Fats supply energy and essential fatty acids, and they help absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and carotenoids. You need some fat in the food you eat, but choose sensibly. Some kinds of fat, especially saturated fats, increase the risk for coronary heart disease by raising the blood cholesterol (see box 15). In contrast, unsaturated fats (found mainly in vegetable oils) do not increase blood cholesterol. Fat intake in the United States as a proportion of total calories is lower than it was many years ago, but most people still eat too much saturated fat. Eating lots of fat of any type can provide excess calories.
- Choose foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol
- KNOW THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FATS
- FOOD CHOICES LOW IN SATURATED FAT AND CHOLESTEROL AND MODERATE IN TOTAL FAT
- WHAT IS YOUR UPPER LIMIT ON FAT FOR THE CALORIES YOU CONSUME?
- Keep total fat intake moderate
- Advice for children
- A COMPARISON OF SATURATED FAT IN SOME FOODS
- Choose beverages and foods to moderate your intake of sugars
- Choose and prepare foods with less salt
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation
- Foods and Drinks to Limit
- Limit highly processed foods
- Benefits of limiting highly processed foods
- How Much Fat Should I Eat?
- Why choose a low fat diet?
- Low fat diet foods
- Fatty foods to avoid or reduce
- Low fat diets and weight loss
- Should I be aiming for a no fat diet?
- Low fat diets and blood sugar levels
- What are good and bad fats?
- Low-Fat Foods
- Low-fat foods to choose from
- Low Fat Diet
- WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- What do I need to know about the different types of fat in food?
- What foods should I limit or avoid?
- What foods should I include?
- What are some other ways I can decrease fat?
- How can I decrease fat in recipes?
- How can I increase fiber?
- Further information
- WHAT DOES MEAL PREP MEAN?
- HOW DO I MAKE A MEAL PLAN?
- CAN YOU LOSE WEIGHT WITH MEAL PREP?
- HOW MANY TIMES A DAY SHOULD YOU EAT TO LOSE WEIGHT
- WHAT ARE THE BEST MEAL PREP CONTAINERS?
- HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP MEAL PREP IN THE FRIDGE
- CAN YOU FREEZE MEAL PREP FOOD
- More Healthy Meal Prep For Weight Loss
- 7-Day Meal Prep For Weight Loss
- Best ever healthy low fat recipes
- Tomato, lemongrass and rice soup
- Sweet potato and miso soup
- Mushroom bolognese
- Griddled chicken with mustardy lentil salad
- Vegan fajita bowl with cauliflower rice
- Miso-glazed sea bass with ginger greens
- Chicken tikka burritos
- Chicken saag
- Spicy pork meatballs with tzatziki
- Tuscan pork steaks
- Turmeric broth with chicken and ginger dumplings
- Freekeh risotto with spring greens
- Turkish ratatouille with yogurt sauce
- Wild rice and mushroom risotto with roast garlic
- Spicy beetroot and pak choi with ramen eggs and sriracha
- Lamb kleftiko tray bake
- Sweet potato linguine with puy lentil ragù
- Lemon chicken and kale stew with cous cous
- Sumac roast cauliflower and chicken salad with mint yogurt
- Lentil ‘meatballs’ with fresh tomato sauce
- Seared tuna with ponzu dressing and coriander rice noodles
- Chicken dhansak
- Kale waldorf salad with buttermilk dressing
- Spicy prawn linguine
- Tandoori lamb steaks with chilli-spiked slaw
- Ginger lemon sole with Chinese greens
- Thai burgers with salsa and sweet potato wedges
- Healthier lasagne
- Seared tuna and radicchio salad
- Fiery chickpea and harissa soup
- Asian black rice salad
- Moroccan veg and chickpea tagine
- Szechuan prawn noodles
- Creamy lentils with spinach and thyme
- Coconut, banana and raspberry muffins
- Two-tone freezer smoothie
- Related posts:
Choose foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol
See box 16 for tips on limiting the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol you get from your food. Taking these steps can go a long way in helping to keep your blood cholesterol level low.
KNOW THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FATS
Foods high in saturated fats tend to raise blood cholesterol. These foods include high-fat dairy products (like cheese, whole milk, cream, butter, and regular ice cream), fatty fresh and processed meats, the skin and fat of poultry, lard, palm oil, and coconut oil. Keep your intake of these foods low.
Foods that are high in cholesterol also tend to raise blood cholesterol. These foods include liver and other organ meats, egg yolks, and dairy fats.
Trans Fatty Acids
Foods high in trans fatty acids tend to raise blood cholesterol. These foods include those high in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, such as many hard margarines and shortenings. Foods with a high amount of these ingredients include some commercially fried foods and some bakery goods.
Unsaturated fats (oils) do not raise blood cholesterol. Unsaturated fats occur in vegetable oils, most nuts, olives, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon. Unsaturated oils include both monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Olive, canola, sunflower, and peanut oils are some of the oils high in monounsaturated fats. Vegetable oils such as soybean oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil and many kinds of nuts are good sources of polyunsaturated fats. Some fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids that are being studied to determine if they offer protection against heart disease. Use moderate amounts of food high in unsaturated fats, taking care to avoid excess calories.
FOOD CHOICES LOW IN SATURATED FAT AND CHOLESTEROL AND MODERATE IN TOTAL FAT
Get most of your calories from plant foods (grains, fruits, vegetables). If you eat foods high in saturated fat for a special occasion, return to foods that are low in saturated fat the next day.
Fats and Oils
- Choose vegetable oils rather than solid fats (meat and dairy fats, shortening).
- If you need fewer calories, decrease the amount of fat you use in cooking and at the table.
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Shellfish, Eggs, Beans, and Nuts
- Choose 2 to 3 servings of fish, shellfish, lean poultry, other lean meats, beans, or nuts daily. Trim fat from meat and take skin off poultry. Choose dry beans, peas, or lentils often.
- Limit your intake of high-fat processed meats such as bacon, sausages, salami, bologna, and other cold cuts. Try the lower fat varieties (check the Nutrition Facts Label).
- Limit your intake of liver and other organ meats. Use egg yolks and whole eggs in moderation. Use egg whites and egg substitutes freely when cooking since they contain no cholesterol and little or no fat.
- Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, fat-free or low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese most often. Try switching from whole to fat-free or low-fat milk. This decreases the saturated fat and calories but keeps all other nutrients the same.
- Check the Nutrition Facts Label to see how much saturated fat and cholesterol are in a serving of prepared food. Choose foods lower in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Foods at Restaurants or Other Eating Establishments
- Choose fish or lean meats as suggested above. Limit ground meat and fatty processed meats, marbled steaks, and cheese.
- Limit your intake of foods with creamy sauces, and add little or no butter to your food.
- Choose fruits as desserts most often.
Following the tips in the box above will help you keep your intake of saturated fat at less than 10 percent of calories. They will also help you keep your cholesterol intake less than the Daily Value of 300 mg/day listed on the Nutrition Facts Label. If you want more flexibility, see box 17, below, to find out your saturated fat limit in grams. The maximum number of saturated fat grams depends on the amount of calories you get daily. Use Nutrition Facts Labels to find out how much saturated fat is in prepared foods. If you choose one food that is higher in saturated fat, make your other choices lower in saturated fat. This will help you stay under your saturated fat limit for the day.
