Healthy Weekly Diet Plans

by Cathleen Calkins

About Cathleen Calkins

Cathleen Calkins specializes in writing about travel, adventure, lifestyle, health, fitness and brand identity. She is a regular contributor to Snowshoemag.com and her work has appeared in "Backcountry," "Telemark Skier," "The Rotarian," "LA Weekly" and "Las Vegas Review Journal" as well as on a number of online adventure travel websites. She holds a Bachelor of Science in hospitality management from Rochester Institute of Technology.

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Overview

Making changes to your diet, even small ones, yields measurable benefits, such as increased energy, a more positive outlook and improved physical fitness. While benefits provide motivation to eat a healthy diet, following a specific diet plan can prove challenging week after week. Use creative strategies to keep your weekly diet plan from becoming a negative experience, it will help you stick to your commitment to eat healthy. Consult your doctor before beginning any new diet.

Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, the Eating Well website explains. In fact, the first meal should provide energy and satisfaction to last until mid-morning. Healthy breakfasts contain a mix of protein, carbohydrates and fat. A breakfast burrito, for example, can have these essential ingredients, such as an egg (a protein source), cheddar cheese (a fat source) and a tortilla (a carbohydrate source). Avoid breakfasts heavy with carbohydrates or refined sugar, such as muffins or doughnuts. Instead, plan weekly breakfast meals based on this formula -- including protein, carbohydrates and fat in every meal.

Lunch

Create a week-long lunch plan based on grains and leafy greens. Smaller portions of grains, such as quinoa, fill you up and take longer to digest. Include a portion of lean protein with each lunch. For sandwiches, choose low-calorie, whole-grain breads or pitas and add vegetables for texture. For flavor, use low-calorie condiments, such as mustard and balsamic vinegar.

Dinner

Simple meals made with healthy foods low in calories and carbohydrates can offer a pleasant end to your day. Dinners should be delicious and quick, and include fresh ingredients, such as seasonal vegetables and herbs. Planning dinner menus based on seasonal vegetables ensures variety in your diet.

Snacking

Snacking between meals is healthy when you choose nourishing options, such as fruit, granola bars and vegetables. Eating between meals maintains mood and energy. Snacking also prevents you from becoming overly hunger, which can lead to overeating. Encouraging children to choose healthy snacks at an early age will help kids make healthy choices later on in life, the Health n Fitness Care website reminds.

Strategies for Meal Planning

The key to developing -- and following -- a healthy weekly diet plan is to mix it up. Varying your diet is not only essential for ensuring that you obtain the correct amount of nutrients, it also promotes interest in sticking to your diet plan. Take time to sketch out meal plans that meets your needs and your schedule. If you are short on preparation time, plan meals that limit the amount of time spent in the kitchen. If necessary, on days when your schedule is tight, select healthy meals that are quick, such as a salad of leafy greens and lean protein you can buy at the supermarket or order at a restaurant. Another key strategy is to eat foods you enjoy.

Photo Credits:

  • healthy foods image by Steve Lovegrove from Fotolia.com

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.