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If you find yourself asking, “What is 21 Day Fix?” you’ve come to the right place. The 21 Day Fix is a nutrition program and set of workouts from Beachbody that is based on macronutrients–fat, proteins, and carbohydrates.
I’m going to break it down; the 21 Day Fix is an awesome diet and lifestyle program. This program is not as complex as you might think and once you get used to thinking in containers, it becomes a lifestyle.
How to do I start the 21 Day Fix?
It’s pretty easy to get started, the 21 Day Fix plan comes with everything you need to get going! You can order the 21 Day Fix program here, it comes with a food list, colored containers, the 21 Day Fix workout DVDs, the 3-Day Quick Fix book, and the program manual. You will need the program itself to calculate some of the key elements of the plan, like how many of each containers to eat every day. The resources here for recipe ideas, printables, and more will enhance your 21 Day Fix experience but they won’t replace the plan itself.
If you’d rather not buy the program, there are many places online that you can find the information you need. You’ll need to:
- Find your calorie goal. You can do that by using this easy 21 Day Fix Bracket Calculator or calculating it yourself here:
- If you’re not working out, take your current weight x 11 to find your caloric baseline. Subtract 400 from that to find your calorie target. Also use this formula if you’d like to maintain your weight and not lose.
- If you are working out, take your current weight x 11 to find your caloric baseline. Add 400 for your exercise. Then subtract 750 for your calorie deficit.
2. Read below about your containers and what each color represents, as well as the bracket that your calorie goal is in.
3. In the printable library, find the 21 Day Fix food list. It’s a list of foods that you can eat–sorted by container color. The healthiest foods are at the top, and the least healthy at the bottom. Remember, though, everything on the list is healthy–it’s just broken down this way.
What can you eat on 21 Day Fix? | What is 21 Day Fix eating plan?
Basically the 21 Day Fix program works by assigning various food groups to a color coded container. Your height, activity level, weight, and long term goals will define how many of each colored container you will eat each day. By controlling food group types the 21 Day Fix helps you develop habits that are healthy and sustainable. There are so many delicious recipes that are broken down by containers, types of recipes, and more.
If you’re wondering specifically what is 21 day fix approved, I’ve written about that as a way to help people know exactly what to look for when shopping or using products they have on hand already.
There are (quite literally) hundreds of 21 Day Fix recipes on the internet. Unfortunately, some people have started adding “21 Day Fix Approved” on some recipes that are most certainly not 21 Day Fix approved, so make sure that when you see a Fixed recipe, all of the ingredients are on the food list.
What Do the Colored Containers Mean? What is 21 Day Fix container system?
Here is a breakdown of the colors of the containers, and what you put in them. Click each container for a list of recipes that have at least one container of that color–it’s super helpful for planning your day!
- The Blue container is for Healthy Fats – avocado, nuts, and cheeses. It’s 1/3 cup.
- The Green container is for Veggies – pretty self-explanatory but there are certain vegetables that are approved so make sure to check the food list! It’s 1 cup.
- The Yellow container is for healthy Carbs and Starches – sweet potatoes, whole grains, etc. The yellow container is 1/2 cup.
- The Purple container is for Fruits – whole fruits, not juices because you want the benefit of the fiber and filling nature of the fruit. This container is 1 cup.
- The Red container is for Protein – lean meats and such. The red container is 3/4 cup.
- The Orange container is for Seeds and Dressings – healthy oils and seeds–no canola oil, added sugar, or no fat dressings – we want the cleanest ones we can find. It’s 2 tablespoons.
The 21 Day Fix: How many containers per meal?
There are six calorie brackets for the 21 Day Fix/Ultimate Portion Fix:
1,200-1,499 calories, Plan A: Each day, you’ll be eating 4 green containers (veggies), 2 purple containers (fruits), 4 red containers (protein), 2 yellow containers (carbs), 1 blue container (healthy fats), 1 orange container (seeds and dressings), and 3 teaspoons of oil. (this has been updated as of Spring 2019, when the Ultimate Portion Fix came out)
1,500-1,799 calories, Plan B: Each day, you’ll be eating 4 green containers (veggies), 3 purple containers (fruits), 4 red containers (protein), 3 yellow containers (carbs), 1 blue container (healthy fats), 1 orange container (seeds and dressings), and 4 teaspoons of oil.
