5 Ways to Better Meal Plan Around Your Macros

macros, meal plan, tips to meal plan

When you don’t know how to meal plan around your macros accurately, tracking macros can feel like a chore. You can’t seem to make typical household meals fit your daily targets and before you know it – you’re throwing in the towel on the whole approach.

Whether you’re new to tracking macros or you’ve been tracking for years, when it comes to meal planning around your macros, there are some hacks that can help beginners and veterans alike. 


Most tracking apps allow you to add your own recipes, and then the app will calculate the nutrition facts for you. Pretty convenient, right?

When adding recipes to your tracking app, there are two ways to go about it.

  1. Servings per recipe – with this option you create the recipe by adding all the ingredients to your tracking app under a descriptive title (that you’ll remember). You can add the ingredients by weight (oz, grams, lbs) or volume (cup, tsp, tb) measurements. Then, when you eat the food you’ve made, you’ll simply log 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, etc. of the recipe depending on how many servings you plan to get out of it.
  2. Weight – when tracking a recipe by weight, you’ll need to add all the ingredients to the recipe by weight as well. Your tracking app will automatically calculate the total weight of the recipe, or you can override the total weight of the recipe by adding it in manually after the dish is complete. Then, you will log how much you eat of that recipe by weight throughout the week. 

If you find yourself eating some of the same things all the time, make things easier on yourself by creating recipes in your tracking app to streamline the daily logging process. If it’s an egg bake you make frequently, or that chili your family loves – load all your ingredients to the “recipes” section of the app and log your personal serving size across multiple days if you know you’re planning to have it throughout the week.


Stay on track with your macros by pre-logging food in your diary and eating your other meals around your pre-logged entires. You know you want Chipotle for lunch? Definitely want to eat the brownies your neighbor dropped off the other day? Maybe it’s pizza night with your son’s soccer team on Friday?

Be honest with yourself and log the food you know you want to have in your diary before you eat it so you aren’t stuck playing tetris with your macros at the end of the day. Not only will you be happier and more satisfied having enjoyed these treats, sweets and restaurant eats, but it won’t be at the expense of your goals as you “eat around” those foods with the remaining macros you have.

Here’s a few examples: 

  • You could pre-log the following for your lunch at Chipotle “chipotle, chicken”, “chipotle, brown rice” and “chiptle, guacamole” to account for some of the protein, fat and carbs that might be in your lunch. Depending what you order in the moment, you can adjust or add more entries later.
  • You could pre-log a generic “brownie” entry from your food database OR you could log 20-30 grams of “quick add carbs” and 10-20 grams of “quick add fat” (if logging in Cronometer) to carve some space for a potential treat later on.
  • You could pre-log a couple of slices of a generic “pizza” entry in your dairy OR you could select the specific brand of pizza you know will be served later. This will allow you to see that you might have some protein to make up for in other meals, and you’ll also need to hold back on some carbs and fats in order for the pizza to fit in your day. 


One way to avoid making franken-meals to hit your targets by the end of the day is by using “checkpoint macros” as reference points. To find your checkpoint macros, take your macro targets for the whole day and divide them by how many meals you typically like to have. There’s no “right” number of meals or snacks per day, so this could be 3, 4, 5, even up to 6 meals per day depending on your preference!

As an example, let’s say your macros targets are 140 g protein, 70 g fat and 175 g carbohydrates, and you typically have 4 meals per day. To calculate your checkpoint macros, you’ll take all of your macro totals and divide by 4. This means you’d need to have around 35 g protein, 17 g fat, and 44 g carbohydrates at each meal or snack in order to stay on track towards your macro totals by the end of the day.  

It might be tough to think about how you’re going to hit 140 g protein per day, for example, but when it’s divided across 4 meals – it doesn’t seem so impossible, right? 

Keep in mind that macro checkpoints are not iron clad. You do not have to hit your checkpoints each meal of every day. Certainly there will be days when you have meals that are higher or lower than your checkpoints. However, if you have them in the back of your mind, you will know how to make simple alterations in upcoming meals so you’re never left surprised at the end of the day. Think of them as a goal posts that you’ll use throughout the day to hit your targets on a regular basis!


Every household should have a few simple and delicious meals they can throw together any time. I challenge you to keep a list of household meals that are highly adaptable, in that they can be made in “high carb” or “low carb” versions and still be delicious.

Flexible dieting and tracking macros is NOT about eating the same thing every day. It’s definitely not about bland chicken and broccoli eaten out of tupperware all week long. It’s about eating what you want, influenced by your mood, your cravings and maybe even what’s on sale at the grocery store. Make meal planning around your macros easier and simpler by thinking about which real food proteins, fats and carbohydrates go together well with or without a high carb addition. Here are some examples: 

Low-carb options

  • Stir-fry with ground meat, non-starchy vegetables and cauliflower rice
  • Omelet with additional egg whites, peppers, onions and salsa
  • Chicken salad made with Greek yogurt served over lettuce

High-carb options

  •  Stir-fry with ground meat, your favorite veggies and brown rice
  • Omelet with additional egg whites served over roasted sweet potatoes or hashbrowns
  • Chicken salad sandwich made with Greek yogurt served on whole-grain bread


It’s no secret that a “crowd sourced” food-tracking app like My Fitness Pal will be riddled with errors. Don’t let this be an excuse to quit tracking though! Here’s a tip (straight out of my course, “Macros Made Easy”) that will improve the accuracy of your tracking: repeat the same entries over and over again.

You probably eat some of the same 10-15 foods every week, and chances are, you shop at the same places and pick out the same products. Your diary is going to start to reflect these trends by categorizing food in the “most recent” and “most frequent” tabs if you’re using MFP, or “common” tab if you’re using Cronometer. Increase accuracy in tracking by pulling entries from these tabs instead of searching for your food items in the larger library database.

Here’s an example: You’re having eggs for breakfast. Instead of opening your food tracking app and typing in “egg” to the large library database, where you’ll likely get a hundred entries for eggs that vary by 10-15+ calories and macros – head on over to your “recent”, “frequent”, or “common” tabs and select the same “egg” entry that you’ve used before. If you’ve scanned a barcode on your egg carton and logged eggs at least one time, the food will appear in these tabs. Use that same entry over and over again to (1) make it really easy to find foods that you eat often, (2) limit the number of inaccurate or incomplete entries in your diary, and (3) keep the margin of potential error exactly the same week to week.

If you found these tips helpful, you will definitely find my signature course, Macros Made Easy, just the thing to make all the pieces come together for you around macro tracking! I only launch the course twice a year so be sure to get on the waitlist below. You’ll get notified the next time I open the doors! You NEED this if you want to learn to track macros the stress-free way.