It’s easy to say you want to be healthier but sticking to it is hard. It’s not about losing weight fast but about getting your body what it needs to stay nourished. Achieve a long healthy life and a controlled body weight with these 23 healthy diet plans.
- The 5:2 Diet
- DASH diet
- Eat Clean Diet
- Flexitarian Diet
- High Residue Diet
- Locavore Diet
- Macrobiotic Diet
- Mayo Clinic Diet
- Mediterranean diet
- Okinawa diet
- Organic Food Diet
- Pritkin Diet
- Shangri La Diet
- Slow Carb Diet
- Sonoma Diet
- TLC Diet
- Weight Watchers Diet
- Zone Diet
The 5:2 diet (click image to official site) is a relatively easy to follow diet program. Eat regularly for 5 days while going on a 500kcal (women) or 600kcal (men) fast for 2 non consecutive days every week. A typical fast day consists of two meals, one in the morning and one in the afternoon/night. Of course, you should tweak the diet in a way that works for you. Split your calories into smaller meals if you can’t get through a working day without eating but make sure you are not miscalculating 1000kcal for 500kcal. Start planing here.
The benefit of the 5:2 diet comes from the act of fasting. It has been scientifically proven that fasting increases your resistance to stress, increases insulin sensitivity, decreases susceptibility to diseases, and an increase in lifespan. For even better results, intermittent fast on alternate days.
Stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is the dietary pattern created by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to prevent and control hypertension. The DASH diet is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, poultry, fish, nuts and low fat dairy while being lower in red meat and sugar, especially high fructose syrup. It also focuses on smaller portion sizes, consuming wide varieties and making sure your body gets enough nutrients.
The creators have said that the DASH diet is not only good for lowering blood pressure but is also a well balanced approach to eating for people in general. In fact, USDA recommends the DASH diet as an ideal eating plan for all Americans.
Here’s what a typical 2000kcal diet consist of.
6-8 servings of whole grains.
A serving equals 1 slice of bread or ½ cup of rice, pasta, cereal.
4-5 servings of vegetables.
A serving equals ½ cup of vegetables or 1 cup of leafy greens.
4-5 servings of fruits.
A serving equals ½ cup of fruits.
2-3 servings of low fat dairy.
A serving equals 1 cup of milk, 1.5oz/45g of cheese, or 1 cup of yogurt.
6 servings of fish, poultry or lean meat.
A serving equals 1oz/30g of poultry, lean meat, seafood, or 1 egg.
4-5 servings of nuts, seeds, legumes.
A serving equals ½oz/15g of nuts or seeds.
2-3 servings of fats and oils.
A serving equals 1 tsp of margarine, 1 tbsp of low-fat mayonnaise, or 2 tbsp of light salad dressing.
Less than 5 servings per week of sweets.
A serving equals 1 cup of lemonade, ½ a cup of sorbet, 1 tbsp of sugar, jam or jelly.
Maximum of 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink for women. More cons than pros so it’s best avoided.
The eat clean diet is all about eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, good fats and good protein to stay full. Basically, you are encouraged to control your portions by eating 6 small meals daily, breakfast within an hour of waking up and drinking 2-3 liters of water every day. Processed foods, especially artificial sweeteners and foods with preservatives, are highly discouraged. The eat clean program recommends at least 5 sessions of strength training or cardiovascular exercises every week. By following the eat clean diet, you will eventually stock your cupboards and fridge with delicious, healthy food, making it convenient for you to stay full and satisfied.
Flexible + vegetarian. The idea behind it is to increase the likelihood of a regular meat eater to stick to a vegetarian diet. All you have to do is increasingly add plant based foods to your diet while decreasing meat at the same time. Baby steps are encouraged to prevent overwhelming yourself. Simplicity is promoted by using only ingredients from the 5 main food groups (high protein plant based sources, fruits and veggies, whole grains, dairy, sugar and spice) to prepare a meal. Exercise 30 minutes a day to stay healthy or up the ante to 90 minutes to lose weight.
You are encouraged to work your way through 3 phases of a flexitarian diet.
Beginner – 2 full plant based days a week (28oz/800g meat a week)
Advanced – 3-4 full plant based days a week (18oz/510g meat a week)
Expert – 5-6 full plant based days a week (9oz/255g meat a week)
Residue is undigested material. Roughage, such as fiber in the foods you eat that passes through your system undigested, plays a role in digestive health by aiding bowel movements. Women are encouraged to consume 25g of fiber daily and 38g for men. High fiber foods include whole grain breads and cereals, vegetables and fruits (especially dried fruits such as apricots, prunes and raisins). A high residue diet has been proven to lower the risk of cardiovascular and coronary artery disease.
A locavore is someone who is focused on eating foods that are locally produced, be it 50 miles, 100 miles, 150 miles or within a state’s border. The combination of local farming techniques and short travel distances makes the food consumed more organic and fresh, therefore making it taste better, which is an added benefit.
