While everyone is unique and should customize their nutrition to match their personal goals and life style, here is a basic nutrition plan that will help you safely lose weight and burn fat. It is also important to remind you that you should always consult a doctor before beginning this or any other dietary change.
Most people have grown up eating three meals a day, but are not sure on what they should be eating for each meal, and for their snacks between meals. Personally, I consume between 1500-1800 calories per day divided between 3 meals and 2-3 snacks. Your caloric needs may be greater or less based on your current weight and activity level. There are several websites and apps available to help you determine how many calories you should be eating per day.
In the morning your sugar levels are most likely depleted from the fasting period while you have slept. Because of this, you need to make sure a portion of your breakfast contains carbohydrates. A piece of toast or some oatmeal combined with a piece of fruit makes for a great breakfast since you will be giving your body simple sugars from the fruit for immediate energy and complex carbohydrates for a slower digesting energy source. Portion size is the trick here since if you eat too many carbohydrates without using them your body will just convert them to store as fats.
From this point on, your body really doesn’t need many carbohydrates for the rest of the day unless you are working out. Post-workout your body will be depleted of sugar again so it’s alright to add them to your after workout shake. But snaking on carbohydrates during the day will throw a wrench in your fat loss plan.
Your body will use them for energy and never have to burn your body fat as an energy source. So as a rule of thumb, carbohydrate should be only consumed in quantity for breakfast and post-workout.
So if you are not eating carbohydrates for the rest of the day, where are you getting your calories from for your other meals. For lunch and dinner, lean protein and high fiber vegetables make a great choice. A big tossed salad with chicken breast and a small amount of dressing is a good choice. Fish or lean meat pared with seasonal vegetables makes another great meal. If you are consuming around 300-400 calories for both lunch and dinner, you should be close to this number with only 2 items on your plate.
“Never hungry and never full” is important to keep your body burning calories throughout the day. To make sure you are doing this you need to be eating every 2-3 hours by adding snacks to your routine. If you workout mid morning or mid afternoon a protein shake post workout can double as a great snack. Nuts like almonds make another great snack that you can eat on the go.
However, be careful with nuts not to eat too many since they are very dense in calories. When I am at home my personal favorite snack is a homemade ranch dressing made from Greek yogurt and seasoning packet to dip carrots, broccoli, or snap peas into. This makes a great snack that is high in protein and fiber while being low in fat and calories.