A Good Meal Plan For Weight Loss

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Teaching you the importance of a good meal plan for weight loss and how to create one. When someone is trying to lose weight they try to eat an appropriate amount of calories and an appropriate amount of nutrients. This combination, if followed correctly and consistently, will eventually lead to weight loss. There are many different plans out there that are very similar and also claim to be the best meal plan for weight loss. Which diet plan is best?

How to Meal Plan for Weight Loss — A Detailed Guide

Meal planning can be a helpful tool if you’re trying to lose weight.

When done right, it can help you create the calorie deficit required for weight loss while providing your body the nutritious foods it needs to function and remain healthy.

Planning your meals ahead can also simplify the meal prep process and save you time.

This article explores the most important aspects of meal planning for weight loss, including a few easy recipes and extra tips to help you reach your goals.

How to meal plan for weight loss

When it comes to weight loss meal plans, the magnitude of options can be overwhelming. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you search for the most suitable plan.

Creating a calorie deficit in a nutrient-dense way

All weight loss plans have one thing in common — they get you to eat fewer calories than you burn

However, though a calorie deficit will help you lose weight regardless of how it’s created, what you eat is just as important as how much you eat. That’s because the food choices you make are instrumental in helping you meet your nutrient needs.

A good weight loss meal plan should follow some universal criteria:

  • Includes plenty of protein and fiber. Protein- and fiber-rich foods help keep you fuller for longer, reducing cravings and helping you feel satisfied with smaller portions
  • Limits processed foods and added sugar. Rich in calories yet low in nutrients, these foods fail to stimulate fullness centers in your brain and make it difficult to lose weight or meet your nutrient needs.
  • Includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. Both are rich in water and fiber, contributing to feelings of fullness. These nutrient-rich foods also make it easier to meet your daily nutrient requirements.

Building nutrient-dense meals

To incorporate these tips into your weight loss meal plan, start by filling one-third to one-half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. These are low in calories and provide water, fiber, and many of the vitamins and minerals you need.

Then, fill one-quarter to one-third of your plate with protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, tofu, seitan, or legumes, and the remainder with whole grains, fruit, or starchy vegetables. These add protein, vitamins, minerals, and more fiber.

You can boost the flavor of your meal with a dash of healthy fats from foods like avocados, olives, nuts, and seeds.

Some people may benefit from having a snack to tide their hunger over between meals. Protein- and fiber-rich snacks seem the most effective for weight loss

Good examples include apple slices with peanut butter, vegetables and hummus, roasted chickpeas, or Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts.

SUMMARY

A successful weight loss meal plan should create a calorie deficit while meeting your nutrient needs.

Helpful tips to make meal planning work for you

An important aspect of a successful weight loss meal plan is its ability to help you keep the lost weight off.

Here are some tips to help increase your meal plan’s long-term sustainability.

Pick a meal planning method that fits your routine

There are various ways to meal plan, so be sure to pick the method that best fits your routine.

You may decide to batch cook all of your meals over the weekend, so you can easily grab individual portions throughout the week. Alternatively, you may prefer to cook daily, in which case, opting to prep all of your ingredients ahead of time might work best for you.

If you don’t like following recipes or prefer a little more flexibility, you may opt for a method that requires you to fill your refrigerator and pantry with specific portions of foods each week while allowing you to improvise when putting them together for meals.

Batch-shopping for groceries is another great strategy that helps save time while keeping your refrigerator and pantry filled with nutrient-dense foods.

Consider trying an app

Apps can be a helpful tool in your meal planning arsenal.

Some apps offer meal plan templates that you can alter based on your food preferences or allergies. They can also be a handy way to keep track of your favorite recipes and save all of your data in one place.

What’s more, many apps provide customized grocery lists based on your selected recipes or what’s left over in your fridge, helping you save time and reduce food waste.

Pick enough recipes

Picking an adequate number of recipes ensures that you have enough variety without requiring you to spend all of your free time in the kitchen.

When selecting how many meals to make, look at your calendar to determine the number of times you’re likely to eat out — whether for a date, client dinner, or brunch with friends.

Divide the remaining number of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners by the number of meals that you can realistically cook or prepare for that week. This helps you determine the portions of each meal you’ll need to prep.

