University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

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Publication #FCS8750

Healthy Meal Plans1

Linda B. Bobroff2

What Is a Meal Plan?

A meal plan is a guide to help you plan daily meals and snacks. It allows you to eat foods you enjoy and that provide a good balance of nutrients for your health. Meal plans can be used by anyone interested in healthy eating. They are very helpful for people who want to manage their weight.

How Do Meal Plans Work?

Each meal plan gives an example of one day's food intake using the food exchange system. The meal plans provide the recommended amount of food to eat from the five food groups found in MyPlate — Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Protein Foods, and Dairy. At the end of this publication, there are seven different meal plans based on varied calorie levels (1200, 1400, 1600, 1800, 2000, 2200, or 2400 calories). Using one of the meal plans as a guide, you can select foods from the food exchange lists in this document to plan healthful and tasty meals and snacks.

How Does the Food Exchange System Work?

In the food exchange system, foods are grouped into lists according to their carbohydrate, protein, and fat content. Foods within each list contain similar amounts of total calories, carbohydrate, protein, and fat.

The food exchange lists are:

Carbohydrates

Starch

Fruits

Milk

  • Fat-free, low-fat (1%)

  • Reduced-fat (2%)

  • Whole

Other carbohydrates

Nonstarchy vegetables

Meat and Meat Substitutes

Lean

Medium-fat

High-fat

Plant-based

Fats

Figure 1. 

MyPlate can help you plan healthy meals. Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov for tips on making healthy food choices and resources to help you keep track of your food intake and physical activity.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Making Healthy Choices

We recommend that you select a variety of “nutrient-rich” foods. These foods provide plenty of nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, and/or minerals, along with calories (energy). Nutrient-rich foods also are low in fat and added sugars.

You can check food labels to see the fat and sugar content of foods. Low nutrient-dense foods, like rich desserts, sugary drinks, and chips, provide calories with few other nutrients needed for good health. We suggest you eat these foods less often.

Limit higher fat foods to stay at your target calorie level. Ounce for ounce, fat provides more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates. Foods high in fat also tend to be high in calories. Check the food label since some low-fat foods are high in calories!

Figure 2. 

Be sure to choose foods you enjoy! It will help you stick with your meal plan.


Credit:

iStockphoto


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Setting Up Your Meal Plan

First, decide your daily calorie goal. This may be to maintain your weight or to lose or gain weight. If you want to lose weight, select your calorie goal to lose no more than one to two pounds per week. A calorie deficit of about 500 calories a day will result in slow weight loss for most people. The best approach is to increase your physical activity and decrease your food intake by a few hundred calories each day.

Slow weight loss is best for almost everyone trying to lose weight. For help in deciding your calorie goal, contact your county Extension family and consumer sciences agent, a registered dietitian (RD), or a public health nutritionist. You can find your energy (calorie) needs at http://ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Next, look at the meal plan closest to your calorie level and plan menus for one week using the sample menu as a guide. Choose foods available on the plan that you enjoy eating.

Be sure to include healthful snacks in your meal plan. They will help keep you from getting too hungry during the day. Also, drink at least six glasses of water or other non-sugary drinks every day, such as club soda, unsweetened tea or coffee, or diet soft drinks.

As you begin selecting foods based on these meal plans, think of it as beginning a new way of eating and not a “diet” that will end when you reach your body weight goal. Enjoy your meals, and invite your family and friends to share your new way of eating.

Finally, include physical activity in your healthier lifestyle. Being active will help you maintain or achieve a healthy body weight and keep you feeling fit and strong. Regular exercise also reduces health risks. If you have not been active for a long time, check with your doctor before you start an exercise program.

