To jump-start a weight loss plan, meal replacement is a quick way to see results, writes Kaiser Permanente. It can be easy to underestimate portion sizes and calories, and replacing a meal with a pre-portioned, lower-fat choice, like fruit and yogurt, can help you cut calories and fat. It is important to choose a meal replacement with enough calories and nutrients to nourish your body while still enabling you to lose weight in a healthy way. Before going on a meal replacement diet, talk with your doctor about whether it is a safe and appropriate option for you.
Choose a yogurt that fits your nutritional needs. Greek yogurt, made from a different straining process than traditional yogurt, typically contains more protein and calcium, and fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt. Conversely, you may want a sugar-free yogurt if you are watching your sugar intake, or a low-fat or fat-free yogurt if you are concerned about your fat intake.
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Examine the label of the yogurt to see if it contains a seal verifying that it contains live and active cultures; these cultures may help boost your immune system and promote digestive health.
Combine your favorite fruits, yogurt and ice in a blender to make a fruit and yogurt smoothie. Adding protein powder to the mix can provide you with extra nutrition. Making your own fruit smoothies can help reduce your sugar intake, as many commercial smoothies have added sugars to them, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Add fresh fruit to yogurt cups for added flavor and nutrition. Blueberries are high in vitamin C, fiber, magnesium and antioxidants while strawberries contain vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and potassium. Enjoy fruits as they are in season and try different pairings of fruits and yogurts to find your favorite combinations.
Substitute your fruit and yogurt combinations for one or two meals a day. In particular, breakfast and lunch are easy to substitute fruit and yogurt for as you can then eat a balanced and nutritious dinner to ensure you consume enough calories and nutrients.
Adding nuts or seeds to your fruit and yogurt cups can give you extra protein and nutrition.
Always check with your physician about which meals to replace with fruit and yogurt, and how often you should replace the meals. Also find out how long you should continue the meal replacement diet. It is important to make sure that you consume enough calories and nutrients to provide you with the energy and nutrition your body needs to function and be healthy.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Healthy Weight: Rethink Your Drink; June 2011
- U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council; Blueberry Nutrition; 2011
- University of Illinois Extension; Strawberries and More; Nutrition; 2011
- National Yogurt Association
- Kaiser Permanente: Why Meal Replacements?
- Los Angeles Times; High-Protein Yogurt Gains in Popularity; Elena Conis; September 20, 2010