Meal Planning Styles

Steph Wagner

August 16, 2022

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Meal Planning Styles


Back to School, Back to Meal Planning: Blog Series Part Two


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back to school back to meal planning bariatric food coach


Click here to part one of the series when I share my tips to getting back to simple meal planning super fast.
Click below for the audio version of the blog! 👇


We have different styles of planning, because we have different personalities!

I’ve been coaching bariatric patients since 2009. With confidence I can say, we all do it differently.

In the part one blog of this series, I shared the results of my meal planning survey. In reading those results, I found most of us have a picture in our head of what meal planning should look like. Though, not many of us do it that way.

Perhaps it’s our past of going to a gym, meeting with a trainer and getting a copy of a sample meal plan.

(In fact, I have to admit. Most dietitians have a pet peeve that patients expect they will get a scripted meal plan from them. We prefer to coaching you through making lasting habits in your daily life, not writing a script that is too hard to follow 😜)

Nonetheless, we tend to think of a really detailed outline for all meals and snack for every day of the week. From my experience, however, finding a way to plan your foods in your own style is far more beneficial in the long run. (Teach a man to fish…)

Two styles of meal planners

Warning in advance, I have made up this illustration. It’s not perfect but my hope is that it opens us all up to see meal planning in various approaches. At the end of the day, having a plan for the food you ate benefit your health tremendously.


Because eating a healthful, balanced diet doesn’t happen by accident (not in this Country anyway!)

We are all wired differently and approach planning in our own way. I’ve found while there are many ways to do it, there are two main categories of types of meal planners.


meal planning styles, micro planners and macro planners


A micro-planner (note the small seeds a strawberry) are a little more detailed by nature. They might consider what is in Season, what they need to use up in the kitchen or plan all the meals of the day.

They may look at a detailed meal plan with all meals and snacks and color coded systems with fondness!

While a more macro-planner (large watermelon slices) tend to be more bigger picture. The tiny details feel overwhelming and exhausting. Instead, they might keep basic notes on a large calendar or make a big batch of something and freeze leftovers.

Both of these styles of planning work! The trickier part is when a macro-planner feels they need to be meal planning in a micro-planner style. They might give up with too many details coming at them.

Here are some examples from our Premier Access members from our Summer Focus Challenge.

micro planners, meal planning styles


macro planners, meal planning styles

You may notice by looking at these photos which feels more your style!

The key is to plan with your OWN personality in mind. You won’t fit someone else’s mold.

Remember, there is no award or grade card after meal planning. If you had food in the house and put a healthy meal on the table, you nailed it. (And if not, you can learn from it!)


When you prefer micro-planning, but you can’t seem to get started

There are also times when someone prefers the more micro-planning style, but the Season of life limits them. Or perhaps they need to just get started with a more macro-planning style to get back to it. With time they can get more detailed.

Below is an example from the same member! The first meal plan is from the first week of our challenge when she was getting back to planning. The next plan is from week three when she was getting more in the groove!

So just to recap the message thus far: play to your natural planning style. Start where you feel ready. You can change it as you go!

Getting back to meal planning tips and adding new recipes

In the first part of the series I shared my tips for getting started with meal planning that takes the least amount of brain power. (Here is the full blog)

My tips were:

Write down every meal you can make without looking at a recipe. Then tweak it to focus on the protein.

Tacos, spaghetti and burgers can still be your rotation of meals! Focus on the taco meal, the meat sauce, the burgers and pair with with veggies like bell peppers, green beans, carrots, etc.

That is a great starting off point! Then you can move into your style of planning from there.

My next step would be to make theme nights and look for a new recipe WITHIN the theme when you grow tired of that meal.

For example:

Tacos become Taco night but can be taco chili, taco burgers, taco salad, low-carb taco casserole

When you theme your nights, it becomes less overwhelming to look for one new recipe underneath that umbrella.

Use to find new recipes for your theme nights!

Whether you are a macro-planner or micro-planner, you can find recipes right here to fit in your plans!

Below are a few ways to look for recipes here on Bariatric Food Coach.

finding recipes on bariatric food coach

finding recipes on bariatric food coach

finding recipes on bariatric food coach

You can use the search bar or the dropdown menu to find recipes!

Those with a teal background are unlocked and the pink are for Premier Access Members.

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More meal planning resources

There are several resources for meal planning help right here! One of the many features of Premier Access Membership is help planning realistic bariatric menus.

You can use menus I have written (some are dinners only for my macro-planners and some are ‘full’ menus for my micro-planners.) This is the meal plans page which always displays 10 menus for the current Season.

Members can also save recipes into a collection and make their own menus!

making menus on bariatric food coach making menus on bariatric food coach


Another member favorite is our blank meal plan template to fill in your own choices with pen and paper. PLUS a lot of members use my “Quick Dinner Guides” for the Season. These are PDFs with really quick, bariatric friendly meals based on the time of year.

quick meal guides on bariatric food coach

Join now for our Back to School Special!

Now through August 21st, 2022 we are offering a $25 gift card to BariBox with purchase of a 12 month membership! The only bariatric meal delivery service.

Find out how you can save $44 total and have 3 free BariBox meals plus all the resources and support for your journey!

Click here for full details! 


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