Sacrifices will have to be made. If you live in a cold climate, you may consider forgoing warm climate produce like bananas, chocolates, coffee, olive oil and even beer if there are no local sources of barley and hops. Your most frequent shopping venue will be the farmer’s market, allowing you the opportunity to talk to farmers who produced and grew the food being sold.
As the macrobiotic way of eating was developed and popularized by the Japanese, Japanese foods that are beneficial for health are incorporated by most modern macrobiotic eaters. The goal is to develop sensitivity and an intuitive sense of the actual effects of food to your health and well being. You are encouraged to eat only when hungry, chew your food extremely well, stay active and continuously maintain a positive mental outlook.
The macrobiotic diet contains mostly organically grown grains, veggies and soup. About 50% of your daily diet should consist of brown rice, barley, millet, oats and corn. About 25% should be reserved for locally grown vegetables. About 10% for beans and bean products like tofu, miso, and sea vegetables like seaweed. The rest of your diet will consist of fresh fish and seafood, locally grown fruits, pickles and nuts. Avoid dairy products, poultry, spicy stuff, strong alcoholic beverages, coffee, and anything highly refined, processed or chemically preserved.
The Mayo Clinic Diet is a 2 part diet program. Part 1 is called “Lose it” and consists of a 2 week period where you replace 5 bad habits with 5 good ones. Eat a healthy breakfast, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats and 30 minutes of daily exercising. Stop watching tv while eating, stop eating snacks that are not vegetables or fruits, stop eating too much meat, stop added sugar intake and eating restaurant meals that don’t follow the diet. If you follow “Lose it” with discipline, you are bound to lose 6-10lbs/3-5kg.
Part 2 is called “Live it” and it continues for the rest of your life. You will build on “Lose it” by setting weight loss goals, eating according to Mayo Clinic Diet’s food pyramid, portion control, and exercising for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour as many days a week as possible. If you follow “Live it” with discipline, you have the potential to lose 1-2 pounds every week.
The food pyramid consists of vegetables and fruits at its base, followed by carbohydrates, protein and dairy, fats, and finally sweets at the tip.
The Mediterranean diet is easy to follow, cheap and includes very high consumption of olive oil, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits, vegetables, high consumption of fish, moderate consumption of cheese, yogurt and other dairy products, and low consumption of meat. It is associated with lowered risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Daily recommended servings :
Fruits and Vegetables: 6-12 servings (a serving is 1 tennis ball)
Grains: 4-6 servings (a serving is ½ a cup)
Low Fat Dairy Products: 1-3 servings (a serving is 1 cup of milk/yogurt, 1½oz/45g of cheese)
Fish and other meat: 1-2 servings (a serving is 2½oz/75g)
Red Wine: 1 glass a day
The Japanese rank 2nd in the world when it comes to life expectancy. However, the city with the most centenarians can be found in the island of Okinawa. The Okinawans are known for their super low frequency of coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer and spend on average 97% of their lives free from any disabilities. Diet plays the biggest role in their astonishingly good health.
Although rice is the national staple food of Japan, the traditional Okinawan staple is the sweet potato, making up 69% of their total calories. Soy and legumes are consumed more compared to fish (less than ½ serving daily). Pork is highly valued although they are only consumed during monthly festivals. Consumption of dairy products and eggs are very minimal.
Other factors that contribute to the long life and excellent health of the Okinawans include low stress, a caring community where older adults are taken care of, active lifestyles where Okinawans walk, garden a lot and continue working into old age.
Generally, organic food is free of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, irradiation, industrial solvents or chemical additives. The shape of organic vegetables is usually irregular compared to non organic produce that looks almost the same.
Organic plants are higher in total anti oxidant capacity, polyphenols, flavonoids, and phenolics. Even dairy products from organically raised animals are healthier with higher Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. However, one of the biggest drawback of organic food is the higher price compared to conventional food.
A pescetarian is simply someone whose diet consists of only fish and other seafood and no other meat. First off, fish is healthier than red/white meat as it contains zero trans fat, much less cholesterol, choline, and carnitine. Moreover, fatty fish contains high levels of Omega-3 that improves alertness, intelligence and smoother skin. Japan and the Nordic countries have longer life spans partly because of their high fish diet.
A pescetarian’s diet is almost similar to an ovo-lacto vegetarian, eating mainly vegetables along with animal and dairy products such as eggs, milk, and honey. A lot of times a pescetarian diet is used as a stepping stone to a fully vegetarian diet.
The Pritkin diet is high in whole grains, dietary fiber, low in protein, cholesterol and very low in fats (less than 10% total calories). Most of the meals are low calorie, provide a lot of bulk (broccoli, carrots, dried beans) and nutritionally balanced. Additionally, moderate exercise for 45 minutes daily is also recommended. Calorie dense foods like oils, refined sugars, salt, and fast food are avoided. This goes for eggs too, as the yolk is high in cholesterol.
The Pritkin diet is very effective in lowering your risk factor for heart diseases, body weight, blood sugar levels and blood pressure.
