Putting together a diet plan on your own can be pretty exhausting. But you have to do it because you have made a New Year’s resolution, or you want to look your best for one of your siblings’ wedding or simply because you want to live a healthier life.
While you can easily follow a meal plan to lose weight with the help of a magazine or an online publication, but you can never be sure whether that plan is based on scientific evidence or not. That is why following a meal plan arranged by an expert nutritionist or dietitian will be a wise decision here.
If you are also one of those people who plan to lose weight and would like to know which plans experts think are the best, then you have come to the right place as in this article, we will look at not just one, but three diet plans to lose weight. We will also discuss some tips as told by dietitians to stay on track.
Before we delve further into the topic, we have to talk about the calorie intake since one of the diets on this list is the best low-calorie meal plan. That is why it is important for you to know how many calories you are taking per day. Remember that the number of calories may vary keeping in view your size, your gender, and the number of activities you perform in a day.
A lot of diet plans restrict women from taking over 1200 calories per day. However, the number can be higher if the woman is active physically. Men, on the other hand, are restricted to consuming 1500-1800 calories per day. As we have already discussed that it depends on the gender, you can see the difference.
Best Diet Plans to Lose Weight
Now that we have understood about the calories, let’s go over our first meal plan:
1500 calorie per day meal plan:
Eating fewer calories per day is one of the most common ways of losing weight. The goal here is to take as less as a quarter of your calories regularly but also consuming your daily nutrition. The practical way here is to subtract 500 calories from your daily calorie intake.
For an average woman, almost 2000 calories are needed to maintain her current weight, and for an averagely weighing man, almost 2400 calories are required to maintain his current weight. This means that the woman would have to reduce her calorie intake to 1500 while the man would have to reduce his calorie intake to 1900.
Here is what a sample 1500 calorie diet plan should look like:
The following diet plan was developed by Shereen Lehman who is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and American Society for Nutrition.
- A slice of whole-grain toast with one tablespoon of almond butter
- One hardboiled egg
- An orange
- A cup of plain tea or coffee
- Two slices of bread (whole grain), two ounces sliced of roast beef, a slice of Swiss cheese and a tablespoon of mustard
- Half cup containing sliced carrots
- As a beverage, a cup of nonfat milk
- A three-ounce chicken breast with two tablespoons salsa
- A cup of cooked broccoli with lemon juice
- Half cup of cooked black beans
- A whole-wheat dinner roll with a teaspoon of butter
- A small glass of white wine
- A nectarine
- Drink plenty of water
- A three-quarter cup of plain yogurt with a tablespoon of honey
- A half-cup of blueberries
- Ten pecan halves
- A cup of sweetened grapefruit juice
The DASH Diet:
The following diet was proposed by Jaclyn London, who holds a Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University.
The DASH in the name stands for Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension. The interesting thing about this diet is that not only people who want to lose weight can try it, but those looking for a healthier lifestyle can also check it out.
The emphasize in this diet is not just on one product, but of all types, including seafood, 100% whole grains, seeds, nuts, and low-fat dairy. The protein intake in this diet comes from pork, seafood, and poultry. The DASH diet also showed that the food intake including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, etc., in this diet helps a person lower his blood pressure. (Tyson, C. C., Nwankwo, C., Lin, P.-H., & Svetkey, L. P. (2012, October).
This plan also puts a limit on high saturated fast foods, added sugars, and sodium. It does so by cutting red meat about half a servings per day and reducing processed foods such as condiments, fast food, sweetened beverages, jam, syrups, etc.
Following is the sample menu of this diet plan. It consists of servings per day:
• 2-3 servings of dairy products. They should mostly be part-skin and unsweetened
• 6-8 servings of whole grains. For instance, a slice of toast or ½ cup of oatmeal or pasta
• 5 servings of fruits and veggies
• 6 ounces of lean protein. A mix of seafood, poultry, pork and eggs
• 2-3 teaspoons of fats and oils
Here’s what the servings per week should be:
• 4-5 servings of nuts and legumes. Like 2 tablespoons of nut butter or a half cup of beans
• 5 servings of sweets per week. Each treat should be of 18 grams and under
The Mediterranean diet:
As the name suggests, the whole point of a Mediterranean diet is to eat like how people in the Mediterranean region used to eat. Their traditional diet included a significant amount of fresh produce, whole grains, legumes along with healthy fish and fats. This is a 7-day meal plan.
