What Are Flex Calories And How Do I Use Them?

Flex calories can be helpful when hunger strikes.

While we recommend milk or yogurt to add to the meal plan to round out the protein, calcium, and vitamin D in our meal plans, we also allow these dairy additions to be used as “flex calories.” On the 1200 calorie meal plan, the dairy addition equates to an additional 160 calories. For the 1500 calorie meal plan it is 240 calories, and 300 calories on the 2000 calorie meal plan. If someone wanted to add something additional to the plan and chose to swap it out for the dairy and made sure they are still within the calorie goals, they would be utilizing the dairy as “flex calories.” This may help fit in some favorite foods or the ability to enjoy a piece of cake at a birthday party or glass of wine when out to dinner.

For some people, using "flex calories" allows them to be able to personalize their diet. Needing to cut salt or carbs out of the plan? Looking for a more personalized calorie level? Using the dairy servings to choose items lower in carbs, sodium, or calories can make our plans fit your needs best!

Some examples of items that could be used as "flex calories" include a piece of fresh fruit, plant-based milk (unsweetened and fortified), a hard-boiled egg, a small handful of unsalted nuts, 3 cups of air-popped popcorn, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, etc.


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