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Your 10-Day Rapid Weight Loss Plan, Crafted by Dietitians

Keto. Flexitarian. Paleo. Whole 30. Vegan. There are as many diets in existence as there are dangerous weight loss myths. So which eating style should you choose when you’re on a get-fit-quick and have just 10 days? Turns out, numerous studies have found it essentially doesn’t matter which plan you follow for rapid weight loss, be it low-carb or low-fat, as long as you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning. The key is that it’s sustainable: a strategy that you can keep up for the week and a half—and beyond.

“There should be no amount of time you limit yourself to make a healthy choice,” says Leah Kaufman, RD, owner of Leah Kaufman Nutrition in New York City. Whether you’re losing LBs to improve your heart health or shedding for the wedding, try this totally doable 10-day rapid weight loss plan. You’ll burn fat and feel healthier and more confident.

1

Day 1: Get Your Mind Right

Set (and write down) reasonable expectations for what you plan to achieve during your challenge. “You can absolutely make a difference in 10 days,” says Brooke Alpert, RD, a dietitian in New York City and the author of The Diet Detox, but don’t expect to shed 20 pounds a la The Biggest Loser. “While actual weight loss will be around three to four pounds, you can really notice the difference in the way your body feels in about a week.”

2

Day 2: Water Log

All of our RD experts agree: H2O is crucial for weight loss. “Water is so important when trying to lose weight since it helps to you feel full between meals,” says Amy Shapiro, RD, founder of Real Nutrition NYC in New York City. Here’s a simple hydration rule of thumb: Shoot to consume half as many ounces of water as your total body weight in pounds. (So if you weigh 180, sip on 90 ounces of water each day.)

3

Day 3: Stop Counting Calories—Yes, really!

It’s just as important and beneficial (if not more so) to focus on diet quality rather than quantity, says a 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Focus on real foods rather than a strict number of calories and you’re more likely to stay slim over the long term. Shapiro recommends these shedding superfoods, in particular:

  • Celery, cucumber, and asparagus: “All are natural diuretics, so they will also help to remove fluid from the body.”
  • Spinach: “It’s filling since the leafy greens are very high in fiber.”
  • Fish or chicken breast: “The ample amount of protein keeps the body busy breaking it down so you stay full longer.”
  • Olive oil: “Fat helps food taste better and tames your appetite.”

4

Day 4: Declare a Dry Week

“Alcohol can influence our food choices and may result in making poor food choices,” Kaufman says. Which is exactly why Alpert recommends this easy-to-remember motto for the rest of the 10-day quick weight loss plan: “Lots of water. No alcohol. Tons of greens and lean proteins.”

5

Day 5: Examine Your Eats

We’ll focus heavily on the actual meal plan during day nine, but for now, grab a journal. “If I think my jeans are getting a little tight, I write down everything I eat for three days,” Alpert says. “That helps me clean up my choices and also prevents any of those not-worth it bites that do add up over the course of a day.”

The accountability of tracking has been proven to help you lose about five percent more of your body weight compared to those who abstain, according to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

6

Day 6: Eliminate the Easy Targets

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Now that you know that you tend to seek out a brownie at 3 p.m. or down an extra glass of wine with your BFF at happy hour, aim to omit one or two of those triggers from your agenda each day. A few formidable foes to keep an eye on:

  • “Processed foods, white carbohydrates, and sweetened drinks cause sugar spikes that can lead to hunger or powerful cravings that can wreck your progress,” Shapiro says.
  • “Pass on the fried foods,” Kaufman says, as they’re high in fat, low in nutrition and the excess oil will leave you feeling lethargic.
  • “Remove extra sugar from your diet: sugar in your coffee, flavored or sweetened dairy products, basically anytime you sweeten something, stop,” Alpert says.

In fact, by removing added sugars from your diet for just 14 days can help you lose up to a pound a day! For the entire diet—complete with recipes and a grocery guide—check out The 14-Day No Sugar Diet on sale now!

7

Day 7: Start Smart

Eat the bulk of your calories before 3 p.m. and you’re more likely to be slim than your splurge-at-dinner peers, says an International Journal of Obesity study.

“A healthy jumpstart should always include at least 50 percent fresh vegetables,” Kaufman says. And regardless of which meal packs the most calories, “always make sure to have a lean protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” she adds.

8

Day 8: Crank Up the Cardio

Supplement your current fitness routine with an extra 20 minutes of biking, rowing, or running each day. “I believe in weight training for overall fitness and health but if I’m trying to shed a few pounds, I’ll up my cardio game for a few weeks,” Shapiro says.

Notice how we didn’t address exercise until later in the program? There’s a reason. “You can’t outrun a bad diet,” Shapiro adds. “I firmly believe weight loss is 80 percent what you put in your mouth. I consider food first then add exercise for the best results.”

Countless studies have found that diet plays a much larger role in weight loss, although 150 minutes of exercise per week is recommended to maintain weight—and more importantly, improve overall physical and mental well-being.

9

Day 9: Try this One-Day Clean Eating Menu

Rather than a “detox,” follow Shapiro’s deprivation-free meal plan today to jumpstart your metabolism from the moment you wake up.

Breakfast: 2 poached eggs on a 2 cups of greens, steamed + 1 cup of coffee and 2 cups of water
Morning snack: 1 small piece of fruit + 1 cup of water
Lunch: A leafy green salad (dressed with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar) topped with 4 ounces of chicken and ⅓ cup quinoa + 2 cups of water
Afternoon snack: 1 cup cucumber slices with ¼ cup hummus + 1 cup of green tea
Dinner: 6 ounces of salmon, 2 cups of steamed broccoli and cauliflower, ⅓ cup sweet potato cubes pan-fried in 1 tablespoon olive oil + 2 cups of water

10

Day 10: Weigh in

According to the National Weight Control Registry, a database that tracks more than 10,000 individuals who have lost over 30 pounds and kept them off for at least one year, 75 percent of the most successful dieters weigh in at least once a week. Now that you’ve reached the end of your 10-day diet pilot, step on the scale and jot down your progress. Ready to continue your progress? Stoke your fat-burning furnace with a copy of The Super Metabolism Diet! With the help of this book, you can quickly and easily turn your metabolism into a fat-melting machine.

Get the New Book!

Want to lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—all without dieting?! Get your copy of Eat This, Not That: The Best (& Worst) Foods in America!, and learn how to indulge smarter and lose weight fast!

Have you just realized that you have put on some unwanted kilos while trying to fit in that 6 month old jeans? Most of the times, we put on weight even without noticing it, and when we notice, it is already late and the harm has been already done in form of fat and inch addition.

However, late is always better than never and if you are serious, you can easily lose those extra kilos quickly to get back into your old jeans. The early you start, the easier it will be to lose the weight and hence, the very day on which you notice the extra weight, get into a diet plan. Losing weight in 10 days can seem like a dream for many, but in reality, if you are serious enough about losing weight quickly, you can make it just in 10 days.

A proper diet plan coupled with sufficient exercise can give you great weight loss effects. Keep in mind that dieting does not mean starving yourself; it means controlling and moderating your diet in a fashion that boosts the burning of calorie in the body and limits storage. Regular exercising also plays a key role in helping you lose weight, and along with the right diet plan, it is essential to follow a proper exercise regimen as well to get the maximum benefits.

Now we will straight get into the 10 days Indian diet plan that can help you lose weight quickly,

10 Day Indian diet – Day 1

How to lose weight in 2 weeks

The Day 1 of this 10 day diet plan will be most difficult on you, particularly because you are trying to take your body into restrictions suddenly. However, if you can manage to go through the first day without compromising with the diet plan, from Day 2 onwards, things will become much easier.

Morning drink

Start your morning with a glass of warm water, added with 1 spoon of honey and 1 spoon of lemon juice. This drink can give you instant energy and will also help in boosting the natural metabolism of your body, giving you weight loss benefits. Having this drink in empty stomach, the first thing in the morning will also help in detoxification of the body.

