The 5-Day Weight Loss Meal Plan Dietitians Swear By

Weight loss can be achieved with endless methods; this means there’s something that can work for everyone. However, it can also feel overwhelming narrowing down the best strategy for you. If you’re stumped on where to begin with your weight loss journey, read on to learn exactly how to navigate the grocery store, what constitutes a well-balanced meal, and a laid-out five-day weight loss meal plan that takes all of the guesswork out of the equation.

When choosing the right foods that make up your weight loss meal plan, there are a few factors to keep in mind. First, limit food and drinks with added sugar, as this can lead to an intake of excess empty calories. Next, load up on fruits and veggies. Each meal should contain produce, and aim to incorporate fruit or veggies into snacks as well. Protein should also be present in each meal, and you may also benefit from incorporating this nutrient into snacks. Lastly, don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods. Instead, choose reasonable portions of foods you enjoy. If the majority of your diet is made up the wholesome food, and you occasionally enjoy a less nutritious food or drink, you’ll likely continue making weight loss progress. Not to mention, this balance can keep you motivated during your journey, allowing you to make progress over a longer period of time.

For many, eating three meals and one to two snacks per day is a reasonable plan that can aid in weight loss. This frequency of eating can keep you from getting overly hungry, yet can still keep you within a calorie budget that suits your goals. Your diet should be customized to your specific needs, goals, health, and activity level. This provides a guide on how to build a healthy weight loss diet; portions and additional food items should be modified to suit your individual needs.

Read on for the five-day weight loss meal plan dietitians swear by. And when you’re finished, be sure to check out How To Lose One Pound—Adding Up to Gradual Weight Loss That Lasts.

Day 1

Breakfast: Eggs in Purgatory

Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Eggs are a nutritious source of protein, a nutrient that can improve your feeling of fullness. Starting your day off with protein can avoid portions that are too large, along with excessive snacking later on in the day. The farro in this recipe provides a fiber boost, too, further improving your satiety.

Lunch: Smoked Salmon Sandwich

Smoked salmon sandwich
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Sandwiches make for an easy lunch, and this non-traditional option is simple to make and loaded with nutrients. Smoked salmon is a no-prep source of protein and contains heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Per serving, this sandwich provides only 280 calories, allowing you room to combine with a serving of fruit, or veggies and hummus for a well-balanced meal.

Snack: Whipped Cottage Cheese With Berries and Pistachios

whipped cottage cheese with berries and pistachios
Alison Lima/Diabetes Create Your Plate Meal Prep Cookbook

Cottage cheese is another concentrated source of protein that can be used in sweet and savory preparations. This recipe is refreshing and tasty; it contains 203 calories, a whopping 18 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber.

Dinner: Healthier Orange Chicken

bowls of homemade orange chicken with chopsticks
Brie Passano

Orange chicken from your favorite takeout spot may be delicious, but it’s often loaded with calories, sugar, fat, and sodium. This healthier take on a classic provides fewer than 400 calories per serving and only 8 grams of fat. To further improve this recipe, choose a fresh OJ made without added sugar and double the veggies for a higher fiber count.

RELATED: Can Eating Oatmeal Help You Lose Weight?

Day 2

Breakfast: Protein-Packed Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Healthy blueberry pancakes
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Breakfast can get monotonous, and these high-protein pancakes are a delicious way to add variety to your routine. Made with Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and eggs, these provide plenty of protein. Blueberries and whole wheat flour lend a boost of fiber for a well-balanced meal.

Lunch: Whole30 Chicken Zoodle Soup

Whole30 instant pot chicken zoodle soup
Posie Brien/Eat This, Not That!

Soup is a comforting meal that makes for an easy, packable lunch. This recipe contains plenty of veggies and a hearty portion of chicken to make for a filling meal. Chicken zoodle soup offers a relatively low-calorie lunch, so top off your soup with avocado for some healthy fat, and consider adding in a portion of cooked brown rice or quinoa for bulk and fiber.

Snack: Paleo Iced Coffee Protein Shake

Iced coffee protein
Rebecca Firkser/Eat This, Not That!

Not only does this snack provide an energy boost from espresso, but it’s also loaded with protein. The date in this recipe provides natural sweetness that won’t cause a blood sugar spike like other coffee drinks and shakes made with added sugar.

Dinner: Cheesy Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

Cheesy turkey meatloaf muffins
Waterbury Publicatons, Inc.

Traditional meatloaf made with pork can be high in calories and saturated fat, but this turkey-based recipe meets your protein needs in a healthier way. Not to mention, the convenient muffin preparation makes these easy to portion out and save for a leftover meal.

