My Meal Plan for Weight Loss

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Are you a grazer? You know, slowly eating your way through the day, having a cookie here, some cheese there, a handful of nuts (or chips or crackers) there. In my former life, that was me. I would eat mindlessly because it never occurred to me to do otherwise. I was especially snacky in the evening.

Today I’m not careless about my eating at all. I read packages, pay a little more for organic, and make the smartest choices I can every chance I get. One of the best changes I’ve made is planning out my meals and following a schedule, to a degree. If I wait too long to eat or don't eat after a workout, my hands tend to get shaky and I end up making poor food choices, overeating, or both. That's why I stick with this meal plan:

Breakfast: 7:30 a.m. I know that if I eat a protein-packed breakfast, I am starting my day off right and won’t be hungry for a few hours.

Post-workout snack: 10:30 a.m. By midmorning I’m usually getting a little hungry, so I opt for some kind of veggie and protein snack like a protein shake, or celery with peanut butter or cream cheese.

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Lunch: Noon. I can never get enough salad. I'll mix up the greens, using spinach or a variety of lettuces, and throw on toppings such as steak, gorgonzola, and dried cranberries; or pork, goat cheese, and beets.

Snack: 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. This time of day my energy drops, but the kids are also home from school, so I will join them in eating an apple and peanut butter or a berry shake.

Dinner: 6:30 p.m. I make a variety of family-friendly fish, steak, pork, or chicken meals served with rice or quinoa and veggies.

Snack: 8:30 p.m. The key here is to not eat any sugar because it disrupts my sleep. Instead, I opt for a handful of nuts, cottage cheese, a cheese stick, a few cheese curds, or beef jerky.

Now that I have my eating schedule, I’m less likely to overindulge or feel bad because I gave into something I shouldn’t have. It's certainly helping me reach my weight-loss goals!

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