What is the 7-day healthy meal plan and how can it help you lose weight? The problem with most diets is that they are too restrictive or require too much planning ahead of time, which makes them hard to stick with. The 7-day healthy meal plan consists of meals that are low in calories, high on nutrition, and delicious. The general idea is to eat foods that are low in calories but packed with nutrition. It’s really that simple! This diet will not only help you lose weight but also improve your overall health as well. Here is everything you need to know if you’re looking for a new way to get healthier while shedding some pounds.
What Is A Healthy Meal?
Healthy eating is all about balance. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, a healthy meal is one that has the following components (3).
Carbohydrates, Including Starch And Fiber
Carbs often get a bad rap, but they are essential to good health. Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy, and that includes your brain. If you eat a low-carbohydrate diet, your blood sugar will drop dramatically. This can make you feel lightheaded, tired, and even dizzy (2).
Carbohydrates help you to (2):
- Maintain healthy teeth and gums
- Keep your bones strong
- Get energy from the foods in which they’re found (fruits and vegetables)
- Protect against certain diseases
- Regulate digestion
- Control appetite to prevent overeating
- Produce enough saliva for good dental health
- Keep bowels moving regularly
Read More: 1300-Calorie Diet Meal Plan: Eat These Foods To Lose Weight
In addition to being a survival nutrient, fat keeps your skin looking radiant, helps maintain body temperature, aids in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins like A, D E, and K, and keeps you full for longer periods of time. The key is knowing which fats to eat and in what amounts (1).
Saturated fats found in animal-source foods like meat and dairy are linked to high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, strokes, and type 2 diabetes while unsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, and certain vegetable oils tend to be healthier (1).
Limit your intake of saturated fat by eliminating the visible fat on meat before cooking and choosing lean cuts of meat and poultry (not including skin).
Getting enough protein as part of a healthy diet isn’t hard and it’s important to eat enough to maintain muscle mass while still losing weight (if that’s your goal). Protein should account for roughly 15% of total calories consumed per day if you’re looking to lose weight and 20–35% of total calories consumed per day if you want to gain muscle mass (7).
Additionally, this macronutrient helps to (7):
- Heal wounds
- Hormonal synthesis
- Maintain hair, skin and nails
- Protect against disease
- Repair cells that have been damaged by free radicals (a form of oxygen damage)
- Transport other nutrients into cells
- Regulate body temperature
- Keep you satiated.
Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water per day, which is about 2 liters. Drinking enough water (5):
- Hydrates cells
- Helps maintain body temperature
- Eliminates waste through urine, sweat and breath
- Transports nutrients throughout the body
- Keeps skin smooth and supple
- Lubricates joints
- Assists with digestion by helping food move quickly through the gut (helping to prevent constipation)
- Prevents headaches
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Vitamins, Minerals, And Antioxidants
Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants are an essential part of a healthy diet. While they aren’t necessary for survival (the body can produce many vitamins on its own), these nutrients are important to maintain good health and prevent illness (9).
While fruits and vegetables naturally contain most of the vitamins and minerals that the human body needs, some think it’s better to get their daily dosage from supplements or fortified foods instead. However, experts agree that eating natural sources of vitamins is always best (9).
Antioxidants are organic nutrients that the body uses to fight off free radicals. Free radicals are poisonous substances that lead to accelerated aging, cell damage, and the most common diseases in America: cancer and heart disease. Berries are a popular source of this micronutrient (9).
How To Eat Healthy To Lose Weight
The healthiest way to eat carbs, protein, and fat is by choosing whole food sources instead of processed foods. When you do this, you know exactly what’s going into your body: healthy fats; lean proteins; gut-healthy fiber; vitamins and minerals without added sugar; no (or very little) artificial ingredients, and no preservatives.
Additionally, you’ll have to create a calorie deficit.
Create A Calorie Deficit
Many people consume more calories than they need to maintain their weight each day. When you consistently eat more calories than your body needs, the extra calories are stored as fat.
That said, when you eat less than you need, your body burns stored fat to give you energy for your activities. This results in weight loss.
To create a calorie deficit, you need to eat fewer calories than you use and increase your level of physical activity.
This can be broken down into two parts. You should make changes to your diet and then increase the amount of exercise that you do each day.
To create a small calorie deficit, start by reducing your intake by 100-200 calories per day so that this will cause a weight loss of about one pound (454 grams). This is an average figure for most people but may vary depending on how much weight they want to lose (4).
Read More: Simple Paleo Meal Plans: Can Eating Like A Caveman Fast-Track Your Weight Loss?
How Much Weight Can You Lose In A Week?
There are some people who lose a lot of weight in a week, and those who lose very little. It actually depends on your Body Mass Index and what you eat and drink.
Your BMI is the main factor that determines the amount of weight you lose a week. For example, if your body mass index is 20 and you are a male, you will likely lose less than one pound in a week. On the other hand, if your BMI is 35 and you are female, then you may be able to lose around 3 to 4 pounds in 7 days because of higher fat storage (10).
Not all weight loss methods are the same, but when it comes to safe weight loss, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a target of 1 to 2 pounds per week (6).
According to the CDC, people who lose weight gradually and steadily are more successful at keeping weight off and maintaining a healthy lifestyle (6).
How Meal Planning Works For Weight Loss
Meal planning is a great way to lose weight for several reasons.
First, it makes you focus on what you eat more than if your diet was not planned out in advance.
