Here are practical tips on how to meal plan for weight loss that will have you slim and fit in a tiny amount of time. Meal planning for weight loss is essential for those who need to lose weight fast. These tips will help you burn off fat and get results much quicker.
How to Build a Meal Plan Based on Your Weight Goals
Meal plans are essential to any healthy diet, although sometimes it can be hard to know just how to plan balanced meals every day. But don’t worry, we’ve got you.
Herbalife Nutrition dietitians have created easy and effective meal plans that have built-in calorie counts and additional tools to help you plan your meals. They are designed to provide you with the protein your body needs every day to function at its best.
Just follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Meal Plan Selection Tool
No two people are alike, and everyone’s protein and calorie needs vary. So how do you know which meal plan is right for you? Start with the Meal Plan Selection Tool. The charts will help you determine the suggested meal plan for you, and your plan is designed to match your individual needs for protein and calories.
The Meal Plan Selection Tool will guide you to the recommended Meal Plan A, B, C or D, based on your gender, weight and height.
You can find your recommended plan using our digital Meal Plan Selection Tool.
Once you know which plan is recommended for you, you’ll go to Step 2 to see your suggested plan based on your goals
Step 2: Meal Plans A, B, C and D
Each meal plan has three options:
- Daily nutrition (or weight maintenance)
- Weight loss
- Weight gain
Choose the option within the plan that best suits your personal goals. You can download the Meal Plan Chart here.
The Meal Plan Chart shows you what a typical day will look like, with recommended meals, snacks and shakes to choose from each day. Meal Plans are created by choosing items from the following categories:
- Balanced Meals (25 grams protein, 400 calories or 40 grams protein, 600 calories)
- Protein Snacks (10-30 grams protein, 150-300 calories)
- Herbalife Nutrition Formula 1 Shakes (20-30 g protein, 250-300 calories)
Daily Nutrition (Weight Maintenance)
When coupled with an appropriate exercise program, this option replaces one meal per day (typically breakfast) with a shake.
This option promotes weight and fat loss when coupled with an appropriate exercise program and replaces two meals per day (typically lunch and dinner) with a shake.
Using this option, get more protein and calories by supplementing a healthy diet with up to three Herbalife Nutrition Formula 1 shakes per day. When coupled with an appropriate exercise program, gain healthy weight (as lean body mass).
Step 3: Meal Builder Tool
The Meal Builder tool is a simple, step-by-step approach to putting together healthy meals. Meals are made up of foods from five categories: Protein, Vegetables, Healthy Carbohydrates, Healthy Fats, and Seasonings.
Depending on your Meal Plan, you will create meals that have either approximately 25 grams of protein and 400 calories, or 40 grams of protein and 600 calories. Using the Meal Builder, you can select the exact foods you need to create your healthy, balanced meals.
- There are two Meal Builders: one that incorporates meat and one that is vegetarian. Choose the meal builder that works for you.
- Choose the column that corresponds to the meal you are going to build (25 grams of protein and 400 calories, or 40 grams of protein and 600 calories)
- Select the amounts of food that are listed in each food group and combine items in a variety of ways to create healthy, balanced meals.
This Healthy Meal Plan Is Just What You Need to Reach Those Weight Loss Goals
When you’re eating to protect your ticker, researchers have realized that it isn’t about clearing your fridge of all fat, but rather focusing on the right type. “Choosing foods with omega-3 fatty acids and mono- and poly-unsaturated fats can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol even more than limiting the cholesterol you eat,” says Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD, a professor of nutrition at Penn State University.
That’s why this healthy eating plan is packed with foods that deliver plenty of healthy fats. It also follows the American Heart Association guidelines to fill your total calories with 30% fat (less than 7% coming from saturated sources) and no more than 300mg of cholesterol or 1,500mg of sodium.
