Welcome to ZoneBuddy On-Line

ZoneBuddy was created as a powerful meal and recipe planning tool to offer an alternative to the "block combination" method as outlined in "The Zone".  ZoneBuddy is a "gram counter" which offers features not found in most other Zone meal planners such as fiber subtraction and protein digestibility compensation.  Best of all, it's practically the easiest way to create 40-30-30 balanced meals!

ZoneBuddy grew up as a spreadsheet that could be run under Lotus and several other spreadsheet programs.  Soon a version for Excel 5.0 evolved and is now the better of the two, having gone through several revisions.   Of course if you did not have Lotus or Excel you were basically out of luck ... until now.

Zonebuddy is now available on-line so that anybody with a browser can use it to create Zone favorable meals and recipes.  Of course if you have Excel 5.0 or greater, you are much better off downloading the free version for Excel as it is still better than this on-line version.

What is ZoneBuddy?

ZoneBuddy consists of a database of hundreds of foods and their associated macronutrient values and a powerful calculation engine that allows you to gather foods from the database (or enter them by hand) and vary amounts of your selected foods so that you can acheive a good 40-30-30 balance.   Figures are calculated to tell you what your "block" totals are and how well your meal or recipe balances.

How do I use it?

ZoneBuddy is actually very simple once you get the hang of it.  When you begin your session you will see a table that looks something like this:

Serving PCF Cal.Food Amount PCF Cal.
Totals:000 0
Serving size:
Per serving:000 0
  Balance: ------

Of course it's empty but this is where all the magic takes place.   Your first step is to go to an area of the database and select the foods that you'd like to use.  Right below the calculation table is a series of buttons that will take you to a part of the food database.   Once there you will see a list of foods with checkboxes next to them, like this:

Food Serving PCF Cal.
Apple, delicious, medium 1apple 02.2078
Apple, golden delicious, medium 1apple 02.2078
Applesauce, Canned, Unsweetened 1cup 02.90106
Apricots, Canned (fruit and liquid), Juice pack 3halves .11.1043
Apricots, Dried, Cooked, Unsweetened, fruit and liquid 1cup .45.80222
Apricots, Dried, Uncooked (28 lg or 37 med halves per cup) 1cup .78.5.3333

Select the foods that you would like to use by checking the boxes next to those foods.  These will automatically be brought back to the calculation page when you return.  When you do, the calculation table will look something like this:

Serving PCF Cal.Food Amount PCF Cal.
1cup 50 Broccoli, cooked, drained cup 0
1cup 68 Carrots, cooked, sliced, drained cup 0
3oz 144 Chicken oz 0
Totals: 0
Serving size:
Per serving: 0
  Balance: ------

Now, with all the macronutrient information in place, all you need to do is specify how much of each food you'd like to use.  Once you enter that information in the box to the right of each food name, all you need to do is press the "Calculate" button to see how your meal stacks up.

Note that all macronutrient values are given in blocks and the total blocks for the meal are listed at the bottom right of the table.  If you are making a meal for more than one person, put the number of people that this meal serves in the "Serves:" field above the table and your total blocks and calories per serving will be calculated.

Finally, the block balance for your meal is displayed as a P/C/F ratio.   In strict Zone terms this should be 1, 1, and 1 meaning that for every protein block there is also 1 caobohydrate block and 1 fat block.   Straying slightly is no great sin but try to keep your ratio close to 1:1:1 unless you are using a modified 40-30-30 plan.

What if I want to use an "unlisted" food?

Suppose you have a microwavable dinner that you want to "balance out".   You are not going to find it in the database but you can still use it.   At the bottom of the calculation page is a small form as follows:

Custom Food

Serving P/C/F (in grams) Fiber%PD Food Amount

The P/C/F fields are in grams (not blocks) on this form, so you can simply enter the information that you find on the nutrition label of that food. Be sure to put in the serving size as a number (in the left field) and a measurement (in the right field).  There is no need to enter calories as this will be calculated for you.  The %PD field will be explained later and if it confuses you just leave it at 100 for now.   Finally, be sure to check the box next to the food name and the next time you re-calculate your meal, this food will be entered into the calculation table with all of its macronutrient information (in block form).

What are the "Fib." and "%PD" fields for?

These are for fiber (given in grams) and "percent protein digestibility".   Fiber is considered a carbohydrate but as it does not digest, it should not be counted (in Zone terms) as such since your body doesn't assimilate it. Entering the fiber here is usually inconsequential for many foods as it is often very low but for most vegetables this becomes important if you want to maintain accuracy.  When fiber is entered, it will be subtracted from the carbohydrate total when the carbohydrate blocks for this food are calculated.

In fiber rich foods, protein (if it exists) tends to be bound up in the fiber and it is therefore somewhat poorly digested and utilized by the body.  For most of these foods the digestibility of the protein is around 75%.  For meats, digestibility of protein is around 100%.   Granted, to know what figure to put in the "%PD" takes some study but a good rule of thumb is to put in 75 (no percent sign) for all vegetables, nuts and legumes (increased to 85 to 95 if the food is pureed like peanut butter or refried beans).  All other foods can be left at 100.

How do I print out my meal plan?

From the calculation page press the "Print" button. This will return a formatted "recipe" suitable for printing (Hint: be sure and fill in the "Title" and "Serving Size" fields on the calculation page so that your printed plan looks more descriptive).  Simply press the "Print" button on your browser and viola! Hard copy.

What now?

Exit ZoneBuddy On-Line

Press here to return to the Zone index page (This will abandon any session you have started).

If you have already started a session and came here for reference, press this button to resume that session.

Press here to begin a new session or to wipe the slate clean and start over.