RELATED: 10 Best Weight Loss Lunches That Are 400 Calories or Less

Day 3

Breakfast: Healthy Oatmeal with Peanut Butter and Banana

Oatmeal with peanut butter and banana recipe
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Oatmeal is known for its fiber content and is a plant-based source of protein. Combined with the healthy fats, fiber, and protein in peanut butter, you have a filling meal. This recipe uses agave syrup as a sweetener, which you could dial back or cut completely to save a few grams of sugar. The banana provides some natural sweetness on its own!

Lunch: Chicken Salad Sandwich with Raisins and Curry Powder

Chicken salad sandwich with curry and raisins
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

At 440 calories per serving, this meal provides plenty of protein, and swapping traditional mayo for an olive oil-based option creates a healthier fat profile. Serve open-faced to cut carbs and calories a bit, or enjoy as is for a hearty lunch that fits a wide range of calorie needs.

Snack: Cheese Crisps and Chunky Guacamole

guac with cheese crisps
Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

Avocado is a source of fiber and healthy fats. Instead of enjoying your guac with traditional chips, grab a serving of parm crisps for a protein boost. This will make for an especially filling snack, and you can add raw veggies on the side for more food volume.

Dinner: Copycat Wendy’s Chili

wendy's copycat chili in three bowls on a marble counter with cheese and sour cream
Kiersten Hickman/Eat This, Not That!

A one-pot meal that provides a good balance of nutrients, this chili is great for the winter months. You’ll get plenty of fiber from the beans and protein from the ground beef. Go with a lean selection here, like 93% or leaner, to keep fat and saturated fat reasonable, and top your chili off with avocado for a portion of produce and a boost of fiber.

RELATED: Ree Drummond Opens Up About 50-Pound Weight Loss: ‘I Was Tired, Puffy & Desperate’

Day 4

Breakfast: Overnight Chia Pudding

overnight chia pudding bowl with chia seeds on a marble counter
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Chia seeds are a plant-based source of protein and also provide fiber and omega-3 fats. For just over 350 calories, this flavorful breakfast provides 10 grams of protein and a whopping 12 grams of fiber! Maple syrup adds some sweetness and sugar, so consider reducing the portion to lessen calories and sugar in this recipe.

Lunch: Turkey BLT Salad

turkey BLT salad
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Salads make for a veggie-packed lunch, but the toppings can make all the difference in how a salad aids in weight loss. This 230-calorie recipe packs lean protein and suggests a lower-fat ranch dressing, like one made with Greek yogurt. Top your salad off with chickpeas for a boost of fiber and to give you a few more calories to create a hearty lunch.

Snack: Chocolate-Coconut-Banana Smoothie

Chocolate coconut banana smoothie
Jason Donnelly

This smoothie provides fewer than 200 calories yet contains 3 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein. A filling afternoon snack can lessen snacking later in the day and may lead to more reasonable portions at dinner. Swap dark chocolate for cocoa nibs in this recipe to boost antioxidants and lower the sugar count.

Dinner: Chicken Burger with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

Chicken burger with sundried tomato aolia
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

At only 330 calories per serving, this burger is a lean source of protein that still packs plenty of flavor. The recipe calls for a whole wheat bun, which will contribute fiber, but you could also serve your burger over a bed of lettuce or alongside roasted veggies for a lower-carb dinner.

RELATED: How To Lose One Pound—Adding Up to Gradual Weight Loss That Lasts

Day 5

Breakfast: Vegetarian Black Bean Omelet

Black bean omelet
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This healthier take on a traditional omelet is full of flavor, fiber, and protein. Top your omelet with pico de gallo and avocado for some produce, and consider adding sauteed spinach into the omelet filling for even more veggies.

Lunch: Healthy Chinese Chicken Salad

Healthy chinese chicken salad
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This fresh and flavorful salad comes in at 380 calories and contains 23 grams of carbs. The oranges you use can drastically change the sugar count, so ensure you pick up an option with zero grams of added sugar. This pairing of ingredients creates a crunchy, satisfying lunch loaded with protein.

Snack: Blueberry Lemon Muffin

no sugar blueberry lemon muffins in a muffin tin
Courtesy of Sara Haas

A store-bought muffin can run hundreds of calories. This homemade, no-sugar-added blueberry lemon muffin recipe is perfect for weight loss when you’re craving a sweet snack. It’s complete with lemon juice, lemon zest, blueberries, and slivered almonds for a protein- and fiber-filled treat.

Dinner: Healthy Italian Meatball Soup

Italian Meatball soup
Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

This soup is another all-in-one meal that packs lean protein, healthy carbs, and veggies into a single dish. Go with lean beef to keep fat grams on the lower end, and choose a whole wheat or bean-based noodle for more fiber. And don’t be afraid to increase the veggie portions in this recipe for a heartier meal.

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