeat if it appears regularly in your diet.

In addition, figer generates a positive effect on the body’s gut microbiota.

meal plan
It’s not necessary to count calories for a healthy diet. It can also be a cumbersome method that not everyone performs accurately.

We think you may be interested in reading this, too: Discover How Many Calories You Should Eat Per Day

It’s essential to meet your body’s macronutrient requirements

When we talk about macronutrients, special attention should be paid to proteins. These are important elements that act in a structural way and that manage to maintain homeostasis in the internal environment.

However, on many occasions, the body’s daily protein needs are not covered, which can cause health problems. One example is sarcopenia, which causes a reduction in muscle mass and strength values.

According to a study published in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism , a protein intake of at least 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day should be ensured in sedentary people. In athletes, these needs can easily double or triple. In these cases, the muscle damage induced by exercise must be compensated for.

In addition, good-quality fats must be included. Above all, it’s necessary to emphasize the intake of fatty acids of the omega-3 series.

There is evidence that these nutrients help to modulate inflammation states, which can help reduce a person’s risk of developing chronic and complex conditions over the years.

Finally, it’s necessary to talk about carbohydrates. These will be determined by your level of physical activity. The more exercise, the higher your daily requirements should be.

Generally speaking, complex carbohydrates should be prioritized over simple ones.

Like this article? You may also like to read: Check Out the Calories and Protein in Each Chicken Cut

The importance of antioxidants

We also shouldn’t underestimate the importance of antioxidants in our diets. These compounds neutralize the formation of free radicals and their subsequent accumulation in the body’s tissues. They’re therefore necessary to prevent the development of diseases and are found in foods of vegetable origin.

To build a good dietary plan, we must ensure that every day we consume about five servings of fruits and vegetables, giving priority to the latter. In this way, the body’s basic requirements of minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals will be met. It’s also necessary to ensure variety and not always eat them in the same way but alternate between raw and cooked.

meal plan and vegetables
Vegetables can’t be missing if we want fresh products with fiber and antioxidants.

Building a good meal plan is all about taking care of your health

There are several key points that should be taken into account when building a meal plan. Eating enough nutrients will be central, with the aim of preventing the development of complex diseases.

However, despite building a good diet, it may be necessary to include supplements in certain situations. This is especially the case for people who frequently exercise.

Finally, we must comment that even when a person’s dietary habits are improved to the maximum, vitamin D levels may not be in the optimal ranges. This is due to the fact that this vitamin must be synthesized internally but is rarely present in food.

To promote its endogenous production, the most advisable thing to do is to safely and regularly expose oneself to sunlight, thus maintaining its concentration within optimal ranges.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Rebello, C. J., O’Neil, C. E., & Greenway, F. L. (2016). Dietary fiber and satiety: the effects of oats on satiety. Nutrition reviews74(2), 131–147.
  • Richter, M., Baerlocher, K., Bauer, J. M., Elmadfa, I., Heseker, H., Leschik-Bonnet, E., Stangl, G., Volkert, D., Stehle, P., & on behalf of the German Nutrition Society (DGE) (2019). Revised Reference Values for the Intake of Protein. Annals of nutrition & metabolism74(3), 242–250.
  • Calder P. C. (2017). Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes: from molecules to man. Biochemical Society transactions45(5), 1105–1115.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.