1,800-2,099 calories, Plan C: Each day, you’ll be eating 5 green containers (veggies), 3 purple containers (fruits), 5 red containers (protein), 5 yellow containers (carbs), 1 blue container (healthy fats), 1 orange container (seeds and dressings), and 5 teaspoons of oil.
2,100-2,300 calories, Plan D: Each day, you’ll be eating 6 green containers (veggies), 4 purple containers (fruits), 6 red containers (protein), 4 yellow containers (carbs), 1 blue container (healthy fats), 1 orange container (seeds and dressings), and 6 teaspoons of oil.
2,300-2,499 Calories, Plan E: Each day, you’ll be eating 7 green containers (veggies), 5 purple containers (fruits), 6 red containers (protein), 5 yellow containers (carbs), 1 blue container (healthy fats), 1 orange container (seeds and dressings), and 7 teaspoons of oil.
2,500-2,800 Calories, Plan F: 8 green containers (veggies), 5 purple containers (fruits), 7 red containers (protein), 5 yellow containers (carbs), 1 blue container (healthy fats), 1 orange container (seeds and dressings), and 8 teaspoons of oil.
How to Use the 21 Day Fix Containers
You can always stock up on color coded containers but if you don’t want to, or you can use measuring cups. People don’t necessarily pack their food in the containers, they mainly just measure their foods in them.
Fill your containers (make sure the lid fits!) and then place the ingredients in colored bags (or regular ziplock bags) for easy travel and storage, or meal prep containers. This is especially good advice for meal prep. If you like to have things ready to grab and go you can use these bags to help.
Planning and prepping for the whole week can help keep you on track with healthy snacks. Chances are good that healthy snacks will be easier to choose if they’re handy, and you’ll probably be so used to using the containers after a few weeks that you can eyeball the measurements better if you’re in a pinch or out at a restaurant.
What is NOT allowed on 21 Day Fix? What foods are not allowed?
Of course, after asking “what is the 21 day fix?” you’re going to ask “what the heck can I not have anymore?” Here’s my list.
Sugars and artificial sugars. White flours. Fat free and non fat foods, because they usually contain additives to take out the fat. If it’s in a package, it’s questionable. You should be drinking water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea. If you need a sweetener, 100% Stevia (like SweetLeaf) is best.
The first ingredient in your bread should be Whole Grain Wheat. When you buy foods in a package, they should not contain sugar, highly processed oils, artificial sweeteners, or other ingredients that you can’t pronounce as an ingredient.
A lot of people struggle with giving up coffee creamer on the 21 Day Fix, but once they do they quickly see why it can be detrimental to a diet. Coffee creamers are full of highly processed oils and artificial sweeteners, and starting your mornings off with them can cause sugar cravings, lethargy, and weight gain.
For more information about if something is 21 Day Fix approved, you’ll want to check out this article: Is this 21 Day Fix approved?
What Else do You Need for the 21 Day Fix?
Another key aspect of the 21 Day Fix plan is water! My favorite way to make sure I get my water each day is by taking along a 20 oz tumbler or Hydro Flask. You’re supposed to drink 1/2 of your body weight in ounces every day on the 21 Day Fix–most people underestimate how much water the body needs to lose weight.
I load it up with ice, fresh fruit, and water. If I can drink 5 or 6 of these tumblers in one day I know that I’ve knocked my water goal out of the ballpark! When I start to get bored with water, I switch to a new tumbler. I can’t lie, I love travel mugs of all kinds.
It’s like a special treat to get a new one, dig out one of my favorites, etc. It inspires me to keep my water with me at times when I have a fun and flashy travel mug or tumbler to carry!
I’ve gathered all of my favorite 21 Day Fix staples in one place for you–the best news is that most of them arrive in 2 days with Amazon Prime!
Do I need Shakeology for 21 Day Fix?
Absolutely not–you don’t need any shakes to successfully do the 21 Day Fix. Some Beachbody “coaches” (I put that in quotes because in the Beachbody world, coach means a salesperson. They do not have any training in exercise science or nutrition) will have you thinking that Shakeology drinks are necessary for the fix, but they’re not at all. Beachbody salespeople are paid a percentage of the sales they make, so when you buy Shakeo from a Beachbody rep, they’re making money.
