Customizing your Meal Plan is probably the most important thing you can do to ensure that the meals Real Plans generates for you will meet your needs. Customizing your plan includes setting your dietary preferences, as well as choosing your scheduling options.
To customize your Meal Plan, head to "Settings" found in the top right corner of your Meal Planner, and select "My Meal Plan".* This will open the Diet and Schedule page where you can specify dietary restrictions as well as make adjustments to your schedule or set advanced filters.
(*Note: Whole30 users will select Settings>Whole30 to access your dietary and scheduling preferences.)
First, select your preferred Diet Type from the dropdown box. (Click here for explanations of our Diet Types so you can select the appropriate diet for your needs.)
Selecting a Diet Type will automatically preset the exclusions for that diet. For example, selecting the Vegetarian plan will automatically exclude all meat, while selecting the AIP plan will exclude all foods that are eliminated on the AIP diet. This alleviates the need for you to exclude these items manually and assures you that you are following the diet properly.
If you have additional foods that you would like to exclude, click on Modify Dietary Restrictions. This will open a new window where you can set up those exclusions.
If you have food allergies or choose not to eat certain food groups in addition to the preset exclusions, you can easily exclude them by highlighting each food group you do not wish to eat and then clicking on theto send those food groups to the Excluded list. Similarly, if there are foods excluded that you wish to add to your plan, highlight those from the Excluded list and click theto send them back to the Included list.*
(*Note: If you are following a special diet such as Whole30 or AIP, sending any of the preset exclusions back to the Included list will mean that you are no longer in compliance with that diet type, so if you are planning to strictly follow the diet type you have chosen, you will not want to move any of the preset exclusions back to the Included list.)
If you are not sure what certain food groups are or you need help deciding which ones to exclude, please click here for a detailed explanation of each food group so you can make the most informed decision on which foods to eliminate from your meal plan.
If a food you wish to exclude is not on the Food Groups list as seen above, type the name of the food you wish to avoid in the box under "Find Ingredients to Exclude", and then click "Find Variants". This will bring up all the variations of that food that you might see in our recipes. You can manually check each food you wish to exclude or "Select All" to exclude them all. Click on the to send those foods to the Excluded Ingredients list. Keep in mind that excluding foods does limit the number of recipes you will get on your Meal Planner, so exercise caution here. We recommend not excluding foods for which you have a good substitution or could easily omit. We also suggest not excluding foods that are on our Top 20 Ingredients list if at all possible to get the most variety in your Meal Planner.
When you have finished selecting all of your exclusions, click Save, which will take you back to the Diet and Schedule page. If you click Done at the bottom of the Diet and Schedule page it will use your new changes to your diet to create a plan for you. But if you want to also make some changes to your schedule, check out the article How To Customize Your Meal Plan: My Schedule.
On the confirmation screen, if you choose "Keep this week", your food exclusions will be applied on the following week's meal plan, and your current week will not change. If you choose "Update my plan", your food exclusions will be applied immediately. This will overwrite your entire plan, including the current week.
Now you can take a look at your fully customized Meal Planner to see what delicious recipes are in store for you in the coming weeks!
**Mobile app users: Click here to learn how to customize your meal plan from our mobile app.**