How To Build Meal Plans For Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss you’re going to need a plan. You don’t necessarily need to have a super restricted plan, but better yet, you’re going to need a meal plan. We’re talking about a plan that you can build ahead of time (or have a coach build out for you), that includes the foods you love, none of the ones that you don’t, in the right portions and macros, so that you can achieve your weight loss goals. We’re not only going to teach you how to build meal plans for weight loss, but we’re also going to tell you more about meal plan nutrition coaching, so that you can get all the information you need to decide if you can do it on your own or if it’d be best to consult a professional nutritionist for your weight loss meal plan needs.

1. Figure Out Your Weight Loss Calories

Before you start planning your meals, it's essential to determine your daily calorie needs. This will depend on factors such as your age, gender, weight, height, and activity level. Ideally, you want to eat less calories than you expend throughout your day. However, this DOES NOT mean that you need to severely restrict calories or drastically drop them from how many calories you’re eating now.

Our recommendation? Download an app like My Fitness Pal and log your food for 3 total days. After 3 days of logging, take the average of calories that you consumed across the 3 total days and note that this is the amount of calories it takes for you to maintain the exact weight that you are right now. For your weight loss meal plan, you’re going to want to eat in a deficit of those calories by anywhere from 200-400 calories per day.


  • You logged 3 days of eating and it totaled 2,379 calories, 2,843 calories, and 2,000 calories
  • Your average for the three days is going to be 2,407 calories
  • Deduct these calories by 400 per day
  • Your total calories that you’re going to aim for on your meal plan is 2,007 calories per day

*Note: these are general estimates and rules of thumbs. Keep in mind that the most accurate calorie needs are going to be based on the factors listed above like activity, weight, gender, etc. The most accurate calorie estimate for your weight loss journey can be calculated by a professional coach in a nutrition coaching program.

RECOMMENDED: Schedule A Free Nutrition Consultation

2. Prioritize Nutrient Dense Foods

When creating your meal plan, prioritize nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your meals. These foods will keep you feeling satisfied and provide the necessary nutrients for your body. The more ‘raw’ your foods can be, the better. Read nutrition labels on packaged foods and decide how it is going to make you feel based on the nutrient content (or lack there of) as well as the ingredients.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • How far away from natural is this food
  • Am I cutting shortcuts eating it or could I make this food from scratch
  • Are there a lot of other ingredients in it
  • Does it have more than 10g sugar per serving
  • Does this contribute towards my overall health and aesthetic goals or take away from it

Most often the packaged food that we consume is great on our pallet and terrible for our bodies. We’re talking about cookies, crackers, breads, sweets, candies, etc. Prioritize nutrient dense, whole, and raw foods on your meal plan for weight loss and watch your body thank you.

3. Aim For Balanced Portion Sizes

Portion control is crucial when building out a weight loss meal plan. If a professional coach (like the ones at TSK) are going to build your meal plan for you, then they’re going to balance your meals across your day. Even if you're eating healthy foods, consuming large portions can hinder your progress. Use measuring cups, a food scale, or visual cues to ensure you're eating appropriate portion sizes. This will help you maintain a calorie deficit and promote weight loss.

RECOMMENDED: Schedule A Free Nutrition Consultation

4. Eat Until You’re 80% Full

Calories, macros, and numbers can only go so far. If you’re body is telling you it is full or hungry it is very important to listen to it. While on a weight loss journey, or any health/aesthetic journey for that matter, we recommend eating until you’re 80% full. Then, do a little check in with yourself. Are you still hungry? Are you full? Could you wait 10 minutes then ask yourself if you’re still hungry? This behavior will also contribute towards your portion sizes and strengthening the relationship between the brain and the body so that they start trusting one another. Eating until you’re 80% full will also help with avoiding overeating with your weight loss meal plan as well as underrating, so that you can achieve that ideal balance between too much and too little for your body and your goals.

