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How should I choose a diet plan?

Janis Jibrin, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

If you want to lose weight, choose a healthy diet plan that you can live with over the long run, that is not a fad diet. The diet should meet the following checklist:

  • All types of foods, even sweets, are allowed. Nothing is forbidden, although it’s recommended that not so healthy foods (like bacon, alcohol, cookies and others) should be eaten in moderation.
  • The diet is based on whole foods: fruit, vegetables and lean protein, with moderate amounts of whole grains, dairy and healthy fats (such as avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, other vegetable oils).
  • The diet is flexible—you can adapt meals to your tastes and cooking abilities. For example, if a meal or recipe calls for chicken and broccoli, you can substitute fish and zucchini. Likewise, you can sub in one fruit for another, canned beans for cooked-from-scratch, etc.
  • Women take in at least 1,200 calories; men at least 1,500. You shouldn’t go any lower. (Many people can take in even more than these rock-bottom calorie levels and still lose weight.)

Ideally, the diet would also recommend that you exercise regularly, get enough sleep and offer recommendations on combatting emotional eating and other barriers to weight loss.

Steer clear of juice fasts, very high protein diets, other faddish regimens and those that require a lot of vitamins and other supplements.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.