Your Guide to Fitlap

Our handy guide below tells you everything you need to know about your meal plan to help you on your way. The more you know, the easier it will be. Maximum results, minimal effort.

How to start?

  1. Plan your meals up to 7 days in advance.
  2. Swap and change the recipes as you like. Explore our recipes with our recipe search bar and choose the meals you want to eat to eat this week.
  3. Every meal in your plan is equal in calories so all recipes can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  4. Swap and replace individual recipe ingredients to suit your tastebuds or what you already have in the cupboard.
  5. Eat 4 times a day, relax and enjoy!

If you have any questions, please write them in our chat and we will help you!

Your meal plan

  • Your meal plan is built to your specific needs and tastes. The more you tell us, the smarter our algorithm will become, and the better your meal plan will be. Update your meal settings here so we can build the perfect meal plan for you.
  • Your daily calorie allowance is based on the weight, height, gender and goal data you provide and will change as your weight changes. Update your weight at least once a week to ensure that you continue to progress towards your goal. You can do this by clicking ‘log your weight’ on your ‘meal plan’ page.
  • The meals in your plan are equal in calories so all recipes can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • The calorie count for breakfast, lunch and dinner is fixed but the size of your snack can change depending on whether you workout that day or not. Your snack will double in size on the days you workout to make sure you get the energy and nutrients you need to repair your muscles and reach your goals so remember to log your workouts. You can do this on your ‘meal plan’ or ‘workout’ page. 
  • Don’t be tempted to eat less calories than prescribed. Your meal plan is designed to provide your body with all the calories and nutrients it needs to function, grow and repair. And don’t worry - you will reach your goals, but in a safe and sustainable way. 
  • If you’re still hungry after you’ve eaten, add more free foods to your meals to create a larger meal with few added calories. Free foods are fruits or vegetables with 20kcal per 100g or less and you can eat as many free foods as you like. You can find a full list of our free foods here
  • Unfortunately you can’t add non-free foods to your meals if you want to stick to your daily calorie allowance. You can add them but it will take you above your calorie allowance for that day and may affect progress towards your goals.
  • The ingredient quantities shown in recipes are when dry or raw, unless stated otherwise.
  • When or how long you leave between meals is not important but you must consume your daily calorie allowance within 24 hours - meals/calories can’t be rolled over to the next day.
  • How you structure and consume your calories is up to you. If you find it difficult to eat a whole meal at once or prefer to eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day - you absolutely can. 
  • You can swap ingredients within every recipe so swap foods you don’t like, don’t have or can’t find in the supermarket for another alternative. Click on the ‘swap’ button next to an ingredient in a recipe and you’ll see a list of substitute ingredients to choose from. Choose your substitute and we’ll automatically calculate the quantities for you, and place it into your recipe. 
  • Add notes to our recipes to save time in the future. Try adding personalised notes that will remind you (for example) how long you should boil an egg so that they turn out exactly how you like them.
  • Create and save your own recipes. Swap one or two ingredients from a recipe to create a whole new recipe of your own. Take something as simple as an omelette and swap ham for bacon and cheddar for goat’s cheese to create an entirely new recipe - all within your calorie allowance. Click ‘save’ on the right hand side of the page, name your recipe and upload a photo of your creation, if you’d like. 
  • To find out your daily calorie allowance, add the calorie count for your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack together, but remember that your snack doubles in size on the days that you train, so check your training settings to ensure that all workouts have been logged. 
  • We don’t believe in depriving yourself of delicious and balanced food and nor do we exclude certain food groups from our plans. You can enjoy a ‘cheat meal’ once a week if you’d like but we only recommend doing this if you are happy with the progress you’re making progress towards your goal. If you are not getting closer to your goal and want to speed up the process we recommend committing to the plan 100%.
  • The NHS recommends eating at least two portions of fish a week - one of which should be oily fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel or sardines. Oily fish contains long chain omega-3 fatty acids which keep our hearts healthy. Guideline amounts for children and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding differs.

Free foods

  • Free foods are fruits or vegetables with 20kcal per 100g or less and you can eat as many free foods as you like. 
  • Load your plate with nutrient boosting free foods to increase the size of your meal with few added calories. You’ll feel fuller for longer which creates long-term success. 
  • We recommend adding at least 400g of free foods to your diet per day. 
  • Free foods are marked with a small leaf icon in each recipe and a full list of free foods is here.

