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What Is the Best Diet for Weight Loss? (Meal Plan Included)

September 9, 2021
What Is the Best Diet for Weight Loss? (Meal Plan Included) - Lark Health

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In this article:

  • There are many weight loss diets. The best diet for weight loss is the one that works for you.
  • Vegan (plant-based), Mediterranean, DASH, and low-carb diets are all well-known.
  • This sample meal plan has a variety of healthy foods.
  • Lark's weight loss coaching encourages a nutritious diet for healthy and lasting weight loss.

There are a lot of diets out there! Which one is best for weight loss?

There is no single answer. But Harvard Medical School says good weight loss diets should also be healthy and easy to follow. They help you establish healthy habits. Over time, you can lose weight and keep it off.

What Makes a Diet the Best?

The truth is that the best diet is the one that works for you. It may be different from the best diet for someone else. But if your goal is to lose weight, improve health, and keep the weight off, you can look for a diet that meets these guidelines.

The best diet for weight loss DOES… The best diet for weight loss does NOT…
  • Include high-fiber and high-protein foods to reduce hunger.
  • Include foods you love.
  • Have room for occasional treats.
  • Fit into your lifestyle
  • Establish new eating habits.
  • Include foods from different food groups.
  • Require diet bars, shakes, and other special products.
  • Exclude entire nutritious food groups, such as dairy products or whole grains
  • Cause weight loss faster than 2 lb. per week (unless under a healthcare provider’s supervision)

List of Weight Loss Diets

US News and World Reports ranks weight loss diets each year. Rankings depend on factors such as  Diets are also checked for how easy they are to follow and how healthy they are for diabetes and the heart. These are among the publication's best weight loss diets of 2021.

Diet Name Description
Eat more plant-based foods and less meat.
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
Eat more fruits, vegetables, and reduced-fat dairy products. Limit sodium and sugar.
Vegan (plant-based)
Eliminate animal-based foods (meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs).
Choose low calorie-dense foods, such as vegetables, fruit, and lean protein.
Mediterranean Diet
Focus on healthy fats such as olive oil, as well as whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and spices.

They may have different names, but their approaches are similar. In general, they do the following.

  • Encourage plant-based foods.
  • Reduce red and processed meat.
  • Encourage fiber from whole grains, beans, fruit, and vegetables.
  • Limit added sugar and refined starch.
  • Suggest healthy fats, such as from nuts, olive oil, avocados, and salmon or flaxseed.
  • Discourage fried foods and fatty foods.

Most of these diets have research supporting them.

  • A study in Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that people who ate more fruits and vegetables kept their weight off better than those who ate fewer.
  • That study found that eating more reduced-fat dairy products also led to sustained weight loss.
  • People who eat the most added sugars can gain 1.55 kg per year (about 3 lb) more than people who eat fewer added sugars. That is what research in British Medical Journal showed. A review article in Diabetes Care had similar conclusions.
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages are strongly linked to weight gain and obesity, according to research in Nutrition.
  • A review in Revista espanola publica found lower body weight with greater consumption of olive oil.
  • Fatty meats, fried foods, and refined grain consumption are all linked to weight gain.
  • Whole grains and nut consumption are linked to weight loss.

Low-carb diets can be healthy choices for weight loss if they:

  • Are only moderately low in carbs.
  • Include high-fiber carbs, such as whole grains, beans, fruit and vegetables.
  • Encourage healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, and avocados rather than butter.
  • Focus on healthy protein sources, such as fish, low-fat dairy, and beans, instead of fatty and processed meat.

Lark's weight loss coaching is based on science. Lark helps you choose healthier foods that are linked to weight loss. You can log foods and get instant feedback to help you make better choices. 

Meal Plan for Weight Loss

What does a healthy menu for weight loss look like? It can be different for different people. But it may include lots of fruits and vegetables. It can be low in added sugars and processed foods. And it can have nutritious carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

You should always talk to your doctor before starting a new meal plan or diet. Your doctor can help you determine how many calories to consume. A healthcare provider can also discuss any individual needs. 

Here is a basic three-day plan for weight loss. It has about 1,200 calories per day. If you need more calories, which may be the case if you're physically active or are a larger individual, you can add snacks. There are some suggestions below the meal plan.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

1 cup of oatmeal (½ cup of dry oats) with ¾ cup of blueberries and 2 tablespoons of flaxseed or chia seed
Scrambled Eggs with Toast

Scrambled eggs (4 egg whites or 1 egg and 2 egg whites) with 1 cup of spinach and 1.5 ounces of low-fat cheddar cheese

Served with 1 slice of whole-grain toast and 1 banana
Sweet and Savory Cottage Cheese Breakfast Bowl

½ cup reduced-fat cottage cheese
½ cup of halved grape tomatoes mixed with 1 teaspoon of olive oil
½ cup of black beans
2 slices of avocado
½ cup of diced apple or other fruit
Quinoa Salad

½ cup of cooked quinoa mixed with 1 cup of chopped cooked eggplant or zucchini, 1.5 ounces of feta cheese, ½ cup of garbanzo beans, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette, and dried or fresh oregano and thyme

Optional: serve over romaine or spinach leaves
Chicken Sandwich

3 ounces skinless cooked chicken on 2 slices of whole wheat bread with dijon mustard, 1 ounce of low-fat cheddar cheese, sliced apple, and 2 slices of avocado
Tuna Melt

3 ounces of tuna on 2 slices of whole-wheat bread, topped with 1 ounce of low-fat cheese, toasted.

½ cup of strawberries with 2 tablespoons of chopped nuts or peanuts
Black Bean Burger

Black bean or other veggie burger (or ground turkey) on a whole-grain bun with mustard, lettuce, and tomato

Baked zucchini or carrot fries with 1 teaspoons of olive oil
Baked Salmon

3 ounces of baked salmon served with brussels sprouts baked with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and 1 small baked sweet potato

12 almonds
Chicken Burrito Bowl

3 ounces of cooked diced chicken with taco or fajita seasoning, ½ cup of corn, 1 cup of cooked onion and bell pepper (or other vegetables), ⅓ cup of cooked brown rice, 1 ounce of shredded cheese, romaine lettuce, chopped tomatoes

The above meal plan has about 1,200 calories per day. That may be too low for you. If so, you can add healthy snacks. These are a few examples.

  • Raw vegetables with hummus or eggplant dip (baba ghanouj or mutabel).
  • Apple, carrots, or celery with peanut butter.
  • A piece of fruit or cup of cut fruit or berries.
  • String cheese stick, hard-boiled egg, or small container of yogurt or cottage cheese.
  • 1/2 ounce of nuts or peanuts.
  • Canned tuna or salmon.
  • Cooked sweet potato slice with blue or goat cheese.
  • Roasted edamame.
  • Whole-grain toast or bread with low-fat ricotta cheese.

And there are more healthy snack ideas here!

Lark can be a helpful weight loss coach. Losing weight can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and that's not all. When you lose a few extra pounds, energy levels can increase, cholesterol and blood pressure can improve, and clothes fit better. Best of all is that Lark makes weight loss simple!

Lark doesn't just know which choices can lead to weight loss. Lark coaches you on how to make good choices that can become habits. With small changes that fit right into your lifestyle, you can drop pounds and lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. Your personal coach is available 24/7 through your smartphone so you can get expert tips, track meals, physical activity, and weight loss. 

The entire program may be available at no cost to you if your health insurer covers it. Click here to find out if you may be eligible for Lark! You could be minutes away from taking the first steps to hitting your weight loss goals and improving health.

About Lark

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