The 21 Day Fix food list has foods listed in order from healthiest (on the top) to least healthy (on the bottom). Shakeology is not at the top of the food list. Some Shakeology contains cane sugar, which technically isn’t even approved on the Fix–soooooo do what you’d like with that information.
Do I need protein shakes on the 21 Day Fix?
Nope, but if you’re looking for one because you like drinking protein shakes, you can find some 21 Day Fix approved protein shakes and meal replacement shakes here:
What are the 21 Day Fix workouts? What is the 21 Day Fix Workout Schedule?
In order, they are:
Monday: Total Body Cardio Fix (what a way to start the week!)
Tuesday: Upper Fix
Wednesday: Lower Fix or Barre Legs
Thursday: Pilates Fix or Flat Abs Fix
Friday: Cardio Fix
Saturday: Dirty 30
If you’d like to download a free workout calendar for the 21 Day Fix, you can find one here.
What if I can’t do the 21 Day Fix workouts in order?
It’s best to try and do them in order, but the bottom line is that if you’re moving, you’re moving! Switch them up according to your schedule or what needs you have–the most important thing is not giving up.
Do I have to do the 21 Day Fix Workouts?
Actually, you don’t. I’m not going to lecture you on the benefits of exercise–because I’m guessing that you know them. About 80% of the weight loss struggle is what you eat–the choices that you make all day long about what to put into your mouth. Exercise isn’t too important for weight loss (but it is very important for health).
If you do choose to workout on the 21 Day Fix, you can do the Fix workout videos, any other home workout videos, fitness classes, gym workouts, Crossfit, walking, running, etc–anything you want. If you’re doing heavy workouts, you might have to add a few extra containers a day, but wait to see how you feel before adding them in.
Did you love this recipe?
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I love this simple breakdown!! I started the 21 Day Fix about 3 years ago, and it’s so crazy how the workouts and meal plan stick with you. I can still break a sweat from the workouts lol!! The containers are something I will breakout whenever we have an event or trip coming up too. I think I’ve got my portions down but having them and my tracking sheet out keeps me more accountable.
Hi! Thanks for the great info! Where can I get the program manual? I have the containers but would like to read the manual in it’s entire form from the creator. Can’t find it alone on beach body website. Thanks!
Hi Joy! To get the entire manual you’re going to have to buy the program. Maybe googling will produce a copy online, but there is nowhere that I know of to get it without purchasing.
If you are still looking for the manual, you might look at eBay. Someone might be selling one.
If you have one of the shakes instead of a meal, how many containers/colors is that?
A serving of protein powder is one red container. If you’re adding more to the shake than almond milk (unsweetened), make sure to calculate your containers for that too!
I purchased the 21 Day fix program when it first came out and was somewhat successful, but fell off the wagon. I’d like to start up again and want to be sure I’m following the correct plan. Is the original 21 Day Fix program still effective? Have the plans in the new Ultimate Portion Fix changed much? Do you think it’s necessary to purchase the Ultimate Portion Fix? I really don’t want to buy a whole new program if I don’t have to. I would appreciate any feedback you might have. Thanks!
I definitely don’t think it’s worth the money to buy the UPF. You can find the new brackets here: https://mycrazygoodlife.com/category/beachbody/21-day-fix-meal-plans/ and the updated foos list here: https://mycrazygoodlife.com/free-printable-21-day-fix-updated-food-list/
I am confused about the bracket calculating. You list the same equation for maintaining weight as and for doing the diet without exercise. So which is it? Weight loss without exercise or weight maintenance?
They’re both the same. A quick note–I didn’t create this calculation, it’s straight from Beachbody :)
If my weight loss calculations puts me in Plan B, on days that I do not exercise, should I go down to plan A containers?
No, stick with the plan you’re on for the entire round. Just calculate for what you do most–workout or no :)
I been doing 2b mindset off and on for 3 years and im needing structure so decined to give 21 day fix a try. ive tried 21 day fix before yet i struggle to stick with it so im going to give portion fix another try
Good luck to you, Jeanette! This may help: https://mycrazygoodlife.com/how-to-stop-quitting-the-21-day-fix/