Hydration

  • Water is essential for fat loss and is a natural appetite suppressant so aim to drink 6-8 glasses/1.2 litres of water per day, in addition to teas and coffees. You should aim to drink more than this on the days that you exercise to replace the fluid you lose through sweat. 
  • Thirst can be disguised as hunger and your body won’t always know the difference, so reach for water first before you grab any additional off-plan snacks. 
  • Replace fizzy, sugar-laced drinks and alcohol with naturally flavoured water for an extra hit of nutrients. Try adding sliced lemon, lime, cucumber, orange or grapefruit to cold water.
  • Black tea and coffee won’t stop you from reaching your goals but it can affect your health in other ways, if over-consumed so limit yourself to 2-3 cups per day. You can add milk (but no sugar) to teas and coffees but it will take you above the recommended calorie intake in your plan. 

Alcohol

  • Alcohol can negatively affect your health and prevent you from reaching your goals.
  • Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram. These are ‘empty calories’ meaning that they offer no nutrients and therefore, no benefit to the body. 
  • Alcohol can affect your relationship with food. It can increase hunger levels and make us vulnerable to resisting food temptation.
  • Alcohol can disturb your sleep pattern and affect your ability to sleep. Less sleep means more tiredness, which can make us more susceptible to overindulging.
  • Avoid alcohol mixers. Coke, lemonade and other soft drinks mixed with alcohol are often laced with sugar and calories, so switch to diet versions or soda water, when possible. 

How to eat when you exercise

  • Regular exercise isn’t necessary to lose weight but it can support and accelerate weight loss when combined with a healthy diet. But it’s not all about weight loss. Regular exercise contributes to good physical and mental health, too, so we recommend working out between 3-5 times a week. 
  • Eat at least 1-2 hours before exercising and avoid exercising on a full stomach. During exercise, our bodies pump blood to the muscles that are being used. Eating on a full stomach makes this difficult because our bodies become preoccupied with digesting the food instead of pumping blood to our muscles.
  • The calorie count for breakfast, lunch and dinner is fixed but the size of your snack can change depending on whether you workout that day or not. The more calories you burn, the more you need to consume so your snack will double in size on the days you workout to make sure you get the energy and nutrients you need to reach your goals. For that reason, it’s super important that you log your workout. You can do this on your ‘meal plan’ or ‘workout’ page. 
  • You don’t need to give us the specifics about your workout - we just need to know if you worked out that day or not. Tell us you’ve worked out by clicking the ‘log a training session’ button on the ‘meal plan’ or ‘workouts’ page.
  • When we move, we burn energy and calories and those calories need replacing. Try to eat within 2 hours of exercising to replace the energy you lost and to help your body to recover.

Exercise

  • The NHS recommends exercising for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week. 
    • Moderate intensity activity is something that will raise your heart rate, make you breathe faster and feel warmer. You are likely to be able to talk but not sing when exercising at a moderate intensity. Examples of moderate intensity activities include a brisk walk, riding a bike, dancing, hiking and water aerobics.
    • Vigorous intensity activity makes you breathe hard and fast. When working at this level it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath. Examples of moderate intensity activities include running, jogging, skipping, swimming, walking up the stairs, football, and netball.
  • Most moderate activities can become vigorous if you increase your effort.
  • You don’t need a gym membership or hours of free time to workout. All you need is 15 minutes and a small space to workout - that might be your living room, your garden or even a park. 
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) offers maximal health benefits in minimal time and is the most time-efficient way to exercise. It combines short bursts of high-intensity exercise alternated with low-intensity recovery periods. Our HIIT workouts can be done at home, at the gym, in a hotel room and wherever else you can think of. Select your level, select your workout from our library and get moving.
  • The calorie count for breakfast, lunch and dinner is fixed but the size of your snack can change depending on whether you workout that day or not. The more calories you burn, the more you need to consume so your snack will double in size on the days you workout to make sure you get the energy and nutrients you need to reach your goals. For that reason, it’s super important that you log your workout. You can do this on your ‘meal plan’ or ‘workout’ page. 
  • You don’t need to give us the specifics about your workout - we just need to know if you worked out that day or not. Tell us you’ve worked out by clicking the ‘log a training session’ button on the ‘meal plan’ or ‘workouts’ page.
  • When we move, we burn energy and calories and those calories need replacing. Try to eat within 2 hours of exercising to replace the energy you lost and to help your body to recover. 

