Managing your daily food budget

Managing your daily food budget

I think it’s safe to say that we all keep an eye on the funds going in and out of our bank account. These financials are meaningful to each of us and can make us feel great or sick to our stomachs. Similar to our bank account, our bodies require adequate funding, however instead of dollars, the currency is calories. Based on our height, weight, age, gender, and activity level our bodies have an energy requirement and even a minimum need. These are called Caloric Needs and Basal Metabolic Requirement respectively. Standard equations are used to find these for each individual and a simple calculator can be found here.

Once you know your daily budget of calories necessary to fuel your body, it’s time to experiment with food choices and take note of your overall energy and performance. An online food journal is a wonderful tool and the good news is, it’s only needed for a limited time as you get to know the relationship between your nutrition habits and your activity level. 

Do you remember the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate? It’s an amazing guide for nutritious eating. The great news is there is a similar guide that factors in various activity levels and goals. The Athlete’s Eating Plate has three versions. This tool considers recommended macronutrient ratios (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) to help users fuel properly to perform their best and reach their goals. This means there might be days/weeks/seasons with extra snacks or larger portion sizes because you will be working your body harder and using more energy. The opposite can be true too. 

As an example, an evening boot camp day might mean you need to throw in an additional snack or more carbohydrate during your breakfast and lunch. Morning boot campers might add carbohydrate to their lunch and dinner the day prior or wake up early to have a carbohydrate-fueling breakfast/snack before workout. Tailored nutrition is only your time and thoughtful planning away!


With your workouts and physical activity schedules in mind, create a daily meal plan for one week in an effort to fuel your body optimally. At the end of each day take notice of how you feel energy-wise, but also muscle recovery-wise. Evaluate daily and repeat for an additional week or two, then decide if making adjustments based on your activity level and goals is right for you. 


Click on the link below for your weekly recipes:

By Victoria Emmitt RD

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