Being obese or overweight is associated with a wide-range of health problems. They include health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Although people may exercise to lose weight, they can also focus on healthy eating habits that promote weight loss. After all, physical activity and healthy eating are the two key practices that promote weight loss. One eating practice that some dieters embrace for weight loss is the 2 meal a day diet plan.
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To lose weight long-term, you have to make healthy and permanent lifestyle and dietary changes. One dietary practice that has done very well since its discovery is the adopting of weight loss diet plans. Unlike fad diets, the 2 meal a day diet plan is an example of a more sustainable meal plan that can lead to weight loss.
Have you considered starting this meal plan to shed a few pounds? If so, then this article is precisely for you. In this piece, we will be discussing the entire concept of having two meals a day. We want you to know whether or not this dietary practice is healthy and its targeted audience. Also, we would like to tell you about the amount of weight you can lose with such a practice. Read on!
What Is The 2 Meal A Day Diet Plan?
As the name implies, the 2 meal a day diet merely entails consuming only two meals daily. The diet plan does not specify what these two meals ought to be. So, they can either be breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner, or even breakfast and dinner.
The idea of this diet is not just to skip a meal. These two meals intend to restrict your calorie intake, which helps you lose weight. The thing is, most of us eat even when we are not hungry. We could perhaps only be dehydrated but mistake it for hunger.
As a result, we end up consuming more calories than we need, which might lead to weight gain. The 2 meal a day diet plan is meant to correct this. It focuses on helping us listen to our bodies and only eat when we feel hungry.
Who Is This Diet Plan For?
Most of us may have had two meals a day, knowingly or unknowingly. Although it seemed manageable, the fact remains that this diet plan is not for everyone. Again, it does not fit every other goal. This meal plan is intended for people who want to lose weight, but it doesn’t work for everyone.
The idea of losing weight by using weight loss diet plans has become quite popular. However, unfortunately, some fad diet plans promise unrealistic results in very short timelines. Truth be told, healthy weight loss is not rapid. Instead, this tends to be long-term and steady.
One slow and steady weight loss diet plan you can use is the 2 day a meal diet plan. According to Medical News Today, eating one or 2 meals a day promotes weight loss for several reasons (7). First and foremost, it is because it limits your calorie consumption.
Consuming fewer calories than your body burns triggers fat loss. Secondly, Medical News Today acknowledges that such a dietary practice increases your fasting window (7). Typically, when you eat three meals a day, you tend to have five or six hours between lunch and breakfast.
Longer fast durations during the day might help with fat burning (6). You should create this diet plan with your dietitian to help in establishing these fasting windows between meals. You may end up creating the meal plan yourself but harming yourself with long fasting periods.
How Much Weight Can You Lose With The 2 Meal A Day Diet Plan?
As mentioned earlier, the two-day meal diet plan ranks high among the sustainable weight loss diet plans. This means that you have to practice it regularly for long-term results as the results tend to be slow and steady.
So, do not start this diet overnight thinking that you can lose ten pounds or more in four days or a week. These are just unrealistic weight-loss goals that may demotivate you when they are not achieved.
Medical News Today acknowledges that healthy weight loss entails losing a 5-6% reduction of your body weight within 6 months (2). It is possible if you reduce your calorie intake, which is what the two-day meal plan does.
However, for faster weight loss, you will need to incorporate regular physical activity. Exercising and embracing this weight loss eating plan is the best way to lose and avoid regaining the lost weight (2).
Who Should Not Try The 2 Meal A Day Diet?
While it seems perfectly fine to eat two meals a day, such a routine is not suitable for everyone. There are a few groups of people who are advised not to try such a diet plan. It is because such a meal plan may increase their risk of health problems. These groups include:
People With Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are serious health conditions that tend to impact your health negatively. Although most people may think they are less fatal, these conditions are severe and affect your body’s ability to get nutrition (4). The most common eating disorders include bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and anorexia nervosa (4).
People With Type 1 And 2 Diabetes
People with diabetes must get their daily nutritional needs to maintain proper blood sugar levels. Some diet plans may not meet such nutritional needs. For this, you are asked to consult with a healthcare provider before making any dietary changes.
Again, some diet plans may include foods that are restricted for people with such health conditions. If not, they may include various food components that may affect your blood sugar levels. This is why you must consult with a professional on any meal plan before starting it.