Using Food Exchange Lists

Complete food exchange lists are available in the publication Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Weight Management (see http://www.shopdiabetes.org/179-Choose-Your-Foods-Exchange-Lists-for-Weight-Management-Singles.aspx to order a copy of that publication). The following lists will get you started. The first five food exchange lists are foods that provide Carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates

Starch

1 exchange provides:

15 grams carbohydrate

0–3 grams protein

0–1 gram fat

80 calories

Starch exchanges include breads, cereals, starchy vegetables, crackers and snacks, and beans, peas, and lentils. These foods are found in the Grains, Vegetable, or Protein Foods groups. They provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, and many provide fiber. Beans, peas, and lentils are excellent protein sources.

One starch exchange is:

  • 1/2 cup of cooked cereals, grains, or starchy vegetables

  • 1/3 cup of cooked rice or pasta

  • 1 ounce of bread

  • 3/4 to 1 ounce of most snack foods (some snacks also have fat)

A few examples of one starch exchange are:

Table 1. 

Bread

1 slice (1 oz)

Bagel

1/4 large (1 oz)

Cereal (ready-to-eat, unsweetened)

3/4 cup

Cereal (ready-to-eat, sweetened)

1/2 cup

Cereal (cooked)

1/2 cup

Granola

1/4 cup (may have extra fat)

Pasta

1/3 cup, cooked

Baked beans

1/3 cup

Rice

1/3 cup, cooked

Corn

1/2 cup

Peas, green

1/2 cup

Potato, baked or boiled

1/4 large (3 oz)

Popcorn (no fat added or light)

3 cups

Snack chips (tortilla)

9-13 (3/4 oz)

Dried beans and peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

Tortilla, flour

1 (6 inches across)

Some starchy foods are prepared with fat so they count as 1 starch and 1 fat exchange:

Table 2. 

Corn bread, 1 3/4-inch cube

1 piece (1 1/2 oz)

French fries

1 cup (2 oz)

Taco shell, 5 inches

2

Waffle, 4 inches square

1

Potato chips, regular

3/4 oz

Fruits

1 exchange provides:

15 grams carbohydrate

0 grams fat and protein

60 calories

Fruit exchanges include fresh, frozen, dried, and canned fruits. When you choose canned fruit, select fruit canned in juice or extra light syrup. Include at least one fruit high in vitamin C (oranges, grapefruits, berries, and melons) every day.

One fruit exchange is:

  • 1 small fresh fruit (4 oz)

  • 3/4 to 1 1/4 cup of fresh fruit

  • 1/2 cup of canned fruit

  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened fruit juice

  • 2 Tbsp of dried fruit

Figure 4. 

Fruits provide only 60 calories in one exchange, along with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are naturally sweet and make great desserts or snacks.


Credit:

iStockphoto


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

A few examples of one fruit exchange are:

Fruits. 

Banana

1 small (4 oz)

Blueberries

3/4 cup

Cantaloupe

1 cup, cubed

Grapes, small

17 (3 oz)

Pear, large

1/2 (4 oz)

Plums, small

2 (5 oz)

Prunes, dried

3

Strawberries, whole

1 1/4 cup

Orange juice

1/2 cup

Milk

1 exchange provides:

12 grams carbohydrate

8 grams protein

0–8 grams fat

100–160 calories

Milk and yogurt are excellent sources of calcium and protein as well as several vitamins and other minerals. Select fat-free or low-fat (1%) dairy and have 2–3 servings a day. Fortified soy milk is also a good source of calcium and protein; count 1 cup as a milk exchange and 1 fat exchange (light versions count as 1/2 fat exchange).

One milk exchange is:

  • 1 cup of fat-free or 1% milk (see chart)

  • 2/3 cup of plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt

Table 4. 

Type of milk or yogurt

Fat

(grams)

Calories

Fat-Free or Low-Fat (1%)

0–3

100

Reduced-Fat (2%)

5

120

Whole

8

160

Whole milk or yogurt counts as a milk exchange and 1 1/2 fat exchange, and 2% milk or yogurt counts as a milk exchange and 1 fat exchange.

