Once you have made that big decision to lose weight, the next most important step is to create weight loss meal plans for yourself. Without a plan, you can’t expect to achieve the results you want.
The simplest way to start, is to create a list of foods you can eat that will support healthy weight loss and that won’t leave you craving more food. There are three elements needed in a healthy diet. They are:
You need to include all of them. We’re not talking about fad diets, or restrictive, short-term weight loss diets; we’re going for the long run…a way of life.
One crucial thing to consider is portion size. Most people underestimate the amount of food they actually eat. Generally speaking, the amount of food you need, and what you can digest well, is much less than you think. A 4-oz portion of animal protein, for instance, is about the size of the palm of your hand. Many diet plans include measuring everything.
Choose the Right Foods
The best way to insure that you are sticking with low calorie foods and low carb foods is to choose vegetables. Most fruits are also low calorie and low carb as well, but you’ll want to use a little more moderation with fruits as they contain a fair amount of sugar. For best results, you should consume the animal protein at breakfast and lunch, and dinners should be vegetarian. This is ideal for good digestion and weight loss.
A Table For Guidance
The table below is a good general way to approach meal planning, because you can make choices during the week to account for your schedule.
|Breakfast||1 cup yogurt w/1/2 cup berries or other fruit w/1-2 TBs granola||Protein shake||Yogurt w/fruit||Protein shake||Cottage Cheese with fruit||Protein shake||Protein shake or cottage cheese w/fruit|
|Snack||Nothing or 1 piece of fruit or 25 almonds or ¼ cup of sunflower seeds||Nothing or 1 piece of fruit or 25 almonds or ¼ cup of sunflower seeds||Nothing or 1 piece of fruit or 25 almonds or ¼ cup of sunflower seeds||Nothing or 1 piece of fruit or 25 almonds or ¼ cup of sunflower seeds||Nothing or 1 piece of fruit or 25 almonds or ¼ cup of sunflower seeds||Nothing or 1 piece of fruit or 25 almonds or ¼ cup of sunflower seeds||Nothing or 1 piece of fruit or 25 almonds or ¼ cup of sunflower seeds|
|Spinach salad w/grilled chicken||Mixed greens and raw vegetable salad w/4 oz. tuna||¾ cup turkey (or vegetarian) chili w/large mixed green salad||4 oz. broiled salmon and 1 cup roasted vegetables||2 egg omelet (1 oz of cheese is optional) with 1 cup grilled vegetables or tomatoes||1 small baked or broiled chicken breast with 1 cup steamed or stir-fried vegetables||4 pieces sashimi and mixed vegetable salad or grilled tofu and vegetable salad|
|Snack (btw 3:00 – 5:00)||25 almonds||15 walnuts||¼ cup sunflower seeds||¼ cup seeds and nuts trail mix||1-2 TBs peanut or almond butter with celery sticks||1-2 TBs hummus with carrot sticks||1/2 cup yogurt|
|Dinner (btw 6:30-7:30)||1 small baked yam with 1 cup steamed broccoli||¾ cup Indian dal (lentils) and 1 cup of roasted vegetables||2 small falafel patties w/1/4 cup hummus and a mxed green and raw vegetable salad||¾ cup whole grain pasta with pesto or marinara sauce and a large mixed green salad||Vegetarian chili with large mixed green salad||1 bean burrito (whole grain tortilla and 1/3 cup cooked black, pinto, or red beans and 1/3 cup of brown rice) and roasted vegetables||1 cup split pea soup and large mixed green and raw vegetable salad|
This table gives you a great place to start. Once you get the idea of kinds of foods you can eat, you can use your creativity to come up with as much variety as you like.
Aside from a meal plan, be sure to include daily physical activity in your weight-loss plan. If you already have an exercise plan, good for you. If you don’t, an easy way to start is to take a half-hour walk every day. As you start to feel comfortable with that, you can add more activity.
Remember that patience and persistence is what will allow you to achieve your goals!