Each day, pick a breakfast, lunch, and dinner, then round it out with three snacks (two if you’re trying to lose weight). For items with a *, feel free to swap in any fruit, vegetable, whole grain, or protein found on the Swap It! list to keep your taste buds interested.
BREAKFAST: 300 CALORIES
1. Breakfast burrito: 3 scrambled egg whites + ½ cup diced tomato* + ¼ diced yellow bell pepper + 1 Tbsp chopped sweet onion + ¼ cup no-salt-added canned black beans + 1 Tbsp salsa, wrapped in an 8″ whole-wheat tortilla
2. Peanut butter—pear toast: 1 slice whole-wheat bread + 2 Tbsp unsalted peanut butter + ½ sliced pear*
3. Orange-apricot quinoa: ¼ cup quinoa* cooked in ¼ cup calcium-fortified orange juice + ¼ cup water; stir in 4 chopped dried apricot halves + 1 Tbsp sliced almonds
4. Egg plate: 1 egg scrambled in 1 tsp olive oil + 1 slice veggie bacon + ½ grapefruit* + 1 whole-wheat English muffin
5. Whole-grain cereal crunch: 1 cup bran flakes (such as Kellogg’s or Post) + 1 Tbsp pecans + 2 Tbsp dried cranberries* + 1 cup nonfat milk (or soy milk)
LUNCH: 400 CALORIES
15. Open-faced roasted vegetable sandwich: Top 2 pieces whole-wheat bread with 1 cup sliced zucchini or eggplant, brushed with 1 tsp olive oil and roasted in a 450°F oven for 15 minutes; top with 1 slice reduced-fat provolone + 3 fresh basil leaves. Serve with 1 apple*.
16. Curried chickpea pita: Stuff a 6″ whole-wheat pita pocket with ½ cup no-salt-added canned chickpeas* + 1 Tbsp raisins + ¼ cup grated carrots + 2 tsp lime juice + 1 tsp olive oil + ¼ tsp curry powder; top with ¼ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
17. Chicken-avocado quesadilla: Two 6″ corn tortillas + ⅓ cup shredded precooked chicken breast + ¼ cup reduced-fat shredded Cheddar + ¼ sliced avocado, cooked in nonfat cooking spray. Serve with 15 grapes*.
18. Mexican couscous: ¼ cup whole-wheat couscous* cooked in ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth + 1 pinch cumin + 1 Tbsp lime juice + 1 tsp olive oil; toss with ½ cup thawed frozen corn* + ½ cup no-salt-added canned black beans* + ½ cup chopped tomato*
19. Chicken Parm: 3 oz precooked chicken breast + 3 slices tomato + 1 slice reduced-fat mozzarella + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar on a roll. Serve with ½ pear*.
20. Tuna salad: 3 oz canned water-packed tuna* + 1 chopped apple* + 2 Tbsp diced celery + 2 Tbsp dried cranberries* + 2 cups spinach*; toss with 2 tsp honey mustard whisked with 1 tsp olive oil
DINNER: 500 CALORIES
28. Ginger pork stir-fry: Stir-fry 4 oz pork tenderloin* + 2 cups broccoli* + ½ tsp minced garlic + ½ tsp minced ginger in 2 tsp peanut oil; season with 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce and top with 1 Tbsp chopped cashews; serve over ¼ cup cooked brown rice*.
29. Portobello stroganoff: 2 portobello mushrooms, sliced and sautéed in 2 tsp olive oil, cooked in 2 tsp tomato paste + ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth + 2 Tbsp nonfat sour cream; serve over 2 oz cooked whole-wheat egg noodles. Serve with 1 cup no-salt-added canned black bean soup.
30. Steak salad: 2 cups baby spinach* + 3 oz grilled sirloin steak* + 15 grapes* + ½ cup sliced yellow peppers* + 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts; toss with 2 tsp olive oil + 1 tsp red wine vinegar. Serve with 1 whole-wheat roll.
