Weight Loss Meals Plans: Important Things to Consider
Planning ahead is a key to the success of any endeavor, including weight loss. If you are serious about shedding those extra pounds of fat, you must realize that you need a healthy diet and regular exercise to accomplish your goal.
Weight loss meal plans play an important role in ensuring that you are able to get all the nutrients you need for the day without consuming too many calories. Having a weight loss meal plan will prevent spur-of-the-moment food choices that will keep you from losing weight.
What to Look For in a Weight Loss Meal Plan
To be effective, a weight loss meal plan should have the right amount of calories for the major macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein and fat).
A typical meal may contain 50-55% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 15-20% fat. However, you may want to change the ratios if you are following a particular weight loss plan.
The total number of calories consumed should be less than the amount of calories burned for weight loss. However, women should never consume less than 1,200 calories per day and men should never go below 1,500 calories per day.
Weight loss meal plans must include healthy foods that you enjoy. If you hate broccoli, it’s counterproductive to include this nutritious vegetable in your meal plan.
Instead, find another vegetable you enjoy, such as green beans, spinach, cabbage, or mustard greens. Eating foods you enjoy provides a feeling of satiety and helps curb food cravings.
A weight loss plan that is effective must be easy to implement and sustain. A meal plan for weight loss must be something you want to follow. If it is too restricting or difficult to implement, you will not want to continue with it.
Tips for Making a Great Weight Loss Meal Plan
Weight loss meal plans should include all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and two snacks. You may be horrified at the thought of eating more often, but remember that you are going to eat smaller portions.
Frequent meals and snacks keep your metabolism high and encourage your body to burn more fat. If you only eat once or twice a day, your body’s metabolism will slow down and it will start hoarding fat instead of burning it.
The following tips will help you plan your meals for weight loss:
- Breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day. Include carbohydrates for quick energy and proteins to build and repair muscles. A small amount of fat for breakfast helps control hunger and food cravings. An omelet along with tomato slices is a good way to start your day. Other foods you can have for breakfast include cottage cheese, nut butter, oatmeal, whole grain bread, smoked fish, fruits and vegetables.
- For your snacks, you can have something light but satisfying. A handful of walnuts or almonds, fruits, a few slices of cheese, air popped popcorn, cottage cheese, or trail mix is ideal for a snack.
- Lunch should include a low-fat protein such as grilled skinless chicken breast or tuna, along with fruits and vegetables. Grilled chicken with a baked sweet potato and broccoli makes a good weight-loss lunch.
- Dinner can be a light meal since you will be going to bed. Grilled tuna, a salad with vinaigrette dressing, and some fruit will round out your weight loss meal plan for the day.