My meal plan: months 1-5 of recovery

My meal plan, created by a dietitian at the treatment center using the exchange system

Recovery from an eating disorder is different for each person, but I wanted to give you a snapshot of what a recovery meal plan looks like for a man in his 20s. There are lots of “what I eat in a day” videos on Youtube, but many of them feature women in recovery. I applaud these women for their bravery in sharing their journeys with the world and I also wanted to offer another perspective of what recovery looks like for the guys out there.

I’ve continued to meet with a dietitian weekly after leaving the partial hospitalization program (I’m really lucky that my school offers this for free) to continue to fine tune this plan. Following strict guidelines isn’t for everyone and can exacerbate the disorder for some, but for me, the structure is relaxing. I was recently cleared to begin exercise again 3x a week, so on those days, I need to eat 4 extra starches, which I get in with an extra piece of toast at breakfast, a large fruit at lunch and at my afternoon snack and a double serving of granola for my evening snack (granola is an awesome recovery food, just saying).

So what are these exchanges anyways? Here are some numbers, just to give you an idea:


  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup cooked pasta or rice
  • 1 cup quinoa (2 starch, 1 protein)
  • 1/2 bagel
  • 1 cup small pretzels
  • 1 small baked potato


  • 1/4 cup canned fish
  • 1 oz cooked meat/fish
  • 1 cup plain yogurt or 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice of cheese
  • 1/4 cup tempeh
  • 1/2 cup beans


  • 1 cup raw vegetables or 1/2 cup cooked
  • 1 medium-large fruit
  • 1 cup grapes or strawberies


  • 1 teaspoon butter or oil
  • 2 tablespoons hummus
  • 1 tablespoon pesto or salad dressing or peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped almonds


  • 1/2 cup ice cream
  • 2/3 cup pudding
  • 2” square of brownie or cake
  • 1/2 cup fruit crisp


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