Last time you tried to lose weight, did you become so ravenous that you blew it with a big binge? Sure, you have to eat less to slim down, but drastic changes shouldn’t happen overnight. We’re here to make the trimming process painless. The plan: Give yourself 2 to 3 weeks to gradually reduce portion sizes. Start by comparing the amount you’d normally eat with the recommendations in our portion guide. Then, downsize proteins, starches and/or fats by about one third each week until you reach the ideal serving size. To fill in the gaps, round out your plate with lots of volume-rich foods (big in mass but low in calories) like fruits and veggies.
Sample 5-Day Stay-Full Meal Plan
This plan provides about 1,550 calories a day. (If you need more or fewer calories, simply add or subtract a snack; each one is about 150 calories.) To help you lose weight while staying full, we’re emphasizing water-packed soups, salads, fruits and veggies. The menus also include lean protein and fiber-filled whole grains; these foods are digested super-slowly, so they’ll ward off between-meal hunger pangs that weaken your willpower. Feel free to mix and match breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks as you like.
- Bacon, egg & tomato sandwich: Top 2 slices lightly toasted whole-grain bread with 1 scrambled egg, 1 slice turkey bacon and 2 slices tomato.
- 4 oz calcium- and vitamin D-fortified orange juice
- Greek shrimp salad: Whisk together 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar,Â â…› tsp dried oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over 1 cup romaine lettuce, 2 Tbsp feta cheese crumbles, Â½ cup sliced grape tomatoes, 5 sliced Kalamata olives, Â½ sliced red bell pepper, Â¼ sliced cucumber, 2 slices red onion and 10 precooked shrimp; toss.
- 10 whole-wheat pita chips
- Risotto with saffron & scallops: Cook Â¼ cup Arborio rice in 8 oz chicken stock according to package directions. Stir in 1 pinch saffron. SautÃ© 1 clove crushed garlic in 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add 4 oz bay scallops and sautÃ© until opaque (about 3 to 5 minutes). Fold into risotto.
- 2 cups baby spinach sautÃ©ed in 1 tsp olive oil
- 8 oz minestrone with 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan
- 4 oz all-natural rice pudding topped with 1 Tbsp dried tart cherries
- 5.3 oz 2% Greek yogurt with honey, 1 sliced banana, 1 Tbsp chopped walnuts
- 2 oz smoked turkey slices, Â½ sliced apple, 1 slice Cheddar and 1 Tbsp honey mustard on 2 slices whole-wheat bread
- Â½ cup cucumber salad (sliced cucumbers drizzled with white vinegar and seasoned with salt and pepper)
- Chinese food takeout: 8 oz ginger chicken with broccoli, 5 oz garlic sugar snap peas, Â½ cup brown rice
- Â½ cup soft-serve chocolate ice cream
- 1 cup cantaloupe chunks and 1 cup pineapple chunks, topped with Â¼ tsp chopped mint
- Strawberry French toast: Dip 1 slice whole-wheat bread into 1 large beaten egg. Fry in 1 tsp butter over medium heat until golden, 2 to 3 minutes, turning halfway. Top with 1 cup sliced strawberries tossed with 1 tsp sugar.
- 8 oz nonfat or 1% milk
- Southwestern veggie burger: Prepare 1 black-bean veggie burger according to package directions. Serve on whole-wheat hamburger bun with Â¼ sliced avocado, tomato and onion slices, and 1 Tbsp barbecue sauce.
- 10 blue-corn tortilla chips
- Cranberry-chicken couscous: Combine Â¼ cup dried cranberries, Â¼ tsp curry powder and Â½ cup chicken broth. Bring to a simmer. Add Â¼ cup whole-wheat couscous. Cover, remove from heat and steam for 10 minutes. Add 4 oz cubed grilled chicken breast and 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley; toss.
- 1 cup string beans with 1 tsp olive oil
- 16 oz light mango smoothie (Try Jamba Juice Jamba Light Mango Mantra, or make your own smoothie by blending Â½ cup frozen mango chunks with Â½ cup calcium- and vitamin D-enriched orange juice and Â½ cup nonfat vanilla yogurt.)
- 1 oz cinnamon-brown sugar roasted almonds
- 1 cup whole-oat cereal (such as Cheerios), 1 cup blueberries, 2 Tbsp almonds, 8 oz nonfat or 1% milk
- Small 3-bean chili and Â½ roast beef sandwich with wasabi (spread 1 Tbsp wasabi mayonnaise on Â½ kaiser roll and top with 2 oz lean roast beef, Â½ tsp pickled ginger and romaine lettuce)
- 4 oz meat loaf
1 small baked potato with 1 Tbsp sour cream
1 cup sliced carrots roasted in 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 mini Babybel cheese and 1 apple
- 10 pretzel twists dipped in 2 tsp Nutella hazelnut spread
- Â½ cup cooked oatmeal with 1 tsp brown sugar and 1 Tbsp each dried cherries, dried cranberries and dried blueberries (or try Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal)
- 12 oz nonfat cappuccino
- Peanut butter and banana pizza: Spread 1 whole wheat pita with 1 Tbsp peanut butter. Top with Â½ sliced banana. Drizzle with 1 tsp honey and broil for 2 minutes.
- 8 oz nonfat or 1% milk
- Mexican rice bowl: Toss Â½ cup cooked brown rice with Â½ cup each drained canned black beans and microwaved frozen corn. Top with Â½ cup diced tomato, Â¼ cup chopped onions, 2 Tbsp shredded Cheddar and Â¼ cup chunky salsa.
- Two 2Â¼-in. homemade chocolate chip cookies; 8 oz coffee with 1% milk
- 1 pear, quartered, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray and roasted at 400Â°F for 15 minutes, topped with Â½ cup vanilla frozen yogurt
11 Satisfying Foods (Keep this list with you!)
- Vegetable- and-bean-based soups and chilis
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Baked potatoes
- Main-dish salads with vinaigrette
- Lean broiled or baked meat, fish and skinless white-meat chicken
- Brown rice, whole-wheat couscous risotto, pasta and polenta au naturel or with a light vegetable or tomato sauce
- Whole-grain cereals
- Small servings of olive oil, canola oil and butter
- Small portions of natural tortilla and regular potato chips (Fat-free ones aren’tÂ satisfying)
- Mini-servings of cookies, ice cream and brownies
- Coffee, tea, nonfat cappuccinos and lattes