Sweets, Desserts, and Other Carbohydrates

1 exchange provides:

15 grams carbohydrate

Protein, fat, and calorie content varies

Foods on this list include foods that contain added fat and/or sugar. You may substitute foods on this list for a starch, fruit, or milk exchange. Choose the foods on this list less often because they are less nutrient-rich than foods on the other lists.

Count as 1 carbohydrate (either a Starch, Fruit, or Milk on your meal plan):

Table 5. 

Gingersnaps

3

Pudding, sugar-free, fat-free

1/2 cup

Salad dressing, fat-free

3 Tbsp

Frozen yogurt, fat-free

1/3 cup

Count as 1 carbohydrate (either a Starch, Fruit or Milk on your meal plan) + 1 fat:

Table 6. 

Brownie, small, unfrosted

1 1/4-inch square (about 1 oz)

Cookie with crème filling

2 small

Trail mix (dried fruit)

1 oz

Hot chocolate, regular

1 envelope in 8 ounces water

Ice cream, light

1/2 cup

Nonstarchy Vegetables

1 exchange provides:

5 grams carbohydrate

2 grams protein

0 grams fat

25 calories

Nonstarchy vegetables include fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables. Canned vegetables often contain added salt; you can rinse and drain them to remove some salt or choose low-sodium. Deep green and orange vegetables provide vitamin A and other nutrients. Several vegetables, including peppers, broccoli, and tomatoes, are rich sources of vitamin C. Starchy vegetables like corn, peas, and potatoes are not included here; they are on the starch list. Have at least 2-3 servings a day of nonstarchy vegetables.

One nonstarchy vegetable exchange is:

  • 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables

  • 1/2 cup of vegetable juice

  • 1 cup of raw vegetables (Raw salad greens are “Free Foods,” which are explained in a later section of this document.)

Meat and Meat Substitutes

1 exchange provides:

7 grams protein

0–8 or more grams fat

0 grams carbohydrate

45–100 calories

Meat and meat substitutes are divided into four lists, depending on their fat content and source (animal or plant). Select lean meats and meat substitutes most of the time. Use low-fat cooking methods like broiling, roasting, baking, and grilling to limit added fat.

One meat exchange is:

  • 1 ounce cooked meat, fish, poultry

  • 1 ounce cheese

  • 1/2 cup cooked beans, peas, or lentils (count as 1 Meat + 1 Starch)

  • 1 egg

  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter/nut spreads

A typical portion of meat often includes three or more exchanges since an exchange is only a one-ounce serving. For example, 3 ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards.

Lean meat and meat substitutes include lean cuts of beef, pork, and other meats, chicken or turkey (no skin), game meats, fresh or frozen fish, canned salmon or tuna, egg whites or substitutes, and cheeses with 3 grams or less of fat per ounce.

Medium-fat meat and meat substitutes include ground beef, meat loaf, short ribs, chicken with skin, fried chicken or fish, pork cutlet or shoulder roast, cheese with 4–7 grams of fat per ounce, and eggs.

High-fat meat and meat substitutes are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Examples are regular cheeses like cheddar, Swiss, and American, as well as bacon, hot dogs, sausage, spare ribs, and processed sandwich meat like bologna and salami.

Plant-based proteins include imitation bacon, burgers, and sausage; cooked beans, peas, and lentils; hummus; tempeh; tofu; peanut and nut butters.

Figure 5. 

Vary your protein sources! Eat legumes or fish several times each week in place of meat or poultry. This vegetarian dish is red beans and rice; for more fiber, choose brown rice instead of white rice.


Credit:

iStockphoto


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Fats

1 exchange provides:

5 grams fat

0 grams carbohydrate

0 grams protein

45 calories

The Dietary Guidelines recommend that 20%–35% of our calories come from fat. The meal plans included in this publication provide about 20%–25% of calories from fat.