31. Chicken fajitas: 4 oz skinless chicken breast* seasoned with ¼ tsp cumin + ¼ tsp chili powder, panfried in 1 tsp olive oil; serve in an 8″ whole-wheat tortilla with ¼ sliced avocado + ½ cup grapefruit sections + 1 Tbsp chopped red onion. Serve with ½ cup no-salt-added canned kidney beans*.
32. Pasta pesto toss: 2 oz cooked whole-wheat penne* tossed with ½ cup no-salt-added canned cannellini beans* + 1 cup cooked green beans + 2 Tbsp pesto sauce + ¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth
33. Whole-wheat pasta with turkey meat sauce: Sauté 4 oz ground turkey breast* in 1 tsp olive oil with ½ clove garlic; add 1 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce + ½ tsp Italian seasoning and heat for 10 minutes; serve over 2 oz cooked whole-wheat spaghetti
34. Honey-mustard salmon: 4 oz salmon fillet* topped with 1 Tbsp honey mustard mixed with 1 tsp olive oil and broiled for 6 to 8 minutes; serve over ¼ cup whole-wheat couscous*, cooked and tossed with ½ cup chopped tomato* + 1 Tbsp pine nuts
35. Crispy chicken with sweet potatoes: 4 oz skinless chicken breast* dipped in 1 egg white and then in ¼ cup unseasoned bread crumbs, roasted in a 400°F oven for 25 minutes. Serve with 1 medium sweet potato + 2 cups spinach* sautéed in 2 tsp olive oil.
Understanding meal planning, and why it is important for weight loss
“Meal prep, in the larger scheme of things, may not seem very important, but is actually the facilitator without which your well meaning attempts at achieving weight loss may not be possible,” said Anupama Menon, nutritionist and food coach
Here’s why planning is essential for your weight loss goals (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
“Excess weight is the potential cause of 75 per cent of our physical problems. Hence it is important that you always weigh between 10-15 per cent of your ideal body weight, for which you must take note of what and how you eat as it contributes to 70 per cent of your efforts aimed at losing excess fat,” said Anupama Menon, nutritionist, and food coach. As such, there are some important steps in this journey, and the one that takes the top spot is meal planning, she added.
According to her, an understanding of what you need to eat, a little bit of prep, a thought-out grocery list — is what you need to start planning your meals. “Most of the time, we reach out to the wrong food when the right food isn’t available. This is a reason enough to plan your meals in advance,” said Menon.
Here’s how you should eat your food for optimum benefits (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
The weekly grocery list is important (you may have planned a sustaining diet for yourself or may have invested in professional help or may be intrigued by a plan you saw someone benefit from. Either way, this step is extremely important).
Cooking daily, especially if your day is packed with work, family, workout and what not, may not be practical. How you cook, how you cool down your food, how you store the cooked food goes a long way in minimising the bacterial load in the food and keeping it fresh. So, when you cook in larger quantities, cool the food allowing the heat to escape from under a partially covering lid. “Once the food is completely cooled down, use a dry spoon to divide the food into single serving portions to be stored in microwave safe containers. Label and store these small containers at the back of the refrigerator. When needed, use the single portions, and throw away any leftovers. You must never reheat batches thus stored,” Menon said.
Onion sauce, ginger-garlic paste, and tomato-onion sauce, which is commonly used in Indian cooking, could be pre-prepared in larger batches to last for five days. “Coconut could be grated, garlic could be peeled, and greens could be sorted for quick use, as and when needed,” Menon advised.
Prepare for quick snacks. We all feel hungry around 4-5 pm, and that’s what you need to be ready for. “Know yourself well enough to know what to pack or keep ready for that time of the day,” Menon said.
According to her, if you feel extremely hungry, a cheese sandwich, if all you need is to snack, fruit and nuts, and if the crunch is what you long for, makhana/bhel are your go-to options. “The risk of healthy food not being available is the most probable give-in to a fried samosa or a pastry or an unreasonable burst of love for a packet of chips,” she noted.