I can say with 100% confidence, that the best way to succeed on Beachbody's 21 Day Fix meal plan is to plan your food in advance. If you fly by the seat of your pants, you’re setting yourself up for failure. I'm not suggesting that you need to pre-make every single thing you eat, but the more you plan, the better you will do.
Oh, and by the way, if you're new to the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan (now known as the Ultimate Portion Fix), check out this quick intro below.
How to plan your meals for success
I have developed a spreadsheet for you that breaks down the volume of food, based on the 5 meal plans available. The meal plans all differ based on your starting weight. The more you weigh, the more you can eat.
Step 1: Calculate your 21 Day Fix plan based on your current weight.
Here's the formula for calculating what plan you should be following:
- Take your current weight and multiply it by 11.
- This number is your minimum caloric baseline.
- Now add 400 calories to that baseline. This number represents your daily caloric requirement to maintain your weight. If you are not looking to lose fat, this is your final number.
- If fat loss is your goal, subtract between 350 to 500 calories from your maintenance calories. This number is the caloric target you should eat to lose weight.
- If your caloric target is between 1200 and 1499, you should follow PLAN A.
- If your caloric target is between 1500 and 1799, you should follow PLAN B.
- If your caloric target is between 1800 and 2099, you should follow PLAN C.
- If your caloric target is between 2100 and 2299, you should follow PLAN D.
- If your caloric target is between 2300 and 2499, you should follow PLAN E.
- If your caloric target is between 2500 and 2800, you should follow PLAN F.
- If your caloric target is above 2800, please just follow PLAN F.
Note: Beachbody recommends that you reduce your maintenance caloric target by 750 calories per day, but I find that this is too aggressive and most people struggle to keep their calories this low.
Once you know what plan you should be following, now it’s time to dive into the spreadsheet and look at your portion breakdown. See how many of each containers you get every day so you can start planning your meals.
Step 2: Explore the food list and find your favorites
In my 21 Day Fix Meal Planner, I've included a detailed food list, broken down by food category. Take some time to go through this list and highlight the foods you love to eat. Make those one color.
Now, go through the list again and highlight new foods that you think you might like, or that you’re willing to try. Highlight those a different color. Commit to trying one new food at least once a week. The goal here is to expand your palette for healthy foods and learn how to prepare them!
If there are foods on this list that you hate, just delete them! Life is too short to eat food you don't like.
Step 3 Plan your meals, starting with the easiest first
I have found that when you look at your week overall, it can be really overwhelming. I mean, who the heck knows what they want to eat next Tuesday for dinner?
That’s why I recommend you start with breakfast (or your first meal of the day if you’re into intermittent fasting). Most of us tend to eat the same thing for breakfast every day, so find a breakfast item on the master food list that you know you’ll enjoy and plot it into your meal plan.
Now do the same with lunch.
Lunch might be different for you depending on if you eat it at home or on the road, but do the best you can to plot it out. If you do eat out, think about the places you like to frequent. Can you get a green salad with grilled chicken and a light dressing? Easy enough! That’s one or two greens, one red and possibly one orange container. You get the idea, right?
I generally find that you will have the best success with lunches if you can bring your own wherever you go. If that’s school or work, count on saving a lot of money by bringing your meals with you!
How to Plan 21 Day Fix Dinners
Dinners can be tricky as we often eat with others or eat at restaurants. You will have the most success with your dinner meals if you batch cook things like grilled chicken, baked fish, cooked quinoa or rice, along with some roasted or air fried veggies in advance. That way, you can quickly assemble a variety of options that will work for the whole family.
If you prep 6 chicken breasts for the week, pre-made some rice that you can just reheat and then roast a bunch of chopped veggies, like summer squash, onions and peppers than you can use these items to create
- Stir frys
- Buddha bowls
- Chicken lettuce wraps
Or simply plate it as is!
This way, you will have a number of meals using the same ingredients and dinners become simple and easy. By creating simple foods and avoiding complicated recipes, you end up spending less time guessing what containers you just consumed and also less time in the kitchen.
Seriously folks, if there is one thing you take away from this blog post, it’s to batch cook your protein, carbs and veggies in advance and you will win the game. Fruits and healthy fats are easy snacks, so they don’t need to be prepared in advanced.
How to Plan 21 Day Fix Snacks
Think about stocking your fridge with the following:
- Baby carrots & humus
- Individual cheese strings or laughing cow light cheese spread
- Sweet peppers and fruit
- Nut butters! I love almond the best.
Stock your pantry with:
- Unsalted nuts (healthy fat, blue container)
- Grab-and-go flaked tuna packages (protein, red container)
- Beachbody Bars (protein, red container)
- Quest Bars (protein, red container)
- Shakeology, of course 🙂 (Protein, red container)
Having that on hand will make snacking a breeze.
How to incorporate Shakeology into your meal plan
I feel like this is a personal choice. Some folks like to make Shakeology into a full meal by adding fresh spinach, berries, nut butter or bananas. Check out my recipes for salted caramel & vanilla Shakeology.
Personally, I like to make my Shakeology into a chocolate or vanilla pudding. I just mix a portion with ½ a cup of unsweetened almond milk and mix it up. It’s SO satisfying and I prefer to eat my nutrition than drink it.
A few frequently asked questions about the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan
What about alcohol?
There’s a place for that in your plan as well! You can use your yellow (carb) container for wine or spirits. This is something I prefer to do as I can get a lot more enjoyment from a glass of chardonnay than ½ a cup of rice. But that’s just me 🙂
What’s the difference between 21 Day Fix and the Ultimate Portion Fix?
Absolutely nothing. They are the same thing. The 21 Day Fix is actually a workout program that was the first to launch with this meal program. It became so popular that they split the program out to be a standalone product.
What if I’m not good at following diets?
You’re not alone. I’m not good at this either. I stopped looking at this program as an all or nothing deal. Instead, I acknowledge that I’m not trying to be perfect, I’m just trying to improve my eating habits and healthy food choices. WHen I take that approach, I don’t get flustered and quit the first time I go off track. Instead, I let my curiosity lead me. I ask myself - how can I make this work for me? When I do that, I always see results and learn a thing or two about my body!
Should I use the 21 Day Fix Meal Planner to track the food I eat?
Planning your meals and tracking them are two different processes. I would use the digital meal planner to plan your food for the week. Then, use the BOD app to actually track the food you eat. It’s easier and faster than having to pull up a spreadsheet every time you eat a snack, you know?
Ready to start using the 21 Day Fix Meal Planner?
If you’re new to the 21 Day Fix Meal Plan (otherwise known as the Ultimate Portion Fix), I highly recommend purchasing the program along with the workouts. You will see faster and BETTER results if you follow the 21 Day Fix meal plan in conjunction with a workout program.
If you just want the nutrition program, you can get that, too. Both options come with a ton of resources, coaching, support and more. You’ll never be short on ideas for meals, snacks or workouts.
Want to try the planner I created to help you organize your meals? Click here to snag a copy of the spreadsheet here. There's no cost, but please do leave a comment below and let me know your feedback!
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, low carb recipes, quick home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.