Whether solid or liquid, all fats are concentrated in calories. For this reason they need to be measured carefully. One tablespoon of oil, margarine, butter, or mayonnaise contains 100 calories. However, different fats have different health impacts. It is important to limit foods that contain saturated and trans fat. Solid fats, like butter, vegetable shortening, and lard, are high in saturated fat. Foods made with hydrogenated oils including stick margarine and many snack foods contain trans fat. Use these fats sparingly, if at all.

Use oils like olive, canola, and peanut oil in cooking and for salads. Get some of your daily fat from nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like albacore tuna, herring, salmon, and sardines. Read food labels to avoid foods with more than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving and foods that contain any trans fat.

One fat exchange is:

  • 1 teaspoon of margarine, butter, oil, or regular mayonnaise

  • 1 tablespoon of regular salad dressing

A few examples of one fat exchange are:

Table 7. 

Avocado

2 Tbsp (1 oz)

Almonds or cashews

6 nuts

Ripe (black) olives

8 large

Peanut butter

1/2 Tbsp (1 1/2 tsp)

Salad dressing, reduced-fat

2 Tbsp

Sour cream, regular

2 Tbsp

Cream cheese, reduced-fat*

1 1/2 Tbsp

Bacon, cooked*

1 slice

Seeds (flaxseed, pumpkin, sesame)

1 Tbsp

* contains saturated fat

Free Foods

Foods on this list contain less than 20 calories and 5 grams or less of carbohydrate per serving. When no serving size is given, you can eat the food as often as you desire. However, eat bouillon, pickles, and other high-sodium foods in moderation.

Free foods are divided into 5 groups:

Table 8. 

Low Carbohydrate Foods

Hard candy, sugar-free

1 pc

Gum, sugar-free

1 pc

Sliced cucumber

1/2 cup

Jam or jelly, no sugar added

2 teaspoons

Modified Fat Foods with Carbohydrate

Cream cheese, fat-free

1 Tbsp

Salad dressing, fat-free or low-fat

1 Tbsp

Margarine, reduced-fat

1 teaspoon

Condiments

Catsup

1 Tbsp

Lemon or lime juice

 

Mustard

 

Salsa

1/4 cup

Vinegar

 

Drinks/Mixes

Bouillon

 

Club soda

 

Coffee

 

Diet soft drinks

 

Unsweetened tea

 

Water

 

Seasonings*

Herbs

 

Spices

 

Wine, used in cooking

 

Worcestershire sauce

 

*Limit seasonings that contain salt.

Combination Foods and Fast Foods

Many foods we eat can’t be classified into just one of the food exchanges. For instance, casseroles, pasta dishes, stews, and salads contain a variety of ingredients that provide different nutrients. You can estimate the exchanges in a home recipe by classifying each ingredient, but it can be challenging when a recipe has many ingredients or when you are eating out. The Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Weight Management booklet provides examples of mixed dishes and fast foods and how to count them for your meal plan.

For example, one cup of stew may count as 1 carbohydrate + 1 medium-fat meat + 0–3 fats, depending on the type of meat and vegetables in the stew. Cheese pizza (1/4 of a 12-inch pie) would be 2 carbohydrates + 2 medium-fat meats; adding pepperoni or sausage to the pizza will add 2 fats to the exchanges.

The Meal Plans

We developed two sets of healthy meal plans to help you plan your daily food intake. The Traditional Meal Plans include foods from all food groups. The Vegetarian Meal Plans omit meat, poultry, and fish. These meal plans include meat substitutes and dairy products, so they are appropriate for lacto-ovo vegetarians (those who eat milk products and eggs).

The meal plans range from 1,200 to 2,400 calories. Even when trying to lose weight, women need at least 1,200 calories a day and men need at least 1,600 calories a day to get all of the essential nutrients. The number of calories you actually eat will depend on several things:

  • the exact foods you choose (for example, the cut of meat or type of bread)

  • how you prepare the foods

  • the exact amount of each food you eat

In these meal plans, the higher calorie menus build on the foods in the 1,200 calorie meal plan. This way you can see which foods were added to increase the calorie level. The first time a food is added to the plan it is marked with an asterisk (*). If the serving size of a food increases, it is also marked with an asterisk.

