How We Decide the 21 Day Fix Portions for Our Recipes

21-Day-Containers

Believe it or not, converting recipes to 21 Day Fix container equivalents isn’t an exact science. In some ways, you might even consider it an art. Here’s an explanation of how it’s done.

The premise of creating the container system was simple. Divide a wide variety of healthy foods into a series of colored containers to help people learn how to eat right.

 

How We Picked What Foods Go Into Which 21 Day Fix Containers
The execution of the system, however, wasn’t so simple. Foods needed to be divided not only into various types of food (fruit, veggie, etc.), but they needed to be divided by macronutrients levels so people get a balance of protein, carbs, and fat. We also needed to consider calories by volume because sometimes the same amount of seemingly similar foods can have very different calorie amounts. This is why there are two fat containers: orange and blue. The foods in the orange containers have more calories by volume, so a serving would contain too many calories if measured in a blue container.

This is also why tomatoes are on the green list, but tomato sauce and salsa are purple. They may, basically, be the same food, but sauces tend to have more calories by volume, so a green container of loosely packed, chopped tomatoes and a purple container of marinara sauce have roughly the same calories. (Tomatoes straddle the line between veggie and fruit, which is another reason they make sense in either container.)

There were scores of choices like this that needed to be made—and oftentimes hotly debated. There were also the educational considerations. For example, treats replace a yellow container in the 21 Day Fix plans. The reason for this is that the foods in the yellow list are among the least important foods in the average diet (considering the green and purple both contain arguably healthier carbohydrate sources) so it made the most sense to sacrifice those if you want to be a little naughty.

 

Bringing Recipes Into the Picture
When recipes are built specifically for the 21 Day Fix, matching containers is easy. Ingredients are selected from the lists in container-friendly amount and there you go! But matching containers to recipes not necessarily built with the 21 Day Fix in mind is another story. Many of the ingredients aren’t included in the Fix and if they are, they’re at amounts different than the containers. The levels of protein, carbs, and fat need to be considered. Calories need to be considered. These considerations are multiplied by the already-mentioned considerations of the containers and, well, that’s a lot of considerations!

But wait, there’s yet one more consideration: what makes sense to you, the reader? Often, container choices can make complete sense scientifically, but maybe you see ingredients that you feel should have been better considered.

There’s also the consideration of which consideration to consider first! (Are we having fun yet?) Deciding this lends a high degree of subjectivity to the process.

So, we welcome you to be part of the conversation. If you have a question about the portion choices we’ve made in a particular recipe, come on over the Expert Advice section of the Team Beachbody Message Boards.

Or at least consider it.

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8 Comments

  1. Susan Harris said:

    How do fit the avocado and tomatoes into the 21 day fix, if you have to measure what you eat by the containers?

    • Tiffany Lovell said:

      You cut them up and measure the quantity with the corresponding container. Tomatoes are Green, I think, and Avocado is healthy fat, so Blue. The idea is that whatever fits with the lid closed (not smashed on and leaking around the edges, so no over-filling) is one portion for that color container.

      • Melissa said:

        Avocado you don’t have to measure, a 1/4 or quarter of an Avo is considered one blue container. Just as 1/2 a banana is one purple 🙂

    • Sara B said:

      I’m guessing it’s because peas are mostly legume (the seed) but snow peas are mostly pod, which is more like a leafy green.

    • Kelly Catherine said:

      I think it’s because snow pea comes with the hull and just peas, by themselves, have more starch/ sugars.

  2. Vicky said:

    I’m still confusing! I don’t know how to fit the family recipe with the color code container where the meat and veggies combine before cook ( example: fried egg roll) Do I measure the raw meat and veggies with the container before I mix them up to wrap and fry? I know the container is used for cooked food…but I couldn’t find the way to coordinate the container with Asian recipes. Please let me know if there is way to find out about it.
    Thanks for your help!

  3. Svet said:

    I’m a tad confused about the calorie portions. Doing the math I’m supposed to be eating approximately 1280 calories. If that falls into the container counts of 1200-1500 calories, how do I know if I’m meeting 1280 or more..? I prepped all of my meals for the week and carefully counted everything out, and it looks like a lot more food than I normally consume in a day. Is this how it should be? I’m pleasantly surprised (unless I did something very wrong here..) Please advise if you have a moment. Thank you!!

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