Then, simply sift through your cookbooks or online food blogs to pick your recipes.

Consider snacks

Allowing yourself to get overly hungry between meals may push you to overeat at your next meal, making it more difficult to reach your weight loss goals.

Snacks can help lower hunger, promote feelings of fullness, and reduce the overall number of calories you eat per day.

Protein- and fiber-rich combinations, such as nuts, roasted chickpeas, or veggies and hummus, appear best suited to promote weight loss

However, keep in mind that some people tend to gain weight when adding snacks to their menu. So make sure you monitor your results when applying this strategy

Ensure variety

Eating a variety of foods is instrumental in providing your body with the nutrients it needs.

That’s why it’s best to avoid meal plans that suggest batch cooking 1–2 recipes for the whole week. This lack of variety can make it difficult to meet your daily nutrient needs and lead to boredom over time, reducing your meal plan’s sustainability.

Instead, ensure that your menu includes a variety of foods each day.

Speed up your meal prep time

Meal prepping doesn’t have to mean long hours in the kitchen. Here are a few ways to speed up your meal prep time.

  • Stick to a routine. Picking specific times to plan the week’s meals, grocery shop, and cook can simplify your decision-making process and make your meal prepping process more efficient.
  • Grocery shop with a list. Detailed grocery lists can reduce your shopping time. Try organizing your list by supermarket departments to prevent doubling back to a previously visited section.
  • Pick compatible recipes. When batch cooking, select recipes that use different appliances. For instance, one recipe may require the oven, no more than two burners on the stovetop, and no heating at all.
  • Schedule your cook times. Organize your workflow by starting with the recipe requiring the longest cooking time, then focus on the rest. Electric pressure cookers or slow cookers can further reduce cooking times.

Inexperienced cooks or those simply wanting to reduce the time spent in the kitchen may want to pick recipes that can be prepared in 15–20 minutes from start to finish.

Store and reheat your meals safely

Storing and reheating your meals safely can help preserve their flavor and minimize your risk of food poisoning.

Here are some government-approved food safety guidelines to keep in mind

  • Cook food thoroughly. Most meats should reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F (75°C) while cooking, as this kills most bacteria.
  • Thaw food in the refrigerator. Thawing frozen foods or meals on your countertop can encourage bacteria to multiply. If you’re short on time, submerge foods in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes.
  • Reheat food safely. Make sure to reheat your meals to at least 165°F (75°C) before eating. Frozen meals should be eaten within 24 hours of defrosting.
  • Dispose of old food. Refrigerated meals should be eaten within 3–4 days of being made, and frozen meals should be consumed within 3–6 months.

SUMMARY

Picking a meal-planning method that works for you, along with an adequate number and variety of meals and snacks that can be cooked or reheated quickly and safely, increases your likelihood of sustainable weight loss.

Easy recipe ideas

Weight loss recipes don’t have to be overly complicated. Here are a few easy-to-prepare ideas that require a minimal number of ingredients.

  • Soups. Soups can be batch-cooked and frozen in individual portions. Be sure to include a lot of vegetables, as well as meat, seafood, beans, peas, or lentils. Add brown rice, quinoa, or potatoes if desired.
  • Homemade pizza. Start your pizza with a veggie- or whole-grain based crust, thin layer of sauce, source of protein, such as tempeh or turkey breast, and veggies. Top with a little cheese and fresh leafy greens.
  • Salads. Salads are quick and versatile. Start with leafy greens, a few colorful vegetables, and a source of protein. Top with olive oil and vinegar and add nuts, seeds, whole grains, or starchy vegetables.
  • Pasta. Start with a whole-grain pasta of your choice and source of protein, such as chicken, fish, or tofu. Then mix in a tomato-based pasta sauce or pesto and some vegetables like broccoli or spinach.
  • Slow cooker or electric pressure cooker recipes. These are great for making chili, enchiladas, spaghetti sauce, and stew. Simply place your ingredients in your device, start it, and let it do all the work for you.
  • Grain bowls. Batch cook grains like quinoa or brown rice then top with your choice of protein, such as chicken or hard-boiled eggs, non-starchy veggies, and a healthy dressing of your liking.

