What is involved in setting up a proper diet meal plan for weight loss? So many times, people who are desperate to lose weight skip meals and practically starve themselves in an attempt to shed undesirable weight. Obviously, weight can be lost, but it is inevitable that the weight will be regained once normal eating resumes. Not only that, but skipping meals and utilizing very low calories diets have nutritional consequences as well.
When we lower caloric intake in an effort to lose weight, it’s imperative that the diet meal plan is well thought out so proper nutrition isn’t sacrificed. Here are some top tips on setting up a diet meal plan that will offer up optimum nutrition as well as promote weight loss in a healthful way.
We all know that we’re supposed to eat our veggies, but how many of us do? And if you do, do you eat enough? Really, this is one food group that you most certainly don’t have to worry about overeating.
These power houses contain so many great nutrients and with very little caloric content. Choosing a wide variety of colorful vegetables ensures optimum nutrition. This is due to the phytochemicals that not only give vegetables their characteristics, but they are also what give us important nutrients such as vitamins and flavanoids. Vegetables also contain fiber. Fiber is incredibly beneficial to weight loss because of its cleansing effect in the digestive system.
In terms of preparing vegetables, the closer to the way Mother Nature intended, the better. Raw vegetables are of course the most nutritious, but cooking is acceptable as well so long as the vegetables are steamed or microwaved. Prolonged cooking breaks down the fiber in the vegetables which of course makes the fiber less useful to our bodies. In addition, boiling vegetables literally boils the nutrients right out of them. Have you ever noticed how the water changes to whatever color the vegetable is? Remember, the phytochemicals are not only the vitamins that make the vegetables so good for us, but they are also the actual color.
Vegetables can and should be included at every meal. Coming up with clever ways of adding vegetables to your meals in flavorful ways isn’t as difficult as one might think. Raw vegetables can be a refreshing side to any meal and complement quite a few dishes. Steamed vegetables with just a bit of olive oil and black pepper are delicious. Adding hot peppers to a mix of vegetables can be a great way to spice up a meal. Try splashing on some herb vinegar or a berry vinaigrette for a sweeter taste.
Protein is necessary for cellular health and a thousand other functions in the body. Obviously, a healthy diet meal plan includes protein sources. The trick is to make sure you are eating lean protein as well as the right amount.
Lean protein sources contain less saturated fat which has been known to have an effect on cardiovascular health. Good choices here are chicken or turkey breast, lean pork, and fish. Some cuts of beef are acceptable as well, but opt for the leaner versions and save the juicy steaks for an occasional treat.
A serving of meat is roughly 3 ounces for the above choices. The easiest way to determine an appropriate portion of meat is to realize that a 3 ounce serving is roughly the size of an average fist. A free diet meal plan may offer up more suggestions on proper portion sizes.
Choosing fish a few times a week is highly advisable due to the omega 3 fatty acids found in many fish. Omega 3 fatty acids have been found to lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (good cholesterol).
You probably thought I was touting a low carb diet. Not so. Carbohydrates are important in our diets and we should aim for around 6 servings or more a day. The thing to consider here is which carbohydrates?
When trying to lose weight, obviously some calories need to be cut. The category that is usually to blame for unnecessary calories is in fact carbohydrates. This is because a lot of us tend to relate carbohydrates to starchy sides such as white rice or mashed potatoes as well as all of the junkier carbs such as potato chips and cookies. When it comes to these types of carbs, then of course, they should be eliminated from a diet meal plan aimed at weight loss.
Instead, choose carbohydrates that are whole grain. Switch out your starchy mashed potatoes for sides such as couscous or brown rice. You might consider searching for a free diet meal plan on the internet for other creative suggestions for whole grain sides. Make sure you read bread labels carefully to determine whether it is in fact whole grain bread or simply brown bread that is made with wheat flour rather than the whole grain kernel.
Everything in Moderation
Finally, the biggest rule of all is the old adage, everything in moderation. If you have some favorites, make sure to include these in your diet meal plan for weight loss from time to time. If you deny yourself everything you really enjoy, eventually you may very well go overboard when you finally allow yourself the treat. Instead, go ahead and have that glass of wine in the evening or a piece of chocolate when you’re craving it.
If you find yourself craving your favorites too often, you might consider substituting for something else more healthful. A handful of almonds might replace your craving for salty items like potato chips. A bowl of strawberries may satisfy your sweet tooth. If creamy delights are your thing, a healthy smoothie in the morning may stave off that craving throughout the day.
Be sure to incorporate exercise into your life as well as the above suggestions. Soon, you’ll be on the path to healthy weight loss for life!