Budgeting your Calories
One of the best things I have done to help my diet is to create a calorie budget for my day. I was given a plan from my nutritionist on how many calories to eat each day, but it can be frustrating when you get to the end of the day and realize you only have 100 calories left for your dinner. That’s when I decided to create my calorie budget.
How many calories do you eat a day?
Do you already have a calorie plan? If you don’t then get an account at My Fitness Pal and you will be given a great plan. They will do the math for you to figure out how many calories a day you can eat and still lose the weight you want to eat.
Another nice reason to use My Fitness Pal is that it will not let you go under 1200 calories. Which I cannot emphasize enough to not go below 1200 calories, you may lose at first but you will force your body into starvation mode and you will hit a plateau.
How many meals and snacks do you eat a day?
Now it’s time to decide how many meals and how many snacks that you will have during the day. There are a few different plans suggested for meals and snack by nutritionist, trainers and doctors. You just need to decide what works best for you.
For me I like to have 3 meals and 3 snacks throughout the day. Do I do this everyday? No, sometimes I miss a snack. But make sure that you make breakfast a priority in your day and if you are close to 1200 calories with your diet then make sure you make up lost snacks and calories.
Time to do the math & make your budget
The budget you are creating is not set in stone, but just a helpful guideline for meal planning and for a reminder when you are choosing what to eat.
As an example to show you how to create your budget we are going to use my numbers:
- 1210 calories
- 80g protein
Now it’s time to divide out your calories to your meals and snacks. You can do this two ways. The first way you can divide it evenly between your meals.
- 3 Meals: 300 calories / 20g protein
- 3 Snacks: 100 calories / 7g protein
- TOTALS: 1200 calories / 81g proteins
Now my totals are not perfect but then these numbers are also a guideline not set in stone you will always have some fluctuations in calories.
The second way you can divide out your calories is to divide them out for each of your individual meals. I do this, because I usually feel satisfied on very little in the morning. I do not skip breakfast but I don’t always eat a full 300 calories at this meal. This is the plan that I actually work off of.
- Breakfast: 250 calories / 15g protein
- Lunch: 325 calories / 25g protein
- Dinner: 325 calories /25g protein
- 3 Snacks: 100 calories / 5g protein
- TOTALS: 1200 calories / 80g protein
Make your budget work for You
Now when you are looking at your meals, recipes and your snacks you know how many calories you have to budget and what will work for you!
If you do run across a recipe that is a few more calories than your budget for your meal then either lighten up your lunch or skip a snack for that day.
What is also helpful to have your calorie budget figured out is when you have to go out to eat you can look at the nutrition menu for where you are going and plan what you are going to get.
You now have a quick and easy tool to reference to help you keep on top of your calories and nutrition!
How do you work your calories for the day? Have you tried to budget your calories before?