How do I Choose a Diet Plan?

Sheri Cyprus
Sheri Cyprus
A diet plan for vegetarians should also include protein and iron.
A diet plan for vegetarians should also include protein and iron.

If you want to choose a healthy diet plan, there are many different options available. Whether you're interested in choosing a diet for weight loss or health maintenance, it's important to consider only balanced eating plans. Fad and detox diet plans tend to be too low in calories and include only a few foods rather than a variety of healthy choices.

Adding peanut butter to whole wheat bread creates a complete protein.
Adding peanut butter to whole wheat bread creates a complete protein.

A balanced diet plan is considered the best for good health. The body can't produce all of the nutrients it needs for proper daily functioning, so certain proteins, vitamins, and minerals must be consumed each day. Commercial vitamin, mineral, and protein supplements are meant to supplement, or add to, a diet rather than replace food. Diets that rely heavily on tablet, liquid, or other supplements are not usually recommended.

Wheatgrass is a popular addition to green smoothies and protein shakes.
Wheatgrass is a popular addition to green smoothies and protein shakes.

Doctors and nutritionists can help you choose a diet plan that takes all of your specific dietary needs into consideration. For example, a woman has different nutritional needs than a man. Older people's dietary needs are different from those of young people. Athletes need more calories than people whose exercise habits are only minimal or moderate. A nursing mother may need to increase her daily calorie intake by as much as 500 calories.

A variety of foods containing carbohydrates, protein, and fats make up a balanced diet.
A variety of foods containing carbohydrates, protein, and fats make up a balanced diet.

A diet plan for weight loss often works best if a person cuts 500 calories from his or her current daily calorie amount. Providing that the diet is balanced and reasonably low in fat, a steady yet healthy weight loss of one or two pounds (.454 or .907 kg) per week is usually possible. Regular exercise sessions at least three times a week can help facilitate healthy weight loss.

A well-balanced diet should include several servings of fiber-rich grains and fresh fruits daily.
A well-balanced diet should include several servings of fiber-rich grains and fresh fruits daily.

If you're interested in diet plans for vegetarians, you should choose one that includes enough protein and iron. While plant-based sources of these essential nutrients are available, the body tends to use meat-sourced nutrients more efficiently. Mixing foods such as peanut butter and whole wheat bread create strong, or complete, protein choices, however.

Many people, especially those who eat meat, tend to overdo protein; proper portion sizes are an essential consideration when choosing a diet plan. A consultation with a nutritionist or a research session that you perform online or in a library can give you a guideline of the recommended portion sizes for your dietary needs. Your activity level must also be considered when determining your daily portions and overall calorie amount. If you take in more energy from food than you put out through exercise, you'll be likely to gain weight. If the opposite is true and you expend much more energy than you eat, you could lose too much weight.

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Discussion Comments

Crispety

Mutsy- My neighbor was on Weight Watchers and she lost a lot of weight. She told me that they had a point system and depending on your weight you were granted so many points.

The points were basically your daily allotment of calories for the day, but Weight Watchers never refers to the points this way.

They provide you with the point value of general foods and you decide what you want to eat. They do offer guidelines such as you should have two milk products and three to five servings of fruits and vegetables.

They also grant additional points after the third week for exercise activity. They give the members a card that lets them know the point value of the exercise based on their current weight.

mutsy

Great article- I just want to add that a balanced diet that you are able to sustain is best. Fad diets rarely if ever work.

It is best to take a measured approach to your weight loss plan. For example, Weight Watchers offers healthy substitutions for high fat foods. They suggest indulging in your favorite foods in moderation.

For example, when going to a fast food restaurant is okay to order a burger, but instead of ordering the fries Weight Watchers might suggest ordering a side salad instead.

Weight Watchers' approach to weight loss is that it should be measured and small. They believe that progress is more important than perfection.

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    • A diet plan for vegetarians should also include protein and iron.
      A diet plan for vegetarians should also include protein and iron.
    • Adding peanut butter to whole wheat bread creates a complete protein.
      Adding peanut butter to whole wheat bread creates a complete protein.
    • Wheatgrass is a popular addition to green smoothies and protein shakes.
      Wheatgrass is a popular addition to green smoothies and protein shakes.
    • A variety of foods containing carbohydrates, protein, and fats make up a balanced diet.
      A variety of foods containing carbohydrates, protein, and fats make up a balanced diet.
    • A well-balanced diet should include several servings of fiber-rich grains and fresh fruits daily.
      A well-balanced diet should include several servings of fiber-rich grains and fresh fruits daily.