Weight loss = burning more calories than you eat. 

I know it sounds simple, but for many, it’s not easy. If you’re trying to lose weight, there are many popular diets with a variety of food that can help. No matter which diet you choose, the key to weight loss is portion control, calorie tracking, and advanced meal planning. Here’s how it works:

  1. Before choosing a diet plan, it helps to know how many calories you need each day to accurately measure meal portions. There are several online calculators to help estimate for women and men.
  2. After estimating your calorie requirements: research food that will help you reach your goals, make a grocery list for the week, and stock up on common healthy ingredients to keep on hand.
  3. Now, meal prepping can help solidify your eating plan for the week to keep you on track.

So of all the diets to choose from, which one is right for you? There are a few options listed below; however, if you understand the principles above, it shouldn’t matter which diet you try— weight loss just happens when you burn more calories than you eat.

Healthy Plate Guidelines

To lose weight the right way, there’s a clinically proven guideline that is important to follow in order to get the right nutrients. It’s called the Healthy Plate. You can plan your meals from the Healthy Plate guidelines and choose from the many Pack Pantry healthy recipes. Here are a few breakfast recipes and videos, along with some lunch and dinner recipes to help you get started. You can plan your meals around a heart-healthy pantry as well.

If you’re looking to try some of the more popular diets, here are a few to get you started:

The Mediterranean, DASH, and MIND Diet

If you have been asked to cut back on red meat, these three diets are great for heart-healthy meals and weight loss. They include a wide variety of foods that are lower in calories than typical western foods.

The Mediterranean diet

This diet largely consists of plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and olive oil. This diet also allows fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, chicken, and lamb.

Mediterranean diet foods have plenty of omega-3s—”the good fat”— which improves heart health and also increases “good” bacteria in the gut, serving as an anti-inflammatory. It also contains antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals that cause damage to other cells and tissues. Here are a few Mediterranean diet recipes to try, along with a few healthy substitutes for ingredients like butter and refined pasta.

DASH diet

The DASH diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet, with the additional goal of limiting refined sugar, salt, and foods that are high in saturated fats. For this diet, it’s a good idea to review our list of salt and sugar substitutes and include those on your shopping list. The DASH diet, along with increased physical activity, has shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

MIND diet

The name stands for Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. In other words, it helps protect your brain cells! The goal of the MIND diet is to focus more on brain health and reduce the risk of dementia as we age. It is a hybrid of the DASH and Mediterranean diet, with the goal to include more brain healthy foods such as: leafy greens, seeds, berries, and veggies that are high in vitamin B (broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc.). MIND diet foods also have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and other properties that might help protect the brain and slow cognitive decline.

Vegetarian and Vegan Diet

The vegetarian diet is great for weight loss because the foods are low in calories, yet full of healthy nutrients. This diet is known for lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol, and several cancers. It is essentially a diet without meat—and if it excludes all animal byproducts like eggs, yogurt, milk, and cheese, it’s called a vegan diet. As long as you are eating enough protein and don’t load up on processed foods, this can be a healthy option. As you’re making a grocery list, check out some of our vegetarian meal ideas and tips on plant-based protein.

Wheat Belly Diet

The Wheat Belly Diet focuses on what not to eat by replacing as much grain-based carbohydrates with food like vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, meats, eggs, avocados, olives, cheese, and a few select fruits. Wheat is in most processed and packaged foods, which are typically deficient in nutrients and high in calories. This is one of the primary reasons that this diet is great for weight loss. Avoiding pasta dishes, pizza, and wheat-based desserts can also help reduce cravings for foods that cause a spike in blood sugar levels and release addictive endorphins, like dopamine.

Keto Diet

The Keto diet calls for the drastic reduction of carbohydrates so that your body uses fat for energy. If done right, the keto diet helps with weight loss while controlling blood sugar and blood cholesterol. This diet doesn’t require fancy recipes—it can be incorporated into the Healthy Plate with protein, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and even starches. However, it isn’t a ticket for unlimited meat and cheese. Your body can make carbs from extra protein and including enough leafy greens is important for fighting off flu-like symptoms called “keto-flu.” If you’re planning on trying this diet, be sure to chat with your Care Team first.

Customize with what works for you!

The Healthy Plate concept, along with the many diet plan recipes available, can help you figure out what delicious foods to put together in healthy portions to achieve good eating habits to last a lifetime! If you need help, be sure to talk with your Health Advisor and consult your Care Team before making any major changes to your diet.