WHAT IS YOUR UPPER LIMIT ON FAT FOR THE CALORIES YOU CONSUME?
|Total Calories per Day||Saturated Fat in Grams||Total Fat in Grams|
|1,600||18 or less||53|
|2,000*||20 or less||65|
|2,200||24 or less||73|
|2,500*||25 or less||80|
|2,800||31 or less||93|
Different forms of the same food may be very different in their content of saturated fat. Box 18 provides some examples. Try to choose the forms of food that are lower in saturated fat most often.
Keep total fat intake moderate
Aim for a total fat intake of no more than 30 percent of calories, as recommended in previous editions of the Guidelines. If you need to reduce your fat intake to achieve this level, do so primarily by cutting back on saturated and trans fats. Check box 17 to find out how many grams of fat you can have for the number of calories you need. For example, at 2,200 calories per day, your suggested upper limit on fat intake would be about 73 grams. If you are at a healthy weight and you eat little saturated fat, you’ll have leeway to eat some plant foods that are high in unsaturated fats. To see if you need to lose weight, see the guideline “Aim for a Healthy Weight.”
Advice for children
Advice in the previous sections applies to children who are 2 years of age or older. It does not apply to infants and toddlers below the age of 2 years. Beginning at age 2, children should get most of their calories from grain products; fruits; vegetables; low-fat dairy products; and beans, lean meat and poultry, fish, or nuts. Be careful, nuts may cause choking in 2 to 3 year olds.
ADVICE FOR TODAY
To reduce your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol:
|Limit use of solid fats, such as butter, hard margarines, lard, and partially hydrogenated shortenings. Use vegetable oils as a substitute.|
|Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products, cooked dry beans and peas, fish, and lean meats and poultry.|
|Eat plenty of grain products, vegetables, and fruits daily.|
|Use the Nutrition Facts Label to help choose foods lower in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.|
A COMPARISON OF SATURATED FAT IN SOME FOODS
|Food Category||Portion||Saturated Fat Content in Grams|
|Regular Cheddar cheese
Low-fat Cheddar cheese*
|Regular ground beef
Extra lean ground beef*
|3 oz. cooked
3 oz. cooked
Low-fat (1%) milk*
|Regular ice cream
| NOTE: The food categories listed are among the major food sources of saturated fat for U.S. adults and children.
* Choice that is lower in saturated fat.
Sugars are carbohydrates and a source of energy (calories). Dietary carbohydrates also include the complex carbohydrates starch and dietary fiber. During digestion all carbohydrates except fiber break down into sugars. Sugars and starches occur naturally in many foods that also supply other nutrients. Examples of these foods include milk, fruits, some vegetables, breads, cereals, and grains.
Sugars and tooth decay
Foods containing sugars and starches can promote tooth decay. The amount of bacteria in your mouth and lack of exposure to fluorides also promote tooth decay. These bacteria use sugars and starches to produce the acid that causes tooth decay. The more often you eat foods that contain sugars and starches, and the longer these foods remain in your mouth before you brush your teeth, the greater your risk for tooth decay. Frequent eating or drinking sweet or starchy foods between meals is more likely to harm teeth than eating the same foods at meals and then brushing. Daily dental hygiene, including brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing, and adequate intake of fluorides will help prevent tooth decay. Follow the tips in box 19 for healthy teeth.
FOR HEALTHY TEETH AND GUMS
MAJOR SOURCES* OF ADDED SUGARS IN THE UNITED STATES
* All kinds, except diet or sugar-free
Added sugars are sugars and syrups added to foods in processing or preparation, not the naturally occurring sugars in foods like fruit or milk. The body cannot tell the difference between naturally occurring and added sugars because they are identical chemically. Foods containing added sugars provide calories, but may have few vitamins and minerals. In the United States, the number one source of added sugars is nondiet soft drinks (soda or pop). Sweets and candies, cakes and cookies, and fruit drinks and fruitades are also major sources of added sugars.
Intake of a lot of foods high in added sugars, like soft drinks, is of concern. Consuming excess calories from these foods may contribute to weight gain or lower consumption of more nutritious foods. Use box 20 to identify the most commonly eaten foods that are high in added sugars (unless they are labeled “sugar free” or “diet”). Limit your use of these beverages and foods. Drink water to quench your thirst, and offer it to children.
Some foods with added sugars, like chocolate milk, presweetened cereals, and sweetened canned fruits, also are high in vitamins and minerals. These foods may provide extra calories along with the nutrients and are fine if you need the extra calories.
The Nutrition Facts Label gives the content of sugars from all sources (naturally occurring sugars plus added sugars, if anysee figure 3). You can use the Nutrition Facts Label to compare the amount of total sugars among similar products. To find out if sugars have been added, you also need to look at the food label ingredient list. Use box 21 to identify names of some added sugars.
NAMES FOR ADDED SUGARS THAT APPEAR ON FOOD LABELS
A food is likely to be high in sugars if one of these names appears first or second in the ingredient list, or if several names are listed.
Fruit juice concentrate
High-fructose corn syrup
Sugar substitutes such as saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, and sucralose are extremely low in calories. Some people find them useful if they want a sweet taste without the calories. Some foods that contain sugar substitutes, however, still have calories. Unless you reduce the total calories you eat or increase your physical activity, using sugar substitutes will not cause you to lose weight.
Sugars and other health issues
Behavior. Intake of sugars does not appear to affect children’s behavior patterns or their ability to learn. Many scientific studies conclude that sugars do not cause hyperactivity in children.
Weight control. Foods that are high in sugars but low in essential nutrients primarily contribute calories to the diet. When you take in extra calories and don’t offset them by increasing your physical activity, you will gain weight. As you aim for a healthy weight and fitness, keep an eye on portion size for all foods and beverages, not only those high in sugars. See box 3.
|Choose sensibly to limit your intake of beverages and foods that are high in added sugars.|
|Get most of your calories from grains (especially whole grains), fruits and vegetables, low-fat or non-fat dairy products, and lean meats or meat substitutes.|
|Take care not to let soft drinks or other sweets crowd out other foods you need to maintain health, such as low-fat milk or other good sources of calcium.|
|Follow the simple tips listed in box 19 to keep your teeth and gums healthy.|
|Drink water often.|
Choose and prepare foods with less salt
Many people can reduce their chances of developing high blood pressure by consuming less salt. Several other steps can also help keep your blood pressure in the healthy range (see box 22). In the body, sodiumwhich you get mainly from saltplays an essential role in regulating fluids and blood pressure. Many studies in diverse populations have shown that a high sodium intake is associated with higher blood pressure.
There is no way to tell who might develop high blood pressure from eating too much salt. However, consuming less salt or sodium is not harmful and can be recommended for the healthy, normal person (see box 23).
At present, the firmest link between salt intake and health relates to blood pressure. High salt intake also increases the amount of calcium excreted in the urine. Eating less salt may decrease the loss of calcium from bone. Loss of too much calcium from bone increases the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
STEPS THAT MAY HELP KEEP BLOOD PRESSURE IN A HEALTHY RANGE
IS LOWERING SALT INTAKE SAFE?
Salt is found mainly in processed and prepared foods
Salt (sodium chloride) is the main source of sodium in foods (see box 24). Only small amounts of salt occur naturally in foods. Most of the salt you eat comes from foods that have salt added during food processing or during preparation in a restaurant or at home. Some recipes include table salt or a salty broth or sauce, and some cooking styles call for adding a very salty seasoning such as soy sauce. Not all foods with added salt taste salty. Some people add salt or a salty seasoning to their food at the table. Your preference for salt may decrease if you gradually add smaller amounts of salt or salty seasonings to your food over a period of time.
