Here’s one example of how to prepare a healthy menu for a whole day that includes three meals and three snacks.
- Eating breakfast will help you start your day with plenty of energy. Don’t ruin your breakfast with high-fat and high-calorie foods. Choose some protein and fiber for your breakfast, and it’s a good time to eat some fresh fruit:
- One serving of oatmeal.
- One-half cup strawberries.
- A tablespoon or two chopped nuts.
- A glass of orange juice.
- A mid-morning snack is totally optional. If you eat a larger breakfast, you may not feel hungry until lunchtime. However, if you’re feeling a bit hungry and lunch is still two or three hours away, a light mid-morning snack will tide you over without adding a lot of calories:
- One serving of plain yogurt mixed with one-half cup blueberries and a little honey.
- Water or diet soda.
- Lunch is often something you eat at work or school, so here is an idea for a portable lunch you can pack and take with you:
- A sandwich made with two slices of 100-percent whole grain bread, two or three ounces of lean turkey breast, a little mayonnaise or mustard, a tomato slice, and lettuce.
- One-half to one cup raw baby carrots.
- One can or bottle of sparkling water.
Or if you eat at a restaurant:
- Order a vegetable salad with the dressing served on the side.
- A cup of soup.
- A mid-afternoon snack is also optional. Keep it low in calories and eat just enough to keep you from feeling too hungry – dinner is just a couple of hours away.
- One apple or one pluot and 12 walnuts.
- A glass of milk.
- Dinner is a time when it’s easy to over-eat, especially if you haven’t eaten much during the day, so watch your portion sizes. Mentally divide your plate into four quarters. One-quarter is for your meat or protein source, one-quarter is for a starch, and the last two-quarters are for green and colorful vegetables or a green salad:
- One serving of baked or roasted chicken breast.
- One small baked potato with salsa or low-fat sour cream.
- A large portion of steamed asparagus.
- One small 100-percent whole grain roll.
- A small glass of white wine (optional – regular or dealcoholized wine.
- A light complex carbohydrate-rich evening snack may help you sleep but avoid heavy, greasy foods or foods high in refined sugars.
- Six whole grain crackers.
- Two ounces of sliced cheese.
- One piece of fresh fruit.
- Drink water or non-fat milk instead of sugary sodas.
- Choose 100-percent whole grain bread and cereals. At least half of your servings of bread and cereals should be whole grain.
- Avoid highly processed lunch meats and sausages, which are high in fat and calories.
- Cut back on fatty red meats. Choose more fish and seafood or vegetarian protein sources like dry beans and soy.
- Increase your intake of brightly colored and dark green vegetables. Serve fresh fruits and berries for desserts.
United States Department of Agriculture, MyPlate.gov. “Calorie Results and Food Tracking Worksheets.”