Your metabolism will be transformed into a round-the-clock fat-incinerating machine with the flexible guidelines below.
“This plan focuses on resistant starches and healthy monounsaturated fats to keep you feeling energized and satisfied all day long,” diet expert Marissa Lippert, RD, says.
By loading up on the right (delicious) food, youll be getting fuel your body will use rather than store as fat. “Youll lose weight, blast fat, and actually enjoy what youre eating without feeling like youre on a ‘diet,” Lippert says.
Whats more, the frequent, well-balanced meals and snacks will keep you constantly satisfied and give you more energy. Read on, and check out our first-week mix-and-match meal plan to get started.
Feel the burn
Fill up fast on slow-burning, supersatiating resistant starches like black beans, oatmeal, barely ripe bananas, lentils, and multigrain breads. This type of starch resists immediate digestion, passing slowly through your body to keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. Plus, it helps your body burn more fat and can even fight disease.
Aim for four to six servings per day (weve loaded your Mix-and-Match menu with em), and click here for more options.
Dont fear fat
MUFAs (a.k.a. monounsaturated fatty acids) help you lose belly fat naturally, studies show. These healthy fats also reduce inflammation, which can keep weight gain at bay and even help lower cholesterol and disease risks. Some good sources: avocado, olive and canola oils, sunflower seeds, salmon, and nuts.
Keep in mind that a little goes a long way when it comes to calorie-dense MUFAs, so aim for two to three servings per day; click here for serving sizes and a complete list.
Eat like clockwork
Aim to have a meal or small snack every three to four hours to keep your metabolism revved up and those calories and excess fat stores burning off. The goal is 1,400 to 1,600 total daily calories, broken down this way:
Breakfast, 300 calories
Lunch, 400 to 450 calories
Dinner, 450 to 500 calories
Two snacks, 100 to 200 calories each
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Balance every meal
For maximum fullness and energy, make sure you get some lean protein, a resistant starch or other fiber-rich carbohydrate, a little healthy fat, and, of course, fruits and/or veggies at every meal. No matter what you choose from our mix-and-match plan, youll be set.
Make friends with fiber
Fill up fast, improve your digestion, and lower your overall calorie intake with a variety of high-fiber foods. Shoot for 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day from foods like fruits and vegetables, sweet potatoes, and whole-grain pastas and cereals.
Pack in some protein
Work 1 serving of lean protein (think chicken breast, salmon, beans, cottage cheese, an egg) into each meal to help you feel full, keep your metabolism fired up, and build lean muscle mass (that will help you burn even more calories!).
Know your portions
Take a look at your plate before diving in. You should see one-half vegetables, one-fourth resistant starches and/or healthy carbs, and one-fourth lean protein.
Get back to basics
Zone in on items that have three to five ingredients or less when you hit the market. Highly processed foods dont satisfy you as well as whole, fresh foods, Lippert says. Smart strategy: Shop the outer perimeter of the store first when filling up your grocery cart.
Write it down!
Keeping a food diary helps you drop pounds, studies show. Just seeing portion sizes, hunger patterns, and major successes can help you avoid noshing too much and stay motivated to lose.