Aim for a moderate sodium intake
Most people consume too much salt, so moderate your salt intake. Healthy children and adults need to consume only small amounts of salt to meet their sodium needsless than 1/4 teaspoon of salt daily. The Nutrition Facts Label lists a Daily Value of 2,400 mg of sodium per day (see figure 3). This is the amount of sodium in about 1 teaspoon of salt. See box 25 for helpful hints on how to keep your sodium intake moderate.
SALT VERSUS SODIUM
- Salt contains sodium. Sodium is a substance that affects blood pressure.
- The best way to cut back on sodium is to cut back on salt and salty foods and seasonings.
- When reading a Nutrition Facts Label, look for the sodium content (see figure 3). Foods that are low in sodium (less than 5% of the Daily Value or DV) are low in salt.
WAYS TO DECREASE YOUR SALT INTAKE
| At the Store
|| Cooking and Eating at Home
If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation
Alcoholic beverages supply calories but few nutrients. Alcoholic beverages are harmful when consumed in excess, and some people should not drink at all. Excess alcohol alters judgment and can lead to dependency and a great many other serious health problems. Taking more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men (see box 26) can raise the risk for motor vehicle crashes, other injuries, high blood pressure, stroke, violence, suicide, and certain types of cancer. Even one drink per day can slightly raise the risk of breast cancer. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases risk of birth defects. Too much alcohol may cause social and psychological problems, cirrhosis of the liver, inflammation of the pancreas, and damage to the brain and heart. Heavy drinkers also are at risk of malnutrition because alcohol contains calories that may substitute for those in nutritious foods. If adults choose to drink alcoholic beverages, they should consume them only in moderation (see box 26)and with meals to slow alcohol absorption.
WHAT IS DRINKING IN MODERATION?
Moderation is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. This limit is based on differences between the sexes in both weight and metabolism.
Count as a drink
12 ounces of regular beer (150 calories)
5 ounces of wine (100 calories)
1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits (100 calories)
NOTE: Even moderate drinking provides extra calories.
Drinking in moderation may lower risk for coronary heart disease, mainly among men over age 45 and women over age 55. However, there are other factors that reduce the risk of heart disease, including a healthy diet, physical activity, avoidance of smoking, and maintenance of a healthy weight.
Moderate consumption provides little, if any, health benefit for younger people. Risk of alcohol abuse increases when drinking starts at an early age. Some studies suggest that older people may become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol as they age.
Who should not drink?
Some people should not drink alcoholic beverages at all. These include:
Foods and Drinks to Limit
Healthy eating is all about balance. There is no need to add salt or sugar to your child’s food. There are also some foods and drinks that are not safe for your child to eat and others that are not as healthy choices as other foods.
Did You Know?
There are certain foods and drinks you should avoid giving your child.
To learn more, watch these videos from 1,000 Days.
Foods to Avoid
Here are examples of foods and drinks that you should avoid giving to your young child because they may be harmful:
- Honey: may cause a serious type of food poisoning called botulism for your young child under 12 months old. Before your child is 12 months old, do not give him or her any foods containing honey, including yogurt with honey and cereals and crackers with honey, such as honey graham crackers.
- Unpasteurized drinks or foods (such as juices, milks, yogurt, or cheeses): may put your child at risk for E. coli, a harmful bacteria that can cause severe diarrhea. Do not give your child unpasteurized drinks or foods like juice, milk, yogurt, or cheeses. Unpasteurized milk can also be called raw milk.
- Fortified cow’s milk: may put your young child under 12 months old at risk for intestinal bleeding. It also has too many proteins and minerals for your infant’s kidneys to handle and does not have the right amount of nutrients your infant needs.
These are just examples of foods and drinks and do not include all possible foods and drinks to avoid. Talk with your child’s doctor or nurse if you have more questions about which foods to avoid.
Foods to Limit
Here are some examples of foods to limit (or give in small amounts) to your child:
- Foods with added sugars: Foods such as candy, cakes, cookies, and ice cream are often high in added sugars. The American Heart Association recommends that children younger than 24 months old are not given any added sugars.
- Foods high in salt, also known as sodium: Foods such as some canned foods, processed meats (such as lunch meats, sausages, hot dogs, ham), and frozen dinners can be high in sodium. Some snack foods are high in sodium. Check the Nutrition Facts Labelexternal icon to find foods with less sodium.
Drinks to Limit
Here are some examples of drinks to limit (or give in small amounts) to your child:
Before 12 months old: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should not drink 100% juice before they are 12 months old. Do not provide drinks like juice drinks with added sweeteners. Fruits are healthier options for your child than fruit juices.
- After 12 months old: For children older than 12 months who drink juice, pediatricians recommend 4 ounces or less of 100% juice a day. Drink 100% fruit juice only. Do not provide drinks like juice drinks with added sweeteners. Fruits are healthier options for your child than fruit juices.
- Cow’s Milk
- After your child is 12 months old, too much fortifiedalert icon cow’s milk can mean he or she may not be hungry for other foods that contain important nutrients. Some experts say that consuming too much fortified cow’s milk can make it harder for your child’s body to absorb the iron they need from foods.
- Soda, pop, fruit drinks, flavored milks, or other sugar sweetened beverages
- These drinks contain a lot of added sugars. The American Heart Association recommends that children younger than 24 months old are not given any added sugars.
Top of Page
Limit highly processed foods
Benefits of limiting highly processed foods
You should limit highly processed foods and drinks because they are not a part of a healthy eating pattern.
Highly processed foods are processed or prepared foods and drinks that add excess sodium, sugars or saturated fat to the diets of Canadians.
Highly processed foods can include:
- sugary drinks
- chocolate and candies
- ice cream and frozen desserts
- fast foods like French fries and burgers
- frozen entrées like pasta dishes and pizzas
- bakery products like muffins, buns and cakes
- processed meats like sausages and deli meats
Our food environment is changing. Highly processed foods are readily available and people are eating more of them. Eating highly processed foods increases your intake of sodium, sugars or saturated fat. Eating too much sodium, sugars or saturated fat can increase your risk of chronic disease.
A higher sodium intake can lead to higher blood pressure, which may lead to heart disease. Sodium is often added to foods to preserve them and for taste. Highly processed foods are the main source of sodium for Canadians.
Eating and drinking a lot of foods and drinks with added sugars has been linked to an increased risk of:
- type 2 diabetes
Having too many sugary drinks has been linked to an increased risk of:
- cavities in children
Replacing foods that have mostly saturated fat with foods that have healthy fats can help lower the risk of heart disease.
Processed meats can be high in both sodium and saturated fat. Eating too many processed meats has been linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer (can also be called colon cancer or rectal cancer).
How Much Fat Should I Eat?
Experts recommend that most adults get 20%-35% of their daily calories from fat. That’s about 44 to 77 grams of fat a day if you eat 2,000 calories a day.
Read nutrition labels on food packages. Nutrition labels show the number of grams of fat per serving and calories per serving. Eat a variety of lower-fat foods to get all the nutrients you need.
Eat plenty of plant foods (such as whole-grains, fruits, and vegetables) and a moderate amount of lean and low-fat, animal-based food (meat and dairy products) to help control your fat, cholesterol, carbs, and calories.
When you’re shopping, choose lean meats, fish, and poultry. Limit these to 5-7 ounces per day.
Other good low-fat sources of protein include dried beans and peas, tofu, low-fat yogurt, low-fat or skim milk, low-fat cheese, and tuna packed in water.
Choose foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, flaxseed, and walnuts for heart health. The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish such as salmon twice weekly for the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
As the name suggests, a low fat diet is one in which the amount of fat you eat is restricted.
