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Meal Plans With 60-20-20 Ratio

by
author image Joseph Eitel
Joseph Eitel has written for a variety of respected online publications since 2006 including the Developer Shed Network and Huddle.net. He has dedicated his life to researching and writing about diet, nutrition and exercise. Eitel's health blog, PromoteHealth.info, has become an authority in the healthy-living niche. He graduated with honors from Kellogg Community College in 2010 with an Associate of Applied Science.
Meal Plans With 60-20-20 Ratio
A 60-20-20 meal plan is an ideal choice for high-energy athletes. Photo Credit Ivanko_Brnjakovic/iStock/Getty Images

A healthy diet is one that features balanced nutrition. A 60-20-20 ratio diet plan provides a well-balanced approach by properly portioning out your carbohydrates, proteins and fats, respectively. The idea behind this meal plan is to maximize your energy levels, muscle tone and cardiovascular health. Talk to your doctor before starting a new diet program.

The Basics

Meal Plans With 60-20-20 Ratio
Carbohydrates will provide your body with energy. Photo Credit gillian08/iStock/Getty Images

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans report suggests consuming 45 to 65 percent carbohydrates, 20 to 35 percent healthy fats and the same for protein. These recommendations fall well within the 60-20-20 ratio dieting approach, so it can be considered a healthy way to eat, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Carbohydrates supply the body with most of its energy needs during the early stages of exercise, while fat calories provide energy during extended physical activity.

By the Numbers

Meal Plans With 60-20-20 Ratio
Based on a 2,000 calorie diet, 1,200 calories should be from carbohydrates; 400 calories from protein; and 400 calories from fats. Photo Credit Elena Gaak/iStock/Getty Images

When determining the exact amount of nutrients, in grams, you need to consume each day, it’s best to compare how many calories per gram each nutrient supplies your body. Fitness and nutritional expert Lyle McDonald, of BodyRecomposition.com, says carbohydrates and protein both contain four calories per gram while fats contain nine calories per gram. Based on a 2,000-calorie diet, this means you need 1,200 calories from carbohydrates, or 300 grams; 400 calories from protein, or 100 grams; and 400 calories from fats, or 44 to 45 grams.

Function

Meal Plans With 60-20-20 Ratio
The function of this diet plan is to help athletes. Photo Credit Warren Goldswain/iStock/Getty Images

The function of this diet plan is primarily to help athletes, or other physically active people, increase their energy levels and muscle mass. Protein is the basic building block of muscle tissue, so it’s a critical nutrient required in the muscle-building process. The USDA suggests that the average adult female consume 46 grams of protein per day while men need about 52 grams, so based on the previous example using a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, the protein intake is about double these amounts. Too much protein can be unhealthy, so be sure to speak to your doctor before increasing your protein intake.

Types

Meal Plans With 60-20-20 Ratio
You have several choices when you're designing your diet plan. Photo Credit Warren Goldswain/iStock/Getty Images

You have several choices when determining the ideal 60-20-20 diet plan for you. First, the MyPyramid plan was developed by the USDA, and it adheres to this food intake ratio. Plus, it’s free to use. Another type of 60-20-20 ratio diet plan was developed by Colorado State University nutritional specialists. This plan was designed for use by athletes, and it maximizes carbohydrate and fat intake for increased energy during long physical activities. Determine your total daily caloric intake by multiplying your current weight by 20. For instance, a 170 pound man would consume 3,400 calories-a-day to gain muscle weight.

Sample Meal Plan

Meal Plans With 60-20-20 Ratio
A sample breakfast plan may include orange juice, oatmeal, banana, toast and a glass of milk. Photo Credit R_Jasson/iStock/Getty Images

A sample breakfast meal plan based on Colorado State University’s recommendation for athletes may include a glass of orange juice, 1 cup of oatmeal, a banana, toast with jelly and a glass of low-fat milk. Lunch could consist of a ham and Swiss cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread with veggies, an apple, glass of skim milk and two cookies. Dinner may include spaghetti with tomato sauce and mushrooms, French bread, ¼ cup of strawberries and a slice of angel food cake. You can also have a low-calorie snack in between meals.

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