The Best Healthy-eating Meal Plan for Guys Who Want to Get in Shape

Shrimp Salad
Claire Benoist

If you’re just starting to work out in the gym or getting back on your nutrition grind, odds are good you need some guidance. 

If you want to stay healthy and have more energy, this is the plan for you. It’s relatively low in carbs and very high in protein, and it emphasizes antioxidant-rich foods to improve the health of your blood vessels while also warding off inflammation—two factors that accelerate the rate at which every cell in your body ages.

Baseline recommended daily macros: 2,500 calories, 218g carbs, 218g protein, 83g fat

The daily meal plan for guys new to working out

• Meal 1: Contains starchy carbs
• Meal 2: Few carbs, if any
• Meal 3: Few carbs, if any
• Meal 4: Contains starchy carbs (post-workout nutrition)
• Meal 5: Contains starchy carbs

Sample meal options for beginners

Meal 1: Granola and scrambled eggs
– 1½ cups Greek yogurt
– ½ cup raspberries (switch out for 5 sliced strawberries, ½ cup blueberries, 2/3 cup blackberries, or 1 tbsp raisins)
– 1/3 cup Vanilla Almond Crunch Bear Naked Granola (switch out for 1/3 cup Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin cereal, 1/3 cup rolled oats, ¾ cup Fiber One cereal, or 2/3 cup Kashi Organic Cinnamon Harvest)
– 3 omega-3 eggs

Meal 2: Double chocolate cherry smoothie
– 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
– ¼ cup coconut milk (switch out for 2 tbsp chopped walnuts)
– ¾ cup dark pitted cherries (switch out for 1 cup blackberries)
– 1 tbsp flaxseed meal (switch out for 1 tbsp chia seeds)
– 1 tbsp cocoa powder
– 3–4 ice cubes
– 2–3 cups water

Meal 3: Bibb lettuce burger
– 2 Boston bibb lettuce leaves (for “bun”)
– 8oz 95% lean ground beef (switch out for 6oz salmon fillet, 8oz 95% lean ground turkey burger, 8oz chicken breast, or tuna burger (1 can tuna in water, drained + 1 omega-3 egg + 1 tbsp flaxseed meal + 1 tbsp Dijon mustard)
– 2 slices tomato
– 2 slices red onion
– 1 tbsp ketchup
– 1 tbsp canola mayonnaise (switch out for 1 slice provolone cheese,1 slice cheddar cheese, 3 tbsp mashed avocado, or 1 slice American cheese)
– 3 cups green beans (switch out for 2 cups snow peas, 1½ cups peas and carrots, 1½ cups mixed vegetables, or ½ cup shelled edamame beans)

Meal 4: Post-workout nutrition
– Recovery shake containing 50g carbs + 25g protein

Meal 5: Grilled shrimp with spinach salad and brown rice 
– 6oz shrimp (switch out for 7oz scallops, 7oz crabmeat, 6oz red snapper, or 5oz turkey breast)
– ¼ cup brown rice, dry measure
– 4 cups spinach (switch out for 7 roasted Brussels sprouts, 7 stalks roasted broccoli rabe, 4 cups shredded Napa cabbage, or 4 cups arugula)
– ¼ cup crumbled Feta cheese (switch out for 1oz fresh mozzarella, 1oz cubed Havarti cheese, 1oz crumbled blue cheese, or 1oz goat cheese)
– ½ red bell pepper, chopped
– 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil (switch out for 2 tsp toasted sesame seed oil, 2 tsp garlic-infused flaxseed oil, or 2 tsp avocado oil)


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