The diet advice given by the NHS is one example of a low fat diet.
Why choose a low fat diet?
The primary reasons for choosing a low fat diet tend to be to help reduce overall calorie intake and to improve cholesterol levels.
To help achieve these aims a low fat diet should be appropriately balanced to include a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals.
Low fat diet foods
In the UK there are countless options of low fat foods available.
Typically a low fat diet will include foods such as:
- Whole grain foods – such as oats and higher fibre versions of pasta, rice and bread
- Lean meats – such as skinless chicken and turkey
- White fish
- Reduced fat dairy – skimmed milk and low fat yoghurt and cheese
Fatty foods to avoid or reduce
Typically a low fat diet will involve reducing fat intake from foods such as butter, eggs and cheese.
Other foods containing relatively high quantities of fat include salad dressings, certain sauces and pastry and sponge based foods.
Low fat diets and weight loss
Fat carries a higher number of calories per gram than carbohydrates or proteins and so reducing fat can help to reduce your overall calorie intake.
Whole grain versions of foods such as bread are recommended in preference to non-whole grain versions (such as white bread) partly because they are turned into blood sugar more slowly. The fibre and extra nutrients they contain are also healthier than white versions.
It is recommended to include a significant proportion of fruit and vegetables through each day.
The target in the UK is to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day, however, other (arguably more healthy) countries have targets of at least seven or nine portions of fruit and veg a day.
- Diabetes and weight loss
Should I be aiming for a no fat diet?
It is important to recognise that fat plays a useful role within our body.
Fat helps to build the membranes that make up our body’s cells and helps to keep our hair and skin healthy.
Whilst a low fat is often recommended by health organisations, trying to achieve a no fat diet is unlikely to be recommended.
Low fat diets and blood sugar levels
One criticism of low fat diets from people with diabetes is that they tend to be more reliant on carbohydrate as the primary source of energy, which can see blood glucose levels raised.
- An alternative approach to a low fat diet is a low carbohydrate diet
What are good and bad fats?
The terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats are often used to distinguish between saturated and unsaturated fats.
Good fats refers to the unsaturated fats as found in avocados, nuts and oily fish. It is widely believed that these fats are largely beneficial for us.
Bad fats refers to saturated fats as found in meat and dairy products. There is some debate as to whether the saturated fats found in meat and dairy should be labelled ‘bad’.
Bad fats also refers to hydrogenated fats which may be used to help increase the shelf life, consistency and taste of processed foods. Hydrogenated fats, in the form of trans fats, have been found to be harmful to the body.
- Read more about fat and diabetes
You want to eat healthfully, but what’s the best way to do it? Some of today’s popular diets say to cut sugar while others restrict fat. With so many diet books and bloggers, it can be easy to become confused. But no matter the fad diet of the moment, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and lean protein foods will always prevail.
A Healthy Eating Pattern
Rather than eating an exclusively low-fat or low-sugar diet, focus on your overall eating pattern. One meal does not make or break one’s health; rather, it’s what people do most of the time that has a significant impact. Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, seafood and nuts. Meanwhile, eat less red and processed meats, sweetened drinks, desserts and refined grains.
Vegetables and fruits should take up the most space when filling your plate (roughly half). Fill the remainder with whole grains and lean protein foods. While not every plate requires each food group, pairing at least two or three different foods will increase your satisfaction and deliver more nutrients. And don’t forget to pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness signals.
The Skinny on Fat
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasizes oils rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids as part of a healthy eating pattern, and recommends limiting saturated and trans fats. Choosing the right kinds of fats, including those from fatty fish such as salmon, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds is especially important.
5 Tips for Making Good Decisions about Fat
- Try grilled, steamed or baked salmon, trout or mackerel instead of fried or breaded fish.
- Vary your protein choices by eating more seafood and legumes (including soyfoods, beans and lentils).
- Choose lean cuts of meat and remove visible fat. Remove skin and fat from poultry.
- Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products or calcium-fortified plant-based alternatives.
- Top salads with nuts or seeds instead of croutons. Use oil-based salad dressings instead of cream-based dressings.
The Skinny on Sugar
The average American consumes more than 13 percent of daily calories from added sugars — yet the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting added sugars to less than 10 percent of daily calories. By going above 10 percent, it’s difficult to maintain an overall healthy eating pattern. Added sugars can be found in foods such as sugar-sweetened beverages and refined grain snacks and desserts. Naturally occurring sugars in foods such as fruit and milk are not added sugars.
3 Tips for Reducing Added Sugar
- Re-think sweets: Save sugary desserts for special occasions.
- Instead of a post-dinner dessert, close out a family mealtime with a cup of decaf coffee or herbal tea — but enjoy it without added sweeteners or cream.
- Switch from sweetened yogurt with added fruit to plain low-fat yogurt. Then, add fresh fruit for a nutritious, naturally sweet mid-morning snack. Fruit and low-fat dairy contain natural sugars that provide nutrients that promote health.
Your Personalized Healthy Eating Pattern
For more help developing a personalized healthy eating pattern that includes appropriate amounts of healthy fats and sugars, contact a registered dietitian nutritionist.
A good rule of thumb when you’re reading food labels: For every 100 calories, if the product has 3 grams of fat or less, it’s a low-fat product. This means 30% or less of the calories come from fat.
Foods like margarine, mayonnaise, and some salad dressings that get most of their calories from fat must have half or less than half the fat of the regular version of the food to be called “light.” These foods don’t have to meet the 30% cutoff for number of calories from fat to be considered low-fat. (See “Other foods” below.)
Low-fat foods to choose from
Dairy and dairy-like products
- Low-fat (1%) or fat-free (skim) yogurt, cottage cheese, or milk
- Neufchatel or “light” cream cheese or fat-free cream cheese
- Fat-free American cheese or other types of fat-free cheeses
Fish, meat, poultry, and other protein
- Egg whites or egg substitutes
- Crab, white fish, shrimp, and light tuna (packed in water)
- Chicken and turkey breast (without skin), or ground turkey breast
- The American Cancer Society recommends limiting processed and red meats in the diet, but if you choose to eat them, choose lean cuts (look for “loin” in the name), or extra-lean ground beef. Braise, roast, or cook them without adding fats
- Beans, peas, and lentils, cooked (or canned) without added fats or fatty meats (grains or cereal in your daily food intake make this add up to a complete protein)
- Veggie burgers
Grains, cereals, and pastas
- Hot (oatmeal or grits) and cold cereals (except granola types)
- Rice or noodles (watch out for fat in sauces you may add). Choose whole grain versions like brown rice
- Whole grain bagels, pita bread, or English muffins
- Low-fat crackers and breads
- Soft tortillas – corn or whole wheat
Fruits and vegetables
- Fruits, including fresh, frozen, or canned (in their own juice)
- Vegetables, including fresh, frozen, or canned (choose lower-sodium varieties)
- Broth type soups with a vegetable base
- Sauces, pudding, or shakes made with skim milk
These foods supply half the fat (or less) than the regular version of the food, but most of their calories still come from fat. They should be used in small amounts by people on low-fat diets:
- Light margarine and mayonnaise
- Reduced-calorie or fat-free salad dressings
- Non-stick cooking spray
Low Fat Diet
This material must not be used for commercial purposes, or in any hospital or medical facility. Failure to comply may result in legal action.
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 24, 2019.
- Care Notes
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
A low-fat diet is an eating plan that is low in total fat, unhealthy fat, and cholesterol. You may need to follow a low-fat diet if you have trouble digesting or absorbing fat. You may also need to follow this diet if you have high cholesterol. You can also lower your cholesterol by increasing the amount of fiber in your diet. Soluble fiber is a type of fiber that helps to decrease cholesterol levels.
