A healthy eating plan can be made up of many different foods. It all depends on your preferences and the amount of calories needed each day. In general, a healthy eating plan is one that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein and healthy fats. Emphasis should be placed on consuming fresh, whole foods while reducing processed foods. Below are ideas for a healthy eating plan containing about 1,500 to 1,600 calories.
Breakfast provides the opportunity for many food combinations. Avoid getting into a breakfast rut, and try to be creative with the foods you choose for starting your day. On a piece of whole wheat toast or a whole wheat tortilla, spread 1 tbsp. of a natural nut butter such as peanut or almond, and top this with one medium banana, sliced.
Another option is to combine 3/4 cup of creamy Greek-style yogurt with 1 cup of fresh berries, 2 tbsp. of sliced almonds and drizzle with 1 tsp. of honey. If eggs are more your style, sauté 1 cup of zucchini with an 1/8 cup of diced onion. Add one whole egg with two egg whites and scramble together. Serve with a piece of whole wheat toast.
Aim to have a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon. This will keep you from getting overly hungry and will keep your energy level up throughout the day. Some options include 3/4 cup of Greek-style yogurt with a cup of fruit, 5 cups of air-popped popcorn, 1/4 cup of toasted garbanzo beans or 1 cup of carrots with 1/2 cup of a yogurt-based or hummus dip.
Lunch can be a standard-type sandwich, or include a hot meal such as veggies and whole-grain rice. Balancing protein with carbohydrate is the key. Ideas include tuna salad in a whole wheat pita with 1 cup of carrot sticks on the side; a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with 3 oz. of meat, lettuce, tomato and avocado with an apple; a salad with lettuce and arugula with 3 oz. of grilled salmon or chicken, or a quesadilla with 2 tbsp. of salsa, 1/2 cup of beans and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese on a whole wheat tortilla.
Make dinner exciting by trying new foods. Consider grilling 6 oz. of fish such as tilapia and serving it with 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa. Grill vegetables such as zucchini and corn, top 1/2 cup of wild rice with the veggies, include 3 oz. of grilled chicken or 5 oz. of grilled tofu. Enjoy a black bean veggie burger on a whole wheat bun with a green salad topped with vinegar and 1 tsp. of olive oil.
You don't have to eliminate an occasional treat in a healthy eating plan. Including something sweet at the end of your day can keep you from feeling deprived. Choose broiled fruit such as peaches or grapefruit drizzled with 1 tsp. of honey. Have 1 oz. of 70 percent dark chocolate, or enjoy 1/2 cup of fresh ice cream or sorbet.