Help Center - Nutritional Information and Meal Plans

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Nutritional Philosophy

What is your Nutritional Philosophy?

The underlying nutritional philosophy on Diet.com is two-fold. First, we strive to provide you with customized meal plans that are easy to prepare and taste great. Losing weight doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste! You will get to enjoy a variety of foods each day and better yet, the meals plans were developed specifically to match your unique eating pattern.

With no forbidden foods, Diet.com teaches you a healthy way of eating for life! Second, we give you eating strategies to convert your weight-gaining eating patterns into weight-losing habits. Our pattern-specific meal plans and strategies work together to help you lose weight now and keep it off long-term.

How much weight can I expect to lose?

Individual results may vary but we aim for you to lose one to two pounds per week.

Nutritional Intake

How many calories should I be eating per day?

We have 2 calorie levels depending on whether you're male or female and your starting weight. Your recommended calorie level will be 1200 or 1500 and can be found on your meal plan page.

We recommend you use this as a starting point by following the meal plan and monitoring your hunger, fullness and weight change. You can make adjustments as needed.

For example, if you're losing weight and feeling good on the meal plan, this calorie level is working well for you.

If you're very hungry on the meal plan and not doing well, you may need some extra calories. This would be a good reason to email us here in the coaching corner or to our registered dietitian Shauna in the "Rate My PlateĒ discussion board to get guidance.

If you're not losing weight, this calorie level may be too high for you and you may need to be eating fewer calories. This may be a situation where you want to get some help and direction from the diet.com team of experts.

Most experts agree on not going below 1200 calories a day. Going below 1200 calories a day puts you at risk of nutritional deficiencies.

I'm really concerned about my fat intake. How much fat is allowed in my meal plan?

Diet.com meal plans average 25-30% calories from fat. This level is also recommended when planning your own meals.

If you are following a 1200 calorie diet, this is equal to 33-40 grams of fat per day. If you are following a 1500 calories diet, this is equal to 42-50 grams of fat per day.

Remember to choose healthy fats such as olive oil, canola oil, nuts and nut butters, olives and avocado.

I don't follow a specific meal plan, but want to know how many servings of each food group I should have every day. Can you help?

The following chart breaks down the recommended calorie levels into servings from each food group. If you are following a different calorie level, write to RDShauna in the Rate My Plate board for assistance.

Suggested Number of Servings for a 1200 Calorie Weight Loss Diet*
Fruits: 1 cup
Vegetables: 1.5 cups
Grains: 4 ounce equivalent (1 ounce = 1 slice of bread, 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal, 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal). Aim for at least 3 servings of whole grains per day!
Meat and Beans: 3 ounce equivalent (1 ounce = 1 ounce of lean meat, poultry or fish, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1/4 cup cooked dry beans, 1/2 ounce nuts or seeds, 1/4 cup tofu, 1 ounce tempeh, 1 vegetarian burger or 1 cup lentil or bean soup).
Milk: 2 cups equivalent (1 cup = 1 cup non-fat or low-fat milk or yogurt, 1.5 ounces low-fat cheese, 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese, 1/3 cup low-fat shredded cheese or 2 cups non-fat or low-fat cottage cheese).
Oils: 4 teaspoons (includes vegetable oils, nuts, olives, avocados, mayonnaise, salad dressings and soft margarine).
Discretionary Calories: 171 (remaining calories- use on forms of foods that are low in added sugars and/or low-fat).
*Adapted per the USDA My Pyramid

Suggested Number of Servings for a 1500 Calorie Weight Loss Diet
Fruits: 1 cup
Vegetables: 2 cups
Grains: 5 ounce equivalent (1 ounce = 1 slice of bread, 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal, 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta or cereal). Aim for at least 3 servings of whole grains per day!
Meat and Beans: 5 ounce equivalent (1 ounce = 1 ounce of lean meat, poultry or fish, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, 1/4 cup cooked dry beans, 1/2 ounce nuts or seeds, 1/4 cup tofu, 1 ounce tempeh, 1 vegetarian burger or 1 cup lentil or bean soup).
Milk: 2 cups equivalent (1 cup = 1 cup non-fat or low-fat milk or yogurt, 1.5 ounces low-fat cheese, 1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese, 1/3 cup low-fat shredded cheese or 2 cups non-fat or low-fat cottage cheese). Oils: 5 teaspoons (includes vegetable oils, nuts, olives, avocados, mayonnaise, salad dressings and soft margarine).
Discretionary Calories: 132 (remaining calories- use on forms of foods that are low in added sugars and/or low-fat).

*Adapted per the USDA My Pyramid

I want to make sure Iím getting enough protein. How much protein am I allowed in my plan?

Diet.com meal plans average 20-25% calories from protein. This level is also recommended when planning you own meals.

If you are following a 1200 calorie diet, this is equal to 60-75 grams of protein per day.
If you are following a 1500 calorie diet, this is equal to 75-94 grams of protein per day.

Remember to choose lean protein sources such as chicken breast, turkey, fish, extra lean beef, lean pork, non-fat or low-fat dairy, beans or soy products. Vary your protein sources and try to eat at least 2 vegetarian based meals per week.

Meal Plan

What are the meal plan features?

Diet.com meal plans are all heart-healthy, carbohydrate and calorie-controlled, while being rich in healthy carbs, healthy fats and lean protein The weekly meal plan averages are 45-55% calories from carbohydrates, 20-25% calories from protein and 25-30% calories from fat. Each menu is pattern-specific and provides specific tips and strategies to assist members in achieving for overall success.

For example, if someone finds they are always on the go they will find fast foods, for restaurant dining and convenience foods that fit into a healthy weight loss plan. Or if someone finds they rarely eat fruits or vegetables they will see easy ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into their diet. Whatever the user's eating pattern, they are sure to find a menu that meets their needs and tastes great.

Do I have to follow the meal plan exactly?

The meal plans provided give examples of calorie-controlled meals and snacks that match your unique eating pattern. If you would like to adapt the meal plans to your tastes or preferences it is important that you pay attention to calories of meals and snacks so you can make proper substitutions.

Let's take breakfast, for example. If you like having cereal for breakfast but don't like eating a fast food breakfast, eat more cereal breakfasts but try and stay approximately within the breakfast calorie level. For lunch, if you prefer eating a sandwich or a frozen meal lunch brought from home, skip over the eaten out lunches and replace them with more sandwich and frozen meal lunch ideas, but also stay approximately within the lunch calorie level. You can do the same kind of substitutions for your dinner meals and snacks.

If there are foods you don't like, or are allergic to, please click on the Menu Substitutions or Food Allergies links toward the top of your Meal Plan page.

There are only two weeks worth of meals! What do I do after that?

Look through the alternate meal plan options, meals in minutes, search the recipe box, or repeat some of your favorites from the last two weeks! All of Diet.com's recipes are healthy! If you need any additional help, you can contact our dietitian.

How do I print out my meal plans?

You can print out your daily meal plan by clicking on the Print Meal Plan button, located at the top of your meal plans.

Who do I contact with questions about my meal plan?

You can contact any of our experts (specifically, our Dietitian) if you have specific questions about your meal plan. Their forums can be accessed by clicking on their name in the top left corner of your homepage. If a private matter, you could instead send them a private message.


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