How to Plan Food for Weight Loss

When I hear people (usually doctors or nutritionists in the media) advising overweight people  about how to lose weight, I cringe when I hear the phrase, “Eat a healthy diet!” Well, duh! But the discussion usually doesn’t go beyond that. When I was obese, I often found myself feeling hopeless when the “professionals” would say this to me. I would often be so depressed at hearing this for the millionth time, I wouldn’t ask, “How?”

Over the past two years, I have relearned how to eat with the help of a nutritionist (from Nutritional Weight and Wellness). I have had to learn how to plan within an inch of my life. At first it was really hard to plan for three meals and three snacks every single day. Now, it is almost automatic. My next couple of posts will focus on tips and tricks I use to plan my food days. Oh, and I won’t once tell you to shop on the periphery of the grocery store (even though it is important, it has been done to death and it is not specific enough!).

Remember, I eat to balance my blood sugar using a balance of protein, carb, and fat 5-6 times per day. I have eliminated artificial sweeteners, much added sugar, and bad oils (refined vegetable oils like soybean). This way of eating over time has led me to an 87 pound weight loss.

  1. Choose your grocery store(s). Choosing grocery stores that have “pre-screened” products for you is key. You will spend a lot of time shopping if you have to sort through items with sucralose, high fructose corn syrup, and bad meat (packed with hormones and antibiotics and corn fed). Place like Whole Foods and Trader Joes have done that for you. However, you still need to label read in these stores searching out soybean oil/other oils and high sugar content.To save my budget while maintaining the quality of my food, I find I have to shop in two stores: Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I find that to get good quality meat (grass fed, no antibiotics, no hormones) I need to go to Whole Foods. Organic produce and other organic products are much cheaper at Trader Joe’s. It really doesn’t take me much longer to shop at two stores because I can find everything to plan my meals in two stops.
  2. Plan for snacks by buying a whole something and mentally cutting it into snack portions. So, I will buy a dozen eggs and that gives me the protein for 12 snacks, either hard boiled or over easy. Six apples gives me the carb for these snacks (half an apple per snack). A small container of good organic peanut butter gives me the fat (2 tablespoons on that apple half). To mix up the protein source,Rotisserie Chicken I will buy a rotisserie chicken (see the NWW Deli Detective for what to look for in a chicken), which gives me about 2 lunch portions (4 ounces) of chicken for my salad and 4-5 snack size portions (1-2 ounces). There, snacks for a week.
  3. Get breakfast right simply. Choose to have a smoothie (1 cup of whole fat yogurt, 1/4 cup of coconut milk, 1 cup of frozen fruit, and a scoop of whey protein powder), eggs, or leftovers. The smoothie is very easy to shop for, eggs cooked in butter and some veg a cinch, and leftovers (like some of that rotisserie chicken) are a no brainer.
  4. Crock pot, or your best friend. I know I am officially old, because I am one of those women who loves the crock pot with abandon. On Sundays, I try to make a meal that will yield 3 meals during the week. For example, 2 pounds of chicken with a great barbecue sauce. I can serve this with a salad (meal #1), on gluten-free tortillas topped with beans and veggies (meal #2), and served with a hot vegetable (meal #3). I will also be able to get a couple of snack-sized portions of meat out of this dish.

OK, I will continue this list next week. Happy shopping!

What is your favorite tip? Leave a comment.

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27 Comments on “How to Plan Food for Weight Loss”

  1. candida says:

    I like the valuable info you provide in your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check again here regularly.
    I’m quite sure I’ll learn lots of new stuff right here!
    Best of luck for the next!

  2. I’m not that much of a online reader to be
    honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back down the road. Cheers

  3. […] how do I deal with it? Planning, planning, and more planning ( see post). It can be tedious and not as fun as the treat table, but I’ve got to do it. I resist the […]

  4. Cynthia Niebeling says:

    I believe I’m also insulin resistant as well. Have you read any good books dealing with this issue?

  5. Mary says:

    Hi, Nell. My brother sent me your link. I believe I am insulin-resistant, too. How did you know you are? What foods do you eat for breakfast?

    • Nice to hear from you Mary! I typically eat eggs for breakfast with bacon and some spinach. I also like the smoothie profiled in a previous post. Insulin resistance showed up for me as higher fasting blood sugars, a lot of difficulty losing weight, allergies, and just a general tired feeling. Does that sound like you? I need to write an article about it! I hope you are doing well!

  6. Sheilah says:

    I was listening to a podcast of “Dishing up Nutrition” and heard you – I had to come subscribe to your blog right away, and suggest you become a regular on that program – you were awesome. So well spoken, so informative, and such a compelling story to tell. I was walking (yeah me!) while listening to the podcast, and b/c I am not yet on all the necessary brain supplements ( !) i need to be, I can’t remember what supplement you all recommended to help curb those after meal chocolate cravings. Would you mind telling me what that was? I look forward to reading more blog entries. Thank you!

    • Sheilah, thanks so much for listening. I am so glad you found inspiration in that show! I love hearing that. The supplement is called Crave Control and is available at Let me know how it works for you!