SUMMARY

The recipe ideas above are simple and require very little time to make. They can also be prepared in a variety of ways, making them incredibly versatile.

7-day menu

This sample menu includes a variety of nutrient-, fiber-, and protein-rich meals to help you reach your weight loss goals.

Portions should be adjusted to your individual needs. Snack examples are included in this plan but remain completely optional.

Monday

  • Breakfast: overnight oats made with rolled oats, chia seeds, and milk, topped with fresh berries and pumpkin seeds
  • Lunch: premade egg-and-veggie muffins with a fresh basil-and-tomato salad and some avocado
  • Snack: mango-spinach smoothie
  • Dinner: homemade cauliflower-crust pizza topped with pesto, mushrooms, peppers, a handful of spinach, and marinated chicken or tempeh

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: breakfast smoothie made with kale, frozen cherries, banana, protein powder, flax seeds, and milk
  • Lunch: mixed green salad with cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, corn, sweet potato, olives, and grilled salmon or roasted chickpeas
  • Snack: sliced apple with peanut butter
  • Dinner: red lentil dahl served on a bed of baby spinach and brown rice

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Spanish omelet made with eggs, potatoes, onions, and peppers, served with a side of salsa
  • Lunch: leftover red lentil dahl and fresh spinach over brown rice
  • Snack: homemade trail mix using your favorite unsalted, unroasted nuts and unsweetened dried fruit
  • Dinner: chicken or tofu meatballs in a marinara sauce served with spaghetti squash on a bed of mixed baby greens and topped with Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast

Thursday

  • Breakfast: yogurt topped with fresh fruit and chopped walnuts
  • Lunch: kale salad topped with a poached egg or marinated seitan, as well as dried cranberries, cherry tomatoes, whole-grain pita chips, and an avocado-mango dressing
  • Snack: carrots, radishes, and cherry tomatoes dipped in hummus
  • Dinner: beef or black-bean burger topped with lettuce, tomato, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, and pickles, served on a small whole-wheat bun and peppers and onions on the side

Friday

  • Breakfast: breakfast salad made with spinach, homemade granola, walnuts, blueberries, coconut flakes, and a raspberry vinaigrette, as well as 1–2 hard-boiled eggs for extra protein if you like
  • Lunch: homemade veggie spring rolls, dipped in peanut butter sauce and served with a side of raw veggies
  • Snack: whole-wheat crackers with cheese or a spicy mashed black bean spread
  • Dinner: chili served on a bed of greens and wild rice

Saturday

  • Breakfast: pumpkin pancakes topped with Greek or plant-based yogurt, chopped nuts, and fresh strawberries
  • Lunch: leftover chili served on a bed of greens and wild rice
  • Snack: nut-and-dried-fruit trail mix
  • Dinner: shrimp or bean fajitas with grilled onions, bell peppers, and guacamole, served on a corn tortilla

Sunday

  • Breakfast: overnight oats topped with chopped pecans, mango, and coconut flakes
  • Lunch: tuna or chickpea salad, served atop mixed greens with sliced avocado, sliced apple, and walnuts
  • Snack: yogurt with fruit
  • Dinner: grilled salmon or tempeh, potatoes, and sautéed kale

Ideas for dietary restrictions

Generally speaking, meat, fish, eggs, and dairy can be replaced by plant-based alternatives, such as tofu, tempeh, seitan, beans, flax or chia seeds, as well as plant-based milk and yogurts.

Gluten-containing grains and flours can be substituted for quinoa, millet, oats, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, corn, and sorghum.

Carb-rich grains and starchy vegetables can be replaced by lower-carb alternatives.

For instance, try spiralized noodles or spaghetti squash instead of pasta, cauliflower rice instead of couscous or rice, lettuce leaves instead of taco shells, and seaweed or rice paper instead of tortilla wraps.

Just keep in mind that completely excluding a food group may require you to take supplements to meet your daily nutrient needs.

SUMMARY

Weight loss meals should be nutrient-dense and rich in protein and fiber. This meal plan can be adapted for a variety of dietary restrictions but may require you to take supplements if completely excluding a food category.

The bottom line

A good weight loss meal plan creates a calorie deficit while providing all the nutrients you need.