What do I need to know about the different types of fat in food?
- Limit unhealthy fats. A diet that is high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat may cause unhealthy cholesterol levels. Unhealthy cholesterol levels increase your risk of heart disease.
- Cholesterol: Limit intake of cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day. Cholesterol is found in meat, eggs, and dairy.
- Saturated fat: Limit saturated fat to less than 7% of your total daily calories. Ask your dietitian how many calories you need each day. Saturated fat is found in butter, cheese, ice cream, whole milk, and palm oil. Saturated fat is also found in meat, such as beef, pork, chicken skin, and processed meats. Processed meats include sausage, hot dogs, and bologna.
- Trans fat: Avoid trans fat as much as possible. Trans fat is used in fried and baked foods. Foods that say trans fat free on the label may still have up to 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.
- Include healthy fats. Replace foods that are high in saturated and trans fat with foods high in healthy fats. This may help to decrease high cholesterol levels.
- Monounsaturated fats: These are found in avocados, nuts, and vegetable oils, such as olive, canola, and sunflower oil.
- Polyunsaturated fats: These can be found in vegetable oils, such as soybean or corn oil. Omega-3 fats can help to decrease the risk of heart disease. Omega-3 fats are found in fish, such as salmon, herring, trout, and tuna. Omega-3 fats can also be found in plant foods, such as walnuts, flaxseed, soybeans, and canola oil.
What foods should I limit or avoid?
- Snacks that are made with partially hydrogenated oils, such as chips, regular crackers, and butter-flavored popcorn
- High-fat baked goods, such as biscuits, croissants, doughnuts, pies, cookies, and pastries
- Whole milk, 2% milk, and yogurt and ice cream made with whole milk
- Half and half creamer, heavy cream, and whipping cream
- Cheese, cream cheese, and sour cream
- Meats and proteins:
- High-fat cuts of meat (T-bone steak, regular hamburger, and ribs)
- Fried meat, poultry (turkey and chicken), and fish
- Poultry (chicken and turkey) with skin
- Cold cuts (salami or bologna), hot dogs, bacon, and sausage
- Whole eggs and egg yolks
- Vegetables and fruits with added fat:
- Fried vegetables or vegetables in butter or high-fat sauces, such as cream or cheese sauces
- Fried fruit or fruit served with butter or cream
- Butter, stick margarine, and shortening
- Coconut, palm oil, and palm kernel oil
What foods should I include?
- Whole-grain breads, cereals, pasta, and brown rice
- Low-fat crackers and pretzels
- Vegetables and fruits:
- Fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables (no salt or low-sodium)
- Fresh, frozen, dried, or canned fruit (canned in light syrup or fruit juice)
- Low-fat dairy products:
- Nonfat (skim) or 1% milk
- Nonfat or low-fat cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese
- Meats and proteins:
- Chicken or turkey with no skin
- Baked or broiled fish
- Lean beef and pork (loin, round, extra lean hamburger)
- Beans and peas, unsalted nuts, soy products
- Egg whites and substitutes
- Seeds and nuts
- Unsaturated oil, such as canola, olive, peanut, soybean, or sunflower oil
- Soft or liquid margarine and vegetable oil spread
- Low-fat salad dressing
What are some other ways I can decrease fat?
- Read food labels before you buy foods. Choose foods that have less than 30% of calories from fat. Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Remember that fat free does not mean calorie free. These foods still contain calories, and too many calories can lead to weight gain.
- Trim fat from meat and avoid fried food. Trim all visible fat from meat before you cook it. Remove the skin from poultry. Do not fry meat, fish, or poultry. Bake, roast, boil, or broil these foods instead. Avoid fried foods. Eat a baked potato instead of French fries. Steam vegetables instead of sautéing them in butter.
- Add less fat to foods. Use imitation bacon bits on salads and baked potatoes instead of regular bacon bits. Use fat-free or low-fat salad dressings instead of regular dressings. Use low-fat or nonfat butter-flavored topping instead of regular butter or margarine on popcorn and other foods.
How can I decrease fat in recipes?
Replace high-fat ingredients with low-fat or nonfat ones. This may cause baked goods to be drier than usual. You may need to use nonfat cooking spray on pans to prevent food from sticking. You also may need to change the amount of other ingredients, such as water, in the recipe. Try the following:
- Use low-fat or light margarine instead of regular margarine or shortening.
- Use lean ground turkey breast or chicken, or lean ground beef (less than 5% fat) instead of hamburger.
- Add 1 teaspoon of canola oil to 8 ounces of skim milk instead of using cream or half and half.
- Use grated zucchini, carrots, or apples in breads instead of coconut.
- Use blenderized, low-fat cottage cheese, plain tofu, or low-fat ricotta cheese instead of cream cheese.
- Use 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon of canola oil, or use ¼ cup (2 ounces) of fat-free egg substitute instead of a whole egg.
- Replace half of the oil that is called for in a recipe with applesauce when you bake. Use 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of canola oil instead of a square of baking chocolate.
How can I increase fiber?
Eat enough high-fiber foods to get 20 to 30 grams of fiber every day. Slowly increase your fiber intake to avoid stomach cramps, gas, and other problems.
- Eat 3 ounces of whole-grain foods each day. An ounce is about 1 slice of bread. Eat whole-grain breads, such as whole-wheat bread. Whole wheat, whole-wheat flour, or other whole grains should be listed as the first ingredient on the food label. Replace white flour with whole-grain flour or use half of each in recipes. Whole-grain flour is heavier than white flour, so you may have to add more yeast or baking powder.
- Eat a high-fiber cereal for breakfast. Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber. Look for cereals that have bran or fiber in the name. Choose whole-grain products, such as brown rice, barley, and whole-wheat pasta.
- Eat more beans, peas, and lentils. For example, add beans to soups or salads. Eat at least 5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day. Eat fruits and vegetables with the peel because the peel is high in fiber.
You have the right to help plan your care. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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FULL WEEK of healthy meal prep for weight loss, ready in just about one hour. All 7 days, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks – great for weight loss or if you just want to have your healthy meals all prepped for you for the week.
For so many years I’ve been listening to other people, my friends and even family how sticking to a healthy lifestyle is hard and just takes up so much time. Instead of just waving them off (and saying telling them they’re wrong to their faces ;)), I love showing people how it’s actually easier than they might think to eat real food, enjoy what they’re eating, and even be FULL, all while losing weight. . Yes, it’s possible to eat healthy and not hate your food!
Changing your eating habits can be intimidating, I know. It may even feel like you’re leaving everything you love behind. All the midnight snacks, takeouts, sweets… But, although it may seem like that at first, soon enough you realize that eating healthy will not only make you feel and look good but can also taste darn good! The key is finding a lifestyle you love (not one you dread) so that you stick to it.
Once you get a hang of it, making healthier and yet equally, if not even tastier, versions of your favorite dishes will bring you more joy than any unhealthy over-processed options out there. I’ve even made a healthier version of one of my all-time favorites – Mac and cheese, and it’s one of my favorite recipes ever.
With our busy schedules, it’s often hard, impossible even, to cook every single day and, to be honest, sometimes even when I do have the time, I’d rather be spending it doing something else. That’s why is so often rely on meal prep!
Not only is meal prep a great way to save time, as you cook only once or twice a week and have a nutritious meal ready in a matter of minutes every day, but by planning ahead you can keep track of your calorie intake more easily. The idea is to plan to succeed, not wait to fail with eating healthy and, ultimately, with weight loss in general.
