Macro Meal Plan For Beginners With Recipes - Simply Noel (2024)

Macro Meal Plan For Beginners With Recipes - Simply Noel (1)

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I’ve been using the macro meal plan strategy for the past few years and I’ve loved it!

If you’re just starting out there are loads of guides out there with great recipes.

But I’m sure you know that a lot of them have super weird ingredients (or a lot of ingredients) that make it hard to get started.

I’m a one shop and done type person. I don’t have time to shop at Whole Foods and Trader Joes just for one (really expensive) obscure ingredient to try for a recipe I might not even like.

So this meal plan is a simple macro-based meal plan with no crazy ingredients.

It’s full of everyday meals you’d normally eat just in properly balanced proportions to help you achieve your goals.

And you can get it all at Walmart (or whatever local grocer you choose).

It’s also budget-friendly!

I’m in college and value quick affordable meals for me and my family.

So don’t worry about starting another meal plan that will cost you an arm and a leg just to send you back through the McDonalds drive-thru again.

To give you an idea, I typically spend about $25 – $50 a week on groceries depending on what meat I’m buying. Sometimes it’s even less than that!

New to Counting Macros? Start with my Ultimate Guide To Counting Macros or How To Start The Macro Diet – A Quick Guide before diving in.

Ready to get started?

Let’s Go!

How Does The Macro Diet Work?

Macronutrients are the nutrients your body needs to provide calories or energy. Nutrients are what your body needs for growth, metabolism, and all normal bodily functions. Since “macro” means large, macronutrients are the nutrients that your body needs in large quantities.

There are three macronutrients:

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Carbohydrates

Each macronutrient provides calories in specific amounts:

  • Protein: 4 calories per gram
  • Fat: 9 calories per gram
  • Carbohydrates: 4 calories per gram

By balancing the number of macronutrients you give your body you’re able to give it everything it needs to function without overloading one part. Excess nutrients lead to increased body fat and other health issues.

The most common and effective ratio to balance your macros is 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat.

The thing with the macro diet is it is designed to be a lifestyle and an easy one at that!

This isn’t a temporary diet that will make you “lose weight fast” like other diets proclaim.

This is a way of balanced eating that ensures your body can function properly.

When it functions properly your body will get rid of any excess fat.

As always, eating healthy by balancing your macros should be paired with 30-60 mins of exercise daily and proper supplementation (read more at the end of this blog).Check out my favorite 20 workout routine for weight loss and muscle gain here.

How To Calculate Your Macros

First, you need to calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) this is basically the number of calories you’d burn if you never got out of bed i.e. it’s the calories you need to survive.

KEEP IN MIND! NEVER eat below your BMR calories every day or you’ll put your body into STARVATION MODE! (YIKES!)

Use this calculator to help you get your total calorie need or do it yourself below.

Follow these equations to find your BMR: Note the measurement differences


BMR = 66 + (13.75 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in yrs)


BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in yrs)

To determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor (how active you will be on your plan), as follows:

  1. Sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.1
  2. Lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.275
  3. Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.35
  4. Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.525

Once you have determined your daily calorie need determine which of the following categories you fall into depending on your goals:

  1. Caloric Deficit: Your goal is to lose weight by focusing on lowering your body fat percentage
  2. Maintenance: Your goal is to lose fat while building muscle but keeping your weight. This is perfect if you’re wanting to push through a plateau, promote healthy metabolism, or if you’ve tried another diet that restricted calories for a long period of time (let’s heal your body!)
  3. Caloric Surplus: Your goal is to gain muscle strength and size or gain weight in a healthy way

Caloric Deficit

If you’re wanting to lose weight by lowering your body fat percentage you’ll take your daily calorie needs (as calculated above) and chose from the following deficit:

Mild: 10% below your daily calorie need

Moderate: 20% below your daily calorie need

Aggressive: 30% below your daily calorie need

Example: If your daily calorie need is 2,000 and you select a moderate deficit of 20% then you’ll need to eat 1,600 calories to reach your goal. I like to give myself a margin of error on either end so I may shoot to eat between 1,500 – 1,700 calories a day to reach my goal in this situation.