Work with your county Extension family and consumer sciences educator, a registered dietitian, or public health nutritionist to find the meal plan that will work for you.

For More Information

American Diabetes Association and American Dietetic Association. Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Weight Management. 2008. [Order online ($3.25 plus s/h): http://www.shopdiabetes.org/179-Choose-Your-Foods-Exchange-Lists-for-Weight-Management-Singles.aspx.]

Contact your local county Extension office for information and resources. The Family and Consumer Sciences agent may offer classes in nutrition or other topics. The Extension office is listed in the blue pages of your phone book under county government. In Florida, find your county Extension office at this website: http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/map.

Information can also be found on the following reliable websites:

http://ChooseMyPlate.gov

http://www.nutrition.gov

http://fycs.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/hnfs

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/index.html

Traditional Meal Plans

Table 9. 

Traditional Meal Plan: 1200 Calories

5 Starch Exchanges

3 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

3 Fruit Exchanges

5 Meat Exchanges

2 1/2 Milk Exchanges

3 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

2 Starch

1 small whole-wheat bagel (or 1/2 large)

 

Free Food

2 teaspoons sugar-free jam

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

1 Fruit

1 small orange

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

1 Starch

1 slice whole-wheat bread

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons tub margarine

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1/2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1/2 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

2 Meat

2 ounces sliced turkey breast

 

Free Food

2 Tbsp fat-free salad dressing

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

 

1 Fruit

1/2 large banana

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

3 Meat

3 ounces broiled fish

 

2 Starch

2/3 cup cooked brown rice

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked summer squash

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1/2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1/2 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

Late Night

1 Fruit

1/2 cup canned (in juice) peaches

 

1/2 Milk

1/2 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

Table 10. 

Traditional Meal Plan: 1400 Calories

6 Starch Exchanges

3 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

4 Fruit Exchanges

5 Meat Exchanges

2 1/2 Milk Exchanges

4 Fat Exchanges

 

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

2 Starch

1 small whole-wheat bagel (or 1/2 large)

 

Free Food

2 teaspoons sugar-free jam

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

1 Fruit

1 small orange

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

2 Starch

2 slices whole-wheat bread*

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons tub margarine

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1/2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1/2 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

2 Meat

2 ounces sliced turkey breast

 

Free Food

2 Tbsp fat-free salad dressing

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

 

2 Fruit

1 large banana*

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

3 Meat

3 ounces broiled fish

 

2 Starch

2/3 cup cooked brown rice

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked summer squash

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1/2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1/2 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil*

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

Late Night

1 Fruit

1/2 cup canned (in juice) peaches

 

1/2 Milk

1/2 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

*added food items or increased amounts from previous meal plan.

Table 11. 

Traditional Meal Plan: 1600 Calories

6 Starch Exchanges

4 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

4 Fruit Exchanges

6 Meat Exchanges

3 Milk Exchanges

5 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

2 Starch

1 small whole-wheat bagel (or 1/2 large)

 

Free Food

2 teaspoons sugar-free jam

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

1 Fruit

1 small orange

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

2 Starch

2 slices whole-wheat bread

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons tub margarine

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cut-up raw vegetables*

 

2 Meat

2 ounces sliced turkey breast

 

Free Food

2 Tbsp fat-free salad dressing

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

 

2 Fruit

1 large banana

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

4 Meat

4 ounces broiled fish*

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon tub margarine*

 

2 Starch

2/3 cup cooked brown rice

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked summer squash

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cut-up raw vegetables*

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

Late Night

1 Fruit

1/2 cup canned (in juice) peaches

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk*

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

*added food items or increased amounts from previous meal plan

Table 12. 