In order to help you jump on the meal prep train, I’m sharing with you some of my favorite tips that will help you get started and a full 7 days meal prep for weight loss. This 7 day meal prep for weight loss includes 4 easy meal prep meals per day, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack to munch on in between and totals to 1500 calories per day.
Ready, set, go! You got this!
WHAT DOES MEAL PREP MEAN?
Meal prep, short for meal preparation, is the process of planning and preparing your meals ahead of time. You can meal prep one day ahead, or take one day to prepare lunch and/or dinner for an entire week. While most meal prep only one or two meals, you can easily meal prep breakfast, lunch and dinner, even snacks for the week ahead. It’s entirely up to you!
In this post today, I’ve shared a 7 day meal prep for weight loss that includes all your meals and snacks to make it as easy as possible to stay on track.
HOW DO I MAKE A MEAL PLAN?
First things first – planning. Before you start to prep your meals, you need a nice, solid plan. Coming up with a meal plan may sound overwhelming at first, but it’s not as bad as it may seem. Just take it one step at a time and start with one, simple meal you love and that you know is healthy, and then work your way up. Soon, you’ll be prepping all your meals! Watch out – it gets addicting!
How To Make a Meal Plan
- Write down all the meals you plan on having in the next few days, including breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. Stick to proven recipes and meals you can easily make even in your sleep, to start. No need to try to learn how to cook something when you’re wanting to be as efficient and quick as possible.
- List out all the ingredients you’ll need to make them and how much of each you’ll need.
- Time to go grocery shopping!
- Set aside one or two days to get all your meal prep done – try to keep it to 1 hour or less for each cooking session so you don’t hate these days of actually cooking your meal prep recipes.
That’s it, you’re set.
CAN YOU LOSE WEIGHT WITH MEAL PREP?
Meal prep is a simple and easy way to track your food intake. Whether you just want to stay away from over-processed foods and eat healthy to build muscle, lose weight, or simply feel better, meal prep is a great idea. Prepping all, or at least most your meals, ahead of time makes cooking and eating healthy, nutritious food easier and quicker than ordering take out or grabbing some fast food on the go.
Meal prep is one of the best ways to ensure you’re eating healthy all day long and prevent the vicious cycle of skipping meals during the day and binging on unhealthy foods once you’re finally home in the evening, one of the problems many people who are struggling with losing weight are facing with every day. Plus, it’s so much easier to grab and eat food you’ve already prepared than to struggle with also cooking and/or prepping it when you’re hungry.
HOW MANY TIMES A DAY SHOULD YOU EAT TO LOSE WEIGHT
There’s no hard rule on how many times a day you should eat in order to lose weight. But, when it comes to weight loss, the first change you need to be making is your eating habits. They don’t say that abs are made in the kitchen for nothing!
If you want to lose weight and feel better, you need to eat nutritious food that will keep you full for longer. Protein and fiber take longer to digest and therefore keep you feeling full for longer than simple carbohydrates and sugars. Whether you eat three bigger meals or five or six smaller ones throughout the day is entirely up to you, as long as you keep in mind the number of calories you consume. Typically, a woman should eat approximately 1400-1700 calories each day to lose weight, depending on their specific bodies and nutritional needs.
WHAT ARE THE BEST MEAL PREP CONTAINERS?
I heart meal prep containers. <3
When meal prepping, you definitely want a meal prep container that will keep your food fresh. Whether you’re prepping meals for an entire week or just a few days ahead, the way you store your meals is just as important as cooking the food. You want to make sure you always store your food in airtight containers to prevent spoilage.
Food containers come in all shapes, sizes and equally important – materials. Depending on your lifestyle, you can pick the ones that fit into your lifestyle (and your bag!) best. If you’ll be taking a lot of your meals with you on the go, the slimmer and lighter the container is, the better. Also, make sure the container is suitable for keeping in the freezer and/or microwave use, depending on what you’ll be using it most – that’s why I love these glass meal prep containers. There are plenty of options and after you’ve done your planning, it will be much easier for you to determine what kind of container is the best option.
My Favorite Meal Prep Containers
Personally, I love these glass meal prep containers for all my meals that will be microwaved. Then, I use these 1 quart mason jars for my salads and these 16-oz. mason jars for make-ahead smoothies and overnight oats prep.
HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP MEAL PREP IN THE FRIDGE
Once you’re done with your meal prep, make sure you let your meals cool down before transferring them to airtight containers and storing them in the fridge, but make sure you don’t keep your food in room temperature for more than two hours. If you are using meal prep containers and have stored your cooked meal prep well, it can last in the fridge for up to 7 days. Some foods will keep longer than others, which is something to consider when prepping 7 days at a time.
To make sure your veggies stay fresh in the fridge up to twice as long, a great tip is to soak them in ice cold water for 15 minutes and them store them in the fridge with a wet cloth or a damp paper towel.
If you prep your meals twice a week, that will help keep your food as fresh as possible.
CAN YOU FREEZE MEAL PREP FOOD
Freezer meals are a great option, especially when you have extra food you know you won’t get to in time before it spoils. Before you freeze any cooked food, make sure to let it cool down completely. You may need to transfer your meal to a larger bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool.
For easy thawing and storage, freeze your meal prep either in airtight freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. If using a freezer bag, make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible before placing your meal prep in the freezer.
When you’re ready to eat it, you can either let your meal prep thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave for around 2 minutes or reheat it in the microwave while frozen for 4-5 minutes. Easy peasy!
More Healthy Meal Prep For Weight Loss
Alright, now that I have you hooked on healthy meal prep for weight loss and al its glory, check out these other great meal plans to help you to keep eating healthy!
- How To Meal Prep – Korean Beef Bowl (6 Meals/Under $4)
- $75 Whole Foods Meal Plan Challenge
- How to Meal Prep – Chicken (7 Meals/Under $5)
- How to Meal Prep – Salmon
- Healthy Egg Muffin Cups (Great for Meal Prep!)
I hope you like the recipes I’ve shared in this meal plan. The meals are recipes I like to eat and meals I ate when I have tried to lose weight.
Remember that every person is different and requires slightly different calorie intakes to lose weight at a healthy rate. If you’re combining this with a workout routine, you can increase the amount of calories easily by adding in another 200 calorie snack to find what best suits you and your needs.
The idea of this meal plan is for you to focus on enjoying your food and having meals prepped for you that you know are well-balanced so you don’t have to worry about counting calories. I find calorie counting to be tedious and I get overly obsessive so I like to choose meals that are naturally healthy and nutritious to add into my meal preps like the recipes I’ve chosen for you today.
You don’t have to think about the calories you’re going to eat, what you’re gonna eat, it’s just so much easier to plan and prep ahead.