Breakfast

If you wake up at 8am in the morning, you should not take your breakfast later than 9am. Your breakfast menu for the first day should include,

  • 1 chapatti
  • Homemade sour curd made from double toned milk
  • The white of one boiled egg

Pre-lunch diet

Reducing the gap between the foods will help you in controlling the hunger. So, include a simple pre-lunch food in your diet chart. Your pre-lunch diet for the first day should include,

  • 6-7 almonds, without raisins, salt or oil

The lunch diet

How to lose weight fast

Keep in mind that the preparations of lunch should have minimum oil in them and completely avoid any added salt or sugar. Your lunch of the first day should be,

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1/2 cup dal without tarka
  • 1/2 bowl vegetable of your choice
  • 1 medium sized fish (should not be deep fried )

It is best if you can opt for fishes like Tuna, Salmon that are loaded with Omega -3 fatty acids.

Evening refreshment

Keep your evening refreshment at 4pm limited to one cup of tea with milk or sugar and 2 cream cracker biscuits.

Pre-diner meal

The right time to take your pre-dinner meal is 7pm.Your pre-diner meal on the first day should be 1 fruit of your choice. Pick anything you like except bananas and enjoy.

Dinner diet

Best healthy diet foods

On the first day you should not take your dinner later than 8.30pm. The dinner diet for the first day should include the following,

  • 1 bowl chicken soup (prepare it at home, do not opt for the packed ones available in the market)
  • 1 brown bread with almond butter and no sugar
  • 1/2 bowl boiled vegetables

Pre-bed drink

The pre-bed drink can help in keeping your body metabolism high even when you are asleep. Steep 1/2 spoon of grated ginger in 1 cup warm water; add 1/2 spoon honey to it and drink 1 hour before going to bed.

10 Day Indian diet – Day 2 and Day 3

A glass of warm water with 1 spoon lemon juice, 1/2 spoon grated ginger and 1 spoon honey.

Breakfast diet

Take your breakfast at 9am and make sure that the dishes contain no added sugar or salt. The breakfast diet should include,

  • 1 cup upma made with rava and vegetables
  • 1 glass milk

How to lose weight without gym

At 11am take a glass of vegetable smoothie as your pre-lunch diet. Make the smoothie with green and leafy vegetables like Kale. You can also add tomatoes and bottle gourd to it. Mix sufficient amount of pepper to the smoothie and drink.

Diet for lunch

You should take your lunch at 1pm and it should include,

  • 1 plate vegetable salad prepared from cucumber, beetroots, carrots, tomatoes and sprinkled with Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Corn meal Khichri prepared with minimum oil

Your 4pm evening refreshment should include 5-6 almonds, without salt or oil.

The diner diet

Take your diner by 7.30 in the evening. The diner menu should include,

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 small bowl of vegetables

Best diet & nutrition tips

Prepare your pre-bed drink by mixing 1/2 spoon of cinnamon powder with warm water and drink it 1 hour before going to the bed.

10 Day Indian diet – Day 4 and Day 5

Now as you are approaching the mid of your 10 days diet plan, hence it is the best time to restrict your calorie intake. On Day 4 and Day 5 your diet should be,

1 cup of green tea without sugar will do fine as a morning drink during this span.

Your 9am breakfast should include,

  • 1 glass warm milk
  • 1 fruit of your choice expect banana

The 11am pre-lunch should include 1/2 bowl of sprouted chickpeas, with a dash of lemon but no salt.

The lunch diet plan

How to lose weight at home

Take your lunch around 1.30 pm and include the following,

  • 1 bowl vegetable salad
  • 1 bowl dal without tarka

1 cup milk without sugar will make the best food for the 4pm snacking during the 4th and 5th day of the diet plan.

Dinner

Your dinner time should not be later than 7.30pm and it should include,

  • 1 plate vegetable salad made from cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and a good amount of ACV
  • The white of 1 boiled egg

The drink to be taken 1 hour before going to the bed should be prepared by mixing 1 spoon of pure Aloe Vera juice in 1 glass of slightly warm water.

10 Day Indian diet – Day 6 and Day 7

The morning drink

How to lose weight with green tea

Soak 2 spoons of cleaned methi (fenugreek) seeds in 1 glass water overnight. In the morning strain the water and drink it as the first thing in the morning for these two days.

The breakfast meal

On Day 6 and 7, the breakfast should be the most elaborate meal of the day. It should include,

  • 1 bowl oatmeal with skimmed milk and 6-7 chopped almonds
  • 1 fruit of your choice.

The pre-lunch diet

At 11am take a plate of fruit salad as your pre-lunch diet to ensure that you are not very hungry till lunch.

Your lunch diet at 1pm should include,

  • 2 whole wheat chapattis
  • 1 bowl vegetable
  • 1 medium piece of fish (not deep fried)

How to lose weight with cycling

Take your evening refresh around 4pm. Munch on 7-8 almonds.

7.30 pm dinner should include the following,

  • 1/2 bowl chicken stew
  • 1 bowl of sprouted beans

Prepare your pre-bed drink by adding small ginger pieces and 1 spoon of honey in 1 glass of warm water and drink it one hour before going to the bed.

10 Day Indian diet – Day 8 and Day 9

The morning drink should be made with Honey, cinnamon and warm water to boost your metabolism.

How to lose weight with honey

Take your breakfast at 9am with the following,

  • 1 medium sized bowl of soaked beaten rice with lemon juice and no added salt or sugar
  • 1 banana

As you will have a light lunch so, it is best to have a filling vegetable smoothie as your pre-lunch diet at around 11am. You can use any vegetable of your choice to make the smoothie. Include Bottle gourd and cucumber too along with sufficient pepper.

1 pm lunch for the day 8 and 9 should include,

  • 1/2 plate salad made from cucumber, carrots and tomatoes
  • 1/2 bowl of steamed rice
  • 1 bowl dal without tarka

At 4pm take one cup of double toned milk as your evening refreshment along with a handful of sprouted beans or chickpeas.

How to lose weight with almonds

Take your dinner as early as 7pm and stick to only vegetable salad added with a good amount of ACV and pepper.

Post-diner diet

As you are taking your diner as early as 7pm, have a cup of vegetable soup without butter or salt at around 8pm.

Prepare your pre-bed drink by adding cinnamon, ginger pieces and honey to a glass of warm water and drink it 1 hour before going to bed.

10 Day Indian diet – Day 10

This is the last day of your diet plan and you have to make sure that you restrict the salt in your diet completely on this day. It is best to go completely salt free for this day, because consumption of salt is directly related with water retention in the body, which can make you look fat.

As soon as you wake up take 1 spoon of raw Aloe Vera juice with 1 glass of warm water.

Summer health & fitness tips

The menu for 9am breakfast should be,

  • 2 brown breads without butter
  • 1 glass fruit juice made at home without sugar or sweetener
  • the white of 2 boiled eggs

Drink a glass of juice made from Cucumber, pineapple, oranges and carrots. Add sufficient pepper to the drink and 1 spoon honey. You should take this drink around 11am in the morning.

You should take your lunch at 1pm and the menu should be,

  • 1 bowl vegetable khichri made with minimum oil
  • 1 plate salad sprinkled with Apple Cider Vinegar

Your 4pm break should include 1 glass of double toned milk with 2 cream cracker biscuits.

Health benefits of lemon juice

Take your dinner around 7pm and include the following in the diet,

  • 1/2 cup puffed rice
  • 1 cup homemade sour curd

1-1.30 hours after you have taken your dinner take one fruit of your choice as a post-dinner diet.

Your pre-bed drink should include honey, lemon and cinnamon along with a glass of warm water.

Follow this diet plan and you are sure loose significant weight by the end of the 10th Day.

So can you lose weight in a week? With the one week diet plan, you could lose up to seven pounds in seven days.

Getting trim can be tricky and trying to lose weight fast can be even more difficult. Too often, we vow to hit the gym every morning and subsist on just one low-cal meal per day, only to end up failing and binging on cake and chocolate on day two. That’s because fad diets can be incredibly restrictive and often leave us feeling hungry and unsatisfied – not to mention lacking in energy.

No more! With the one week diet plan, you can lose weight fast and feel great in just seven days – without starving yourself along the way. All-or-nothing diets set you up for failure, but the one week diet plan allows you to eat three full meals per days, including lots of healthy fruits and vegetables, plus snacking in between meals.

You’ll feel full and satisfied, thanks to the high protein intake and plenty of fibre-filled vegetables and fruits. Sugar is off the menu but don’t worry, you’re still allowed your daily coffee or tea fix – just make sure it’s decaf!

