Original reporting in EatingWell Magazine by Sara Haas, R.D.N., L.D.N.
New research shows that eating your biggest meal of the day at lunch instead of at dinner may help you slim down. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, study participants were instructed to follow a 1,500-calorie diet and either eat most of their calories midday and a smaller dinner, or the reverse. After 12 weeks, the participants who had the big lunch lost 3 more pounds, on average. Researchers think more calories at lunch help to keep hunger at bay, which means less afternoon snacking and fewer daily calories overall.
In this 1,500-calorie meal plan (a calorie level most people will lose weight following), we show you what it looks like to follow this bigger lunch, smaller dinner eating plan. Each lunch recipe adds up to be half of your daily calorie needs (750 calories to be exact), and dinner rings in just around 300 calories. We included breakfast and snack ideas to fill out the rest of your day's menu.
It may seem crazy to eat so many calories at lunch, but as long as you're sticking to the 300-calorie dinners and staying close to your daily calorie total, chances are you'll lose some weight. Whether you're trying to lose weight, or perhaps looking to better control afternoon snack attacks, give this big lunch, small dinner plan a try and see the difference this eating strategy can make!
Scroll down past the lunch ideas for on-the-go lunch ideas, and breakfast, dinner, and snack recipes.
Serve with: 3/4 cup pineapple chunks and 3 Tablespoons peanuts
745 calories per serving
Serve with: 1 medium orange and 1 small (4-inch) whole-wheat pita round, toasted and drizzled with 2 tsp. olive oil and seasoned with a pinch each of coarse salt and ground pepper.
741 calories per serving
742 calories per serving
743 calories per serving
757 calories per serving
• 3 Tbsp. almonds
• 1/4 cup hummus + 2 medium carrots
• 2 oz. pistachios
• 1 oz. cheddar cheese + 1/2 cup grapes
• 3/4 cup fresh berries + 1/2 cup Greek yogurt + 1 tsp. honey
• Au Bon Pain: Two-Tomato Caprese Sandwich + Chicken & Vegetable Stew (small)
• Lyfe Kitchen: BBQ Chicken Flatbread + Roasted Brussels & Squash
• Panera Bread: Steak & Srugula Sandwich (half) + Modern Greek Salad with Quinoa (whole)
• Starbucks: Hearty Veggie & Brown Rice Salad Bowl + strawberry Greek yogurt parfait + fruit cup
Cheap Healthy Lunch Ideas for Work
Filling Low-Calorie Dinner Ideas
7-Day Diet Plan to Lose Weight: 1,200 Calories
7-Day Diet Plan to Lose Weight: 1,500 Calories
7-Day Diet Plan to Lose Weight: 2,000 Calories