A lot of studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet really helps in losing weight. It can also help in preventing heart attacks, strokes, premature death, and type-2 diabetes.
The general guidelines of this diet includes eating the following food:
- A broad variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
- Healthful fats such as nuts, olive oil, and seeds
Neutral amounts of dairy and fish
- A little amount of white and red meat
- A few eggs
- Moderate red wine
Below is a sample of the Mediterranean diet for a week. Please note that this is a sample menu. One can adjust food in the list according to his preference, as long as they abide by the basic rules of this diet.
Breakfast: Greek yogurt along with strawberries and oats
Lunch: Whole grain sandwiches with vegetables
Dinner: Tuna salad, which should be dressed in olive oil. One piece of fruit as a dessert
Breakfast: Oatmeal along with raisins
Lunch: The leftover tuna salad from the night before
Dinner: Salad along with tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese
Breakfast: Omelet, along with veggies, tomatoes, and onions. A piece of fruit
Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with cheese and fresh vegetables
Dinner: Mediterranean lasagna
Breakfast: Yogurt with nuts and sliced fruits
Lunch: The leftover lasagna from the night before
Dinner: Broiled salmon with brown rice and vegetables
Breakfast: Eggs and vegetables which should be fried in olive oil
Lunch: Greek yogurt with strawberries, nuts, and oats
Dinner: Grilled lamb with salad and baked potato
Breakfast: Oatmeal with nuts, raisins, and one apple
Lunch: Whole grain sandwich with vegetables
Dinner: Mediterranean pizza made from whole wheat, topped with cheese, olives, and vegetables
Breakfast: Omelet with olives and veggies
Lunch: The leftover pizza from the night before
Dinner: Grilled chicken with vegetables and a potato. Eat fruit for dessert
Tips for sticking to your weight loss meal plan
Making meal plans and then consistently following them are two completely different things. After following it for a few days, one might feel that he is wasting his time, especially if he cannot see the results. Weight loss is a journey. It cannot happen in just a few days.
You have to commit to the meal plan and make sure you follow it regularly. To help you with sticking to your meal plan, Malia Frey, who is a certified weight management specialist, certified health coach, and certified nutritionist specialist, has a few tips:
• Take out time to plan: Take 30 minutes out of your daily routine to set a plan. This plan will include scheduling your meals and making a shopping list. You should schedule your meal plan just as you schedule other important events in your daily life. You can also schedule your exercise plan during this time.
• Go shopping and start cooking: Once you have scheduled your meals, it is time to go shopping. A lot of people who start dietary journey get their kitchens stacked for a whole week immediately. When you have also done that, you can carefully arrange the healthy foods in your kitchen and your refrigerator, so it is easier for you to finds foods.
• Keep your plan in front of you: If your plan is lying in a drawer somewhere, it is of no use. You will eventually forget that you even had one. Once you have made your plan, you need to post it somewhere you can see every day. Along with serving as a reminder, it will also motivate you not to quit.
• Prepare your food in advance: Another important step in making sure you stick to your meal plan is organizing your meals beforehand. For instance, when you have had dinner, you can lay out your food which you are going to eat for breakfast the next morning. Then you can pack your lunch and snacks for the next day. Whenever you get free time, you should prepare your meal. This way, when you come home from work, tired, you would not have to go through the trouble of preparing it again as you would have prepared it already.
Final Thoughts on Choosing the Best Diet Plans for Your Lifestyle
Always remember that when you sit down and prepare your meal plan the first time, it is going to take you longer. Once you get the gist of it, it will be easier for you to do so in the future. Sticking to a meal plan is indeed an achievement, and you should feel better about yourself if you can do that. Before you start any of the diet plans, make sure to tell your dietitian about it since he will know what food is best for you. And lastly, the steps you take don’t need to be big; they just have to take you in the right direction.
So, what are you waiting for? Take the first step towards a healthy lifestyle today!