How to Build a Personal Meal Plan

3 tips for crafting a diet that works for you and your body

A meal plan is a very personal thing. We all have food items that we like and dislike, tolerate and can’t tolerate. However, it’s necessary to get nutrients from certain food groups in order to have a well-balanced diet and live a healthy lifestyle. To build a personal meal plan, you can pair your dietary restrictions with healthy eating choices that will make eating healthy easier for you. Follow these steps to build your personal meal plan.

Step 1: Keep a diary of what you’re currently eating

You can make your shift to a healthy meal plan easier by keeping track of your current diet and then analyzing it. Odds are you have both healthy and unhealthy eating habits. Isolate those you want to change, and take note of those that can stay the same.

Step 2: Study the food guide pyramid

Maybe you haven’t looked at it since you were a child, but the food pyramid is really the place to go when you’re concerned about your healthy eating habits. Updated frequently by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the pyramid can give you a good idea as to what food items you should be eating and how you’re currently struggling.

Step 3: Get a personalized meal plan using an interactive tool

There are many variables that figure in to how you should eat. Luckily, Internet tools make it easy for you to calculate your plan. Simply input your information into a meal plan creator, like the ones available from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at the MyPyramid.com website. This is the easiest way for you to find a personalized plan that fits your needs. Meal plan calculators are also available at other websites and in software packages. Most personalized meal plan generators will tell you how much of a certain food item you need to eat and give examples of how you can fulfill that requirement.

Tips

You would be surprised to note how many free resources there are to help you build and stick with a personalized meal plan, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPyramid website to state, local and nonprofit resources. If you’ve used these resources and are having trouble sticking to your plan, or if your plan seems to be causing unpleasant side effects, you should consult a doctor or diet coach.

Warnings

Do not pay for a personalized meal plan online, as these are readily available for free. If you feel you need help sticking to a personalized meal plan, you can pay for services that bring frozen entrees to your home or give you access to meetings and support. However, if you’re simply interested in building a personal meal plan, you should not have to pay.

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