There are no gimmicks to the one week diet, just smart advice and easy-to-follow instructions. The weight loss plan is low in fat, low in carbs, but high in good-for-you foods. And the best part is that meals can be thrown together fast, making the diet even easier to stick to!

Find more weight loss advice here

If you’re planning to shift the pounds in just a week, it’s important to bear in mind that it won’t be easy, and that you’ll have to maintain a restricted diet in order to see the benefits.

In order to lose weight in such a small space of time, you’ll need to keep your calorie count low, whilst still maintaining a healthy diet plan that will keep you satisfied – as, of course, you’re more likely to want the bad stuff if you aren’t!

How to lose weight in a week: The meal plans

Whether you’ve got a special occasion coming up or are jetting off to a beach holiday next week, we’ve got the perfect healthy eating plan to help you shed pounds fast. In fact, with the one week diet plan, you could lose up to seven pounds in seven days!

Losing weight can be difficult and trying to shed pounds fast can feel almost impossible. Too often, we vow to hit the gym every morning and try to subsist on just one low-cal meal per day, only to end up failing and binging on cake and chocolate on day two.

That’s because fad diets can be incredibly restrictive and often leave us feeling hungry and unsatisfied – not to mention lacking in energy. No more! With the one week diet plan, you can lose weight and feel great in just seven days – without starving yourself along the way.

There are no gimmicks to the one week diet, just smart advice and easy-to-follow instructions. The weight loss plan is low in fat, low in carbs but high in good-for-you foods. The best part is that meals can be thrown together fast, making the diet even easier to stick to!

All-or-nothing diets set you up for failure. But the one week diet plan allows you to eat three full meals per days, including lots of healthy fruits and vegetables, plus snacking in between meals. You’ll feel full and satisfied, thanks to the high protein intake and plenty of nutritious foods. Sugar is off the menu but don’t worry, you’re still allowed your daily coffee or tea fix – just make sure it’s decaf!

So how does the one week diet work? Just click ahead now for our simple rules and stick with them for seven days. You could drop an inch off your waist or seven pounds in seven days – not bad!

Find more weight loss advice here

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Good luck!

What Dr. Arefa Cassoobhoy Says:

Does It Work?

Yes. It makes sense and the research proves it. When you exercise and limit your foods to healthy choices in small portions, you’ll lose weight.

The benefit of exercising during weight loss is the ability to lose body fat while maintaining muscle. One study showed that people who followed a biggest loser program maintained more lean body mass than those who went through bariatric surgery. But that didn’t stop metabolism from dropping in both groups, likely due to eating so few calories.

Critics say The Biggest Loser diet as seen on the TV show is unreasonable for the average person, because it’s extreme. This may be true, but if you have a large amount of weight to lose, an initial focus on getting a lot of weight off quickly may be motivating.

Is It Good for Certain Conditions?

Yes. When you lose the weight you’ll be preventing many medical conditions linked with obesity. You’ll lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stroke. The exercise will increase your core strength, stamina, and flexibility. You’ll be able to get out, live life, and socialize with other people by doing activities like biking and hiking.

If you already have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, check with your doctor before you start this challenging diet and exercise program.

To prevent injuries, you may need to pace yourself for slower, steady weight loss over a longer time than the TV show season.

The Final Word

This no-nonsense diet and exercise program works, but it is not for everyone. You have to participate in high levels of exercise and eat many fewer calories to lose weight.

Don’t get frustrated if you’re not losing weight as fast as the TV-show success stories, as research shows the level of activity on the show isn’t sustainable in a real life setting. It’s more important to make exercise and diet a regular and enjoyable part of your life.

Meal Plans

If you, like many people are looking for an easier way to lose weight, then this is it. With our weight loss meal plans, we’ve already done the nutritional thinking and calorie counting for you and created an effortless full week menu (or fortnightly in some cases). Our success rate on meal plans comes down to top quality, healthful ingredients, passion in the kitchen and the higher protein content of our meals. You will feel satisfied and even a bit pampered and those attributes make sticking to a plan a piece of cake!

Plans to choose from

We have a huge variety of plans to suit 5 or 7 days, different calorie levels and dietary preferences, plus our 4 Week Body Reset Program with our expert nutritionist, Zoe Bingley-Pullin. Here’s a summary to help you find the perfect plan for you. You can also refer to our What’s the best plan for me?

1200 Calorie Meal Plan – Our most popular meal plan for women who want results. Includes vegetarian or gluten free options.

1500 Calorie Meal Plan – Recommended for women with a more active lifestyle.

1800 Calorie Meal Plan – Our most popular meal plan for men or those with higher energy requirements, such as to maintain training.

Fast 800 Calorie Diet – For rapid weight loss, Stage 1 of 2 (5.2 diet). Click below to learn more.

5.2 Diet Plan – With this plan you skip breakfast on two non-consecutive days in the week to get the benefits of intermittent fasting. Read more on the Is the 5:2 diet worth trying? from Dr Joanna McMillan.

5 Day Lunch + Dinner – A healthy time saving option for busy working people with just 5 lunches and 5 dinners included. High protein, vegetarian, gluten free, low carb and pescatarian options available. * No swaps available on 5 Day lunch & dinner packs, please select 5 Lunches & Dinners via individual meals section.

4 Week Body Reset Program – More than just a meal plan, this is a comprehensive health and wellbeing program, developed in collaboration with our expert nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin. This program will guide you to reset old habits and develop a new, healthier lifestyle. Combining nutritional education with a meal plan, recipes, movement and wellness, plus a range of healthy support meals & snacks delivered to your door, so you stay on track, this program is for anyone looking to reset old habits for healthy new habits – for life

Don’t like some of the meals in the set plan?

We allow you to swap out up to 3 meals in any one plan (Not available in the 4 Week Body Reset Program). Please reply to your confirmation email with the three meals you want swapped out and the three meals you would like instead and our customer service team will arrange. If you are ordering the day of your delivery it’s best to give us a call to confirm the swaps. We suggest you also look at the Build Your Own Plan which allow you to customise and create your own plan from scratch.

The 7-Day Diet Plan for Weight Loss from ‘The Biggest Loser’

Elena Veselova/

Just in case you need to hear this: You don’t need to lose weight. Not to be happy. Not to fall in love. Not to get the job of your dreams. If you want to lose weight to get healthier? Great. Just know that body size isn’t the end-all, be-all of determining your health. Feeling good and taking care of your body is the goal—and that can look like a lot of different things.

But if you want to make some healthy changes to your diet or if you want to lose some fat, committing to a diet plan can really help.

To help you get started, The Biggest Loser nutritionist Cheryl Forberg, R.D., designed this seven-day diet plan for weight loss, which is just like the one that helps the competitors slim down. With this easy-to-follow plan, you’re sure to feel refreshed and lose weight (if you want to!) in no time. (Want a longer plan? Try the 30-Day Clean-ish Eating Challenge.)

7-Day Diet Plan for Weight Loss

This is no deprivation diet: You’ll eat three meals and two snacks daily, plus each dish packs a filling balance of 45 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, and 25 percent healthy fats. (More on that here: Everything to Know About Counting Your Macros) When it comes to drinks, Forberg recommends sticking to no- and low-cal picks like coffee, tea, and water.

And to accelerate weight loss and build a healthy and strong body, The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper suggests doing 60 to 90 minutes of moderate exercise four times a week. (Also read this: How to Build Your Own Workout Routine for Weight Loss)

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Monday

Breakfast:

  • 1/2 cup egg whites scrambled with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon chopped basil, 1 teaspoon grated Parmesan, and 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 slice whole-grain toast
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup skim milk

Snack:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt topped with 1/4 cup sliced strawberries

Lunch:

  • Salad made with: 3/4 cup cooked bulgur, 4 ounces chopped grilled chicken breast, 1 tablespoon shredded low-fat cheddar, diced grilled veggies (2 tablespoons onion, 1/4 cup diced zucchini, 1/2 cup bell pepper), 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro, and 1 tablespoon low-fat vinaigrette (check out these other Buddha bowl recipes too.)