Done right, it can be incredibly simple and save you a lot of time.

Picking a method that works for you can also reduce your likelihood of regaining weight.

All-in-all, meal planning is an incredibly useful weight loss strategy.

Healthy Meal Plan For Weight Loss

Need ideas for good food that’s also good for you? Enjoy this 5-day sample meal plan for weight loss. It’s based on the Pritikin Program, proven in more than 100 studies to help thousands not only shed weight but also prevent and control heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.

Enjoy Salmon on the Healthy Meal Plan for Weight Loss

DAY 1

Breakfast

  • Oatmeal with Fresh or Frozen (No Sugar Added) FruitOranges or tangerines make a great snack on a healthy meal plan.By switching from a bowl of cold, dried cereal to one of hot whole-grain cereal and fruit, you’d take in approximately 100 fewer calories each day. That one simple change to your daily diet could help you drop about 10 pounds in one year. Plus, hot cereal has more “staying power.” It tends to fill you up better – and longer – than dried cereal.
  • Tea or CoffeeIf desired, add a little nonfat milk or soymilk and a packet of sugar substitute (a good choice is Splenda).

Mid-Morning Snack (enjoy only if hungry)

  • Veggie-Salsa Tortilla1 steamed 6-inch corn tortilla with fresh or grilled vegetables (such as onions, green bell peppers, and tomatoes) and no-added-salt salsa.Warm the tortilla between slightly moistened paper towels in the microwave for about 1 minute, then top with veggies and salsa; fold
  • 1 Navel Orange or 2 Tangerines

Lunch

  • 2 Cups Mixed Greens with 1 Cup of Other Veggies, Chopped, Dressed with Aged Balsamic VinegarFor your salads, break out of the lettuce-and-tomato box. All kinds of veggies – and fruit – can go into your salad. Try diced sweet potatoes, yellow squash, red bell peppers, cucumbers, red cabbage, red onions, and more.And always keep in mind that no oil, even so-called “good” ones, should be considered a weight-loss food. Coating your salad with oil can tally up as many calories as a scoop of premium ice cream.
  • Hearty Italian-Style White Bean SoupThis Healthy Meal Plan for Weight Loss includes hearty soups.Make your own. It’s easy! From one 14-ounce can of no-salt-added cannelini beans, spoon out 2 tablespoons of beans. Puree the rest. In a medium nonstick pot, sauté 5 cloves of chopped garlic until translucent. Add 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth and 1 head of escarole, chopped, or a package of frozen chopped spinach. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add pureed beans, red pepper flakes and black pepper, to taste, and cook 1 minute longer. Garnish with the beans you spooned out plus, if you desire, a little chopped red bell pepper. Refrigerate or freeze what you don’t eat for easy soup prep for a future lunch or dinner.

Mid-Afternoon Snack (enjoy only if hungry)

  • 6 Ounces of Nonfat Plain or No-Sugar-Added Yogurt with Your Choice of Berries Swirled ThroughoutEspecially popular among our guests at the Pritikin Longevity Center are Greek-style yogurts such as Oikos and Fage. So rich and creamy tasting! If you need a little sweetness to cut the tart flavor, simply add diced banana, or stir in 1 packet of Splenda
  • 1 AppleDesserts like yogurt and berries should be part of your healthy meal plan. You'll still lose weight!

Dinner

  • SaladA gigantic Farmer’s Market-style salad with a variety of fresh seasonal produce and fresh herbs, such as fresh baby arugula and radicchio, and red wine vinegar sassed up with a little horseradish. Enjoy visiting your local Farmer’s Market every week and asking the vendors, “What’s new and tasty this week? What would make great ingredients for my salad?”
  • Salmon with Sweet Chili Sauce (3½ to 4 ounces) When dining out and ordering fish, request that your fish not be salted or basted in calorie-dense ingredients like olive oil and butter. Healthier cooking options include steaming, broiling, or grilling.
  • Baked Potato with 2 Tablespoons Fat-Free Sour Cream and a Sprinkling of Chives or ScallionsContrary to popular belief, potatoes are a great food for helping you lose weight. It’s what we put on top of our potatoes – butter, cheese, and bacon bits – that turn them into waistline-busting foods.