7-Day Meal Prep For Weight Loss
4.7 from 23 votes 7 Day Meal Plan For Weight Loss Prep Time 20 mins Cook Time 1 hr Total Time 1 hr 20 mins FULL WEEK of healthy meal prep for weight loss, ready in just about one hour. All 7 days, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks – great for weight loss or if you just want to have your healthy meals all prepped for you for the week. Categories: Healthy Eating, Mason Jar, meal planning, Meal Prep Difficulty: Easy Servings: 1 week meal plan Calories: 1500 kcal Author: Lacey Baier Ingredients Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats (Breakfast for 4 Days)
- 2 bananas
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 cups rolled oats, uncooked
Quinoa and Kale Salad (Lunch for 4 Days)
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup lentils, uncooked
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 cups kale, packed
- 1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup carrot, diced
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 tbsp red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp raw honey
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp sea salt, plus 1/2 tsp for making quinoa
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tbsp. to massage kale
Veggies + Hummus (Snack for 4 Days)
- 4 carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 1 large cucumber, cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup hummus, divided (store-bought or homemade)
Beef With Broccoli and Brown Rice (Dinner for 4 Days)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 4 cups broccoli florets about 2 small crowns
- 2 tbsp arrowroot starch
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 cups brown rice, uncooked
- 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Mango Green Smoothie (Breakfast for 3 Days)
- 3 cups mango chunks fresh or frozen
- 1 1/2 bananas
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach
- 3 tbsp flaxseed meal
- 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 3 scoops vanilla protein powder, optional
Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice (Lunch for 3 Days)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 1 cup frozen edamame
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 stalks green onion, sliced
- 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
- 1 tsp chili paste
- 2 eggs
- 3 cups raw snap peas
Strawberries + Almonds (Snack for 3 Days)
- 32 strawberries
- 1 cup raw almonds
Lemon Roasted Salmon With Asparagus (Dinner for 3 Days)
- 3 6-oz salmon fillets
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lemons, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon, juiced (2 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp parmesan, grated (omit if non-dairy)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed
- quinoa, optional, for additional calories
Instructions To Prep the Grains and Beans:
In a deep pot, combine the brown rice, sea salt, and low sodium chicken broth. Heat this over high heat until it begins to boil, then reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for another 25-30 minutes, or until the water is all absorbed and the rice is tender.
To cook the quinoa, combine uncooked quinoa with sea salt and water, in a deep pot, and then bring to boil. Then, reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. Once all the liquid is absorbed, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool as well.
- Next, let’s get our lentils started. Add the dry lentils to a pot, followed by water. Be sure to use a large enough saucepan as the lentils will double or triple in size. Bring this to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the lentils are tender. For whole lentils, it should take about 15-20 minutes. Then, drain the lentils and set aside for later.
For the Healthy Beef with Broccoli:
To make the Beef with Broccoli, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add thinly sliced flank steak and cook until it’s well-browned, about 6-8 minutes. Once it’s well-browned, remove from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, add minced garlic, chopped shallot, and green onions. Cook one minute, stirring frequently.
Then, add the broccoli florets and cook for 5 minutes until the broccoli turns bright green and becomes mostly tender. Since we’ll be storing this meal, we don’t want to cook the vegetables completely through or they’ll be super mushy when we reheat them later.
To make the sauce, in a mixing bowl, combine low sodium soy sauce, coconut sugar, fresh minced ginger, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add arrowroot starch and water and stir until no longer lumpy.
- Add this sauce to the pan and cook until it starts to thicken, about 3-5 minutes. Return the beef and stir to combine, cooking an additional 2-3 minutes. Then, set this aside to slightly cool.
For the Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice:
To make the cauliflower fried rice, heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add some sesame oil.
- Season the boneless, skinless chicken breasts with sea salt and pepper, then place into the hot oil.
- Cook for 4-6 minutes per side, turning occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Once it’s cooked through, remove from the pan, dice into bite-size pieces, and set aside.
- Add the diced carrots into the empty pan and cook until they’re mostly tender, followed by the low sodium soy sauce, peanut butter, and chili paste and stir to combine.
- Add the frozen edamame, minced garlic, and sliced green onions, and cook until heated through.
To make the cauliflower rice, grate a head of cauliflower using a kitchen grater (or you can also use a food processor or buy pre-riced cauliflower).
- Once you’ve grated all the cauliflower, add to the pan.
- Add the rice and cook the cauliflower rice over med-high heat until tender.
- Return the diced chicken back to the pan, and stir to incorporate.
Push the fried chicken cauliflower rice mixture to one side of the skillet and add a couple eggs into the empty side of the pan and then scramble. Once the eggs are mostly scrambled, break up with a spatula and combine with the rice mixture. This is now done and can be removed from the heat and set aside.
For the Lemon Roasted Salmon with Asparagus:
To make the roasted salmon recipe, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- Arrange the pre-cut salmon portions in the center of the making sheet and then arrange the asparagus around the sides.
- Add thinly cut lemon slices around the edges of the salmon and over the asparagus.
In a small mixing bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper. Pour this mixture over the salmon and asparagus.
- Then sprinkle parmesan over salmon and asparagus.
- Place this in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven to broil and broil another 5-7 minutes. Then remove from the oven and set aside. This salmon is so easy and so flavorful.
For the Quinoa and Kale Salad:
To make the dressing for the kale and quinoa salad, combine freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon zest, raw honey, dijon mustard, sea salt, ground black pepper, and olive oil in a small mixing bowl, and whisk together until well combined.
- To prep the kale for the salad, we’re going to add it to a large bowl with a little olive oil and rub all over the kale, massaging it until the kale reduces in volume and becomes less stiff. (This makes a huge difference in the texture of the kale and makes it much easier to eat. I like to buy pre-cut kale when I meal prep because it’s just easier and takes one less step out of the process.)
To assemble the salad, combine 3/4 cup of the cooked quinoa, 3/4 cup of the cooked lentils, the kale, garbanzo beans, diced cucumber, diced carrot, grape tomatoes, finely diced red onion, and raw sunflower seeds in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.
Then, drizzle over a few tablespoons of the lemon vinaigrette, and toss once more. This is so dang good.
For the Chocolate Peanut Butter Overnight Oats:
To make the chocolate peanut butter overnight oats, add the bananas, dark cocoa powder, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and unsweetened almond milk to a kitchen blender and blend until smooth.
- Add the rolled oats and stir to combine. Do not blend. (You could also do this in a separate bowl, but this makes less dirty dishes.)
Divide this into four mason jars because we will be using it for breakfast four of the days. Then, close, and then place into the fridge overnight or for at least 4-6 hours. (You can heat them up each morning or just eat them cold right out of the mason jar. When the oats are ready, I like to top them with some dark chocolate chunks.)
For the Mango Green Smoothie:
- To prep our mango green smoothie, divide fresh or frozen mango chunks, banana, and baby spinach into either ziplock freezer bags or mason jars. When it’s time to blend this all together, you’ll add in flaxseed meal, protein powder, and unsweetened almond milk for a tasty smoothie.
For the Strawberries and Almonds:
- Our snacks for four of the days will be raw almond with fresh strawberries. This can be prepped in a mason jar or a reusable bag. (This snack is roughly 200 calories. If you don’t like almonds, you can replace wit cashews or walnuts. Fruits can be switched out as well.)
For the Veggies and Hummus:
- Our other snack for the other three days is carrots and cucumber with hummus. You can make your own hummus or buy it from the store, depending on your preference.
- To pack this snack, add the hummus to the bottom of a mason jar – we’re looking to do about 2 tbsp in the bottom. Then add carrot and cucumber sticks for dipping right into the hummus. This makes a tasty, crunchy snack that is savory.
To store the salad, you can either use a meal prep container or mason jars.
- To pack our beef with broccoli, add it to one side of the meal prep container and then add in the steamed brown rice on the side. Top with sliced green onions. This meal is roughly 500 calories and will make a tasty dinner for four of the nights.
- To pack up the chicken cauliflower fried rice, add it to one end of the meal prep container, and next to it add some fresh snap peas. I like to have a crisp veggie along with the fried rice for a little texture. This will serve as a lunch for three of the days and is roughy 400 calories.