Snack:

  • 2 tablespoons hummus and 6 baby carrots

Dinner:

  • 4 ounces grilled salmon
  • 1 cup wild rice with 1 tablespoon slivered toasted almonds
  • 1 cup wilted baby spinach with 1 teaspoon each olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup diced cantaloupe topped with
  • 1/2 cup all-fruit raspberry sorbet and 1 teaspoon chopped walnuts

Image zoom dilyaz/

Tuesday

Breakfast:

  • 3/4 cup steel-cut or old-fashioned oatmeal prepared with water; stir in 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 links country-style turkey sausage
  • 1 cup blueberries

Snack:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free ricotta cheese with 1/2 cup raspberries and 1 tablespoon chopped pecans

Snack:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese with 1/2 cup salsa

Dinner:

  • 1 turkey burger
  • 3/4 cup roasted cauliflower and broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup spinach salad with 1 tablespoon light balsamic vinaigrette

Image zoom Gorenkova Evgenija/

Wednesday

Breakfast:

  • Omelet made with 4 egg whites and 1 whole egg, 1/4 cup chopped broccoli, 2 tablespoons each fat-free refried beans, diced onion, diced mushrooms, and salsa
  • Quesadilla made with 1/2 of one small corn tortilla and 1 tablespoon low-fat jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced watermelon

Snack:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt with 1 sliced apple and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts

Lunch:

  • Salad made with 2 cups chopped Romaine, 4 ounces grilled chicken, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup diced mushrooms, 2 tablespoons shredded low-fat cheddar, and 1 tablespoon low-fat Caesar dressing
  • 1 medium nectarine
  • 1 cup skim milk

Snack:

  • 1 fat-free mozzarella string cheese stick
  • 1 medium orange

Dinner:

  • 4 ounces shrimp, grilled or sauteed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 medium artichoke, steamed
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous with 2 tablespoons diced bell pepper, 1/4 cup garbanzo beans, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro, and 1 tablespoon fat-free honey mustard dressing

Image zoom Alexander Prokopenko/

Thursday

Breakfast:

  • 1 light whole-grain English muffin with 1 tablespoon nut butter and 1 tablespoon sugar-free fruit spread
  • 1 wedge honeydew
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 slices Canadian bacon

Snack:

  • Yogurt parfait made with 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt, 2 tablespoons sliced strawberries or raspberries, and 2 tablespoons low-fat granola

Lunch:

  • Wrap made with 4 ounces thinly sliced lean roast beef, 1 6-inch whole wheat tortilla, 1/4 cup shredded lettuce, 3 medium tomato slices, 1 teaspoon horseradish, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup pinto beans or lentils with 1 teaspoon chopped basil and 1 tablespoon light Caesar dressing

Snack:

  • 8 baked corn chips with 2 tablespoons guacamole (try one of these guac recipes)

Dinner:

  • 4 ounces grilled halibut
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms sauteed with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion, and 1 cup green beans
  • Salad made with 1 cup arugula, 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes, and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup warm unsweetened applesauce with 1/4 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt,
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pecans and dash cinnamon

Image zoom Elena Veselova/

Friday

Breakfast:

  • Burrito made with: 1 medium whole wheat tortilla, 4 scrambled egg whites, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/4 cup fat-free refried black beans, 2 tablespoons salsa, 2 tablespoons grated low-fat cheddar, and 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup mixed melon

Snack:

  • 3 ounces sliced lean ham
  • 1 medium apple

Lunch:

  • Turkey burger (or one of these veggie burgers)
  • Salad made with: 1 cup baby spinach, 1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup cooked lentils, 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon light Russian dressing
  • 1 cup skim milk

Snack:

  • 1 fat-free mozzarella string cheese stick
  • 1 cup red grapes

Dinner:

  • 5 ounces grilled wild salmon
  • 1/2 cup brown or wild rice
  • 2 cups mixed baby greens with 1 tablespoon low-fat Caesar dressing
  • 1/2 cup all-fruit strawberry sorbet with 1 sliced pear

Image zoom Zoeytoja/

Saturday

Breakfast:

  • Frittata made with 3 large egg whites, 2 tablespoons diced bell peppers, 2 teaspoons chopped spinach, 2 tablespoons part-skim shredded mozzarella, and 2 teaspoons pesto 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 small bran muffin
  • 1 cup skim milk

Snack:

  • 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt with 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 1/2 cup diced pear

Lunch:

  • 4 ounces sliced turkey breast
  • Tomato-cucumber salad made with 5 slices tomato, 1/4 cup sliced cucumber, 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme, and 1 tablespoon fat-free Italian dressing
  • 1 medium orange

Snack:

Dinner:

  • 4 ounces red snapper baked with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon no-sodium seasoning
  • 1 cup spaghetti squash with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 2 teaspoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup steamed green beans with 1 tablespoon slivered almonds

Image zoom Littleaom/

Sunday

Breakfast:

  • 2 slices Canadian bacon
  • 1 whole-grain toaster waffle with sugar-free fruit spread
  • 3/4 cup berries
  • 1 cup skim milk

Snack:

  • 1/4 cup fat-free cottage cheese with 1/4 cup cherries and 1 tablespoon slivered almonds

Lunch:

  • Salad made with: 2 cups baby spinach, 4 ounces grilled chicken, 1 tablespoon chopped dried cranberries, 3 slices avocado, 1 tablespoon slivered walnuts, and 2 tablespoons low-fat vinaigrette
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup skim milk

Snack:

  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt with 1 tablespoon sugar-free fruit spread and 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

Dinner:

  • 4 ounces lean pork tenderloin stir-fried with onions, garlic, broccoli, and bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 5 medium tomato slices with 1 teaspoon each chopped ginger, chopped cilantro, light soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar

Meal Prep for Weight Loss: Templates, Recipes and More

Meal prepping has long been touted as the nutrition go-to in the fitness world. Advocates praise it for keeping their diet on point and pounds off, all while saving them time and money. But what exactly counts as meal prep and is it worth the hype?

When done right, meal prepping can be one of the biggest factors helping you lose weight fast and hit your fitness goals. But it takes a little strategy to get it right and make meals that you will continue to enjoy for more than a few weeks. To help, we’ve compiled our favorite meal prep ideas for weight loss, including recipes, meal planning strategies and flavor hacks to stop boredom in its tracks.

How to Meal Prep

Learning how to meal prep like a boss doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, you can tailor your meal plan and approach to your skill level—no chef culinary skills needed. Your diet, just like your meal prep, is personal. And what works for one doesn’t always work for everyone. To get started, let’s get the basics down first.

What is Meal Prep?

Meal prepping is the art of planning and preparing some or all of your meals in advance with the intention to control calories and nutrition to meet personal dietary needs. This could be making your lunch the night before, cooking in batch, or pre-cooking all your food and portioning it out for the week. And it is often done to improve overall nutrition intake, cut calories, gain muscle, support workouts, etc.

Meal Prep Benefits

Meal prepping benefits range from reduced cost and time spent, to lower stress levels and more successful dieting. Taking control of your diet and the foods you’re eating is one of the best ways to make sure you are successful.

Having a plan and food on hand will prevent you from making poor, hunger-based decisions when they arise and can cut down on the amount you are eating out—saving you money in the long run. And with research continuing to suggest that meal planning is associated with better nutrition and more weight loss, it is definitely something worth considering if you are trying to get in shape (1,2,3).

Meal prepping can also help reduce the stress that comes with trying to eat healthier. Dieting, especially cutting calories, can cause you to think about food all day long. And not knowing what your next meal will be, or whether or not it’s going to help your dietary goals, can get overwhelming day after day.

Not to mention, your willpower gets drained much faster, and you are more likely to go off your plan when you’re tired or “not in the mood” to make the healthier decision, especially if it feels more difficult or time-consuming.

Solving for all your food decisions in advance really frees up some of your willpower and mental stress, helping you reach your goals faster and with more ease.

Weight Loss Meal Plan

This is probably the most important part of your meal prep routine. Prepping food alone won’t necessarily help you drop pounds if you aren’t following the basic steps for weight loss. Start with the following, in this order:

  1. Calculate how many calories you need to lose weight here.
  2. Get your macros on point using this.
  3. And read this to learn the best foods for weight loss.

Then download this basic meal prep for weight loss tool-kit to get started. Complete with food lists, menu planning templates and expert advice to help you save time and money in the process.

Sensible Portions

Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to start putting it into action.

Calories and macros go hand in hand, which is why meal prepping on a macro diet can make keeping your portion control in check and calorie control even easier – especially since counting macros means you have an idea of how much of each type of food your should be eating.

You may also want to consider buying a food scale or use a food tracking app to be as precise as possible and learn the exact portion sizes that match your individual needs.

