Consuming a balanced low calorie diet rich in whole food sources fosters weight loss and improves health. Men, who often struggle with meal planning and preparation more so than women, and should recognize the importance of balanced eating, caloric restriction and portion control, reports Mary Kaye Sawyer-Morse, Ph.D., RD, LD in the January 2007 issue of "Today’s Dietician." Being over-weight can negatively affect your health and reducing your body fat by selecting a healthy meal plan can help lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes, the American Dietetic Association reports.
Reduce your daily caloric intake by approximately 500 calories to safely lose weight, recommends Tom Venuto, certified strength and conditioning specialist. Each pound of body fat is comprised of 3,500 calories. Consuming 500 less a day will create a negative caloric balance that burns 1 lb. of body fat per week. Try consuming four to six small meals a day to avoid hunger and increase your metabolism, Venuto recommends.
Create a weight loss menu that focuses on fruits, vegetable, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, healthy fats and lean proteins, recommends the Weight-control Information Network, or WIN. Lean protein sources can include beans, soy products, chicken, fish and eggs. A healthy weight loss diet eliminates trans fats, processed foods, and added sugars and salt, according to WIN. Eat a variety of foods to ensure proper nutrient intake and focus on staying within your daily caloric allowance to promote weight loss.
Try a calorie-rotation plan for your weight loss menu, which features low calorie days alternated with higher calorie days. This method, also referred to as the zig-zag method, consists of reducing your calories for three or four days, then increasing your caloric intake back to maintenance level for one day. Incorporating the zig-zag method into your weight loss menu might help boost metabolic functioning and prevent the plateau effect, Venuto reports.
To create a 30-day weight loss menu, try selecting a week's worth of meals, and rotating them each week. A typical day of the weight loss menu might consist of five meals, each containing a lean protein, a whole grain, a fruit or vegetable and a healthy fat. For example, breakfast can consist of oats with berries, with scrambled eggs on the side. Try meals like large salads with tuna and a healthy dressing for lunch. Soups with a variety of ingredients such as lentils, vegetables and barley work well for dinner, with fresh fruit for dessert. Try consuming fruit and nuts or chopped raw veggies and hummus for snacks to reduce hunger.
Although caloric restriction and a healthy meal plan is key to weight loss, exercise is also vital to your health and weight loss success. Sixty to 90 minutes of exercise a day may be necessary to lose weight, the American College of Sports Medicine reports. Incorporate a mix of cardiovascular exercise and strength training into your weekly regimen to meet the ACSM’s physical activity guidelines. Exercise in conjunction with a healthy weight loss menu will produce optimal weight loss results.