If you struggle to find the time...

  • We lead busy lives. If you struggle to find the time to cook every day you can make multiple servings at once to last you the week, or longer. 
  • Know your schedule. If you have a busy week ahead with little time to cook, plan ahead and freeze meals where possible. 
  • Choose our easiest and fastest meals that require little or no prep.
  • Tap the heart icon on your favourite recipes to save time in the kitchen. Cooking familiar recipes can take a fraction of the time so bookmark your favourite recipes and keep them as your 'go to' recipes when you're short on time.
  • Save yourself hours and schedule an online food shop to have your food delivered to you. We build your shopping list for you and group each item neatly into categories (dairy, fruit and vegetables, meat) to make your food shop as quick and easy as possible.  

Adding your family to your plan

  • We know how important your family’s health is to you, which is why you can add up to ten family members onto your one account at no extra cost. 
  • You can prepare one healthy meal for your entire family and we’ll tell you what portion size each member of your family should have.
  • Add your family members onto your account here or in the ‘family members’ section within your account settings.
  • If you want to share access to your Fitlap account with a family member so that they can log in to your family account you must share your log-in details with them. Choose a secure password that is unrelated to all other passwords you use.
  • When you want to prepare a meal for your family, click on a recipe, tick the names of the family members you’re cooking for under the ‘Family members’ section and we’ll automatically add calculate each person’s portion size for you.
  • When a meal is ready to serve, weigh it and enter the total weight in the portion calculator where it says ‘cooked weight’. Click ‘calculate portion sizes’ and we’ll automatically calculate each person’s portion size for you.
  • If a family member works out on any given day be sure to log it - the process for this is the same as logging your own workouts. Their snack will double in size when you do this, just as it does when you log workouts of your own.
  • If your family aren’t concerned with portion sizes - don’t worry. Weigh out your own portion and share the rest with your family as they like.

Eating out

  • When eating out, follow these simple guidelines as best you can.
    • Fill ⅓ of your plate with protein such as meat, fish, beans or a veggie alternative.
    • Fill ⅓ of your plate with carbohydrates such as brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, or pasta.
    • Fill the rest of your plate with free food vegetables.
    • Avoid table sauces loaded with sugar or calories such as ketchup, BBQ sauce, brown sauce, etc.
    • Avoid processed food and eat fresh whenever you can. 
    • Drink water before and with your meal to aid digestion and help you feel fuller for longer.

If your portions feel too big...

  • It can take time for your body to adjust to a change in diet but it’s important that you consume the calories prescribed in your plan so that your body gets all the calories and nutrients it needs to function, repair and recover. 
  • Feeling full is good but if you constantly feel uncomfortably full there are lots of easy steps you can take to ease this feeling.
    • Split your meals into smaller portions and eat more frequently throughout the day. 
    • Choose liquid recipes rather than solids. Soups and smoothies are a convenient way to fill your body with the nutrients and energy it needs and take less time to digest.
    • Avoid adding free foods to your plate.
    • Choose recipes with more calorie dense foods such as pasta, grains, and cheese.
    • When making food swaps in recipes, choose the lightest substitute. For example, if you can choose between 180g of black beans or a 55g of pasta, choose the lightest item - the pasta. 

If your portions feel too small...

  • It can take time for your body to adjust to a change in diet. If you experience severe and constant hunger, follow the tips and advice below to help ease the hunger.
    • Choose recipes containing solid food rather than liquids. Smoothies are a convenient way to fill your body with the nutrients and energy it needs but they take less time to consume and you may not find them as filling as solid food. 
    • Start your day with an egg-based breakfast to keep hunger at bay. Try our ham and egg omelette, bacon and egg muffins or our goat’s cheese scramble and stay fuller for longer. 
    • Load your plate with free foods to fill your stomach and get an extra hit of nutrient goodness in the process. Read more about free foods in our free foods section. 
    • Whole grain foods take longer to digest so make sure that two of your daily meals contain wholegrains. Whole grain foods include oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, rye, barley and spelt.
    • Choose recipes with foods that are high in volume but low in calories.
    • When making food swaps in recipes, choose the heaviest substitute. For example, if you can choose between 55g of pasta or a 75g wholemeal bagel, choose the heaviest item - the bagel. 