Second, the act of doing something as simple as making a grocery list and writing down what you will buy actually helps to change your behavior over time—you begin to make better choices simply because you know that they are on your shopping list.
Third, meal planning keeps track of how much food goes into your body each day which can be a great tool to remember and notice trends.
Fourth, meal planning also takes advantage of being able to buy foods in bulk at lower prices when those products are on sale (for example, buying several large bags of frozen vegetables when on sale or when they are one of the “buy one get one free” type of deals).
Meal planning is a lot like budgeting in that it helps to keep you focused on your money. When meal planning, you need to look at what you have already bought and how much room is left in your monthly food budget; that way you can plan an entire month’s worth of meals knowing exactly how much money that you will be spending.
The easiest way to start meal planning is by just thinking about which meals are important for everyone in your family to eat daily (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and then also thinking about snacks. Once those meals are established, then pick a few days per week when you can have either a ” splurge ” day or a ” treat yourself ” day.
However, creating a 7 day healthy meal plan on a budget may be easier said than done. If you’re struggling with this aspect of healthy eating here is a sample meal plan you can try.
Sample Healthy 7-Day Meal Plan For Weight Loss
Losing weight doesn’t have to be a difficult task, as portrayed by many nutrition platforms. With the right meal plans and exercise, the process won’t be much of a hussle. Now, the tricky bit is getting and picking the best meal plans. When done properly, they will ensure you get the much-needed caloric deficit for weight loss.
This 1500 calorie meal plan has been designed to ensure you maintain your daily caloric deficit while getting all the required nutrition. Therefore, a particular emphasis has been put on nutrient-dense foods.
Whether you’re looking to simply pep up your fitness routine, jazz up your diet with mouth-watering low-calorie recipes or want to get your act together and significantly drop that number on your scale – BetterMe app has got you covered! Improve your body and revamp your life with us!
Day One (8)
- Breakfast: Honey strawberry smoothie and one apple
- Lunch: Hummus on rye (2 slices)
- Dinner: 8 ounces thai basil chicken with fast and easy spinach with shallots.
- Snacks: 1 medium banana with 1 tablespoon almond butter
Total Calories: 1,515 calories
Day Two (8)
- Breakfast: ½ a bowl of oatmeal and one ounce of pecans
- Lunch: 8 ounces tuna, ¼ cup salsa, 1 tablespoon sour cream and ½ an avocado. Mix all the ingredients together to make a tuna mex salad
- Dinner: 1 gourmet Grilled cheese with 2.8 ounces of garlic green beans
- Snacks: 5.7 ounces cinnamon apple bites and ½ a can of tuna mixed with ½ cucumber, ½ cup shredded lettuce and 1 medium tomato
Total Calories: 1,489 calories
Day Three (8)
- Breakfast: 13.6 ounces tomato scrambled eggs and 1 apple
- Lunch: 12 ounces tuna and avocado salad and 1 tablespoon peanut butter with ½ cup chopped carrots
- Dinner: Avocado toast and 1 tablespoon of hummus
- Snacks: 1 medium banana, 5 raisins and 2 teaspoons of peanut butter
Total Calories: 1,493 calories
Day Four (8)
- Breakfast: 1 slice peanut butter banana toast
- Lunch: ½ pan seared chicken breast with 8 ounces steamed green beans
- Dinner: 1 bowl rice and beans and 2 crisps parmesan crisps
- Snacks: 8 ounces Greek yoghurt with 1 medium banana about 7 inches long
Total Calories: 1,485 calories
Day Five (8)
- Breakfast: 1 mango smoothie with 2 slices whole wheat toast
- Lunch: 6 ounces pan fried T-bone
- Dinner: 220 ounces chicken cabbage salad
- Snacks: 1 bowl of oatmeal and peaches
Total Calories: 1,494 calories
Day Six (8)
- Breakfast: Turkey spinach omelette ( made with 2 large eggs with 1 medium apple
- Lunch: 18.6 ounces zucchini ‘pasta and 2 ounces grilled asparagus
- Dinner: 28 ounces cauliflower chicken fried rice
- Snacks: 2 garlic eggs
Total Calories: 1,500 calories
Day Seven (8)
- Breakfast: 2 slices vegan French toast
- Lunch: 18 ounces potatoes and papers
- Dinner: 6 ounces pan roasted asparagus and 10 ounces flank steak and tomatoes
- Snacks: ½ cup hummus and 2 cup slices of cucumber
Total Calories: 1,505 calories
This 1500-calorie diet meal plan is courtesy of eatthismuch.com.
The Bottom Line
The 1500-calorie diet meal plan can be effective for weight loss if done correctly. You should make sure you’re getting all the required macronutrients even while you’re restricting your calorie intake. Also, if you have a medical condition like diabetes, consult your doctor or dietitian before starting any calorie-restricting meal plans.
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 to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion (2017, nih.gov)
- Carbohydrates (2021, clevelandclinic.org)
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 ( 2020, dietaryguidelines.gov)
- Dietary intakes associated with successful weight loss and maintenance during the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial (2012, nih.gov)
- How much water should you drink? (2020, harvard.edu)
- Losing Weight (cdc.gov)
- Protein for Life: Review of Optimal Protein Intake, Sustainable Dietary Sources and the Effect on Appetite in Ageing Adults (2018, nih.gov)
- Put Your Diet On Autopilot (n.d., eatthismuch.com)
- Vitamins and Minerals (n.d., helpguide.org)
- Weight-Loss and Maintenance Strategies (2003, nih.gov)