Snack Attack Part 2 – Building a Meal Plan

sample meal plan

If you didn’t get a chance, please read part 1 on snacking and weight loss before reading below. This post has been designed to build on the mentality of 3 meals per day focusing on nutrient quality.

Now let’s breakdown how you can personalize your nutrition based on your size, protein needs, and goals with no snacks!

Below is a sample 3 meal plan.

Meal 1: High-Protein Omelette
Egg whites (6) – 102 calories, 24g protein, 0g carbs
Spinach (1 cup) – 7 calories, 1g protein, 1g carbs
Tomatoes (1/2 cup) – 13 calories, 1g protein, 3g carbs
Avocado (1/4) – 57 calories, 1g protein, 3g carbs
Low-fat cheese (1/4 cup) – 45 calories, 7g protein, 1g carbs
Turkey bacon (2 slices) – 60 calories, 8g protein, 2g carbs

Total: 284 calories, 42g protein, 10g carbs

Meal 2: Grilled Chicken and Broccoli Bowl
Grilled chicken breast (8 oz) – 280 calories, 56g protein, 0g carbs
Broccoli (2 cups) – 110 calories, 10g protein, 22g carbs
Olive oil (1 tablespoon) – 120 calories, 0g protein, 0g carbs
Balsamic vinegar (1 tablespoon) – 14 calories, 0g protein, 3g carbs

Total: 524 calories, 66g protein, 25g carbs

Meal 3: Baked Salmon with Mixed Greens Salad
Baked salmon (6 oz) – 354 calories, 34g protein, 0g carbs
Mixed greens (2 cups) – 20 calories, 2g protein, 3g carbs
Cucumber (1/2) – 8 calories, 0g protein, 2g carbs
Red bell pepper (1/2) – 20 calories, 1g protein, 4g carbs
Olive oil (1 tablespoon) – 120 calories, 0g protein, 0g carbs
Lemon (1/2) – 6 calories, 0g protein, 2g carbs

Total: 528 calories, 37g protein, 11g carbs

Grand Total: 1336 calories, 145g protein, 46g carbs

Now for most of you, 1335 calories per day is probably not enough food. It’s a good amount for the short term (less than 4 weeks), but you would not want to eat that little for the long term  if you are training hard regularly unless you are a very small person.

Here’s a simple breakdown of how many calories per day you should be eating based on your bodyweight:
Bodyweight x 10 = extreme weight loss
(Don’t do longer than 4 weeks as it might down regulate your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight in the future)
Bodyweight x 12 – weight loss
Bodyweight x 14 = maintenance
Bodyweight x 16 = weight gain
Bodyweight x 18 = fat gain

Now let’s take this number and apply it to a 180lb person:

x 10 = 1800 calories/day
x 12 = 2160 calories/day
x 14 = 2520 calories/day
x 16 = 2880 calories/day
x 18 = 3240 calories/day

Now, if you think you are eating a low amount but not losing weight then I would suggest writing down what you eat for a week. If you are bombing it on the weekends, it might be bringing your weekly average up. Assume most restaurant meals are at least 1000 calories per meal!

If everything is looking good after this analysis, our goal would be to slowly increase how much you eat over a long period of time to build up your metabolism (but that is beyond the scope of this post), so let’s keep it simple… A quick method though would be increase your calories by 50 calories per week. As always, movement, stress, sleep, and exercise will all factor in…

So you have the 3 meal plan example above…

For most people with a weight loss goal you should be eating at least .8-1gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.

So for a 180lb person that is 144-180 grams of protein per day.
The above example has 145 grams of protein.

Do you need more protein than that per day?

If you weigh more than 180lbs or want to eat 180 grams/day of protein you can add more by doubling a portion of protein at one of those meals above or you can eat a 4th meal or have a protein shake.

You should be spacing out your meals 3-4 hours apart… NO SNACKS! (Unless you have a goal of gaining muscle/weight).

Want to have a different protein or a baseline of how much protein is in certain foods?

Here is the macronutrient breakdown for a 3 oz serving of common protein options:

3 oz is the size of your palm or a deck of cards – which isn’t that big:

Shrimp (boiled or steamed):
Calories: 84
Protein: 18g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fat: 1g

Steak (ribeye, cooked):
Calories: 186
Protein: 20g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fat: 12g

Chicken breast (skinless, roasted or baked):
Calories: 140
Protein: 26g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fat: 3g

Pork tenderloin (cooked):
Calories: 93
Protein: 18g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fat: 2g

Bacon (cooked):
Calories: 135
Protein: 3g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fat: 13g

Turkey bacon (cooked):
Calories: 70
Protein: 7g
Carbohydrates: 1g
Fat: 4g

Extra lean ground beef (cooked):
Calories: 165
Protein: 24g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fat: 7g

Ground turkey (cooked, 93% lean):
Calories: 123
Protein: 21g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fat: 4g

Ground chicken (cooked, 98% lean):
Calories: 114
Protein: 21g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fat: 3g

Salmon (sockeye, baked or broiled):
Calories: 133
Protein: 18g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fat: 6g

Bison (cooked):
Calories: 93
Protein: 21g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fat: 1g

Venison (cooked):
Calories: 133
Protein: 22g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fat: 4g

Sirloin steak (cooked):
Calories: 156
Protein: 26g
Carbohydrates: 0g
Fat: 5g

PVL Chocolate protein powder (1 scoop)
Calories: 120
Protein: 27g
Carbohydrates: 2g

Note that these macronutrient values are approximate and may vary depending on the specific cut and cooking method used like if you are cooking them in oil you would have to factor in that.

You can also add a carbohydrate source to any meal to add more calories if you are a bigger person and require more calories per day or need carbs post workout. A good rule of thumb for weight loss is eating carbs at 1 meal per day and best done if it is post workout.

For your reference here’s some carb numbers for 1 cup:

White rice (cooked):
Calories: 205
Carbohydrates: 44.5g
Protein: 4.2g
Fat: 0.4g

Quinoa (cooked):
Calories: 222
Carbohydrates: 39.4g
Protein: 8.1g
Fat: 3.6g

Sweet potato (cooked):
Calories: 180
Carbohydrates: 41.4g
Protein: 2.1g
Fat: 0.3g

Oatmeal (cooked):
Calories: 166
Carbohydrates: 28.1g
Protein: 5.9g
Fat: 3.2g

Here’s the numbers for 1 slice of Sourdough bread (40g slice)
Calories: 90-120
Carbohydrates: 15-25 grams
Protein: 3-5 grams
Fat: 0-2 grams

As with most things in life. Everyone is unique. I don’t expect you to count calories or track your macros for the long term. Take this example though above and use it with the foods you like to create a framework that works for you. Try it for a month and see how things change for you… My role and goal in this process is to educate you and make you aware of your options so that you can make the best choice for you, your busy life and your goals.

As always if you have any questions, let me know!

Committed to your success,
Josh Saunders, BS, CSCS

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