4. Plan Your Meals In Advance

This might sound silly, but meal plan the week before you start that plan. There’s a saying out there that goes ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ and it is something that we stand by here as coaches at The Swole Kitchen. Take some time each week to plan your meals in advance. This will prevent impulsive food choices and help you stay on track with your weight loss goals. Plan your breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks, and make a shopping list accordingly. Having a well-thought-out meal plan will make it easier to stick to your dietary goals. Make sure you make your food on the weekend and have it ready in your drawers + your fridge so that you don’t have any excuse to not eat it when you’re hungry.

5. Don’t Be Afraid Of Repetition

A lot of times people think that eating the same thing for a few days in a row is going to be the death of them. “How BORING” you might say. However, our bodies love consistency and repetition. Since you’re trying to learn the things that encourage your body to lose weight, not gain weight, you’re also going to need to learn what foods your body loves and which foods it does not. If you only eat something once in a while, how are you going to be able to accurately judge if that food is something that supports/takes away from your overall goal? You’re not.

Plus, when building out your weight loss meal plan, especially in the beginning, repetition is key. That doens’t mean your food has to be awful and boring, but the easier and more efficient you can make it so that you eat your food at the same time, in the same amounts, across a few days, the better results you’re going to end up getting. After all, food shouldn’t be something that ‘adds stress to your plate’. It should actually simplify your lifestyle, so you have the energy and vibrancy you desire, to go do all the things in your life that you want to. Yeah, pun intended.

RECOMMENDED: Schedule A Free Nutrition Consultation

6. Plan When You’ll Drink Water

Proper hydration is often overlooked but plays a significant role in weight loss. Drinking an adequate amount of water can boost your metabolism, reduce hunger, and help you feel more energized. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water per day and limit sugary beverages. We also recommend building your water intake into your meal plan to help yourself be accountable to your daily intake. Water is one of the hardest habits to master and as coaches we understand this, which is why we want to make it easier, by suggesting you put water on your meal plan for weight loss. Give yourself every opportunity to succeed at your goals, no matter how minuscule the task may seem.

7. Get A Nutrition Coach For Your Weight Loss Meal Plan

Love the tips but feel like you still can’t do it? No problem, you’re like many, many other people that we help on a daily basis. By trusting in a professional nutritionist, like the ones at The Swole Kitchen, we’ll take the stress and guesswork out of building your weekly weight loss meal plans. We’ll balance your macros and calories, we’ll incorporate the foods that you love, none of those that you don’t, establish portion control, motivate you, encourage you, and lead you all along the way.

The best part? We don’t just build meal plans. We coach you day in and day out to establish an eating lifestyle that you love, that supports long term, sustainable change. Instead of overhauling your entire lifestyle with a restrictive diet, we learn you, learn what you like to eat, learn what you don’t like to eat, and we compliment your lifestyle, not just change the whole thing. We can put any recipe, any snack, any routine that you’d like on your plan so that it is 100% YOU and that you actually look forward to following it. You’ll not only learn how to build out your meal plans on a weekly basis, but you’ll also receive recipes that will become staples and grocery lists for your weekly meal plans so you know exactly what to get at the store, how much to get and how to make it.

Generally speaking, our clients here at The Swole Kitchen who sign up into a customized meal plan nutrition coaching program see anywhere from 1-3 lbs of weight loss per week as well as 2-6% body fat drop per month.

Meal Plans For Weight Loss: Takeaway

By following these guidelines, you can create an effective meal plan for weight loss. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice and guidance. With dedication and a well-planned meal plan, you'll be on your way to achieving your weight loss goals and improving your overall health. If you need some help figuring out what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat, all while feeling vibrant from the inside out and turning your results into sustainable and maintainable results? Then it is time you step into a customized meal plan nutrition coaching program led by a professional coach at The Swole Kitchen.

The Swole Kitchen provides 1:1 nutrition coaching, macro coaching, and custom meal plans to help guide you to becoming the best version of yourself. We teach you how to enjoy the foods you love in the right amounts, so you can fit into your favorite pair of jeans, hit your health and fitness goals, and be healthy and happy. We guide you through making sound nutritional decisions and teach you along the way, so you can learn how to take control of your health, and discover what if feels like to live again.
Tags: Nutrition