If you selected Maintenance then you’ll just find your daily calorie need and shoot for that! Every few weeks you’ll want to adjust your need as your body adapts so you don’t end up with a surplus.

Caloric Surplus

If you selected the Caloric Surplus category that means you’re wanting to add lean muscle tissue without adding excess fat. Choose from the levels below and be sure to pair it with the right strength training program for you.

Mild: 10% above your daily calorie need

Moderate: 20% above your daily calorie need.

How This Macro Meal Plan Works

Each of my meals is designed to fall within that 40/30/30 formula for macros.In this guide, you’ll find a few free recipes to get you started. For more recipes check out my Digital Macro Meal Plan For Beginners.

You don’t need to worry too much about the science behind it – I’ve done that for you.

So just determine which calorie category you fit into below and choose the correct number of meal servings to match!

This is great because you can mix and match all you’d like.

I used to create meal plans with meals that weren’t individually balanced but balanced at the end of the day.

But sometimes I wouldn’t feel like eating something all week long or I’d skip meals letting them waste at the end of the week.

With this plan, I can prep my freezer full of meals and mix and match all week long depending on what I’d like to eat.

Each of my meals falls within a 5% margin of error. This means that at the end of the day you should be less than 5% off in each category.

For example, at the end of one day, you may be at 42% carbs or 38% carbs instead of a perfect 40%. This is just to keep things simple.

If you’re pickier than that and want to create a perfect meal plan read how to create your own and grab my template here.

For more than 40 meal and snack options check out my Digital Macro Meal Plan For Beginners.

Calorie Range Guide

1200 – 1400 Calories

1 Breakfast Serving

2 Lunch/Dinner Meal Servings*

1500 – 1700 Calories

1 Breakfast Serving

1 Snack Serving

2 Lunch/Dinner Meal Servings*

1750 – 2000 Calories

1 Breakfast Serving

2 Snack Servings

2 Lunch/Dinner Meal Servings*

2000 – 2400 Calories

2 Breakfast Servings

2 Snack Serving

2 Lunch/Dinner Meal Servings*

2500 – 2900 Calories

2 Breakfast Servings

2 Snack Serving

3 Lunch/Dinner Meal Servings*

*Note: Lunch and Dinner Meals are interchangeable

Breakfast Options

Snacks Options

Lunch Options

Dinner Options

Protein Shakes are a great way to add protein to your diet! Read about my favorite plant-based protein powders here.

For even more recipes to mix and match check out my Digital Macro Meal Plan For Beginners!

Macro Meal Plan For Beginners With Recipes - Simply Noel (2)

Macro Meals

*Note: Each meal listed is 1 serving, if you need more than 1 serving you can double it or select two


Opt 1 – Toast w/Butter & Protein Shake

1 Slice Thin Sliced Bread (I prefer Dave’s Wheat)

1/4 Tablespoon Butter

2 Scoops Plexus Vegan Lean

1 cup Almond Milk (I prefer Silk)

Opt 2 – Avocado Toast & Protein Shake

1 Slice Thin Sliced Bread (I prefer Dave’s Wheat)

2 Tablespoons Avocado

2 Scoops Plexus Vegan Lean

1 cup Almond Milk (I prefer Silk)

Opt 3 – Egg on Toast & Small Protein Shake

2 Slices Thin Sliced Bread (I prefer Dave’s Wheat)

1 Egg (fried)

½ Tablespoon Olive Oil Mayo

1 Scoop Plexus Vegan Lean

1/2 cup Almond Milk (I prefer Silk)

Opt 4 – Egg, Fruit & Protein Shake (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

1 Apple

1 Egg (anyway you like it – hard boiled makes this a great grab and go breakfast)

2 Scoops Plexus Vegan Lean

1 cup Almond Milk (I prefer Silk)


Opt 1 – Apple, Cheese & Yogurt (Gluten-Free)

1 Apple

1 container Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt (any flavor)

1 stick Colby Jack String Cheese

Opt 2 – Snack Box (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

⅛ cup Almonds

2 cups Strawberries

3 oz Ham Slices

Opt 3 – Chocolate Waffle & Peanut Butter (Dairy-Free)

1/2 cup Kodiak Power Cakes (I cook it up in this tiny waffle iron or this mickey waffle iron I love!)

