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Boost your energy and lose weight with this 7-day meal plan

You can still eat the foods you love while focusing on the nutrients you need to keep you at your most energized self.
by Kristin Kirkpatrick / / Source: TODAY

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Here’s the problem with dieting. You go on a typical “diet,” only to find that its restrictions have sapped your energy, but not your weight. There’s a better way and it involves eating the foods that you love while focusing on the nutrients you need to keep you at your most energized self.

This plan will help you get rid of the energy drainers (goodbye sugar-laden “energy” bars, candy and super sweet coffee creamers) that have been keeping you from your goals and replacing them with high quality energy boosters (hello protein and fiber-full black beans, colorful veggies and gloriously healthy fats).

Finally, this plan will keep you hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration is a major energy zapper and it not only makes you feel blah, but it can also make you think you’re hungry when you’re actually not! Don’t worry though, you don't have to quit coffee — caffeine can give you a nice boost when you need it and coffee beans just so happen to be loaded with antioxidants!

Here are the rules:

  • This is not a calorie-counting plan. Instead of focusing on quantity of food, we are going to instead focus on quality.
  • The foods provided here are filling, and loaded with energizing nutrients so instead of measuring each portion, why not try to truly listen to your hunger and eat until no longer hungry, not until fullness.
  • Snacks are options — not mandatory.

Breakfast:

1. Steel-cut oats: With cubed apples and wheat germ

2. Chia seed muffins: With a side of plain Greek yogurt topped with pomegranate seeds

3. Hearty crisp bread: With full-fat cream cheese, smoked salmon and capers

4. Scrambled eggs in a boat: Two scrambled eggs (1 egg, 1 egg white) with 1/2 sweet potato. Scoop out the sweet potato, then toast until brown on the edges and put scrambled eggs inside. Top with scooped out portion of sweet potato and season with salt and pepper

5. Overnight power bowl: Mix old-fashioned oats (1/2 cup) with 1 cup unsweetened cashew milk. Add in cinnamon and nutmeg and place in Mason jar to "cook" overnight

6. Veggie quinoa quiche cups

7. Energizing kale smoothie

8. Avocado toast: Toast sprouted grain bread and top with sliced avocado, tomatoes, a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper

Lunch:

1. Sprouted grain wrap: With avocado smear, turkey breast, spinach and sprouts

2. Crab cakes: With a side of roasted asparagus

3. Black bean soup: With a side of Parmesan cheese discs

4. Chickpea stew: With roasted beet "chips" (peel and slice one beet into thin discs), place on a nonstick baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper; bake at 350 for 25 minutes

5. Chia lentil burgers: On a whole-grain bun with a simple side salad, mixed with matchstick carrots

6. Veggie pita: With toasted whole-grain pita, carrot sticks, celery sticks and cherry tomatoes

Dinner:

1. Roasted salmon: With roasted red skin potatoes

2. Thai peanut spaghetti squash bowl: Can top with cubed tempeh for more protein

3. Sesame seed crusted tofu: With steamed broccoli and brown rice balls

4. Kale and arugula salad: Topped with pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, oil and vinegar with baked or roasted chicken breast

5. Lentil penne pasta: With tomato sauce, topped with turkey and zucchini meatballs

6. Southwest burrito: With scrambled eggs, avocado, black beans, cheese, cilantro and lime juice; wrap in a whole-grain wrap and top with salsa

Snacks:

1. Seed and nut mix with dark chocolate chips

2. Salmon jerky

3. Avocado brownie bites

4. Roasted cinnamon walnuts: Place 1 cup of walnuts, olive oil, salt and cinnamon in a plastic baggie, shake to coat and bake in oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes

5. Handful of olives

6. Bean-based chips with salsa or guacamole

7. Mixed berry bowl

Drinks:

Getting in plenty of water throughout the day will help keep you at your best. If water is too boring though, then just focus on clear liquids, free of added sugars or artificial sweeteners (Stevia, which is not artificial, is OK). You can also indulge in herbal teas and yes, coffee.

Finally, try and limit alcohol consumption to no more than a few drinks a week. This will help your energy, and your weight-loss goals!

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