The New York Times adequately dubs it “The Fat Trap”: one study done by a physician at the University of Melbourne showed that 32 heavily monitored patients gained back an average of the 11 pounds that they had struggled to lose after just one year. If you have ever tried to lose weight, you may have found that it isn’t so easy. However, you can keep it off with just a little bit of willpower, determination, and help with a medical professional. The first thing you should do when trying to lose weight is consult your physician to find the best healthy meal plan for you. Consulting a professional is crucial, especially if you have an illness, such as diabetes or heart disease. Keep your physician’s advice in mind as you go about choosing a diet meal plan.
WHAT IS A HEALTHY MEAL PLAN?
To create healthy meals, first make sure that your meals are well-balanced. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid recommends fruits and vegetables, protein, high fiber carbohydrates, and just a little oil. Keep in mind that mild to moderate hunger is not a bad thing. If you’re hungry, your metabolism is working! If you don’t experience hunger between meals, then you may not lose weight. While hunger is normal and even healthy, you should never go more than 4 hours in between meals. Planning snacks eliminates the likelihood that you’ll reach an excessive level of hunger and binge. In meal planning, note that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It helps to get you through the morning, sets the tone for the rest of your day, and jumpstarts your metabolism. Lunch may be a tough time to stick to a healthy meal plan if you work outside the home. Bring your lunch, packed with nutritious foods, like fruits, veggies, and nuts. Include snacks to tide you over until you make it home for dinner. If you do go out to eat, choose a restaurant where you can make healthy choices and, as a general rule of thumb, eat only half of the food served. Restaurants are notorious for serving enormous portions. You can also try getting a sandwich at the deli counter at your local grocery store, which gives you more portion and calorie control than lunches at restaurants. Lastly, dinner should be a moderately sized meal that includes a healthy source of lean protein, a carbohydrate serving, and vegetables.
WHAT ARE SOME IDEAS FOR A HEALTHY MEAL PLAN?
Here are some great ideas that can kick off your healthy meal plan:
- Breakfast – 6 oz. vegetable juice, an omelet with vegetables or a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and a medium-sized apple.
- Lunch – Grilled chicken breast on a bed of lettuce with low fat dressing, sugar-free flavored gelatin dessert or turkey wrap with vegetables, shredded cheese and light mayonnaise.
- Dinner – Grilled salmon, a small baked potato or sweet potato, and fresh green beans or baked chicken and a tossed salad with vegetables and low fat dressing, and steamed asparagus.
- Snacks – Low-fat cottage cheese, hummus with vegetables, or a low-fat mozzarella cheese stick.
Make sure that you vary the foods you eat in your healthy plan to ensure that you don’t get bored and optimize your weight loss depending on your dietary requirements, calorie goals, and tastes. Stick to your diet at least 90% of the time. A successful healthy meal plan is a realistic one, so try and give yourself a break every once in a while. After all your hard-earned weight loss, you deserve to veer a bit from your diet now and again.