1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter (Skippy)


Opt 1 – Tuna Pita Sandwich – Perfect cold meal option

4 oz Tuna Fish

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil Mayo

1 Greek Pita

Banana Peppers (optional, to taste)

½ cup Edamame (on the side or mixed in the tuna)

Opt 2 – Soup & Protein Shake

1 can Progressive Chicken Noodle Soup (or similar flavor)

1 Slice Sourdough Bread

2 Scoops Plexus Vegan Lean

1 cup Almond Milk (I prefer Silk)

Opt 3 – Turkey & Avocado Panini – I like to prep it beforehand and throw it on the panini press right before I eat it

2 Slices Thin Sliced Bread (I like Dave’s Wheat)

2 oz Turkey (I prefer Oscar Mayer Deli)

½ Slice Bacon (I use Heritage Farm)

1 Tablespoon Avocado

1 Slice Muenster Cheese

1 Apple (sliced)

Tomato Slices (Optional)

2 Scoops Plexus Vegan Lean

1 cup Almond Milk (I prefer Silk)

Opt 4 – Chicken and Cranberry Apple Salad (Gluten Free)

2 cups Lettuce (your preference)

4 oz Lean Chicken Breast (seasoned to preference)

½ Tablespoon Walnuts

2 Tablespoons Dried Cranberries

2 oz Green Apples

⅛ cup Edamame

Lemon Juice (as dressing – so light and refreshing!)

2 Babybel Original Cheese Wheels (on the side or in the salad – your preference)

2 Mandarin Oranges (Halo) (on the side or in the salad – your preference)


Opt 1 – Spaghetti (Family Friendly)

4 oz Lean Ground Beef

½ cup Pasta Sauce (I prefer Prego)

1.5 cups Spaghetti Noodles (cooked, about 2 oz dried)

¼ cup Parmesan Cheese

Opt 2 – Tacos (Family Friendly, Dairy-Free)

4 oz Lean Ground Beef (prepared with taco seasoning)

2 Flour Tortillas (I prefer Mission)

Optional and to taste:




Opt 3 – Crock Pot Fajitas (Family Friendly, Freezer Friendly)

4 Ounces Crock Por Fajitas

2 Flour Torillas (I prefer Mission)

4 Tbsp Sour Cream

Opt 4 – Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry (Family Friendly, Gluten Free)

1 Serving Paleo Pineapple Chicken Stir Fry

½ cup Rice (cooked)

2 Babybel original cheese wheels

Opt 5 – Chili (Gluten Free)

1 cup Simple Chili

2 tablespoon sour cream

⅛ cup Cheddar Cheese

Need more recipes? Get more than 40 meal and snack options to mix and match in my Digital Macro Meal Plan for Beginners!

Related Articles:

Ultimate Guide To Counting Macros

Best Plant-Based Protein Powders for Weight Loss

How To Meal Prep

Macro-Friendly Dinner Recipes

Macro Meal Plan For Beginners With Recipes - Simply Noel (3)
Macro Meal Plan For Beginners With Recipes - Simply Noel (4)
Macro Meal Plan For Beginners With Recipes - Simply Noel (2024)


How do I make my own meal plan to match my macros? ›

A basic strategy would be to divide your total daily targets including calories, carbs, fat and protein by four. This would give you even macro targets for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Then, divide that 1/4 number by two to get the target macros for your two snacks.

Is there an app to enter macros and create a meal plan? ›

Generate. Meal Plans. for Your Macros. Get instant, personalized meal plans with the Prospre meal plan generator.

What is the 40 30 30 macro meal plan? ›

The 40/30/30 macros refer to a specific ratio of macronutrients – 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fats. This balanced macro split has become one of the most well-known and recommended approaches for those looking to build muscle, lose fat, or simply eat healthier.

