Two weeks ago, we launched our leading-into-summer 6-week Healthy Diet Bootcamp. We started off talking about how to set specific diet goals. Last week, we considered the crucial role of healthy snacking. We’re going to keep talking about food right now — but this time focusing on what constitutes a healthy meal plan. (It’s not as obvious as you think. For example, it’s not just a matter of eating wholesome food and balancing the food groups. An effective healthy meal plan will help you lose weight but also satisfy your appetite.)
Healthy Diet Bootcamp, Week 3: Making a Meal Plan for Fitness and Weight Loss
When I create meal plans for clients, I start by asking each client numerous questions, so that I can personalize that individual’s plan, ensuring that it works for their lifestyle. Here are some of the key inquiries: goals for weight loss; history of dieting; current exercise routine; health concerns; general lifestyle and schedule; food preferences (incl. what they typically eat during the week vs. on weekends). Collectively, these questions show me what is the person’s actual motivation, how their body will (likely) respond to the eating plan, how much time they are able to invest in their plan and how long it will take for them to achieve their goals.
The questions I ask my clients are the same questions you need to ask yourself when assembling your own meal plan — so address every factor listed above (and feel free to ask me for additional advice/pointers any time, in the Comments!). And try to ask yourself the most targeted scenario questions that you can come up with. For example: If you enjoy cooking and want to cook dinner every night, but only have 20 minutes when you get home from work before your evening class starts, is it realistic to expect yourself to cook every night, or would alternating nights be easier to stick to?
Sample Meal Day for Weight Loss
Below is a Sample Meal Day for weight loss. Not only is it the same Sample Meal Day that I use with clients — it’s also one that I used with many of the participants on The Last 10 Pounds Bootcamp. This Meal Day is based on (approx.) 1500 calories, which is a good start for a woman just beginning her weight loss journey. Note: Depending on your level of activity, you may need more calories.
- Breakfast: Cereal Mix (½ cup Kashi GOLEAN + ½ cup high-fibre cereal such as PC Fibre First or All-Bran), ½ cup strawberries, glass of milk, water, coffee/tea
- Snack: Orange, ¼ cup pistachios (shelled), herbal tea
- Lunch: Whole-grain wrap with grilled chicken, 1 oz shredded cheddar cheese, roasted red peppers, handful of spinach, spread with 2 tbsp hummus, water
- Snack: ¾ cup Greek yogurt, ½ cup grape tomatoes, herbal tea
- Dinner: 4-5 oz grilled salmon with 2 cups green beans & ½ cup mashed yam, water, 1 glass wine (optional)
- Note: 1-2 tbsp of healthy oils is acceptable for cooking, dressings and spreads. Also, I always recommend taking a multivitamin.
Homework never tasted this good! Use the above Sample Meal Day as a guide to plan your meals for the week. Clearly, you can’t have the exact same Meal day, daily. Exchange foods like fish for chicken, or cereal for whole-grain toast. But: stick to the portions as much as possible. Don’t hesitate to post Comments below if you have questions or need more suggestions!
Next week: Meal timing and food combinations
Ps. Follow me on twitter @MariaNutrition for tips to help you stay on track, and post Comments or questions below!
*Editor’s Note: This is the healthy eating portion of Slice.ca’s Get in Shape for Summer Bootcamp. Our fitness expert, Katya Mohsen, is providing tailored exercise routines for her part of Slice’s Bootcamp, also weekly!
Maria Thomas is a registered dietitian and owner of UrbanNutrition.com.