Meal plans can help you find success in weight loss because you know ahead of time what foods you should eat each day. Following a meal plan will allow you to know how many calories you are consuming on a daily basis, bringing you closer to your weight loss goal. Having a structured eating plan will prevent unwanted overeating and snacking on unhealthy foods.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it jump-starts your metabolism, decreases satiety, and can even prevent overeating later in the day. Include protein, whole grains and fruit into the morning meal. Lean protein choices include eggs, low fat yogurt, low fat cheese, peanut butter and even lean bacon. Whole grains should also be consumed in the morning because they will keep you full longer because of their fiber content as well as provide essential nutrients to your meal. Some healthy breakfast choices are two eggs and one piece of whole wheat toast with peanut butter or one serving of whole grain cereal with a 1/2 cup yogurt.
Snacks should be consumed two times throughout the day. Five to six small meals a day are recommended. Snack should be balanced with a protein, carbohydrate and healthy fat. Healthy snacks will prevent overeating at main meals. Cheese and 10 whole grain crackers, apples and peanut butter, popcorn, veggies and hummus, cottage cheese and two graham crackers are healthy options.
Lunch should be eaten every day whether you pack your lunch or eat out. Sandwiches are a healthy choice when prepared the right way. Choose whole grain bread and a lean meat, like turkey. Load your sandwich with veggies and skip the mayo and opt for mustard. A piece of fruit and cottage cheese round off a healthy meal. Also try making a salad for lunch filling it with greens, chicken, beans, nuts and cheese. Finish your salad with a light dressing and some whole grain crackers on the side.
Dinner should be the smallest meal of the day because you have the shortest amount of time to burn it off. A healthy serving of carbohydrates, protein and fat should be in your evening meal. A serving of 1/2 cup rice, 3 oz. chicken and 1 cup cooked vegetables is in balance with the recommended dietary amounts. Another option would be 1/2 cup pasta, 3 oz. salmon and a small side salad.