How to Plan a Weight Loss Diet Menu

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Proper meal planning for weight loss will help you succeed long term. You will always know what you are going to eat, so you will have it with you. This will help you avoid temptations. Be sure to plan your meals ahead of time so you can stay within your calorie range. If you add up calories as you go through the day, you may find that you don't have many calories left at the end of the day.

  • Determine the number of calories you plan to eat in a day. Most people should eat about 1,200 to 1,500 calories in order to lose weight, but this calorie range could be higher--particularly if you are very active or breastfeeding. Ask your doctor what intake is right for you or visit a Web site that can help you make this determination.

  • Choose daily meals that fit within your target calorie range. Once you know how many calories a day you should be aiming for, plan your meals to fit within that budget. For example, you may want to design meals that are just 300 calories, such as oatmeal with fresh fruit.

  • Read the nutrition labels of all foods to check for calorie content. When you plan a weight loss diet menu, be sure to count all the calories of each ingredient. If a food doesn't have a label, look online for the calorie count. If you also are trying to watch your fat or sodium levels, pay attention to this information.

  • Incorporate your favorite foods into the diet plan. You'll be more likely to stick to the plan if you can still enjoy your favorite foods. If you enjoy spaghetti, be sure you plan to eat spaghetti every once in awhile. You also can allow for desserts or other occasional treats in your calorie budget.

  • Focus your meals on low-calorie options. When you eat a food that is high in calories, it's often not enough to keep you full. When you plan a menu for losing weight, include as many low-calorie choices as possible. This allows you to eat more food, but still keep losing weight. You'll always feel full and won't want to cheat on the diet.

Tips & Warnings

  • When preparing the meals that you've planned, pay attention to portion sizes. Take out your measuring cups and spoons to do this--if you try to guess, you are likely to add calories that you don't want. You also can use a kitchen scale to weigh your food.

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