Pregnancy Plans

  • Our plan is suitable for pregnant women but circumstances and conditions during pregnancy vary greatly so please consult a doctor before starting any nutritional plan whilst pregnant.
  • Our bodies require more calories during pregnancy to support child development. The recommended daily calorie allowance in your meal plan will automatically increase when you log a pregnancy to provide you and your unborn child with the energy and nutrients you need to function, grow and repair.
  • Some foods are considered harmful to an unborn child during pregnancy. We don't remove these foods from our meal plans in case it causes a deficiency of some kind, so we ask that you familiarise yourself with the NHS pregnancy food guidelines and monitor this yourself.
  • To mark yourself as ‘pregnant’ click here.
  • Avoid eating the same meal or recipe from our plan for several days in a row. Expose yourself and your baby to a varied and nutrient-rich diet by alternating between recipes.
  • Weight loss is unhealthy and unexpected during pregnancy so set your goal to ‘maintain weight’ if following the plan whilst pregnant. You can update your goal on the ‘goals’ page.
  • Women are encouraged to ensure they get enough vitamin D3 during pregnancy. The best source of vitamin D is good old fashioned sunshine but in the darker months (October to March) you may need to supplement your vitamin D intake with fortified food products or supplements to ensure you and your baby get enough vitamin D. Choose recipes with oily fish (salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines), red meat, egg yolks, and fortified cereals.
  • Women must consume more B6 during pregnancy, particularly in the final trimester. Choose recipes with pork, poultry, fish, oats, brown rice, eggs, milk, potatoes and peanuts.
  • Folic acid (B9) is also important so choose recipes with foods rich in folic acid like broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, liver, leafy green veg, peas and chickpeas.
  • Some women aren’t able to collect the iron they need in their second and third trimester through diet alone. In these cases, iron supplements are needed but you should also choose recipes with foods rich in iron such as red meat, pork, leafy green vegetables such as broccoli and kale, beans and nuts to support adequate iron levels in your body.
  • The iron in animal-based foods is easier to absorb than the iron in plant-based foods so vegetarians and vegans must take extra care to ensure that you receive enough iron during pregnancy.
  • Vitamin C helps iron absorption so eat foods rich in vitamin C such as red pepper, kiwi and orange.
  • Circumstances and conditions during pregnancy can vary greatly so please consult a doctor before starting any nutritional plan.
  • Update your meal plan settings after giving birth and mark yourself as ‘breastfeeding’ if necessary.

Breastfeeding Plans

  • Circumstances and conditions following childbirth can vary greatly so please consult a doctor before starting any nutritional plan.
  • We’ve developed a nutritional plan for women who are nursing. The plan provides both mother and baby with all the energy and nutrients they need to function, grow, repair whilst helping the mother to lose weight at a safe and sustainable pace.
  • To mark yourself as ‘breastfeeding’ click here.
  • Radical weight loss can be unhealthy for both mother and baby so we recommend that you initially set your goal to ‘maintain weight’ when you start the plan. 
  • Avoid eating the same meal or recipe from our plan for several days in a row. Expose yourself and your baby to a varied and nutrient-rich diet by alternating between recipes. 
  • When nursing, mothers are encouraged to ensure they get enough vitamin D3. The best source of vitamin D is good old fashioned sunshine but in the darker months (October to March) you may need to supplement your vitamin D intake with fortified food products or supplements to ensure you and your baby get enough vitamin D. Choose recipes with oily fish (salmon, mackerel, trout and sardines), red meat, egg yolks, and fortified cereals.
  • Nursing mothers are also advised to take plenty of B6 onboard. Choose recipes with containing pork, poultry, fish, oats, brown rice, eggs, milk, potatoes and peanuts.
  • Folic acid (B9) is also important so choose recipes with broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, liver, leafy green veg, peas and chickpeas.
  • Update your meal plan settings when you are no longer breastfeeding. 

Still have questions? We’re always here to help you. Open the chat box in the bottom right hand corner and tell us how we can help, or contact us at info@fitlap.co.uk