Keep in mind, the portions you use may change from one day to the next or one meal to the next, depending on your fitness and health goals. You can adjust your carb and protein portions around your workouts, eating more food when you are more active and a lighter meal on rest days or when you are not moving around as much.

Your carbohydrate needs are directly related to your level of physical activity, and you should eat more carbohydrates when you are the most active.

Here are some easy ways you can automatically get more nutrition and sensible portions into your meals:

  • Load up on veggies. They should make up 1/3 to 1/2 of your meal to provide high amounts of nutrients and fiber that will help keep your appetite in check and metabolism going strong.
  • Pick lean proteins to balance out the dish like chicken, fish, grass-fed beef, or tofu. Minimize breaded and fried versions to keep your calories in check. Eating more protein will help keep you satisfied and supports lean muscle, which is important for weight management.
  • Use whole grains like quinoa, farro, brown rice and whole grain pasta as a base. They travel well and pair with just about any protein, veggies, and flavor you add. You can also use beans, lentils, peas, corn or potatoes. Aim to keep your starch portion to 1/3 or less of your meal.
  • Cook with small amounts of healthy fats like olive oil and avocado oil, or top with whole fats like olives, nuts, and avocados. A little bit goes a long way, so keep your portions small and only add what you need for flavor.
  • Minimize added ingredients like salt, cheese, heavy sauces, high sugar dressings, etc. These can wrack up extra calories quickly from sugar and fat. Instead pile on calorie-free additions to add more flavor and variety – like lemon, fresh herbs, garlic, paprika, or chili flakes. Or choose lighter options like salsa, kimchi, nutritional yeast, and sugar-free dressings.

Weighing Your Food

Been counting calories and still having trouble losing weight?

Learning how to weigh your food using a food scale is the most accurate way to control your portions. Even if you are using measuring cups and spoons, this still requires some eyeballing.

If you are new to meal prep or need to be super strict about your calories, consider using weights instead. Minor differences can really add up, especially when looking at high fat toppings, dressing and cooking oil.

For examples, 1 ounce vs. 1.5 ounces of cheese topping can look pretty similar, but the larger portion adds 43 calories, 3g protein, and 3g fat to your meal. This amount may seem minor, but if this happened twice a day, 5 days a week, you’d be adding almost 500 extra calories without realizing it.

Healthy Meal Prep Ideas for Weight Loss

While the idea of meal planning is simple, the execution can take some strategy. Once you have an idea of the diet plan you are looking to follow – whether it is clean eating, paleo, vegan, etc., you can start planning your approach. You’ll want to consider the following:

  • Gauge your level of commitment. Be realistic with yourself and your level of cooking expertise – how much do you want to cook and how often? If you aren’t a culinary expert, opt for more quick cook foods, pre-chopped produce, and simple recipes.
  • Tackle your weak spots first. What meals or snacks need the most attention? If you’re eating out every night, but doing all right when it comes to lunches, you may want to start with dinner.
  • Start small. Begin by prepping for only 2 to 3 days or meals each week. Or start with something easy like breakfast or snacks.
  • Pick a day to plan and execute. You can dedicate one or more days per week to prepping. And don’t forget to set aside some time to plan for the following week. For many, Sunday works as a great day to menu plan and cook for the week.
  • Stock up on food containers and cooking equipment you will need. Having reliable meal prep containers can help you portion your food better, and keep meals tasting fresh and stored safely. And be prepared with any travel coolers if needed.

Meal Plan Template

Budget

You’ll need to determine exactly how much you plan to spend on meals each week, or your menu planning can easily get out of hand.

Overall, Americans spend roughly 10% of their income on food, so estimating somewhere around 10% of your take-home salary could be a good start (4). Or if you are already tracking how much you spend on food each month, including take-out and restaurant, you can use this amount as a high starting estimate.

Here are a few easy shopping tricks that can help make your planning even more budget-friendly:

  • Mix and match ingredients to get more bang for your buck. As you plan your menu, look for versatile ingredients that work in multiple dishes.
  • Look for items on sale and stock up on non-perishables when they are on sale, like dried beans and grains, and canned and frozen.
  • Swap out expensive foods for a less expensive but similar option, such as cranberries in place of goji berries or brown rice instead of quinoa.
  • Buy portion sizes that make sense to reduce waste. For example, you probably don’t need a 5-pound bag of apples for one person, unless you plan on using them in multiple recipes and for snacking.
  • Shop different stores and online to get the best deals you can find. And look for what’s in season—it’s usually traveled shorter distances to get there, meaning it’s fresher and probably cheaper than during out of season.

Weekly Meal Prep Menu

Once you have your budget in place and plan in mind, you can curate your menu accordingly. It helps to actually write out a full week’s worth of meals and snacks so that you can plan for exactly how much food you will need to buy.

Consider how leftovers can be used or how staples like chicken breast, brown rice or sweet potatoes can be executed in multiple ways.

Download this Meal Plan Template to get started!

Once you have a menu, you’ll need to create detailed recipes for each meal you are looking to prep. Do you need oil or seasonings? How much of each ingredient is necessary for each meal and all of your meals combined?

Shopping Lists

Once you have your desired menu set, you can now create your shopping list and adjust as needed based on your budget. Include weights or desired package sizes on your list to make sure you have enough on hand to execute your plan. It is also helpful to bring your full menu to the store with you in case last-minute substitutions are needed.

Best Meal Prep Recipes for Beginners

Looking for some recipe inspiration? Here are some of our favorite, easy recipes that work for meal preppers.

Up your portions as needed or swap in more variety with multiple proteins, veggies and grains you can divide up throughout the week! And don’t be afraid to get a little fancy with new flavors and seasonings – it will help keep your daily meal grind from getting boring and cut down on cravings.

7 Easy Dinner Recipes

Take the stress out of having to decide what to cook each night with simple prepped options you can reheat or cook in no time.

  1. Salmon Cakes – make ahead of time and reheat in a skillet or oven. Serve with a side salad and baked sweet potatoes. Or go for a salmon burger than won’t disappoint.
  2. Lean Crock Pot Pulled Pork – Everyone loves a good BBQ! Here’s one without any added sugar or fuss. Serve this with a low-fat slaw and corn on the cob.
  3. Sheet Pan Chicken and Veggies – Try with your favorite veggies and add potatoes or serve with brown rice or quinoa.
  4. Low-Calorie Stir Fry – Craving Chinese? Meal prep some of the ingredients ahead of time with pre-chopped veggies and pre-cooked grains. Then toss it all together in a skillet with your favorite protein for an easy dinner in no time.
  5. Butternut Squash and Chicken Pad Thai – Double up this recipe for lunch leftovers and serve with lots of fresh herbs, scallions and a drizzle of extra sriracha to keep it tasting fresh.
  6. Healthy Salmon Chowder – Impress your dinner guests with this light, smoky and flavor packed chowder, or make ahead and enjoy at lunch all week.
  7. Simple Bolognese – Yes, pasta can fit into your diet! Choose whole grain noodles, or swap in zoodles for less carbs, and load up on veggies and protein using this simple sauce recipe.

Breakfasts and Lunches

Breakfast is one of the easiest meals to make ahead of time. And there are also multiple grab and go options you can get from the store, like Greek yogurt with fruit or a lean and protein-packed frozen burrito.

The trick is to get more protein into your mornings and avoid high sugar, high-calorie options—like pastries, sugary cereal, syrups, and white breads—that are going to drain your energy later in the day and mess with your appetite.

