The Slimming 1-Day Meal Plan + Lifestyle Hacks for Weight Loss

We've designed 5 recipes geared towards weight loss to provide a healthy balance of macronutrients at every meal and snack. You can make them all in one day and experience what a day's worth of balanced eating really feels like -- or you can tackle one or two at a time and enjoy the novelty for a few days.
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See also 5 Secrets to Win at Weight Loss.

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Breakfast: Sweet Potato Hash

Make your hash browns with sweet potatoes instead. Sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium. The electrolyte mineral may help counteract the artery-narrowing effects of excessive sodium, which could help lower your risk of high blood pressure.

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Mini Blueberry Muffins

Snack 1: Mini Blueberry Muffins

In just 25 minutes, you have fresh-baked, fiber-rich mini blueberry muffins! Blueberries and other dark purple-blue berries contain compounds called anthocyanins that act as both an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory. This protective feature is critical, since inflammation and oxidative stress are risk factors for virtually every chronic disease, from Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

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Black Bean 
Patty Salad

Lunch: Black Bean Patty Salad

Ditch the frozen preservative-laden veggie patties and make your own! Beans are economical, full of fiber and protein and great for the heart.

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Snack 2: Purple Potato Egg Salad

This purple potato salad is given a protein boost with hard-boiled eggs and all-natural turkey bacon to give you 12 grams of protein per serving. Protein combined with slow-burning carbs like purple potatoes can provide you with sustained energy throughout the day.

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Polynesian Stir-Fry

Dinner: Polynesian Stir-Fry

Make sure to keep your salt intake in check to avoid retaining water. This stir-fry uses fresh orange juice and vinegar to add big flavor while helping to keep the sodium level below 400 millligrams per serving.

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Lifestyle Tips

What Type of Exercise Is Best for Weight Loss?

Exercise is an important component of weight loss because it burns calories, helping to put you in a calorie deficit. Simply put, weight loss happens when you burn more calories than you take in – but it’s more complicated than it may seem.

When you lose weight, you lose a combination of fat, muscle and water, and as a result, your metabolic rate drops and less calories are burned. Your muscle mass is directly tied to your metabolic rate – the more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolism will be. To make sure that your muscle mass is preserved and any weight you lose comes primarily from fat, you need to follow an exercise program that both activates your muscles and burns sufficient calories.

See also The Importance of Exercise for Weight Loss.

Aerobic activities, like walking, biking, swimming and dancing, will burn a greater number of calories at the time of exercise, as well as condition your cardiovascular system. Strength training, also known as resistance or weight training, will activate your muscle mass and increase the number of calories you burn over a 24-hour period. Including both types of exercise each day will promote the greatest loss in body fat while keeping your metabolic rate high.

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The Sleep-Weight Connection

Not getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of shut-eye a night can affect the hormones that impact your appetite. The two main hormones are leptin, the hormone that tells you you’re full, and ghrelin, the hormone that tells you you’re hungry. When you don’t get enough sleep, leptin levels drop and ghrelin levels rise, so you feel hungrier all day and have a hard time feeling full. Plus, lack of quality sleep increases your level of cortisol (the stress hormone), which increases your desire for sugary and starchy foods and their conversion to body fat. Yikes!

See also How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

There are a number of recommended tips to improve sleep quality and quantity, but the most important is the shutting down of all electronic devices with a screen at least an hour before bedtime. Cell phones, televisions, computers and tablets all emit blue light, which suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps make you feel sleepy, from the pineal gland in the brain. It takes at least an hour in an environment with low light for enough melatonin to be produced to make you feel like you could fall asleep. Try to replace your evening Netflix habit with a book and you’ll fall asleep in no time!

Eat clean and get lean with our dietitians, Erin Macdonald and Tiffani Bachus. Find out when their new course, A Whole-Life Guide to Lasting Weight Loss, launches. Register now!