How to Create Modular Meals

Modular Meal Planning

How do you make any meal fit into your macro budget? I use a concept I call modular meal planning. I have a few staple recipes that I can modify to fit pretty much any macro budget. For example, I’ve found that most people love tacos. I could eat tacos pretty much every day. So to make them fit, I like to create a basic skeleton and then add or subtract based on what macro needs I have to fill:

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Basic Taco

Food Item Macro Profile Action
Ground Turkey 99% Lean Protein Add as much as you need to help fulfill your protein goals for that meal
Lettuce Carbohydrate Add as much as you’d like to add volume and keep the carbs low
Salsa Carbohydrate Add this instead of a dressing to keep the carb count low and keep it flavorful
Beans Carbohydrate and Some Protein You can remove this ingredient if your carbs are low or add it if you have carbs to spare
Rice Carbohydrate I like to weigh rice in grams so that I can make finer adjustments by altering how much I use. If my carbs are really low, I will omit rice altogether.
Sour Cream Fat This is a great way to turn the salsa into a creamy dressing. Sour cream is easy to add or subtract based on what your fat needs are.
Cheese Fat and Some Protein If you need additional fat, you can add cheese.
Tortilla Carbohydrate and Some Fat If you have still more carbs to spare, you can wrap it all up in a tortilla. I usually omit this ingredient.

Cheeseburger

Food Item Macro Profile Action
Ground Turkey 99% Lean Protein Add as much as you need to help fulfill your protein goals for that meal
Lettuce Carbohydrate Add as much as you’d like to add volume and keep the carbs low
Light Mayo Fat Add this to ketchup for a great sauce. I like to weigh my mayo for controlling the amount of fat.
Reduced Sugar Ketchup Carbohydrate This is a great dressing when mixed with mayo and mustard. They refer to this as “fancy sauce” in Stepbrothers. LOL!
Mustard Carbohydrate This is a cheap condiment when counting carbs and calories.
Onions Carbohydrate This is a great way to add a ton of flavor for a low carb lunch. You can also consider garlic and shallots.
Tomatoes Carbohydrate I love to add tons of tomatoes to make my salad flavorful and high volume.
Cucumbers Carbohydrate Cucumbers are one of the highest volume foods, so if you find yourself hungry. Try to add cucumbers to any dish.
Pickles Carbohydrate Pickles are great for digestion and are usually so low in calories, they don’t even count.
Cheese Fat I like to use laughing cow lite cheese wedges because they have a ton of flavor and really make this salad feel like a rich meal.

Thai Salad

Food Item Macro Profile Action
Shredded Chicken Protein Add as much as you need to help fulfill your protein goals for that meal
Cabbage Carbohydrate Add as much as you’d like to add volume and keep the carbs low
Peanuts Fat and Some Protein Add this for crunch and flavor. I like to weigh nuts to ensure that I’m accurate since fats have more than double the calories per gram that carbs and protein do.
Thai Dressing Carbohydrate and Fat Can be made from a combination of peanut butter, rice vinegar, and soy sauce. You can alter the amounts to stick within your nutritional goals.
Shredded Carrots Carbohydrate Add these to punch up the flavor, but be careful, they are a higher carb vegetable.

 

Italian

Food Item Macro Profile Action
Ground Turkey 99% Lean Protein Add as much as you need to help fulfill your protein goals for that meal
Zuchinni (Spiral cut) Carbohydrate Add as much as you’d like to add volume and keep the carbs low – a great substitute for pasta
Tomato Sauce Carbohydrate I sometimes opt for pizza sauce as it is lower in carbs than traditional pasta sauce, but there are tons of low carb options.
Parmesean Cheese Fat and Some Protein Add this to increase your fats.

 

Asian

Food Item Macro Profile Action
Shredded Chicken Protein Add as much as you need to help fulfill your protein goals for that meal
Steamfresh Asian Medley Carbohydrate and Some Fat This frozen bag of vegetables is a great option for fast prep with a very light sauce. I usually eat the entire bag.
Rice Carbohydrate I omit this ingredient when I am low carb.
Bamboo Shoots Carbohydrate These are great for adding flavor and crunch.
Baby corn Carbohydrate I love the texture.
Soy Sauce Carbohydrate The calorie count here is negligible but the flavor is great. Golden Mountain is my favorite brand. I think you can only get it in Asian stores.
Eggs Protein and Fat You can add a scrambled egg to this stir fry for a fried rice spin on the dish. You can use egg whites only if you need to keep your fats lower.

 

Shrimp and Grits

Food Item Macro Profile Action
Shrimp Protein Add as much as you need to help fulfill your protein goals for that meal
Grits – 100 calorie pack Carbohydrate You can use these to keep your calories in check, but they come in cheddar, butter, and bacon flavors which all make this dish really seem rich.
Cheese – Laughing Cow Fat I love laughing cow cheese wedges because they melt well and they are really flavorful. I think white cheddar or asiago would be a great choice for this dish.
Parmesan

 

Fat and Some Protein You can remove this ingredient if you need to keep you fats low.
Turkey Bacon Fat and Some Protein I love Turkey Bacon as a great lower fat alternative to regular bacon. You could also opt for center cut bacon if you prefer pork.

 

I hope this gives you some ideas. Let me know if you have any go-to meals in the comments below!

 

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