Why Isn’t the Meal Planner Returning Results?
Ok. So you have just tried entering your nutritional criteria into the Meal Planner but when you clicked on Create Meal Plan to generate the results you then received a message saying that none were found.
Naturally, you must be thinking “why did that happen?!”
In this article, we are going to try and address that question by discussing the various possibilities involved and suggest how it can be resolved.
You have chosen too many customizations
Every time you enter a customization the food options available will, of course, get smaller. You also increase the possibility of selecting criteria that are incompatible with each other (we discuss this more in this article).
The Meal Planner deals with customizations well in the majority of cases. However, if you try and add too many there is a possibility that you will lower the pool of available recipes so much that the planner will return no results.
Many of the customizations you will enter are likely to be for a good reason. However, it is important to consider the importance of every customization you make and if you believe a certain requirement is 100% necessary.
Most crucially, you should consider the possibility you may have set criteria that when used together would severely limit potential results. We will discuss this more now.
Certain dietary needs are incompatible with the diet type selected
We automatically disable some options where certain criteria are clearly incompatible. An example of this could be trying to do a Protein Sparing Modified Fast or the Classic 40 40 20 Bodybuilding Plan on a Vegan Diet.
Unfortunately, some macronutrient ratios and dietary needs are very difficult, and in some cases, impossible to achieve due to the basic fact that some ingredients don’t exist in nature with the nutritional values required for your diet.
Another common issue can be selecting too many different Dietary Needs at once or that the various Dietary Needs you have selected severely limit the available food options to create a suitable meal plan for the diet of your choice.
Amount of meals chosen in relation to calorie target
As all users on My Diet Meal Plan have the flexibility to select how many recipes they want to eat each day this does also occasionally present problems in the results.
On average, most recipes on this website tend to be between 300-800 calories, although we do have outliers.
With this in mind, it is important to take this into consideration when you select the number of meals and snacks you wish to have and if it is appropriate for the amount of calories you have set.
In other words, you can have too few meals for too many calories and you can have too many meals for too few calories.
If you have chosen a calorie target of 4000 calories then it is probably a bad idea to only select 3 meals and 0 snacks. The reverse also holds true.
Manually adding unsuitable recipes to your plan
A great function we provide is the ability to add a recipe you like to your meal plan, “lock it” (so it stays in place), and then generate a new meal plan that includes the one you want and finds other suitable recipes to go with it so your plan hits your day’s nutritional targets.
This can occasionally go wrong if the recipe added manually doesn’t go very well with the target nutritional values that you have selected.
An example of this could be creating a 1200 calorie meal plan spread across 3 meals and then manually adding a 1000 calorie meal to one of the meal slots.
In this event, the generator would have to find 2 recipes that only add up to 200 calories in total in order to match your selected target. The chance of this working is quite slim.
Selecting the “Restaurant Food” option when following a rigid diet plan
For many of our community who can be quite busy during workdays or simply don’t have the time to prepare a meal themselves, we added the ability to add meals from local cafés and restaurants such as Subway, Starbucks, and Chipotle.
Restaurant food options tend to be the most appropriate if you use it alongside some of our more flexible diet plans such as Flexible Dieting, Low carb, Low fat, or in some cases our Macro Planner (providing you don’t select too rigid criteria).
Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of what these restaurants put on their menu and in some cases we may not be able to find an appropriate meal for some particular diet plans. Something we have noticed in particular seems to be the lack of vegan recipes with higher protein.
We also strongly suggest that you only select a maximum of one of your recipes a day to be from a restaurant for many other reasons!
Setting uncommon and rigid macronutrient requirements
Sometimes we get asked why our macro planner has not returned results to the exact numbers that have been entered such as 150g protein, 100grams carbs, 50grams fat.
In our Macro Planner we show 3 different options in relation to the strictness of macro targets; Loose, Recommended and Strict.
We do this as the planner cannot realistically be expected to hit these targets exactly to the very gram and nor is doing this even necessary. Creating target ranges also help ensure you have more recipe choices to keep things interesting and allow you to stick to your diet.
The rise of calorie counting and (ironically) a well known flexible dieting website about macronutrients have unintentionally helped create this unnecessary mindset of needing to “hit” your macros with 100% precision.
This is not realistic.
It is important to remember that all dietary tools can only estimate how many calories you need, can only estimate how many calories are in your food, and can only hope that the person doing it weighs their food 100% perfectly.
This renders the idea of hitting macro targets to the exact gram rather pointless.
There is no need to panic over such small variations as long as you are more or less getting it right consistently over time and that is exactly what we help you do.
If your protein target is 150grams per day but some days your actual consumption is 140grams and other days you eat 160grams there will be no negative consequences for doing this.
In cases where you have set the target strictness to strict and have failed to get results, don’t hesitate to relax the strictness slightly. We promise you it will all work out fine!
Tried all of the above and still not having any luck?
Don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can contact us at [email protected]
We are more than happy to help 🙂