The Shangri la Diet involves only 1 change to your diet. The consumption of 200-500 calories of flavourless oil, such as extra light olive oil or flaxseed oil, between meals every day. As a result, you will feel less hungry between meals and feel full faster at meals.
You are supposed to take the oil at least an hour before or after meals. If the oil irritates your stomach, start small and work your way up. Increase dosage of oil if you have not lost weight after 1 month. The Shangri La Diet is cheap, safe and very easy to follow.
The Slow Carb Diet is based on eating unprocessed, natural foods with a low glycemic index. However, anything starchy and sweet is eliminated which includes all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, grains, and fruits. Avocados and tomatoes are exceptions. A strong preference goes to lean protein, legumes and high fiber vegetables that will keep you feeling fuller longer so that you eat less over time. No milk, soft drink, fruit juice, ice cream, cereals, cookies, cheese, and popcorn. You are allowed 1 day of total freedom every week although you should refrain from going overboard.
This diet based on glycemix index concentrates more on the quality and food sources of nutrients than the quantity, in order to prevent chronic diseases like obesity. The type of fat consumed is considered to be more important than the amount because diets that are high in monosaturated, polysaturated, and unsaturated fats have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.
The Sonoma Diet emphasizes wholesome, flavorful foods, similar to a Mediterranean Diet, emphasizing on plant based foods and lots of olive oil. There are 12 items identified as “power foods”. They are whole grains, almonds, beans, citrus, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, grapes, spinach, blueberries, strawberries and olive oil. Portion management is done via plate sizes. 7 inch plates for breakfast and 9 inch plates for lunch/dinner.
The diet is divided into 3 waves. The first wave, which lasts 10 days and is designed to promote rapid wight loss, is very restrictive. You are required to avoid processed foods, wine, fruit, juices, etc. The second wave involves eating the same allowed foods in wave 1, which are the 12 “power foods”, except you can add fruit and more kinds of vegetables up to 6 ounces daily. Wave 2 only ends when you reach your goal weight. Wave 3, the maintenance phase, continues to emphasize a variety of wholesome foods and allows for occasional indulgences including dark chocolate, juices, potatoes and pretzels.
If you follow the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet religiously, you are bound lower your cholesterol levels. The main focus is in limiting the amount of saturated fats consumed by limiting meat and whole milk products. Substitute with food high monounsaturated fats (almonds, peanut butter, olive oil, avocado) to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol and keep HDL (good) cholesterol up.
Lean meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, and dry peas
< 5oz/141g per dayEggs
< 2 yolks a weekLow-fat milk and milk products
2–3 cups a day
2–4 cups worth a day
3–5 cups worth a day
Bread, cereals, pasta, rice, and other grains
> 6 cups worth a day
Volumetrics is more of an approach to eating than it is a structured diet. The focus is on feeling full on foods with low energy density (calories). In some cases, you may end up eating more to meet your calorie requirements.
Food is divided into four groups. Category 1 (very low density) includes unlimited portions of non starchy fruits and vegetables, nonfat milk, and broth-based soup. Category 2 (low density) includes reasonable portions of whole grains, lean protein, legumes, and low-dairy. Category 3 (medium density) includes small portions of breads, desserts, meat, cheese, ice cream, and cake. And Category 4 (high density) includes sparing portions of candies, cookies, nuts, butter, and oil.
You eat whatever you want as long as you consume within your daily PlusPoints target, values given to more than 40,000 foods. Processed choices like bologna usually have the highest point values (meaning they should be eaten in small amounts or less often) while fresh fruits and vegetables carry zero points, so you can eat as many as you’d like. It’s easy to follow and it encourages you to be involved in your own dietary plans. The weight watchers diet has been proven to actually work.
The Zone diet is designed for you to lose fat, not muscle or water. The main focus is on hormonal balance, the component responsible for body composition, energy utilization, blood chemistry, etc. It’s not about eating low carb or high protein. It’s about finding the right balance of protein, carbs and fat to control the 3 major hormones generated by human diet. Insulin, which is responsible for making you fat, glucagon, the hormone that tells the body to release stored carbohydrates at steady rates, and eicosanoids, the hormone that controls silent inflammation and other hormonal systems in the body.
Meals come in blocks (what a block looks like). A one block meal is equal to 1 choice form the protein list, 1 choice from the carbohydrate list and 1 from the fat list. A two block meal equals 2 choices from the protein list, 2 choices form the carbohydrate list and 2 choices from the fat list. For example, the block requirement for a small female is 10. You can spread them evenly across all 5 meals or mix it around, just as long as you stick to 10 blocks.
7 grams of protein = 1 block.
9 grams of carbs = 1 block.
1.5 grams of fat = 1 block.
A snack bar that says 8g protein, 29g carbohydrates, and 6g fat counts as 3 blocks of carbs NOT 1 block protein, 3 blocks carbs, 4 blocks fat. Additionally, aerobic exercises, like jogging, of at least 30 minutes and strength training of at least 10 minutes daily is recommended.