If you’re anything like me, you like to have a general idea of what you’ll eat during the week, without planning every single meal of every single day. It’s good to have a plan, as it means that you can shop beforehand and you won’t end up ordering delivery but it’s also important not to obsess over this, as it can become a chore and you might end up disliking it.
So here are a few useful tips for healthy meal plans for weight loss:
I used to think that it didn’t matter what you ate for breakfast, if you kept your other meals relatively small and healthy. Well, I discovered that I was wrong: while you do have the whole day to burn off the extra calories, they are still extra calories, that impact your total intake. So I’ve come up with a few useful tricks:
- Keep it low-cal: if you’re feeling particularly hungry and want to have a big meal, try to keep it low-cal. The best way to do that is with a nice bowl of wholegrain oats. Porridge is so versatile, as you can make it salty or sweet. I personally prefer to add some honey and/or fruit (any type of berries, bananas, grapes etc) or some jam but you can also have it with eggs or veggies (spinach, peppers, tomatoes , kale etc).
- Keep it super healthy: another trick for a healthy breakfast is to add lots of fruit and veg. Have a nice fruit salad with some low-fat/non-diary yogurt or some eggs with a generous side of vegetables. It’s a great way to start your day and get some of those 5-a-day in, while you’re at it.
- Plan ahead: If you really can’t help it or don’t have much choice and must have a fatty breakfast, make sure you plan the rest of the meals for the day. For example, if you go for the full English breakfast or pancakes with bacon in the morning, you can balance it out with some fish (or cous-cous) with veggies at lunch and a nice salad at dinner.
2. Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks
The trick to losing weight fast is small portions. Everytime I need to lose a few pounds quickly, I start halving my portions: I cook full portions in the evening, I eat half for dinner and keep the other half for lunch the next day. Half the portion means half the calories but it also means feeling hungry more often. I usually nip that hunger in the bud with a healthy snack:
- A piece of fruit: fruit makes for a great snack, as it’s healthy and generally quite filling (especially bananas). Be careful though, as fruits have a high content of sugar!
- Veggies: there’s nothing better than a nice mid-afternoon snack with some veggies and humus – my favourites are carrots and cucumbers. They’re delicious, healthy and the keep you going until dinner time.
- Nuts: well, I’m nuts for any kind of nuts (pun intended). Nuts are packed with protein, fibre and essential fats, and they’re also quite filling, which make them an amazing snack! Be careful not to exceed the recommended quantity (30g, the size of a golf ball), as they have a lot of calories.
As mentioned before, I usually try to cook my meals in the evening, half my portions, eat half for dinner and keep the other half for lunch. This is a great way to control what you eat, as well as your finances. If you already have lunch, you’re not tempted to buy unhealthy food from the hundreds of options that present themselves at lunchtime: burgers , wraps, fried foods and more. If you cook your own food, it means that you can control exactly what goes in it and don’t have any unpleasant surprises (especially if you’re allergic or intolerant to anything). Here are some ideas:
- Try to have something starchy, like bread, pasta or rice (wholegrain, if possible) – about 1/4 of your meal
- Always have some vegetables and make sure they cover at least half the plate (2/4). Try to mix them up, as well as the cooking method.
- Finally, choose your protein for the last 1/4 of your plate: meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans and legumes or soy products.
I always put a lot of thought into my dinners, as they will also be my lunch for the next day (as already mentioned). There is nothing worse than having a meal you don’t like and then having to repeat it the next day! Planning and cooking aren’t always easy tasks but they become necessary when you try to lose weight. Fortunately, nowadays there’s a lot of help with that, with things like boxes with ingredients ready to be cooked delivered straight to your door, 15-minute recipes that can be found on the internet and so much more.
And, if one evening you really don’t feel like cooking, the good old salad is always a reliable ally in the fight against the extra weight. Just remember: keep them simple, stick to what you like and stay away from hypercaloric salad dressings (olive oil and balsamic vinegar or some lemon juice are a godsend!).
Remember, everything in moderation!
These are my tips and tricks for healthy meal plans for weight loss! But I know diets can be hard to follow, so remember: if you’re going to cheat, do it only once in a while and in small doses – have that piece of cake but share it with someone and maybe let them have the bigger portion 😉 . You’ve got this! But, if you need any help, don’t hesitate to reach out! It’s a lot easier to implement changes with the help of a community.
Also, if you’re strapped for time, try these amazing services – they deliver healthy, chef-prepared meals straight to your door: