You don't have to spend a lot of money for a meal-delivery diet service if you want to lose weight. You can create your own convenient weight-loss plan using frozen food from the grocery store once you understand how to choose frozen meals and what other foods you should add to create a healthy diet.
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A dietitian has created a diet, called "I Love This Diet," that uses frozen foods as a major part of the meal plan. Basically, you eat a small breakfast and a healthy frozen meal for each lunch and dinner. Add four more servings of vegetables and three more servings of fruit throughout the day, as well as 2 cups of skim milk or nonfat dairy. Each day you can also choose a treat that is 100 calories or less.
Making the Right Choices
At least three of your extra daily vegetable servings should be nonstarchy vegetables, as these are lower in calories than starchy vegetables and better for weight loss. When choosing your frozen meals, opt for those that contain less than 500 calories, less than 600 milligrams of sodium and less than 3 grams of saturated fat per serving, recommends the American Diabetes Association. Some frozen meals are very low in calories, however, and could leave you feeling hungry. Choose frozen meals that will, along with the other foods you eat, provide you with a total of at least 1,200 calories per day if you're a woman or 1,800 calories per day if you're a man.
Using ready-made frozen dinners as the basis for most of your meals helps you control your portions and calories. This is particularly helpful for people who don't have the time or the inclination to cook meals and would otherwise rely on takeout food. Adding fresh or frozen fruits and nonstarchy vegetables to frozen meals lets you eat a larger amount of food without adding a lot of calories. This is because these foods are low in energy density, or calories per gram. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends eating more lower-energy-density foods for controlling hunger during weight loss.
While eating frozen foods from the supermarket can help you lose weight, this is only true if you choose foods that fit within your daily calorie budget and control your portion sizes. You need to create a 3,500-calorie deficit for each pound of weight you want to lose through eating less, exercising more or both. Some frozen foods are anything but healthy and low in calories. For example, frozen meals can have as much as 650 calories per serving. Read labels to make sure you eat just one serving of breakfast and snack foods. Measuring out one serving according to the food label and putting away the rest can help with this, recommends the Weight-Control Information Network.
Once you've lost the weight you need to lose, you'll probably want to transition to a more normal diet. By this time, you'll most likely be familiar with the portion sizes of frozen meals, so you can use these as a guideline for how much meat and starchy foods to serve yourself. With some experimentation you'll learn how much you can increase your portion size without regaining weight. Should you start to gain back the weight you lost, use frozen meals again to get back on track.
- EveryDiet: I Love This Diet: Frozen Meal Plan
- Weight-Control Information Network: Just Enough for You
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Low-Energy-Dense Foods and Weight Management: Cutting Calories While Controlling Hunger
- American Diabetes Association: On-the-Go: A Guide to Frozen Meals
- American College of Sports Medicine: Metabolism Is Modifiable With the Right Lifestyle Changes