I have general fitness goals: Lower resting heart rate, low bodyfat percentage, good BMI, healthy skin etc. How do plan my diet to achieve this when combined with my general fitness exercise regime of Cardio + Weightlifting + Sport (3 times a week)?

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    Can you add some context to explain specifically how your question would relate to your exercise program? Your question is somewhat vague. – rrirower May 16 '16 at 13:15
  • One maybe for discussion in meta perhaps but the principle of this self-answered question was to address the large number of questions we get about "what should I eat for X goal?". Provided there is general approval or a better answer put forward this could be the question to pend the duplicates to? – John May 16 '16 at 13:27
  • I think your question/answer is more appropriate for an FAQ section if one were available. – rrirower May 16 '16 at 13:31
  • Agreed with rrirower. Its ok to do, but this falls a little too much in the vague for me. There are some large differences depending on the ratio of each activity and type of sport. – JohnP May 17 '16 at 12:53
  • With a view to improvement, could this be reworded as "I want a diet plan to help me lose weight" I feel my answer would be more applicable in that situation. – John May 17 '16 at 15:05

The best meal plan is always going to be the one that you create yourself. It is important that you take ownership of your meal planning - It will be easier to adhere to and easier to hold yourself accountable if you can't abdicate the responsibility onto someone else making your eating choices for you. Consistency is the most important part of getting results when changing your diet, and the easier it is for you to be consistent, the better.

One of the most important factors in making dietary changes stick is that they not be too drastic. This is another reason it's important that you create your own meal plan - No one knows what foods you like better than you do. Including as many foods that you already know that you like is crucial to promote adherence.

A simple and straightforward process for creating a meal plan might go something like this:

  1. Calculate your approximate calorie and macronutrient needs.
  2. Make a list of foods and recipes that you already know that you like. Use Google or reddit's r/Fitmeals to find additional ideas.
  3. Use resources like MyFitnessPal and nutritional labels at the grocery store to calculate the nutritional content of the foods from Step 2. If you're trying to do this on a budget, this is also a good time to calculate the cost of each food.
  4. Arrange your foods and recipes until your calorie and macronutrient needs from Step 1 are met. A common way of doing this is the "If It Meets Your Macros" or "flexible dieting" method.
  5. Enjoy your delicious food.

A note about eating the same thing every day: This is a really easy way to ensure you are always hitting your calorie and macronutrient requirements, however, it is not for everybody. Some people will get bored with this method and their adherence can suffer as a result. Feel free to create multiple different meal plans for different days that all meet your nutritional requirements.

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