10 Breakfast Recipes:

  1. Egg White Frittata – Veggies are also for breakfast! Try these in individual muffin tins for a pre-portioned option. Serve alone, with roasted sweet potatoes, or sprouted grain toast and avocado for more carbs and calories when you need it.
  2. Pumpkin Chia Pudding – Need something a little sweeter in the morning? This simple pudding tastes like Thanksgiving and is guaranteed to make your day. Add 4 to 6 scoops of vanilla protein powder to this recipe for a healthy protein boost.
  3. Maple Sweet Potato Waffles – Need we say more? Make ahead and serve warm with some fruit and yogurt topping or a drizzle of sugar-free syrup.
  4. Greek Yogurt Parfait – These look as good as they taste. Fill small mason jars in advance and grab these on the run.
  5. Freezer Friendly Breakfast Burritos – Forget fast food. Make these bad boys in advance, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. Then just pop them in the microwave and make everyone jealous!
  6. High Protein Salmon Toast – This simple toast recipe feels gourmet but packs a ton of nutrition into your morning.
  7. Overnight Oats – Mason jars were built for this. Make your hearty oats ahead of time and flavor multiple ways. Add a scoop of protein powder for even more flavor and nutrition.
  8. Clean Eating Breakfast Casserole – Make this once and have breakfast or snack options all week. A perfect blend of eggs, sweet potatoes and veggies.
  9. Egg and Pesto Toast – Enjoy this quick recipe in less than 15 minutes of prep time to fill your belly with a delicious egg sandwich. Loaded with protein and radish for a little kick.
  10. High Protein French Toast – Great way to curb your sweet cravings without the guilt. Make the toast first and pack sugar free syrup or nut butter on the side for topping. You can also top with fresh berries or fruit.

7 Lunch Recipes

Eat lunch like you mean it! Long gone are the days of simple sandwiches and chips once you start meal prepping like a pro. Get some more nutrition by eating lunch like you do dinner – loaded with lean protein, veggies, and whole grains – utensils required.

These four make-in-advance dishes are guaranteed to brighten up your afternoon and keep your hunger at bay.

  1. Steak Fajita Bowls – Tastes like healthy take-out! Double the portions and make in advance for a tasty lunch all week long. Serve with your favorite toppings like tortilla strips or guac.
  2. Grass-fed Meatballs – Shout out to the original protein balls! Roast these with veggies and serve with hummus to dip. Try them with fresh herbs and nutritional yeast added. You can also use ground turkey or chicken.
  3. Hearty Salads – Check out these salads that will keep you feeling full and healthy AF. Change up your toppings each day for variety and opt for low-fat/low-sugar dressings that won’t pack on empty calories.
  4. Avocado Tuna Salad – The perfect blend of creamy and crunchy! Double up this recipe and serve with roasted sweet potatoes, on sprouted grain toast, or on top of lettuce. You can also try it with chicken.
  5. Easy Shrimp Ceviche – High protein, low carb and no cooking required. Mix Trifecta shrimp your your favorite fresh veggies, toss in a zesty vinaigrette and enjoy!
  6. Steak and Avocado Lettuce Wraps – The easiest, high protein lettuce wraps you could eat all week long and not get tired of.
  7. Turkey Stuffed Bell Peppers – Great, portioned controlled dish. Add variety with toppings like low-fat cheese, gauc, or hot sauce. Roast the peppers ahead of time for even more flavor.

4 Plant-Based Recipes

Looking for high protein vegan recipes for meal prep? Just about any traditional recipe can be made vegan or vegetarian with a few protein swaps – just add your favorite vegan meat substitute or plant-based protein. Here some of our favorite plant-powered meals:

  1. Vegan Tofu Scramble – The champion of vegan breakfast cuisine. This carb friendly, protein-packed dish will not let you down. Enjoy as-is or throw it into a sprouted grain tortilla for a healthy breakfast burrito.
  2. Black Bean and Quinoa Veggie Burgers – Veggies with more veggies! Try this recipe with your favorite blends of grains, veggies, beans, and herbs – also works with lentils. These also work great as vegan meatballs served over roasted veggies with a drizzle of tahini sauce.
  3. Vegan Chili – Savory and delicious. Serve this over lentils or quinoa for even more protein, or top a baked sweet potato. For a vegetarian high protein twist, top with a scoop of plain Greek yogurt!
  4. Chana Masala – The easiest Indian recipe you can make! Toss in cauliflower or spinach for a nutrient boost and serve over brown rice or quinoa.

8 Healthy Snack Ideas

Don’t forget to plan your snacks as well. Snacking is one of the easiest ways to make or break your diet. And most convenient food options are loaded with sugar and empty calories.

Instead opt for a simple, nutrient dense fruit or veggie paired with a healthy does of protein or fat to keep you feeling satisfied. Here are some quick options you can grab:

  1. Hard-boiled eggs
  2. Grass-fed jerky
  3. A piece of fruit and low-fat string cheese
  4. A handful of nuts and dried fruit
  5. Whole grain crackers or fruit and nut butter
  6. Tuna or chicken salad with whole grain crackers
  7. Hummus with veggies and grilled chicken strips to dip
  8. Greek yogurt with fruit

Food Prep Hacks

Cooking your food, especially in large quantities in advance, can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! There are many tricks of the trade to help you cut your meal prep time down and eliminate the stress that comes along with following a healthy eating plan. Check out these popular meal prep ideas:

  • Use big batch cooking to create one-pot dishes that will last you for days. Whip up a healthy chili, stew or curry in a crockpot and serve over your favorite grains. Keep the grains separate before serving to make it taste extra fresh. Enchiladas, lasagna, casseroles, and pilafs also work wonders for getting more meals out of your recipes.
  • Use sheet pans to roast large amounts of fresh veggies, potatoes, and proteins at once. Add some healthy cooking oil, seasoning and roast until browned and cooked through. Then portion it out as needed.
  • Buy pre-chopped veggies, bagged salads, and frozen and canned produce to minimize prep time.
  • Make healthy breakfast or lunch burritos, wrap in foil and freeze for whenever you need them. Then pop them in the oven or microwave for a fast and balanced option.
  • If you’re getting bored of the same dish each day, change it up with healthy toppings and add-ons or switch up you marinades using Ziploc bags and cook more than one flavor at a time.

Just like anything, becoming a master at meal prepping takes time. But learning to meal plan, portion and cook yourself healthy options are important skills that will last you a lifetime, and are invaluable to your health.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of doing it all on your own, check out this simple guide to meal prep for weight loss. An RD-written toolkit complete with everything you need to crush your diet and get results. Plus it pairs perfectly with Trifecta’s A La Carte options.

  1. Lachat C, Nago E, Verstraeten R, Roberfroid D, Van Camp J, Kolsteren P. Eating out of home and its association with dietary intake: a systematic review of the evidence. Obes Rev. 2012 Apr;13(4):329-46.
  2. Nago ES, Lachat CK, Dossa RA, Kolsteren PW. Association of out-of-home eating with anthropometric changes: a systematic review of prospective studies. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(9):1103-16.
  3. Monsivais P, Anju Aggarwal A, Drewnowsk A. Time spent on home food preparation and indicators of healthy eating. Am J Prev Med. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2014.07.033
  4. Pauline Ducrot, Caroline Méjean, Vani Aroumougame, Gladys Ibanez, Benjamin Allès, Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot, Serge Hercberg, Sandrine Péneau. Meal planning is associated with food variety, diet quality and body weight status in a large sample of French adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2017; 14: 12. Published online 2017 Feb 2. doi: 10.1186/s12966-017-0461-7

Andrew Eccles

Lose It and Keep It Off

Studies show that up to 80 percent of people who lose weight regain most or all of it within a year. But not Phillips. Here she shares what helped her lose 140 pounds at the Ranch — and what prevents the fat from piling back on now.

Getting Started…

1. Start today: Do something. Go for a walk — even if it’s just for 10 minutes, or down the block and back. Or set a short-term goal like getting up early for a workout every day for a week. At the end of that week, give yourself a prize. Treat yourself to a mani-pedi, a new outfit — any nonfood indulgence.

2. Be a tracker: Get a calorie counter and look up everything you eat, then log it in a journal. (You are keeping one and using it daily, right?) And write down everything you put in your mouth — like the Oreo cookies you just scarfed down. You need to hold yourself accountable.

3. Be ruthless with temptations: Throw out the things that set you up for failure. If you crave sugar, get rid of sweets. If salty foods are your weakness, dump the chips, pretzels, and salted nuts. Tackle your cupboards, fridge, freezer, basement stashes — everything. Then stock up on fresh fruits and veggies.

4. Start a photo timeline: Have someone snap a shot of you now and tape it to a mirror or pin it to a bulletin board. Then take pictures of yourself weekly or biweekly to document your improvement. Get dressed up, put on makeup, and shoot. You may have lost only two pounds, but that’s two pounds in the right direction. Write captions under the pictures, like, “Look at me. This is when I started.” Note your weight and the date. Then write, “This is two weeks later. I lost five pounds and treated myself to a haircut. Look how great I look!” Put anybody’s picture at the end, and when you reach your goal, replace it with your own.

