It's fun and easy to design your own raw food diet meal plans, and doing so is especially helpful for successful and healthy weight loss.
Perhaps you've already started adding more raw foods into your diet, or maybe you've even played with a few easy raw food recipes . But how do you put them all together into nutritionally balanced meal plans to get you through the entire day or week? Here's how:
1. Plan to eat often to avoid hunger. When you wait too long between meals, your blood sugar levels drop, triggering the kind of hunger that leads to poor food choices. Just don't go there. If you're hungry, eat some raw food. It's ok to eat every few hours. In fact, many diet plans promote eating 5 or 6 smaller meals a day as the healthiest way to lose weight. Not only will it keep your blood sugar levels more stable, but it will also keep your energy levels up. So design some snacks into your raw food diet meal plans. You'll feel better and increase your ability to lose weight successfully.
2. Choose high fiber foods to control your appetite. Fiber adds bulk, which makes you feel full faster. It also slows the absorption of glucose which helps keep your blood sugar levels more balanced. And it cleanses the intestinal tract, alleviating constipation and reducing your risk of colorectal cancer. Plus, fiber helps lower cholesterol levels which decreases your risk of heart disease. The ADA recommends getting at least 20-35 grams a day of dietary fiber. Sadly, the western diet typically provides less than half that amount. Whereas the foods chosen for your raw food diet meal plans will easily provide anywhere from 40 to 60 grams of fiber a day!
3. Choose the most nutrient packed foods you possibly can. In our sample raw food diet menu , peas, lentils, kale, buckwheat and almonds were chosen for their high protein content. Sesame seeds are notoriously high in calcium. And 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds provides the perfect daily dose of heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids. A serving of 1 ½ tablespoons of nutritional yeast provides copious amounts of all the B vitamins, including B12, as well as protein and dietary fiber. Sunflower seeds were chosen for Vitamin E. And as you may already know, carrots are high in vitamin A, while red peppers, strawberries and broccoli are high in vitamin C.
4. Choose a wide variety of raw foods for your raw food diet meal plans. There's such an incredibly vast array of hundreds of fruits and vegetables to choose from, not to mention nuts and seeds and seaweeds and superfoods (you'll see what I mean on the list of raw foods page). When you see that huge ruby red pomegranate, take it home with you and explore that taste. If you've never tried a young thai coconut, get one and watch a YouTube on how to open it. Go to the frozen foods section of an Asian Grocery and get a durian. That sweet custard taste is one of my favorite treats now! The benefit to exploring new raw foods is twofold: you realize just how many options you have, and your body receives a wide variety of nutrients it may not have ever had before.
5. Aim for a calorie intake that's around 20% below your body's maintenance requirements to trigger fat burning. That number will be different for each person, depending on gender, age, current weight and activity level. For example, a 175 pound moderately active woman should aim for around 1630 calories a day for weight loss, whereas a 275 pound moderately active woman should aim for around 2200 calories a day. You can find your ideal calorie level for weight loss with a good online calorie calculator .
6. Vary your calorie intake each day - higher on some days and lower on others. This is to ensure that your body's “starvation” alarms don't go off and slow down your metabolism. You don't have to become obsessive about counting calories with your raw food diet meal plans, however. Because most raw foods are naturally low in calories and high in water content and fiber, you should be fine if you eat until naturally satisfied. Simply watch your intake of excessive oils and fats which can add on calories in a hurry.
7. Plan for a carb-fat-protein ratio of between 80-10-10 and 60-25-15 percent of daily calories. This is not a low-carb diet. But it's not a bad-carb diet either. These are not the refined flour and sugar simple carbs that throw your system out of balance. All of the carbohydrates in your raw food diet meal plans will be complex carbohydrates full of fiber to slow the absorption of glucose and keep your blood sugar levels stable. They also provide your body with energy. The World Health Organization recommends getting between 10-15% of daily calories from protein. This is easy to accomplish with raw foods, as most fruits and vegetables contain anywhere from 5% up to 55% of calories from protein. Peas, broccoli, kale, nuts, lentils and mung bean sprouts are some excellent sources of protein. For weight loss, it's best to keep your fats well below 25% of calories. So easy does it with the olive oil and the nuts!
8. Stay hydrated. In order to flush out the toxins and keep your fat burning organs functioning at their prime, you need to drink plenty of water. A general rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of pure water each day. A 175 pound woman, for example, would need to drink approximately 88oz of water (2.75 big 32oz bottles of water). A 275 pound woman should drink around 138oz of water (4.3 big 32oz bottles). Some raw foodists claim that because of the high water content of raw foods, you may not need to drink as much water as that. I find the best indicator is the color of your urine. Almost clear: you're hydrated. Dark yellow: drink more water!
9. Plan to drink liquids between meals rather than with meals. Water and other liquids can dilute your body's digestive secretions. So to keep your digestion running at its peak so you get the most out of all that raw food nutrition, design your raw food diet meal plans so that you can drink water and other liquids at least 30 minutes before meals, or wait until an hour after meals. By the way, drinking a full glass of water before a meal can help you feel more full so you actually end up eating less!
10. Remember, your raw food diet meal plans are only part of the equation for weight loss, although a major part. Increased activity levels must factor in if you really want to experience successful weight loss. Plan to include some form of active movement at least 3 to 5 times a week. Take a walk in the morning, for example, and you'll also receive the benefit of Vitamin D producing sunshine and fresh air. Include some strength training with weights to increase metabolism boosting muscle mass. Exercise, as well as relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation, also help decrease stress, which reduces cortisol levels that pack fat on the body. And always aim for an optimum amount of sleep. For most people, this means a good 8 hours. Many chemical reactions take place during sleep that assist with weight loss.