It’s always useful to see what a meal plan for long-term success should look like, so I’ve got an example here, a full day’s menu — breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks (4 pounds of food!) for only 1,500 calories.
Rule of thumb: Include at least 2 servings of fruits and/or vegetables at every meal, and one serving at every snack.
2/3 cup cooked old-fashioned rolled oats (cooked in 2/3 cup Silk Plus with DHA soymilk (or nonfat milk), sweetened with Splenda and topped with 1 Tbsp. craisins. Serve with 1 cup of fresh fruit (such as cantaloupe).
(Why? Rolled oats stick with you longer than a Pop-Tart or even instant oatmeal. The fiber fills you up on fewer calories and the fresh fruit also is higher in fiber, and therefore stay-power, compared to juice. Also, portion control is critical!! You will gain weight on anything if you eat too much, so really watch those serving sizes!)
- Oatmeal: 96 calories
- Milk: 56 calories
- Craisins: 31 calories
1.5 cups of Campbell’s Healthy Request vegetable soup, turkey sandwich (2 ounces turkey breast on whole-wheat bread with lots of lettuce), and a 6-ounce glass of V8 juice.
(Why? Research shows that broth-based soups fill us up so we consume fewer calories, yet feel full. Go for the low-sodium varieties, such as Healthy Request, so you don’t retain water. The whole-grain bread also is more filling than white bread, and you can get an entire serving of vegetables into your sandwich if you stack up the lettuce. Finally, thick beverages, such as V8, not only supply more veggies, but research also shows these low-cal drinks help us cut back on calories.)
- Soup: 117 calories
- Turkey: 107 calories
- Whole-wheat bread: 172 calories
- Lettuce: 6 calories
- Tomato juice: 29 calories
4 ounces grilled salmon fillet, 1 /2 cup instant brown rice, 1 cup steamed vegetables (such as broccoli). For dessert: a half-cup serving of double-churned ice cream.
(Why? Protein also helps satisfy us, so make sure you include some protein at most meals. The whole-grain rice and the vegetables are loaded with water and fiber — two ingredients that we know help dilute calories — turning a feast into this nutrient-packed, low-calorie meal. You still can have a treat; just watch portions, such as this half-cup serving of ice cream.)
- Salmon: 245 calories
- Brown rice: 108 calories
- Broccoli: 24 calories
- Ice cream: 92 calories
1. A 6-ounce container of custard-style, low-fat yogurt with 1 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped.
(Why? Although preliminary, a few studies show that boosting intake of calcium-rich foods, such as yogurt and milk, might aid in weight loss.)
- Yogurt: 174 calories
- Kiwi: 64 calories
2. 1 ounce of almonds
(Why? Just last month, a study from Purdue University found that adding almonds to your daily diet did not cause weight gain and, in fact, helped keep dieters on track so they were more likely to stick with the weight-loss program.)
- Almonds: 167 calories
Total: 1,527 calories, 26% fat calories, 97 grams or 25% protein, 23 grams fiber