Dessert (only if hungry)

  • Mixed Berries

DAY 2

Breakfast

  • Egg White OmeletLose weight and still enjoy healthy options like egg-white omelets. Egg white omelet stuffed with 1 cup of assorted grilled vegetables, such as onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and broccoli, and a dollop of nonfat ricotta cheese.
  • Hash BrownsIn a nonstick skillet misted with a little cooking oil spray, stir fry until brown diced baked potatoes with sliced onions, sliced green bell pepper, freshly ground black pepper, and paprika.
  • Bowl of Blueberries, Fresh or Frozen (No Sugar Added)
  • Tea or Hot Cocoa, if desiredYes! Cocoa can be part of a healthy meal plan for weight loss! For cocoa: Mix nonfat milk or soymilk, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, and 1 packet of sugar substitute, such as Splenda (if desired).

Mid-Morning Snack (enjoy only if hungry)

  • Big Handful of GrapesLike vegetables, fruits are fabulous weight-loss foods because they’re “big” foods, that is, foods that are bulked up by lots of fiber and water. With “big” foods, you’ll be eating a lot of food (which will satisfy your hunger) but not a lot of calories.Here’s a great example: For the same number of calories that are in a handful of peanuts (about two ounces), you can eat 2½ pounds of strawberries (about five of those green boxes that strawberries come in.) Eating “big” foods like strawberries, salads, and other fruits and vegetables can prevent hunger from taking over and taking you places you don’t want to go

Lunch

  • SaladBig salad of baby greens with Pritikin-Style Thousand Island Dressing, which has less than one-quarter the calories and sodium of regular Thousand Island Dressing. What a gift for your heart and waistline! To make dressing, combine thoroughly the following: ¾ cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt, ½ cup fat-free sour cream, ¾ cup unsweetened, low-sodium ketchup (good brand is Westbrae), ½ teaspoon oregano, and ½ teaspoon granulated garlic.Lose weight while still enjoying favorites like this healthy turkey sandwich.
  • Turkey SandwichSandwich of fresh roasted turkey breast (3½ to 4 ounces) with 2 slices of low-sodium, whole-grain bread with assorted veggies, like baby greens and sliced tomatoes. Smear the bread with 1 tablespoon of low-sodium stone-ground mustard.Did you know that bread and rolls are the No. 1 source of salt in the American diet, accounting for more than twice as much sodium as salty junk food like potato chips? That’s why it’s so important to look for low-sodium varieties of bread (a good brand is Food for Life).

Mid-Afternoon Snack (enjoy only if hungry)

  • Pear
  • Popcorn – air-popped or fat-free microwaveDid you know that it takes 2 quarts of air-popped popcorn to equal the calories in just 20 potato chips? Be sure to eat a piece of fruit with the popcorn to help improve its satiety value!
Healthy Veggie Burgers for Weight Loss

Dinner

  • Veggie Burger on a Whole-Wheat Bun with Roasted Red Bell PeppersKeep stocked in your refrigerator or freezer a box of veggie burgers (look for low-sodium varieties). Veggie burgers are a much better choice for your waistline and heart than ground meat. Veggie patties have only about half the calories of regular red meat patties, and zero heart-hurting saturated fat. Plus, they’re so easy to cook – just one or two minutes in the microwave. While toasting your whole-wheat bun, take from your pantry a jar of roasted red bell peppers and top your veggie patty with a couple of luscious slices. Smear your bun with a little low-sodium Dijon mustard.
  • Steamed Fresh Vegetables1 or more cups (it’s hard to go overboard on fresh veggies!) of steamed fresh vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, and/or cauliflower, with lemon juice and sautéed garlic.

Dessert (only if hungry)

  • Fresh Berries1 cup fresh strawberries, plain or drizzled with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar or Marsala wine

DAY 3

Breakfast

  • Hot Whole-Grain Cereal with BlueberriesHot whole-grain cereal, such as oatmeal, cracked wheat, barley or polenta, made with 1 cup nonfat milk or soymilk and 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries.There are many great choices of whole-grain hot cereals; just make sure you buy one with no added sugar or salt.
  • Tea or CoffeeIf desired, add a little nonfat milk or soymilk and 1 packet of sugar substitute (a good choice is Splenda).

