Having smart diet menus can be what makes or breaks a diet.

Following diet menus make it much simpler to stay on track with your diet. When you're too busy to think about what you're doing, it's easy to grab the wrong food, kicking your diet to the curb at the same time before you know what's hit you.

diet menusYou can construct your own diet menus using these principles, which is super empowering!

While diet plans are great for simplifying the process of following a diet or a healthy eating plan, they're useless if you hate what you're eating. Therefore, I feel that the best way to follow diet menus is to create them yourself using a template, which I provide on this page.

Constructing Your Personal Diet Menus

I'll tell you how you can construct your own diet menus for free right here. If you would like to keep track of those meals with a free online program, my favorite app is MyFitnessPal.

1. When constructing your diet, menus, first and foremost you need to keep the general diet recommendations in mind.

2. Now, it's time to choose your sources of protein, carbs and fats that will make up your meals and snacks.

  • 80% of the time choose "healthy" foods from these lists.
  • 20% of the time, choose foods with similar calorie contents but that are not quite so "healthy" (like a slice of pizza or a hamburger).
  • Keep in mind, generally you want to choose about 25% of your meal or snack calories from a protein source, 25% from a fats source, and 50% from a carbs source (fruits and veggies count as carbs). If you're not familiar with calorie counts of many founds, click on the link for free calorie count tables. You can also do the "fill the plate method" of simply trying to have 35% of the space on your plate occupied by protein sources, 55% by carb/veggie sources, and small amounts of fats either within these choices or added to the meal. 
  • 3. Make your selections for your diet menu! Choose 80% of your foods from the following lists for best results:

    Healthiest sources of protein:

    • Turkey (white meat; no skin)
    • Chicken (white meat; no skin)
    • Seafood (avoid added butter or fried seafood)
    • Lean Beef (trim the fat)
    • Lean roast beef
    • Top Round steak or Top Sirlion steak
    • Eggs
    • 95% lean ground beef
    • Top Loin (strip or New York) steak
    • Protein powders with at least 20 grams protein per 100 calories
    • Cheese; reduced fat, mozzarella, feta
    • Milk
    • Yogurt

    Go here for more information on protein powders. 

    Healthiest sources of complex or fibrous carbs:

    • “Old Fashioned” oatmeal
    • Other wholegrain cereals
    • High-fiber breakfast cereals including bran and Kashi
    • Sweet Potato/Yam
    • Whole-grain breads
    • Peas, beans, and lentils
    • Colorful vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes
    • Fruits, especially citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit) and berries

    Best sources of the Essential Fatty Acids typically deficient in the U.S. diet:

    • Flaxseed and flax oil
    • Canola oil
    • Walnuts
    • Fish (especially cold-water fish) or fish oil capsules
    • Anchovy
    • Chinook salmon
    • Herring
    • Mackerel
    • Albacore tuna
    • Pacific halibut

    If you're not eating at least 1 serving of the foods listed above daily, I strongly recommend that you take 3-6 fish oil capsules every day.

    Other good sources of heart-healthy fats:

    • Most nuts, especially almonds and sunflower seeds
    • Peanut Butter, preferably with no added sugar
    • Olive oil
    • Sunflower oil
    • Sesame oil

    Some Breakfast ideas:

    • Higher protein bars such as Quest or One bars (look for at least 20 grams of protein for 200 calories or less)
    • Hard-boiled egg or omelet w/ low-fat cheese and veggies
    • High-fiber cereal with low-fat milk
    • Yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit or cereal
    • Fruit and string cheese
    • Protein pancakes (use 1 scoop vanilla-flavored Optimum 100% Whey Protein Powder , 1 egg, and 3 egg whites, plus cinnamon if desired. Beat and cook like regular pancakes)
    • Protein shake smoothie (use 1 scoop of Optimum 100% Whey Protein Powder , 1 cup of milk, ice and/or a handful of fruit)
    • Oatmeal with fruit, walnuts and protein powder mixed in

    4. I recommend having a game plan for the way you'll structure your diet menus, and then fill in food choices from foods you like and ones that offer a variety of nutrients.

    For example, you might decide after reviewing the general diet menu guidelines page that you should be able to reach your goals having, for instance, about 25 grams (or three ounces) of lean protein, 40 grams of carbs (1-4 cups depending on whether you're choosing bread/pasta or fruit/vegetables), and 10-20 grams or (1-2 tablespoon) of fats per meal, eating four meals per day.

    Whatever your personal "template" for your diet menus may be, keep it in mind as you choose your meals and snacks.

    Also, for the best chances of success and the fastest results, be sure to log what you're eating - at least for a little while. That way, you can troubleshoot what ISN'T working, and remember what IS working for you so you'll know in the future! By the way, all my clients get my review of their food logs included in their session price. Everyone is different, which means that everyone will follow his or her own unique diet plan. If you're having trouble or you're not sure what your diet plan should look like, grab a copy of my book Change Your Weighs to learn more. You can also book a one-on-one session with me (I'm a Certified Nutritionist).