What Are The Different Types of Meal Plans?

What Are The Different Types of Meal Plans?

The food we ingest fuels our body and our ability to function daily. To be the best version of ourselves, we must be mindful of what we eat by making an active effort to make healthy choices. Healthy eating isn’t limited to an overly strict diet or depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy for the sake of being thin. Rather, its purpose is to improve health, increase energy and stabilize your moods.

With so many articles focused on nutrition and diet advice, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and confused. This article will present some simple tips to guide you in creating a delicious, healthy and varied diet that is good for both your mind and body.

Meal plans for weight loss

There is no shortage of fad diets to help you shed pound rapidly. These unsustainable extremes leave you feeling hungry and deprived. The best way to lose weight, is to make simple tweaks for a gradual loss.

1. Eat a balanced breakfast

Many people believe that skipping breakfast is a great way to cut calories and lose weight. This common misconception has the opposite effect as the subsequent hunger usually leads to people eating more throughout the day to satisfy their hunger.  Eating a proper breakfast helps boost metabolism, stabilizes blood sugar levels in addition to improving concentration and overall productivity.

For a nutritious start to your day, try having a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat dairy topped with fruit.

2. Eat more produce

According to the U.S. government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines, adults should consume 7-13 cups of produce daily. You can do so by introducing more low-calorie, high volume fruits and vegetables to your diet. Try starting your lunches and dinners with a salad or bowl of soup. Opt for fruits and vegetables as healthy snacks. By doing so, you are skipping the high fat, high calorie alternatives while also enriching your diet with vitamins and minerals.

3Eat more grains

Add more fiber to your diet by swapping refined grains such as white bread, pretzels, cookies and cake for whole grain options such as whole-wheat breads and pastas, bran flakes, popcorn, whole-rye crackers and brown rice. Eating fiber leaves you feeling more full, making you more likely to eat more reasonable portions.

4. Eat low-fat protein as a snack

Consuming low-fat proteins as snacks is a nutritious way to keep you feeling full and curb your appetite. Some healthy options are low-fat yogurt, peanut butter with banana, nuts, and eggs. To avoid overindulging, experts recommend eating small portions every 3-4 hours to keep a steady blood sugar level.

5. Switch to lighter alternatives.

Dieting to lose weight doesn’t necessarily mean skipping out on foods altogether.

The easiest option to trim calories is to opt for low-fat versions of things you already eat such as dairy products, salad dressing, mayonnaise, etc. Some smart substitutions include hummus or salsa as a dip for your chips, using skim milk instead of creamer in your coffee, drinking water instead of juices and sodas, eating roasted sweet potatoes instead of loaded white potatoes and tossing your salads with vinaigrette instead of creamy dressing. Each substitution is a step closer to your ideal weight.

Meal plans for building muscle

When we think of gaining muscle, the first thing that comes to mind is spending countless hours in the gym lifting weights. Just as important as your time in the gym, is your diet. To build muscle, you need a high caloric intake to nourish your body as it grows in muscle mass. Here are some suggestions.

1.  Add more protein to your diet

Generally, you need to consume 70% – 80% of your body weight in grams of protein. As an example, someone who weighs 180 pounds, you would need to consume between 126 and 144 grams of protein daily to gain muscle. If you’re overweight, choose to calculate this number based on your ideal body weight. Good sources of protein include:

  • Lean red meat: beef, lamb, pork, bison, venison etc.
  • Fish: l salmon, tuna, trout, bass, mackerel etc.
  • Poultry breast: chicken, duck, turkey etc.
  • Eggs
  • Dairy:  milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.

Some vegetarian options include:

  • Quinoa
  • Soy
  • Chia
  • Hempseed
  • Buckwheat
  • Rice with beans or legumes

2. Add more carbohydrates to your diet

Carbohydrates play an important role as they allow your body to access the glycogen (energy) stores within your muscles while exercising. A diet with insufficient carbohydrates will break down muscles due to a lack of energy reserves. To gain muscle mass, carbohydrates should make up 40% – 60% of your diet, or an estimated 1500 calories daily.  Opt for carbohydrates with a low Glycemic Index as these are healthier and release their energy more slowly.  Some examples include:

  • Rolled Oats
  • Sweet Potato
  • Brown Basmati Rice
  • Wholemeal Rye Bread
  • Wholemeal Spaghetti

3. Eat healthy fats

A well-balanced diet gets 20%-35% of its calories from fats. As you know, not all fats are good for you. In fact, when choosing which fats to incorporate into your diet seek monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These healthier options are actually good for you.  These include:

  • Fish
  • Flaxseed and pumpkin seeds
  • Nuts
  • Olive, sunflower, canola, coconut, peanut, and avocado oils
  • Soy products like soy milk and tofu

Stay away from the unhealthy fats which include:

  • High-fat cuts of meat
  • Butter, lard, margarine and vegetable shortening
  • Fried foods
  • Ice cream, candy and packaged snacks

Eating well is a necessary step to feeling strong and having a great, healthy body. With these suggestions, you are on your way to a happier, healthier you.

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