We all know how important a well balanced diet is to successful weight loss yet when it comes to actually putting into practice the things we’ve learned, eating healthy become an impossible task. At least that’s how it seems.
Creating a healthy eating plan will help you implement healthy eating practices that will make it easier to reach your weight loss goals. Not only that, but a healthy eating plan will allow you to take charge of what you eat, when you cheat and when you eat out. Keep reading to find out more!
You and I both know that reducing calories is essential for weight loss, but it is also an important part of any healthy eating plan. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute most of us need to reduce the amount of calories we get from food and drinks while increasing our physical activity.
If you’re not sure how to reduce calories, start with downgrading the sizes of your meals. If you normally eat 1 whole chicken breast for example, try cutting that breast in half and using the other half for another meal. The easiest way to immediately reduce calories is to simply reduce portion sizes.
Make Better Choices
A healthy eating plan isn’t just about deciding to eat 2 slices of greasy pizza instead of 4; it’s also about making the choice to eat (and cook) healthier foods.
First, add more fruits and vegetables to your eating plan. Fruits and vegetables have tons of nutrients, very little calories and they reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Whole grains and low fat dairy products should also be part of a healthy eating plan.
When it comes to protein, stick with lean proteins like fish, chicken, eggs, nuts and beans. Use beans as a stand-alone protein and combine with vegetables or whole grains for a well-balanced meal.
Your healthy eating plan should be low in fat—saturated and trans—as well as cholesterol, sodium and excess sugars.
Make A Menu
The first step in creating a healthy eating plan for weight loss is to create a weekly meal menu. This doesn’t mean that you have to have fish and mac & cheese every Friday like in elementary school; but it does mean planning out a week’s worth of meals so you eliminate excuses to order take out or fast food that don’t help with weight loss.
The keyword in healthy eating plan is plan. Plan out what you want to eat so that you have time to find healthy alternatives to reduce your calorie count. Planning your menu ahead of time lets you get creative with healthy, low-calorie and low fat meals.
When you’re not bored with your meals, you’re enjoying them and sticking with your healthy eating plan.
Plan To Cook
If you’re serious about weight loss then you have to plan to spend at least a few nights in the kitchen cooking your own meals. One of the best ways to implement a healthy eating plan is seriously reducing the number of meals you eat from a cardboard box or Styrofoam carton.
Even if you aren’t the next Bobby Flay, your healthy eating plan should have you in the kitchen a few nights slicing and dicing for healthy and delicious meals.
The other added benefit of cooking your own meals? You get to see how much food you’re actually making so you have a better idea about portion sizes. Cooking your own meals helps you see things like how many potatoes you should boil for2 servings of mashed potatoes.
Controlling portion sizes is a key step in implementing a healthy eating plan, and it starts in your kitchen!
A Day of Indulgence
Those of us who have been tweaking healthy eating plans for some time now know that a day of indulgence is a good way to make sure you stick with your eating plan. This doesn’t mean that you should plan to eat brownies for breakfast and chips & soda for lunch. What it does mean is that since you’re making a healthy eating plan, you should plan for a day to indulge in something you love.
Can’t live without lasagna? Plan to eat it for dinner one night, just adhere to proper portion sizes and you can even take a square with you for lunch the next day!
Successful dieting does not mean totally depriving yourself of the things you love.
Plan Your Snacks
Snacks are where so many people have trouble with healthy eating plans. The reason for most of us however, is that we pretend that we’re not going to snack so when a snack attack hits we’re forced to the vending machine without a single healthy food option.
Plan to snack and embrace the fact that you will snack. By admitting this fact you can plan for healthier snacks throughout the week, instead of potato chips, microwave popcorn and snack cakes.
Get some baby carrots and dip, fruit salad and other healthy snacks that will satisfy a hunger craving without giving you too many calories to burn in one workout session.
This is a very important part of creating a healthy eating plan for weight loss. Don’t plan elaborate meals that require loads of prep and long cook times if you hate cooking. Instead create a healthy eating plan for you. Maybe in time you’ll learn to love being in the kitchen creating healthy meals, but until that time comes keep your eating plan simple so that you stick to it.
Start the first few weeks of your eating plan with a simple lean protein and vegetables or whole grains.
Creating a healthy eating plan for weight loss that you can stick to is just as important as regular exercise. The key however is to make sure you are being realistic about your ability to create a healthy eating plan that you can stick to.
Don’t just pile fruits and vegetables into your shopping cart if you know you’re not going to eat them. Being realistic about where you are in your weight loss journey is more important pretending you’re farther along than you are. Follow these steps and you’ll have a healthy eating plan that’s helping you lose weight!
Having trouble skipping the junk food aisle? Consider intermittent fasting to help you stop craving so much junk; read TFLA’s review of Eat Stop Eat.