- Now for our salmon meal, make a layer on the bottom of the container with the asparagus and then top it with one of the salmon fillets. If you wanted to add some quinoa to this meal, that would be a good option if you find you’re still somewhat hungry.
– Remember that every person is different and requires slightly different calorie intakes to lose weight at a healthy rate. If you’re combining this with a workout routine, you can increase the amount of calories easily by adding in another 200 calorie snack to find what best suits you and your needs.
– Nutrition facts are for 1 day of the meal plan, including breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner
Nutrition Facts 7 Day Meal Plan For Weight Loss Amount Per Serving (1 day) Calories 1500 Calories from Fat 344 % Daily Value* Fat 38.2g59% Saturated Fat 8.5g43% Sodium 491.2mg20% Carbohydrates 323.3g108% Fiber 45.9g184% Sugar 61.2g68% Protein 80.2g160% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.
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Check out our quick and easy burrito recipe with tikka-marinated chicken. This low fat recipe has 8g per portion and is great served with ready made rice, a simple homemade yogurt dip and warmed rotis.
A super healthy chicken recipe with fewer than 4g fat! This low fat chicken saag recipe proves that you can eat healthily without having to miss out on your favourite foods. Coming in at under 500 calories, this dish is on the table in under an hour.
Our best ever chicken curry recipes are here…
Spicy pork meatballs with tzatziki
Cook these spicy pork meatballs for an easy midweek meal. This simple yet punchy recipe served with orzo is low in calories and low in fat with under 8g per portion.
Tuscan pork steaks
This recipe for Tuscan pork steaks ticks all the boxes. It’s low calorie, super low in fat with under 5g per portion, low sugar, low salt and high in protein, plus it’s packed with flavour.
Looking for more pork recipes? Check out our best ever here…
Turmeric broth with chicken and ginger dumplings
Our turmeric chicken broth soup has under 500 calories and is super low fat with fewer than 5g per serving, and is seriously on-trend. It’s detox-friendly and on the table in 30 minutes – plus, it’s really impressive if you’ve got friends round.
Freekeh risotto with spring greens
This recipe has extremely low fat content, with fewer than 3g per portion. Freekeh is made from cracked, roasted green wheat. It works well for risotto as the grains keep their bite when cooked. The spring greens add goodness and keep this dish feeling fresh.
Here’s our best ever risotto recipes ready in under 45 minutes…
Turkish ratatouille with yogurt sauce
Try our recipe for Turkish ratatouille with yogurt sauce. This dish is quick, easy and simple to make, a great low fat vegetarian midweek meal.
Wild rice and mushroom risotto with roast garlic
This recipe for wild rice and mushroom risotto with roast garlic is vegetarian, low salt and sugar and under 500 calories but packed with flavour. It’s also low in fat, with under 8g per portion.
Spicy beetroot and pak choi with ramen eggs and sriracha
This spicy caramelised beetroot salad with marinated ramen eggs, pak choi and sriracha is a quick and easy summer meal with under 10g fat per portion. Raw pak choi gives a delicious crunch, but steam it if you prefer.
Lamb kleftiko tray bake
We’ve given classic lamb kleftiko a healthy makeover with this recipe for four. Use lighter feta cheese to keep the fat content low (under 10g per portion) without compromising on flavour.
More of our favourite Greek recipes here…
Sweet potato linguine with puy lentil ragù
Sweet potato linguine is more robust than courgetti, so can withstand a bit more cooking. Served with a warming vegan bolognese-style ragù, this gluten-free low calorie main is perfect for the start of the cooler months, and super low fat with under 5g per portion.
We’ve got lots of vegan recipes here…
Lemon chicken and kale stew with cous cous
This recipe for lemon chicken and kale stew with couscous is a really easy midweek meal. It is low fat with under 5g per portion and ready in less than 30 minutes.
Sumac roast cauliflower and chicken salad with mint yogurt
Ready in under 30 minutes, this minty chicken and citrus roast cauliflower dish makes a speedy and super simple gluten free meal for two. Using fat-free yogurt keeps the fat content down, with just over 5g per portion.
We’ve got more cauliflower recipes right here…
Lentil ‘meatballs’ with fresh tomato sauce
Lentils are a great way to make a meal vegetarian. Swap these for your usual meatballs and your family will hardly notice the difference. Plus, they’re low in calories and super low in fat – fewer than 4g per portion.
Seared tuna with ponzu dressing and coriander rice noodles
Our quick recipe for seared tuna with ponzu dressing and coriander rice noodles is low calorie and low fat with only 6.5g per portion.
This is our healthy version of chicken dhansak with only 5g fat per portion. It’s easy to make, ready in under an hour, high in protein and under 500 calories. Put the takeaway menu down… this will taste better too!
Kale waldorf salad with buttermilk dressing
This kale waldorf salad with buttermilk dressing is a clever update on a classic. With a good amount of crunch and tangy dressing, it makes a great low fat side dish with fewer than 7g per portion.
Spicy prawn linguine
Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. This spicy prawn linguine has a spicy chilli kick to keep it interesting. It’s super low in fat with just over 4g per portion.
Check out our best ever linguine recipes here…
Tandoori lamb steaks with chilli-spiked slaw
This recipe for tandoori lamb steaks with chilli-spiked slaw is low fat, low sugar, low salt and high in protein to keep you feeling full but the calorie count low. Plus, it’s really easy to make and looks amazing on your plate!
Ginger lemon sole with Chinese greens
Our ginger lemon sole with greens is a quick and easy Chinese recipe with just under 6g fat per portion.
Thai burgers with salsa and sweet potato wedges
These healthy pork burgers are flavoured with Thai curry paste and coriander, then served up with a spicy chilli and mango salsa. Because there’s no bun, they’re lower in calories and fat with under 5g per portion. Why not serve homemade sweet potato wedges on the side?
Our low calorie and low fat (just under 6g per portion) lasagne is a delicious dinner recipe for six people. Serve with a green salad for a healthy version of this classic Italian dish. Comfort without lots of unnecessary fat!
Seared tuna and radicchio salad
This recipe for seared tuna and radicchio salad is really low calorie, gluten free and low fat with just over 5g per portion. Ready in less than 20 minutes, it’s an easy dinner recipe.
Fiery chickpea and harissa soup
A fast-to-make and easy spicy soup made with chickpeas. Ready in just 20 minutes, this low fat recipe has under 6g per portion.
Asian black rice salad
Black rice has a higher nutritional value than white rice, and the same amount of fibre as brown. Try it in our Asian prawn black rice salad, low in fat with only 5.4g per portion.
Moroccan veg and chickpea tagine
This recipe for Moroccan veg and chickpea tagine is vegan, super low in fat with under 4g per portion and really easy to make. It makes enough for four, but the leftovers freeze well.
Szechuan prawn noodles
These hot and spicy Chinese-style noodles only take 15 minutes to whip up so they’d make a great quick and easy midweek meal if you’re stuck for time or craving some healthy fast food. These noodles are low in fat with under 7g per portion.
Creamy lentils with spinach and thyme
Perfectly suited to those who want a light 5:2 friendly meal, this healthy vegan lentil dish is high in protein but low in calories and fat with under 9g per portion.
Coconut, banana and raspberry muffins
Try our recipe for super low fat (fewer than 5g per portion) coconut, banana and raspberry muffins. This recipe is super quick and easy to make, and it comes in under 160 calories per serving, a great mid-morning snack.
Two-tone freezer smoothie
Want a low calorie breakfast? Make our two-tone freezer smoothie with avocado, banana and berries. This quick and easy recipe is low in fat, with just 3.7g per portion.
Check out more of our smoothie recipes here…