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Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women
The 2-day diet plan is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. This is because they need to eat more to meet their daily calorie limit. If you want to lose weight while breastfeeding, talk to your doctor. Never take matters into your own hands without first seeking professional advice.
People Who Want To Gain Weight
If you want to gain weight, then this meal plan is not for you. While weight loss requires you to maintain a calorie deficit, weight gain requires a calorie surplus. This means consuming more calories than your body is burning (9).
Consuming an extra 300 to 500 calories than your body is burning will eventually result in weight gain. Eating two meals a day may restrict your calorie intake leading to weight loss instead of weight gain.
Even if you do not fit in any of these groups, you should seek medical advice first before trying this diet plan. No matter how healthy you feel, it is not advisable to make major dietary changes without seeking professional help and advice.
What Is Included In This Meal Plan?
Just because you are having two meals a day does not mean that the diet is unhealthy. The following meal plan is nutritious, and it consists of balanced meals that meet all your nutritional needs.
The meals included in this diet plan are attained from five food groups. These include (3):
In the two-day meal plan, you will find various vegetable meal ideas. They may include leafy green veggies like kale and spinach or non-starchy vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. They may also be raw or cooked.
Next, you will find fruits in most weight loss diet plans like the 2 meal a day diet plan. Most of these meal plans recommend eating whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices because whole fruits provide satiating fiber which is missing from the juice.
Grains can either be refined or whole-grains. Refined grains are processed and do not contain the germ, bran, or endosperm of the grain. However, whole-grains tend to contain all three parts of the grain. They are recommended for weight loss as they have more fiber and increase your satiety levels (8). Most of the whole-grains you will find in this meal plan include quinoa, brown rice, oats, buckwheat, and whole-wheat flour.
Hardly will you miss a protein food source in any weight loss diet plan. Proteins tend to make you feel full, which ultimately makes you eat fewer calories (11). As we all know, weight loss entails consuming fewer calories than your body burns.
So, proteins are great food ideas in the 2 meals a day diet plan. You will find protein sources such as lean beef, chicken, lean pork, turkey, and fish in such a meal plan. If you are following a 2 meal a day plant-based diet plan, your protein sources will be plant-based. They will include legumes such as beans and peas.
You will also find various dairy product recommendations in this meal plan. Worth noting is that the diet plan only advocates for low-fat dairy products. These include products like low-fat milk or yogurt, cottage cheese, and soy milk. However, in some cases, these products may not be recommended. It is especially the case if you are following a 2 meal a day vegan diet plan.
Planning An Easy 2 Meal A Day Diet
Now that you understand what this diet plan entails, you perhaps may want to craft one yourself. You perhaps have studied a few examples, so you feel like this will be a walk in the park. It is not a bad thing.
However, the reality is that you will need to consider other factors and have basic meal planning knowledge. These factors include:
Many diet plans have been started to help with the attainment of various goals. Some are meant to promote weight loss, weight gain, muscle gain, and so forth. You must understand what a 2-day meal plan can help you achieve.
In most cases, this diet plan is recommended to people whose goal is weight loss. So, avoid this meal plan if your goal is adding some weight.
Your Activity Levels
According to Medical News Today, you ought to create a meal plan that matches your activity levels (10). Here is the thing: you may choose this diet plan and implement a specific exercise program for weight loss.
It is nothing out of the ordinary. The only problem arises when you do not account for your calorie intake for your activity levels. You need calories to help your body perform various body functions (5).
If you create a meal plan that does not give you enough calories, you may suffer from various health problems (5). It is, therefore, vital to also take into account your activity levels when determining your daily calorie intake. It is a tricky subject, and the best way you can maneuver around it is by seeking professional help.
Your Dietary Requirements For Health Conditions
Again, you need to consider your dietary requirements as determined by your existing health conditions. Worth noting is that sometimes the diet plan you want to start does not always fit the bill. It is especially the case if you have certain health conditions.
In such a case, ask your doctor about the best dietary practice to help you attain your goal. Likewise, sit down with these professionals to learn of your health condition’s dietary requirements before starting this diet plan.
Its Nutritional Value
The nutritional content of every diet plan tends to vary greatly. With this in mind, it is a good move for you to first do your research to ensure that you are receiving all your nutrients. Talk to a licensed nutritionist or dietitian to evaluate this diet plan’s nutritional profile before you give it a try.