  7. Robin says:

    Found your blog by listening to the Dishing up Nutrition podcasts. Really enjoyed your appearances on the show and appreciate all of the great information you have posted here on your blog. You are an inspiration and I’m so happy for your success. Hoping I will have similar results as I start on my journey with this way of eating (down 5 lb in the past 2 weeks, so I’ve gotten a good start ). I will be taking a NW&W class in about 6 weeks and I’m almost giddy with excitement. Thanks again for sharing your story!

    • That is awesome! I am so glad you are taking the class. I am speaking at some of the classes and it is really fun! I am closing in on my goal weight, which seems unbelievable. 5 pounds in 2 weeks is awesome. That is a really nice pace! Way to go!

  8. Becky Hallstrom says:

    Just wondering if you have seen the movie “Fathead”? It is a documentary I watched on Netflix and was wondering what other people thought of it.

  9. Your site is very inspiring! Thanks so much for sharing. Since my walk seems to be similar to yours, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. 🙂

  10. Cynthia says:

    I heard you on the W&W show back in Jan and it took me until now to finally look at your blog. Thank you for posting what a typical day’s food is like for you. It gives me some ideas as to what I could do. Someday maybe I’ll be able to get in touch with a NW&W specialist but in the mean time thanks for sharing what you’ve learned. It’s nice to see and hear real people going through the same thing as you are. Could you tell me what supplements you are taking? You had mentioned something about GLA oil and other things. Thank you,

  11. Kari says:

    What a life saving post for me. I’m spending my morning getting ridiculously detailed and organized re: our food for the week for my husband and I. Your post makes me realize that it’s important and it gets easier (well, to be honest, I like this kind of stuff but it can be a bit overwhelming).

    Some questions for you:

    1. Where do you purchase your supplements (if taken) and whey protein powder? (If on what brands are “okay” per NWW?)

    2. If you buy a rotissere (sp) chicken on Sunday, what is the last day you would eat it (before it would spoil?)

    3. Great bbq sauce? What brand/kind have you found that is living the NWW Way?

    4. What courses have you taken at NWW?

    5. How do you like using a nutritionist from NWW? Was it critical to your health goals? If so, in what way?

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I love your blog – keep updating it as we are following and learning from you! 🙂

    PS we are halfway thru the W&W series…love it!

    • I am glad you are loving the posts!

      Here are my replies:
      1. I do purchase supplements on Vitacost to save money. I also purchase from NWW when I have a coupon. Whey approved brand is Biochem. I also look for the Source Naturals brand for other supplements, as they are also sold at NWW. I found that I could bring my bottles in to a nutritionist and get them approved so I know that I am not wasting my money. But Source Naturals are always safe.
      2. Boy, I eat that chicken through Saturday and have never had a problem.
      3. I love the selection at whole foods. Any of the brands they carry are free of the bad stuff, and relatively low in sugar.
      4. I have taken Jumpstart your Metabolism, Nutrition and ADD connection, and Nutrition for Weight Loss. All were great.
      5. Yes, the nutritionist has been critical in getting my plan customized for my body. For example, I needed to give up dairy and gluten to keep my weight loss going. I would have never made that connection otherwise.

      I hope these responses help!

  12. Jodi says:

    I am currently taking the weight and wellness series and only have 2 weeks left. I’m sad it’s coming to an end! So happy to have found your blog for tips from someone that has done so well! Thank you!

  13. Barb says:

    Hi Nell,
    I like how you make everything sound simple. Do you write everything out for the week? So far, I make a big batch of turkey or beef meatballs on Sundays for dinner and then freeze leftovers in separate baggies ready to go during the week at work. The muffin tin meatloaf (on the site) is another alternative I use. I too love the crockpot also for a big pot of chili (mostly meat) and or stew (with lots of veggies). And I grill chicken usually midweek. All these items are food my kids like too. But I love to cook and sometimes overwhelm myself with wanting to try new recipes so I appreciate the keep it simple advice. Packing my food for the day at work can sometimes be time consuming if I don’t think enough ahead for leftovers. Planning is so key but I hope I can get like you and think of it automatically.

    I know you mentioned loving toast on the radio show–do you ever plan for that or is it a slippery slope? It is my favorite soothing snack with a cup of tea and will have it (Ezekial brand about 18 g carbs per slice) with real butter and an egg–what do you think? Also, I wonder how many carbs a day you have found is a “balanced” total? I have lots more questions but will save some for later.
    Thanks for taking the time to post the great suggestions. It is so helpful as I start this journey!


    • I think a piece of toast with butter and an egg is the best way to have it! I still have the occasional piece with peanut butter or just as you have it. When I feel the need, I eat the toast but balance it out. This is much better than depriving myself and then going nuts on a loaf of bread!

      It sounds like you have it down in terms of planning. Yes, the packing is a struggle for me everyday. But I just do it. Some days are easier than others. I just make sure I have lots of containers and try to plan items with their own containers (avocado, grapefruit, beef sticks). I do not write things out. I have a mental record of what I buy at the store and then parse it out throughout the week.

      I will do a post about what I feed my kid. It is always a struggle, I will just let you know!

  14. Becky Hallstrom says:

    I just want to thank you for your post today! It is so refreshing to read a practical plan on how to shop for healthy food. I live in Alaska, so I am not able to take the classes from Nutrition Weight and Wellness, but I love to listen to the radio broadcasts and am saving up for a phone nutritional counseling session. Keep those posts coming because it helps so much and is very motivating to keep going!

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