Supercharge your workouts with this healthy eating meal plan that keeps energy -- and metabolism -- stoked all day long.
This fat-burning eating plan is both extremely flexible and easy to follow. There's something for everyone -- meat lovers, vegetarians, and everyone in between. It's all about picking and choosing what you like the best, while still keeping within the simple guidelines outlined below. Pick the meals and snacks that sound good and fit with your tastes and schedule -- it's as easy as that.
Most of the meals are single servings and can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. Follow these healthy eating guidelines to maximize weight loss.
Stick to about 1,600 calories a day: 300 calories for breakfast, 450 calories each for lunch and dinner, plus two 200-calorie snacks. Research shows you'll burn more calories every day by eating every 4 to 5 hours.
Drink 8 to 10 glasses of cold water daily. It takes energy for your digestive system to warm liquid to body temperature. In one study, participants burned about 50 additional calories per day by drinking 1.5 liters of cold water.
Eat more magnesium-rich foods. Most of us don't consume the recommended 320 mg (for women) of this key nutrient that fuels muscles. Sources: spinach, black beans, ground flaxseed, scallops, tuna, almonds, cashews, and brown rice.
If you want to slim down fast, incorporate daily exercise with this meal plan.
Breakfast: Milano Cereal Bowl
Combine 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt, 3/4 cup cereal (pick one with at least 6 grams of fiber in 100 calories' worth, such as Kashi Good Friends), 4 chopped dried figs, and 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey. Grate 1/8 teaspoon lemon peel over the top. Total: 299 calories, 0 grams saturated fat, 10 grams fiber
Snack: Sorbet Berry Bowl or smoothie
Place 1/2 cup fat-free raspberry sorbet in a serving dish and top with 1/4 cup each sliced strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon walnuts. If you prefer, toss all the ingredients into a blender and enjoy as a smoothie. Total: 210 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 7 grams fiber
Lunch: Tuna and Golden Raisins
Combine 4 ounces chunk light tuna packed in canola oil (not drained) with 1 tablespoon white vinegar and 2 tablespoons golden or brown raisins. (If the tuna is packed in water, rinse and drain well, then add 2 teaspoons olive or canola oil.) Serve with 1 sliced red, orange, or yellow bell pepper; 8 baby carrots; and 2 whole wheat crackers such as Wasa brand (or 90 calories' worth with at least 4 grams fiber). Total: 447 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 10 grams fiber, 59 mg magnesium
Snack: Chips and Salsa
Dip 1 ounce unsalted baked tortilla chips (about 18 chips) in 5 tablespoons no-salt-added salsa. Serve with 1 ounce low-fat string cheese. Total: 185 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 2 grams fiber
Dinner: Whole Wheat Pasta with Veggies and Garlic Steak
Prepare 1 cup cooked amount whole wheat pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil or 11/2 teaspoons dried, and 2 tablespoons sunflower seed kernels. Coat a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Cook 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 cup chopped onion, and 1 cup sliced zucchini for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often. Add 3 ounces extra-lean round steak sliced into thin strips, sprinkle with black pepper, and cook for 3 minutes, or until no longer pink. Serve over the pasta. Total: 457 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 8 grams fiber, 153 mg magnesium
Breakfast: Egg Sandwich
In a bowl, whisk 2 egg whites, then add 1 tablespoon each chopped green bell pepper and chopped red bell pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the mixture, stirring, until the eggs are set. Place on a toasted whole wheat English muffin and top with two 1/2"-thick slices of tomato. Serve with 1 medium sliced pear or apple. Total: 298 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 15 grams fiber
Snack: Pretzel Snack Mix Combine 1 ounce whole wheat pretzels with 1 tablespoon raisins and 2 teaspoons mini chocolate chips. Total: 183 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 3 grams fiber
Lunch: Corn and Black Bean Pockets
Cook 2 tablespoons frozen corn. Fill 2 medium whole wheat pitas (6" diameter, about 120 calories and 3 grams fiber each) with the corn, 3 tablespoons canned low-sodium black beans, 2 tablespoons salsa, 1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-sodium shredded Cheddar cheese, and 1/4 cup shredded romaine. Total: 446 calories, 4 grams saturated fat, 12 grams fiber, 111 mg magnesium
Snack: Strawberry Yogurt with Chocolate-Covered Raisins
Combine 3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt with 1 cup sliced strawberries and 1 tablespoon chocolate-covered raisins. Total: 194 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 3 grams fiber
Dinner: Dill-Topped Veggie Burger with Sweet Potato Fries
In a microwave oven, heat 1 veggie burger (about 100 calories). Fill one 2-ounce whole wheat hamburger roll with 4 tablespoons chopped avocado, 1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt mixed with 1 teaspoon fresh dill or 1/2 teaspoon dried, and 4 slices cucumber. Serve with 1 cup baked frozen sweet potato fries (about 100 calories' worth, such as Alexia or Hain brand). Total: 442 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 14 grams fiber, 91 mg magnesium
Breakfast: Pear Wrap
Spread a whole wheat wrap (about 100 calories and 5 grams fiber, such as Flat Out) with 1 tablespoon almond butter or peanut butter. Top with 1 large pear, thinly sliced. Roll up. Heat in a microwave oven on high for 20 to 30 seconds. Total: 297 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 14 grams fiber
Snack: Trail Mix
Have 2 tablespoons each dried cranberries, raisins, and peanuts, mixed together. Total: 210 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 3 grams fiber
Lunch: Turkey Sandwich with Coleslaw
Combine 1/4 cup chopped tomato, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon dried basil or 1 teaspoon fresh. Top 2 slices whole wheat bread (80 calories and at least 2 grams fiber per slice) with 4 ounces no-salt-added sliced turkey breast. Top with the tomato mixture. Combine 1/2 cup each shredded green and red cabbage, 1/4 cup grated carrots, and 2 tablespoons reduced-fat coleslaw dressing (or use 1 1/4 cups prepared coleslaw mix). Total: 456 calories, 3 grams saturated fat, 8 grams fiber, 19 mg magnesium
Snack: Banana Split Top 1 small banana with 2 tablespoons fat-free plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon each peanuts and chocolate chips. Total: 208 calories, 3 grams saturated fat, 4 grams fiber
Dinner: Maple Walnut Quinoa with Roasted Chicken
Prepare 3/4 cup cooked amount quinoa according to package directions. Toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 3 ounces diced roasted chicken breast, 1 tablespoon light maple syrup, 1 tablespoon walnuts, and 1/2 cup raspberries. Total: 451 calories, 2 grams saturated fat, 8 grams fiber, 139 mg magnesium
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