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Healthy Weight Loss Meal Plans

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, reports that the majority of Americans–64 percent of women and 72 percent of men– are either overweight or obese. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, meal plans containing between 1,200 and 1,600 calories per day are usually effective for weight loss in many overweight adult men and women.

Choose a Plan

Choosing a weight loss meal plan is simple. If you’re a man, start with the 1,600-calorie plan and if you’re a woman, try the 1,200-calorie plan, at least initially. If you feel hungry when following your meal plan, bump up your calorie intake by 100 to 200 calories per day, and if you don’t lose weight with your meal plan, try decreasing your calorie intake by up to 500 calories per day or increasing your physical activity level. Or, you can simply subtract 500 to 1,000 calories per day from your current calorie intake to help achieve a 1- to 2-pound per week rate of weight loss, as recommended by the American Dietetic Association. Don’t consume less than 800 calories per day unless you’re supervised by a qualified healthcare professional.

1,200-Calorie Weight Loss Plan

A 1,200-calorie meal plan provided by the USDA can help most women safely lose excess body weight. This plan includes 1.5 cups of vegetables, 1 cup of fruits, 2.5 cups of low-fat dairy products, 4 ounces of whole-grain carbohydrates, 3 ounces of high-protein foods such as lean meats, chicken, egg whites, seafood, soy products, nuts or seeds, 4 teaspoons of vegetable oils or other unsaturated fats and 121 extra calories each day. Try to choose high-protein foods to meet your requirement for extra calories, to help minimize lean muscle loss associated with weight loss.

1,400-Calorie Weight Loss Plan

The USDA‘s healthy 1,400-calorie meal plan may be appropriate for weight loss in overweight adult men or active overweight adult women. This 1,400-calorie healthy weight loss meal plan includes 1.5 cups of vegetables, 1.5 cups of fruits, 2.5 cups of low-fat dairy products, 5 ounces of whole-grain carbohydrates, 4 ounces of protein foods such as lean meats, chicken, egg whites, seafood, soy products, nuts or seeds, 4 teaspoons of vegetable oils or other unsaturated fats and 121 extra calories each day. As with the 1,200-calorie plan, choose high-protein foods to meet your requirement for extra calories when possible, to help minimize lean muscle loss associated with weight loss.

1,600-Calorie Weight Loss Meal Plan

A weight loss meal plan containing 1,600 calories per day may be appropriate for overweight men, active women and women who weigh more than 164 pounds, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A USDA 1,600-calorie healthy weight loss meal plan includes 2 cups of vegetables, 1.5 cups of fruits, 3 cups of low-fat dairy products, 5 ounces of whole-grain carbohydrates, 5 ounces of protein foods such as lean meats, chicken, egg whites, seafood, soy products, nuts or seeds, 5 teaspoons of vegetable oils or other unsaturated fats and 121 extra calories, preferrably from high-protein foods, each day.

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If you feel that you have a health problem, you should seek the advice of your Physician or health care Practitioner.

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