Staying on track when you’re on a diet is hard—just ask anyone who’s been on a weight loss plan. The reason so many people fail is that they associate weight loss with huge amount of sacrifice. As a result, they are predisposed to dislike anything that’s part of a diet, even if it’s perfectly good food they would eat any other day. A good meal plan for weight loss includes foods you would eat even if you weren’t on a diet, but in the right amount and accompanied by other lifestyle changes. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.
Breakfast: Start the day off with something light and filling. If you’re going to indulge any time during the day, breakfast is the time to do it. Unfortunately, although not surprisingly, bacon and scrambled eggs are out of the question. Hard-boiled eggs are okay about once a week. Cold cereal, non-fat milk, and bran muffins are excellent sources of energy to help you get things done. Always make it a point to have a serving of fruit, on its own or with your cereal. Bananas, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, and grapefruit are among the best breakfast fruits.
Lunch: You can go a long way with sandwiches and wraps. Get a pack of tortilla wraps and a lean filling of your choice—tuna, salmon, chicken breast, or lean ham—and you have enough “calorie quota” left for a slice of Swiss cheese and a light salad. Add more variety to your dish by alternating between salad, veggie dips (make sure to use low-fat dips), and soup. Throw in any fresh fruit that’s in season and you’re good to go. If possible, make it so that your dinners make enough leftovers to whip up a quick sandwich for the next day’s lunch.
Dinner: Most of us don’t have the time cook up a full meal after work. If that sounds like you, one solution is to invest in a slow cooker—just throw in the ingredients in the morning and you’ve got a nice, healthy dinner waiting when you come home. Rice, potatoes, roast meats, seafood, and even leafy vegetables lend themselves very well to slow cooking. Make sure to avoid loading up on the spices—if you’re worried the process will wash out the food’s flavor, leave them out and add them just before serving.
Of course, don’t forget to pack some healthy snacks. Most meal plans for weight loss have you running on less than the recommended 1,200 calories a day, so it’s normal to get cravings in between meals. Dried fruits, low-fat crackers, and tea can help you get through the day without piling on the pounds.