As a culture we've turned dieting into an exercise in deprivation. Crash diets rarely provide lasting results. But a smart, planned-out diet meal plan can keep hunger at bay and lead to slow and steady weight loss that has lasting results. Don't know where to start? Here are some tips.
A one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition certainly doesn't work. We all have different responses to food and different metabolism based on age and lifestyle. But generally, for the majority of people, including lean protein with every meal always works. Fill up on protein and fill in the gaps with other macronutrients from carbohydrates and fats. Well balanced diet meal plans include sources of all three, but let protein fill the biggest space on your dinner plate. (Learn more about Protein and your diet.)
Aim for 30 grams of protein per meal, with 30 grams of carbohydrates and 8 grams of fat. If early in the day, consume slow-digesting carbs. Get your fats from a teaspoon of healthy olive oil or a tablespoon of healthy nut butter. This breakdown delivers 240 calories from protein and carbs and 72 calories from fat. Add in some fibrous veggies and you've got a recipe for success.
If you follow the 30/30/8 guideline and eat six times a day, your calorie count clocks in at slightly under 2,000. You may find you need more or less, depending on how many calories you burn with activity, but this is a good starting point. Eating that many times a day is difficult for some, but it is necessary. Low calorie meals won't keep you full all day long like a Grand Slam breakfast from Denny's.
But only if you are a carb-sensitive individual or don't have an active lifestyle. For last three meals of your day, keep the protein intake the same and double the fat to 16 grams to swap out carbs. Load up on veggies to keep you feeling full longer. I always take carbs around workouts or heavy bouts of exercise, so bear that in mind if you train in the evening. (Learn about the No-Grain Diet.)