What is the 35 45 20 macros meal plan? ›

Follow the macronutrient ratios of 45% protein, 35% carbs, and 20% fat and your body turns into a fat burning and muscle building machine. This is called FITNESS SPECIFIC NUTRITION and geared towards those who will be utilizing this energy 3-6 times per week at a moderate to intense exercise level.

How should I set my macros to lose weight? ›

The optimal ratios of macros for weight loss are generally accepted as:
  1. Carbohydrates: 40-50% of your daily calories.
  2. Protein: 25-35% of your daily calories.
  3. Fat: 20-30% of your daily calories.
Mar 11, 2024

What is the best macro ratio for cutting weight? ›

Set Your Macro Ratios

However, a general guideline for fat loss is to aim for a moderate protein intake, with slightly higher proportions of carbohydrates and lower proportions of fats. A common macro ratio for fat loss is 45% of calories from carbohydrates, 25% from protein, and 30% from fats.

Is there a free app for food macros? ›

You Might Also Like
  • Stupid Simple Macro Tracker. Health & Fitness.
  • MacroFactor - Macro Tracker. Health & Fitness.
  • Calorie Counter - MyNetDiary. Health & Fitness.
  • Lose It! – Calorie Counter. Health & Fitness.
  • Calorie Counter & Diet-Calory. Health & Fitness.
  • Calorie Counter by Cronometer. Health & Fitness.
Apr 3, 2024

Which macro app is free? ›

MyFitnessPal is the most popular free macro tracking app for a reason.

What is the app that gives you recipes based on macros? ›

James Mayner. Macrostax is the best app I've used because it takes the guesswork out of the equation. They offer recipes right in the app that hit your macros for you. I've tried other apps in the past, but Macrostax has given me the best results by far!

What is the 60 20 20 rule for macros? ›

This means, you should receive 60% of your calories from simple and complex carbohydrates, 20% of your calories from healthy fats, and 20% of your calories from high-quality animal and/or plant-based proteins.

What is the best macro split? ›

These traditionally have been set as percentages for total calories, falling somewhere within the following USDA guidelines:
  • Carbohydrates: 45 to 65 percent.
  • Protein: 10 to 35 percent.
  • Fat: 20 to 35 percent.
Apr 15, 2016

Can you lose weight with 40 30 30 macros? ›

Other studies have found that 40/30/30 plans compared to higher carb approaches and even very low carb keto approaches drive better health outcomes as well as improvements in resting energy expenditure even after weight loss (which is rare since usually weight loss drives down REE), but like most any calorie-reduced ...

How do I get started with macros? ›

Here's a starter guide on how to do it, step by step.
  1. Step 1: Determine your daily calorie requirement. ...
  2. Step 2: Factor in your weight goal. ...
  3. Step 3: Figure out your ideal macronutrient ratio. ...
  4. Step 4: Plug those values into a macronutrient calculator. ...
  5. Step 5: Start tracking macros.
Jan 7, 2021

How do I figure out my macros? ›

To identify your specific macro amounts, divide each according to the calories per gram. As a reminder, that's 4 for protein, 4 for carbs, and 9 for fat: (2580 x 0.40 (protein) = 1,032 calories) ÷ 4 = 258g. (2580 x 0.40 (carbohydrates) = 1,032 calories) ÷ 4 = 258g.

How do I calculate my macro meals? ›

How to calculate macronutrients
  1. First, you need to know how many calories you eat (or want to eat) each day. ...
  2. Next, determine your ideal ratio. ...
  3. Then, multiply your total daily calories by your percentages.
  4. Finally, divide your calorie amounts by its calorie-per-gram number.
Dec 31, 2022

How do I match my macros? ›

Here is an example of how to calculate the macronutrients required for a 2000-calorie diet: Let's say you choose a ratio of 50% carbs, 30% proteins, and 20% fat. You need 50% of 2000 calories = 1000 calories from carbohydrates per day. At four calories per gram, you need 250g of carbs.

What is the 50 30 20 macro meal plan? ›

A 50-20-30 diet plan is based on the acceptable macronutrient distribution rate of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in your diet. On a 50-20-30 diet, 50 percent of your calories comes from carbohydrates, 20 percent from fats and 30 percent from proteins.

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