Midmorning Snack (enjoy only if hungry)

  • 1 Cup Diced Watermelon or Other Seasonal Fresh Fruit
  • 1 Snack Bag of Baby Carrots

Lunch

  • Vegetarian ChiliLook for fat-free low-sodium varieties, or make your own.
  • 1 Ear of CornDid you know that four ears of corn has the same number of calories as one medium serving of French fries? (The corn tastes better, too.)

Mid-Afternoon Snack (enjoy only if hungry)

  • Cottage Cheese and Fruit½ cup 1% no-salt-added cottage cheese with ½ cup to 1 cup fresh diced fruit, or use pop-top canned fruits packed in juice or water, no sugar added.

Dinner

  • Spinach SaladA big salad of baby spinach and other fresh veggies, such as sliced carrots and tomatoes, topped with your favorite canned no-salt-added beans. Toss salad with about ½ teaspoon of wasabi (to taste) and 3 to 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar.Look for no-salt-added varieties of canned beans since rinsing the beans through a colander removes only 30% of the added sodium.
  • Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes
  • Brown RiceGive your brown rice a nice savory spin by adding freshly minced garlic. At the last minute, add in fresh herbs like thyme and Italian parsley and just about any vegetable you have on hand, like chopped cucumbers, celery, onions, and tomatoes.

Dessert (only if hungry)

  • Frozen Yogurt¾ cup frozen strawberry nonfat sugar-free yogurt topped with sliced fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries

DAY 4

Breakfast

  • 1 Cup Fresh Fruit
  • 1 Cup Nonfat Plain or Nonfat, No-Sugar-Added Yogurt
  • ½ Whole-Grain Bagel, Toasted. Top with Fat-Free Cream Cheese or Nonfat Ricotta Cheese and Fresh Sliced Strawberries
  • Tea or CoffeeIf desired, add a little nonfat milk or soymilk and 1 packet of sugar substitute (a good choice is Splenda).

Mid-Morning Snack (only if hungry)

  • 1 to 2 Cups of Veggie-Rich, Bean-Rich Low-Sodium Soup, such as…Red Bean and Leftover Veggie SoupWhile there are probably plenty of pre-made bean and veggie soup options that just need a few minutes to heat through on the stovetop, making your own soup is really easy—and a great idea for your health. Homemade soups are much lower in sodium – about 100 milligrams or less per 2-cup serving. By contrast, 2 cups of many canned soups contain a blood-pressure-busting 1,200 milligrams or more, a worrisome amount considering that health experts recommend consuming no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium for the entire day. This is also a great way to use up all those leftover vegetables in your crisper—pretty much anything works in this soup.Directions:
    Put into a soup pot 1 can of no-salt-added red beans (drained), 4 cups low-sodium vegetable juice like Knudsen’s Very Veggie Low-Sodium Juice, 2 to 3 teaspoons oregano or Italian-style seasoning, and 2 cups of any veggies you already have sitting in the refrigerator bin, such as carrots, celery, and onions. Rough-chop the vegetables into bite-size pieces and bring to a boil, simmering until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. If desired, top with a tablespoon of fat-free sour cream.

Lunch

  • Tuna SandwichPut together a sandwich of tuna (canned – preferably low-sodium, light, and packed in water) with 1 tablespoon nonfat mayo or nonfat plain yogurt, chopped celery, and onions, topped with baby spinach or peppery arugula, on 100% whole-wheat bread (low-sodium)
  • Carrot and Pineapple Salad

Mid-Afternoon Snack (only if hungry)

  • Sweet PotatoEnjoy the rich flavor of sweet potatoes? While home on Sundays, cook up a batch. Wrap each one in foil and bake for about an hour at 425 degrees F, or until their luscious, sweet juices start to ooze out into the foil. At work the following week, just pop one in the microwave for a quick warm-up. They’re loaded with taste, so they don’t need any extra toppings. If you want a little zest, swirl in a teaspoon or two of no-salt-added Dijon mustard or a quarter cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt.