5. Get the gear: Buy one decent workout outfit so you’ll feel OK going to the gym or outdoors to exercise. Invest in a pair of good sneakers. Buy them at a running shop where the pros know how to fit your feet.

6. Choose tunes: Select a playlist that revs you up. Phillips’s favorite workout tunes:

  • “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas (“Who can resist it?”)
  • “Let It Rock” by Kevin Rudolf (“This is my song from Jillian Michaels,” Phillips’s second trainer at the Ranch)
  • “Black and Gold” by Sam Sparro (“This was a special song between Bob and me. Every time I hear it, I think of him”)
  • “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus (“When you want to give up, listen to this and it will make you change your mind. It makes me cry because it takes me back to when I struggled”)

7. Push yourself: If you’re on the treadmill, say, and want to quit after a half hour, strive for an hour — but in small increments. Say to yourself, “OK, what’s another 10 minutes?” Then say, “OK, I’ve only got 20 minutes left to go. Why would I give up? Why stop now?” Decide now that you’ll finish whatever goal you set.

…And Sticking with It

1. Chop ahead: Every weekend, prepare produce to store in the fridge for the week ahead: Steam veggies like broccoli and green beans and put them in containers; stash cherry tomatoes, carrots, celery, and other raw veggies in resealable bags. Cut up watermelon and cantaloupe, and fix berries, apples, oranges, and pears so they are ready to eat.

2. Pack a cooler: Phillips keeps a cooler in her car so that she won’t be tempted by fast food drive-thrus when she’s on the road. In it are fruit, cut-up veggies, cooked green beans, hummus, and a little protein, like grilled chicken strips. “My girlfriends used to look at me like I was crazy when I pulled out those green beans. But now they’re getting used to eating like this, too,” she says.

3. Give yourself a break: Phillips allows herself one high-calorie day a week when she can eat 2,400 to 2,600 calories. If she craves a slice of cake or pizza, she’ll have it. Her splurge day keeps her in check the rest of the week. And if there’s a party, she counts it as part of her high-calorie day, not an excuse to go wild.

4. Create a support system: When Phillips returned home from the Ranch, she asked six friends to be her gym buddies — to help her stay on track. She says, “Last week my girlfriend was at the gym before me and said, ‘Wow, you’re 15 minutes late.’ I said, ‘Who are you, Jillian?’ We laughed, but you need to have people in your life like that.”

5. Keep a reminder: Phillips has a life-size cutout of herself as she was when she arrived at the Ranch weighing 257 pounds — dressed in a black sports bra and black spandex shorts. “When I see the sadness in old Helen’s eyes, I think about how I could still be living with that desperate unhappiness. I never want to forget where I came from, and that I wanted to change my life and I did it.”

Helen Phillips’s 5-a-Day Meal Plan

Total calories: about 1,800 to 2,000, which Phillips tracks by weighing her food and logging everything she eats in a food journal.

Breakfast:

  • 1 cup steel-cut oatmeal with cinnamon
  • 2 egg whites scrambled in Pam
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries, blueberries, or strawberries
  • Coffee

Snack:

  • 6 to 8 oz. nonfat yogurt with fresh berries (or fresh-frozen berries without sugar) or
  • Carrot sticks or cherry tomatoes with 1/4 c. hummus or
  • 12 to 15 raw nuts, like almonds or walnuts

Lunch:

  • Salad: A variety of lettuces tossed with cucumbers, tomatoes, and other veggies
  • Sprinkling of blue cheese, feta, or raw nuts
  • A few pieces of shrimp or 3 to 4 oz. chicken breast
  • Raspberry vinaigrette
  • Strip of turkey bacon with apple slices or
  • Half a small whole wheat bagel with light cream cheese

Dinner:

  • Seafood (orange roughy, shrimp, or salmon) with stir-fry vegetables cooked in water with herbs or
  • Chicken kabobs (on the grill, loaded with vegetables) or
  • Marinara sauce with ground chicken breast and whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • Sparkling water with sliced citrus fruit or strawberries
  • Fruit smoothie: Fresh or frozen strawberries and peaches blended with a little natural sweetener (stevia) and almond milk

Next: How Phillips stays so toned: her winning workout

The Winning Workout

Phillips normally arrives at her local gym between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. and works out for about two hours. “I like to get to the gym early, before I have time to make excuses,” she says. “But if I don’t make it in the morning, I go in the evening. I want my muscles to stay toned, so if I have only an hour, I’ll split it between cardio and weight lifting.”

Weights: One hour strength training every other day, both upper and lower body

Arms: Bicep and tricep lifts using 15 lb. dumbbells. Deadlifts with a barbell loaded at 60-70 lbs.

Legs: A machine circuit that works the calves, thighs, and glutes

Abdominals: A combination of yoga moves and crunches on the mat

Additional Activities

Running: “Some days I run to the gym and back. It’s about two miles from home. I never imagined I’d have the stamina for running, but now I’ve done a full marathon and two half-marathons, and I can’t wait to run another one.”

Walking: “I love to walk. I wear a pedometer and set it to miles. If I’m almost home and I’ve gone nine miles, I’ll make it an even 10. Wearing a pedometer helps you push yourself farther.”

Cycling: “As a family we bike on trails near our house. Sometimes we go for 25 miles and take a picnic in our backpacks. If you’re nervous about biking, get out and walk the bike trails instead and enjoy nature.”

Ready to Lose?

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The 4-week fat-burning meal plan

If you want to indulge during the dog days of summer, or the winter holidays, that’s okay. But you’re going to have to work your ass off to shed that extra weight.

You can get back on track and strip away those extra pounds with this easy-to-follow meal plan. And if you’re trying not to fall off the bandwagon, heed to the meal plan to stave off unwanted weight.

With an effective combo of high-fiber and protein, this 4-week plan will help you lose fat, boost your metabolism, and set you up to build muscle—without all the annoying hunger and cravings that tend to accompany a calorie cutback.

The Get-lean Grocery Shopping List

Make sure your spice cabinet is stocked and go to the grocery store to get the following items:

  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Fresh/frozen berries
  • Other fresh fruit (bananas, grapefruit, apple etc)
  • High-fiber high-protein breakfast cereal
  • High-fiber/high-protein frozen waffles
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat/fat-free milk
  • High-fiber/high-protein whole-grain bread
  • High-fiber/high-protein whole-grain tortillas
  • Large chicken breast
  • Lean skirt steak
  • Lean deli meat (turkey, roast beef)
  • Ground lean turkey breast
  • Canned tuna/salmon
  • Fresh/frozen fish (salmon, tilapia etc.)
  • Canned beans (black, lentil, pinto etc)
  • Fresh/frozen vegetables
  • Butternut squash
  • Baked/sweet potato
  • Avocado
  • Low-fat cheese (sliced and shredded)

Day 1

Breakfast: Triple berry medley smoothie

  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • ½ banana
  • ½ cup high-fiber cereal
  • ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup 1% or skim milk
  • 1 scoop whey protein powder
  • ½ cup ice cubes

Blend until smooth.

Lunch: Tropical chicken salad

  • 1 large cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • ¼ cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/3 cup pineapple, 1/3rd cup mango
  • 2 Tbsp chopped water chestnuts
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1-ounce almonds
  • A few slices of avocado

Serve with high-fiber whole-wheat crackers.

Dinner: Shrimp stir-fry

  • ½ lb cooked shrimp
  • ½ bag mixed frozen stir-fry vegetables
  • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together in wok. Serve over ½ cup cooked brown rice.

Day 2

Breakfast: Spinach, onion, and feta cheese scramble on whole-wheat English muffin

  • 2 eggs + 2 eggs whites
  • 2 Tbsp low fat feta cheese
  • ¼ cup Vidalia onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh or frozen spinach
  • 1 high-fiber whole-wheat English muffin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Lunch: Tuna fish roll up with Minestrone soup

  • 1 cup Minestrone soup
  • 1 can of tuna (canned in water)
  • 2 Tbsp low fat mayo
  • 1 tsp whole-grain mayonnaise
  • Sliced tomato and lettuce
  • 1 whole-wheat high-fiber wrap

Dinner: Garlic chicken

  • 1 large chicken breast
  • ¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • 1/8-cup skim milk
  • ¼ garlic clove
  • 1 tsp Tabasco and lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in plastic bag. Toss chicken in bag and coat. Bake at 350 degrees for ~20 minutes. Serve with: ½ cup whole-wheat couscous and 1 cup zucchini/summer squash medley.

