Build The Ultimate Meal Plan Through Nutrition Facts & Food Serving Size

Build The Ultimate Meal Plan Through Nutrition Facts & Food Serving Size For Optimal Health Benefits

How To Meal Plan, Count Calories & Watch Caloric Intake


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Written by: Femi Doyle-Marshall


When it comes to food you’ve got to love it.

We consume things to nourish our body. We eat to allow us to be in a peak state or simply survive. As you get past survival the quality of what you eat is something to consider. Not all foods are packed with quality nutrients and that alone is something to be aware of. Awareness of the types of foods you are eating will further arm you when you are out and about searching for meals. Understanding Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates can help you sort everything into the categories as you are eating. Moving beyond, knowledge of serving sizes can drastically improve your results for fat loss, muscle building or general health.

Today is all about understanding Meal Portions and Your Ideal Food Serving Size. Once you have grasped a good understanding of the nutrients you are putting into your system the next step is portioning it out throughout the day.  I will dig in deeper into the calculations and total daily portioning in a later post. Just know how many meals feel good for you. If you are a little bit more advanced I am always a fan of knowing how many meals is “personally normal” to eat for me throughout the day. A meal in this case would be something solid. Not a liquid meal, shake or smoothie. The total amount of daily meals will vary for each individual as work, life and personal obligations cause things to change. For example I usually have 4-5 meals a day working around member sessions and coaching.

Where you can begin to ensure you have your needed macronutrients is the meal.

One of the simplest ways to ensure you are getting your daily macros is to have complete meals. A complete meal would consist of protein, fat and carbohydrates. The numbers will vary for each based off your fitness and health goals.



Proper Nutrition Facts

To simplify food instead of telling you to consume 150 g of protein, carbs (carbohydrates) or fat simply we break everything down into packs. Packs are our standard serving sizes in NP you can calculate them by hand as well. Mind you the precision you can have in any meal plan will be better if you were to use a scale. Since you may not be using one this framework to help with your goal. In any meal plan our basic rules will always apply.

Packs, Food Serving Size & Ideal Portion Size

As mentioned earlier by simplifying your total intake into packs you will know exactly what to eat and how much of a particular food group. To make the process even easier the images below will provide a visual representation of what each pack portion amount would look like as you create a custom meal plan.


One Pack of Protein or Carbohydrate = 25 grams

Sample Protein Options: Fish, Meat, Poultry


For protein what does it look like?

The fastest way to calculate a portion amount for protein is with your palm. Usually with most meats this can be used as an estimate for ensuring you are around one pack or 25 grams of protein for your meal. 2-3 oz of most meats would equal 25 grams of protein or one pack. One cup of whey protein is also traditionally the same. The photo below provides a great example of what this looks like can be used when you are making your own meal plan.




Sample Carbohydrate Options: Grains, Tubers (potatoes), Fruits


For carbohydrates what does it look like?

With carbohydrates the pack macronutrient numbers can be changed from raw to cooked. Medium to small size tubers, fruits, and 1/2 cup of grains all equal one pack amount. If you are still not sure keep it simple and use the cupped palm method. This is something talked about through a variety of nutrition courses and the team over at Precision Nutrition are using it as well. It is far better to use the cooked portion amounts for rice, pastas and potatoes. This will avoid you over consuming. As per oatmeal dry may be easier to measure and calculate.




One Pack of Fat = 20 grams

Sample Fat Options: Nut butters, seeds, oils


For fat does it look like?

Fat is usually calculated into oz vs grams. You can still use the hand method to determine what it looks like as you a preparing meals. One thumb is closely calculated to one pack of fat or 20 grams. If you wish 2 tablespoons is roughly the same portion amount as well.




And that’s all. A few things to keep in mind when you are preparing your meal plan.


1. A calorie is a calories is a calorie…

You are going to get calories from anything you eat. The serving size of each will determine how much calories or food you put into your body. Be sure to aim for higher quality foods where you can to get the most amount of micronutrients (ie. vitamins & minerals). Anything you eat will go into your food bank.

2. Similarity in MACRO – nutrient numbers

Most foods that are protein, carbohydrates or fats that are not processed share similar macronutrient numbers. If you can tell by the examples provided for the above you can almost take any macronutrient and add it into your meal plan. What will always be top priority is the quality content. Certain foods may be absorbed better by your body. Every body is different.


And that’s it for today. Be sure to post any questions you may have about nutrition on the STRENGTH FORUM many members have found that page quite useful. Otherwise have questions or concerns? Feel free to leave them below along with any comments, thoughts and feedback. If you are looking to get a better understanding of this article I will be sure to post a response.


3 ways To maximize Your Workouts (1)photo credit: 80. Five a Day (Five different fruit / veg) Explored., Precision Nutrition, Dailymail OnlineMeat Is Neat

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