Dinner

  • Salad with Honey Mustard DressingA big salad with a variety of lettuces, plus tomatoes, cucumber, and any other veggies you have in the fridge, including varieties you’ve never thought of adding to salads but actually taste delicious, like sliced fennel.Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
  • Curried Quinoa and TofuAh, quinoa. This healthy, rich-tasting whole grain/seed has so many nutritional riches that it puts refined grains like white rice to shame. Tofu is the perfect sidekick because it’s both waistline-friendly (per bite, tofu tends to have about one-third the calories of meat and poultry) and heart-friendly (tofu has no artery-damaging saturated fat or cholesterol).Directions: Rinse 1 cup of quinoa in cold water. In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa with 1 tablespoon curry powder and 1 teaspoon turmeric. Add 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the water is absorbed—about 15 minutes. Stir in 1 cup shredded carrots and 1 cup cubed firm tofu. Makes about 4 one-cup servings. Refrigerate remaining servings for an easy, healthy snack or meal later in the week.

Dessert (only if hungry)

  • Berry MousseBlend together until smooth and creamy your favorite fresh berries, silken tofu, Splenda (if needed), and a little vanilla extract.

DAY 5

Breakfast

  • Orange-Vanilla OatmealThink oatmeal is boring? You haven’t tried Chef Anthony’s Orange-Vanilla Oatmeal, always a favorite among guests at Pritikin. It’s a great meal for losing weight, and starting your day.
  • Tea or CoffeeIf desired, add a little nonfat milk or soymilk and 1 packet of sugar substitute (a good choice is Splenda).

Mid-Morning Snack (only if hungry)

  • Carrots and HummusOpen up a big bag of baby carrots and dip them into your freshly made no-oil-added, no-salt-added hummus. Simply whip up in your food processor a can of no-salt-added chickpeas/garbanzo beans, fresh tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic, a jalapeno pepper (if you like your hummus hot and spicy), and fresh herbs like cilantro and dill. Add a little water, if necessary, until the desired consistency is achieved.

Lunch

  • Tomato Cream Soup
  • Butter Beans With Lemon and ScallionsButter beans are as delicious as they sound: big, meaty and filling, with a mild flavor that works well with bright, assertive flavors like lemon and scallions.1 can no-salt-added butter beans
    ½ cup chopped scallions (also known as green onions)
    Juice from half a lemon
    Red chili pepper flakes, to taste
    2 to 3 cups chopped fresh Romaine lettuce and/or baby arugulaIn a medium mixing bowl, combine butter beans, scallions, lemon juice, and pepper flakes. Spoon over lettuce greens.

Mid-Afternoon Snack (enjoy only if hungry)

  • 1 to 2 Cups of Fresh FruitTake advantage of grocery store salad bars and pick up containers of pre-cut fresh fruit like melon.

Dinner

  • Easy Tangy SalmonSear, skin side up, a 4-ounce cut of salmon in a hot nonstick skillet and cook until well browned on the bottom, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook till slightly translucent in center, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer salmon to serving dish. To skillet add ¼ teaspoon grated orange peel, 3 ounces orange juice, and ½ cup white wine. Boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves. Spoon sauce over salmon.
  • Soba Noodles With Spicy CucumbersCooking up soba (the Japanese word for buckwheat) noodles instead of white-flour noodles is a great way to cut calories. A cup of soba has just 113 calories; a cup of white pasta, about 200. Plus, soba noodles are full of fiber, protein, and B vitamins.Combine in large bowl:
    2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeds removed, and sliced
    ½ tablespoon paprika
    Pinch cayenne pepper
    Pinch black peppercorns, freshly ground
    ½ cup fresh lemon juice
    Let cucumber mixture sit for a few minutes while you cook 8 ounces of soba noodles according to package directions. After cooking and draining sobas, toss in bowl with cucumber mixture and gently blend.
  • 1 to 2 Cups Sautéed SpinachPour a 6-ounce bag of pre-washed baby spinach in a hot wok sizzling with a small amount of water or white wine, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and minced garlic. Stir spinach till wilted.

Dessert (only if hungry)

  • Fruit SmoothieSmoothie made in blender with 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt, ¾ cup crushed ice, ½ banana, and fresh or frozen berries.

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