Day 3

Breakfast: Peanut butter & banana sandwich

  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread (with at least 4g fiber per slice)
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 sliced banana
  • 1 tsp drizzle honey
  • Toast whole-wheat bread

Spread peanut butter and top with bananas, drizzle with honey and enjoy.

Lunch: Chicken pizza with roasted veggies

  • 1 large chicken breast
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup chopped vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Place chicken breast and vegetables on sheet, and season with salt and pepper. Spray vegetables with non-stick cooking spray, then spoon tomato sauce on top of chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 min or until chicken is cooked through. When 5 minutes left, top chicken with cheese and let melt until finished cooking

Dinner: Crunchy baked tilapia

  • 6 ounces tilapia topped with 3 tsp Kellogg’s high-fiber bran cereal, baked
  • 1 cup sautéed high-fiber vegetables (asparagus, broccoli, carrots)
  • 1 small baked sweet potato

Day 4

Breakfast: Strawberry oatmeal

  • 3/4 cup cooked oats
  • 1 scoop strawberry protein powder (or other flavored powder)
  • 1 cup of sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup of banana

Lunch: Chicken and red onion quesadillas with side salad

  • ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3-cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4-cup low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 large boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 2 high-fiber whole-wheat tortillas

Combine onions and vinegar in bowl and marinate for 5 minutes. Drain the onions and set aside. Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray, and heat over medium heat. Add onions, and cook until onions have softened, about 5-7 min. Transfer to bowl and set aside. Place tortillas in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat (they will overlap). Warm for about 45 seconds on each side.

Sprinkle cheese on each tortilla. Cover cheese with the shredded cooked chicken and top the chicken with the marinated onions. Fold the tortillas in half, press gently with a spatula to flatten, and cook for about 2 minutes, until the cheese begins to melt. Flip the quesadilla and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the second side is golden brown. Serve with side mixed green salad and 1 tbsp. light dressing

Dinner: Spicy chicken sausage and whole-wheat penne

1 low-fat chicken sausage
1 cup chopped mushrooms and red pepper
½ cup whole-wheat penne
¼ cup tomato sauce
1 tsp. red pepper chili flakes

Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray and sauté pre-cooked low fat chicken sausage, mushrooms, and red-bell pepper in pan. Toss over cooked pasta and tomato sauce. Service with side mixed green salad and 1 tbsp. light dressing.

Day 5

Breakfast: Berry parfait

  • 1/2 cup low fat Plain Greek Yogurt + ¼ cup low fat Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup cherries
  • ½ cup blackberries
  • ¾ cup high-fiber cereal (suggested: Go Lean Vanilla Almond Crunch)

Lunch: Greek bowl

  • 4-6 ounces cooked lamb, cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh garlic
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ red pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp low fat feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 whole-wheat high-fiber pita

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Serve with whole-wheat pitas and Tzatziki sauce. Tzatziki sauce: ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt, ½ cucumber diced, lemon juice, minced parsley and dill, salt and pepper to taste

Dinner: Salmon with mixed vegetable quinoa

  • 6 oz baked salmon, seasoned with salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa with 1-cup sautéed mixed vegetables

Day 6

Breakfast: Oatmeal blueberry pancakes (serves 6)

  • 2 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
  • 6 egg whites, beaten
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Blend all ingredients (except blueberries) in blender until fairly smooth (normal pancake mix consistency). Then gently fold blueberries into mixture. Heat skillet to medium heat, then coat with nonstick cooking spray. Pour ½ cup batter onto the skillet to form each pancake. Cook, flipping once so that each side is a golden-brown color.

Lunch: Turkey chili rice bowl

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • ½ cup lean ground turkey breast
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup canned red kidney beans, drained
  • ¼ cup chopped red tomato
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ¼ cup brown rice
  • Low-fat grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Cook rice as instructed, set aside. Spray small saucepan with non-stick cooking spray, and add ground turkey, onion and cook until turkey is brown. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until chili is thick. Add rice and serve with low fat grated cheddar cheese if desired.

Dinner: Steak and potatoes

  • 5 oz seasoned cooked skirt steak
  • 1 small baked potato with 2 tbsp. non-fat sour cream and chives
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli

Day 7

Breakfast: Breakfast burrito

  • 2 eggs + 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup black beans, rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp chopped red onion
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded, minced
  • 2 Tbsp low fat shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 high-fiber whole-wheat tortilla

Combine, onion, jalapeño, and hot sauce in bowl. Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Cooks eggs and season with salt and pepper. Stir in black beans and cheese. Remove from heat and fill tortilla with egg mixture. Top with onion, jalapeño, and hot sauce mixture and roll into a burrito. Serve with salsa on side.

Lunch: Salad bar

  • Mixed greens
  • Mushrooms, tomato, broccoli, artichoke, beets, hearts of palm, asparagus, cabbage
  • ¼ cup butternut squash
  • 1 ozalmonds
  • 1 serving grilled chicken

Toss together with 2 tbsp. lite balsamic vinaigrette and serve with a few whole-wheat high-fiber crackers.

Dinner: Chicken tenders with tangy mustard dipping sauce

  • ½ lb chicken tenders
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup high-fiber Kellogg’s bran buds

Sauce:

  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup water

Preheat oven to your broil setting (around 400-450 degrees). In a shallow dish, mix together the paprika, salt, pepper, and almonds.Coat each chicken breast fillet with almond mixture and place onto a Pyrex dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Place chicken in oven for about 15-20 minutes, turning once halfway through to brown on both sides. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whish together the orange, juice, mustard, honey, and water until sauce is smooth.

Substitutions for Week 2, 3, 4

The following recipes are substitutions you can make at any time to Week 1’s Meal Plan to keep each meal as exciting as the last.

Breakfast substitutions:

Easy eggs and waffles

  • Spray microwave safe bowl with non-stick cooking spray
  • Scramble 1 egg+ 2 egg whites, 1 tbsp. milk, and a little salt and pepper in bowl
  • Pop in microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds
  • Serve with 2 toasted high-fiber high-protein frozen waffles topped with 1 cup berries

High-protein and fiber cold cereal

  • Mix ½ cup low fat milk with 1 scoop of whey protein powder well, until smooth
  • Add ¾ cup high-fiber cereal
  • Add 1-cup berries of your choice

Open-faced California omelet

  • Scramble 2 eggs + 2 eggs whites, ¼ cup chopped tomatoes, 1 tbsp. low fat cheese
  • Serve over 1 slice of toasted whole wheat high-fiber bread
  • Top with sliced avocado
  • ½ grapefruit on side

Lunch substitutions:

Salad and pizza

  • 1 slice thin-crusted whole-wheat veggie pizza with grilled chicken
  • Large mixed green salad with 2 tbsp. walnuts on side with 1-2 tbsp. light dressing

Salmon “burger”

  • 1 can salmon (in water) mixed with 2 tbsp. low-fat mayo, 2 tbsp. chopped onion, salt and pepper
  • Top with lettuce, tomato
  • Serve on whole grain bun
  • 1/3 cup 3-bean salad on side
  • ½ cup steamed string beans

Roast beef and Swiss on whole-grain bread

  • 3 oz lean roast beef
  • 1 slice low fat Swiss cheese
  • ½ cup grilled green peppers and onions
  • 1 tbsp. low-fat creamy Italian dressing
  • 2 slices whole-grain bread (with at least 4g fiber per slice)
  • Serve with crudité (raw carrots, celery, broccoli) and 2 tbsp. fat free ranch dressing

Dinner substitutions:

Chicken racos

  • 1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 2 tbsp. low fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup black beans
  • 2 Tbsp salsa
  • 2 high-fiber tortillas
  • Serve with side salad

Salmon kabobs

  • Chop 6 oz raw salmon in chunks
  • Chop ½ red pepper and ½ red onion
  • Arrange salmon, red pepper, and red onion on wet skewer
  • Brush with 1 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper
  • Grill until salmon cooked through and veggies soft
  • Serve with ½ cup quinoa and ½ cup mixed vegetables on side

Turkey dinner

  • 6 oz herb roasted turkey
  • 1 cup sautéed broccoli and mushrooms
  • ½ cup cubed sweet potatoes

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