These are some of the most crucial aspects that you need to evaluate while planning this diet plan. They will help to make sure that you create a healthful meal plan that can help you attain your goals.
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Some Simple Aspects To Evaluate While Planning This Diet
After looking at crucial aspects, you can then analyze simple aspects such as:
- The number of people who will be using the diet plan. The more the people involved, the more the servings you will account for in every recipe.
- The cooking time of each meal idea. Analyzing the cooking time helps you identify if the meal plan can fit into a busy schedule.
- The suggested ingredients. Most people prefer working with familiar ingredients. However, some do not mind mixing things a bit and trying new recipes.
- The suggested recipes. Some recipes may be straightforward, while others may be a hard nut to crack. Again, most people prefer simple recipes that are less stressful.
Meal Plan Ideas For Your 2 Meal A Day Diet Plan
Eating 2 meals a day is easier and achievable if you follow a diet plan. It helps you stick to your calorie limit and minimizes snacking, which can increase the number of calories in your diet. It also helps you include healthy and nutritious meals that help you meet all your dietary requirements. Here are some meal plan ideas to include or consider in your 2 meal a day diet plan:
On this day, the meal plan ideas are for breakfast and lunch. The ideas have been obtained from Medical News Today and are as follows (10):
- A smoothie prepared with protein powder, oat milk, and some frozen berries
- Broccoli quinoa and some toasted almonds
The meal plan ideas on this day are for lunch and dinner. They are obtained from WebMD’s website and are as follows (1):
- A chicken or roast beef sandwich on whole-grain toast with lettuce, sautéed mushrooms, part-skim mozzarella, and yellow mustard
- A three-quarter cup of baked potato wedges
- Five ounces of broiled salmon stuffed with celery, bread crumbs, and onions and served with brown rice and slivered almonds
- Half a cup of steamed broccoli
- One cup of fat-free milk
The following recipes for this 2-day diet plan have also been obtained from the WebMD website (1). They are as follows:
- Cooked oatmeal with raisins and margarine
- Half a cup of fat-free milk
- One cup of orange juice
- A taco salad prepared with iceberg lettuce, low-fat cheddar, tomato slices, black beans, tortilla chips, salsa, ground turkey, lime juice, and avocado
- One unsweetened drink
Here are some lunch and dinner meal plan ideas you can consider having on the fourth day of this diet plan:
- Smoked turkey sandwich on whole-wheat pita bread (with tomato slices, romaine lettuce, salad dressing, and mustard)
- Half a cup of apple slices
- One cup of orange juice
- Five ounces of grilled top loin steak, a three-quarter cup of mashed potatoes, a whole-wheat dinner roll, half a cup of steamed carrots with honey, and one cup of free-fat milk
On this day, you can work with the following recipes or use them as guides to personalize your 2 meal a day diet plan:
- Ten whole-wheat crackers, Manhattan clam chowder, one medium orange, and one cup of fat-free milk
- Asian veggie stir fry prepared with some tofu, bok choy, and bell peppers, one cup of brown rice, and one cup of lemon-flavored ice tea
- Buckwheat pancakes with raspberries and Greek yogurt
- Sesame salmon, purple sprouting broccoli, and sweet potato mash
The Bottom Line
Various weight loss meal plans such as the 2 meal a day diet plan can help you lose weight. It limits your food consumption to only two meals a day. They can be any two meals you choose.
These meals contain all foods from all the five major food groups. These are the proteins, vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, and dairy. The meals are, therefore, balanced diets that give your body all the required nutrients.
Eating 2 meals a day can help you lose weight as this practice restricts your calorie intake. You can also consider some physical activity if you want to lose weight faster. Remember to make all these dietary and lifestyle changes only after seeking professional help.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 4 Healthy Meal Plans From the Pyramid (2008, webmd.com)
- 10 tips for successful weight loss (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- A guide to eating a balanced diet (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Eating disorders (2018, mayoclinic.org)
- How many calories do you need? (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)
- How to naturally lose weight fast (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- One good breakfast a day keeps weight gain away (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)
- The Whole Truth About Whole Grains (2004, webmd.com)
- Tips for gaining weight safely and things to avoid (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Weight loss meal plans (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What to eat on a high-protein diet (2021, medicalnewstoday.com)