Traditional Meal Plan: 1800 Calories

7 Starch Exchanges

5 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

5 Fruit Exchanges

6 Meat Exchanges

3 Milk Exchanges

6 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

2 Starch

1 small whole-wheat bagel (or 1/2 large)

 

Free Food

2 teaspoons sugar-free jam

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

2 Fruit

1 large orange*

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

2 Starch

2 slices whole-wheat bread

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons tub margarine

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

2 Meat

2 ounces sliced turkey breast

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil*

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste*

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

 

2 Fruit

1 large banana

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

4 Meat

4 ounces broiled fish

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon tub margarine

 

3 Starch

1 cup cooked brown rice*

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked summer squash

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

Late Night

1 Fruit

1/2 cup canned (in juice) peaches

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 large carrot*

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

*added food items or increased amounts from previous meal plan

Table 13. 

Traditional Meal Plan: 2000 Calories

8 Starch Exchanges

5 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

5 1/2 Fruit Exchanges

5 1/2 Meat Exchanges

3 Milk Exchanges

6 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

3 Starch

3/4 cup low-fat granola*

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

2 Fruit

1 large orange

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

2 Starch

2 slices whole-wheat bread

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons tub margarine

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

2 Meat

2 ounces sliced turkey breast

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

 

2 Fruit

1 large banana

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

3 1/2 Meat (medium-fat)

3 1/2 ounces meat loaf*

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon tub margarine

 

3 Starch

1 cup cooked brown rice

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked summer squash

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

Late Night

1 1/2 Fruit

3/4 cup canned (in juice) peaches*

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 large carrot

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

*added food items or increased amounts from previous meal plan

Table 14. 

Traditional Meal Plan: 2200 Calories

9 Starch Exchanges

5 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

6 Fruit Exchanges

7 Meat Exchanges

3 Milk Exchanges

6 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

4 Starch

1 cup low-fat granola*

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

2 Fruit

1 large orange

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

2 Starch

2 slices whole-wheat bread

 

2 Fat

2 tub teaspoons margarine

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

3 Meat

3 ounces sliced turkey breast*

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

 

2 Fruit

1 large banana

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

4 Meat (medium-fat)

4 ounces meat loaf*

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon tub margarine

 

3 Starch

1 cup cooked brown rice

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked summer squash

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

 

1 Fruit

1 cup honeydew melon*

Late Night

1 Fruit

1/2 cup canned (in juice) peaches*

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 large carrot

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

*added food items or changed amounts from previous meal plan

Table 15. 

Traditional Meal Plan: 2400 Calories

9 Starch Exchanges

6 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

7 Fruit Exchanges

7 Meat Exchanges

3 Milk Exchanges

7 1/2 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

4 Starch

1 cup low-fat granola

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

2 Fruit

1 large orange

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

2 Starch

2 slices whole-wheat bread

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons tub margarine

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1 1/2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 1/2 cup cut-up raw vegetables*

 

3 Meat

3 ounces sliced turkey breast

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

 

2 Fruit

1 large banana

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

4 Meat (medium-fat)

4 ounces meat loaf

 

3 Starch

9 ounce baked potato (about 3/4 of a large potato)*

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons tub margarine*

 

1/2 Fat

1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream*

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked summer squash

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed salad greens

 

1 1/2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 1/2 cup cut-up raw vegetables*

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

 

1 Fruit

1 cup honeydew melon

Late Night

2 Fruit

1 cup canned (in juice) peaches*

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 large carrot

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

*added food items or increased amounts from previous meal plan

Vegetarian Meal Plans

Table 16. 

Vegetarian Meal Plan: 1200 Calories

5 1/2 Starch Exchanges

4 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

2 Fruit Exchanges

2 1/2 Meat Exchanges

2 1/2 Milk Exchanges

2 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

2 Starch

1/2 cup low-fat granola

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1/2 cup tomato juice, low-sodium

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

1 Meat (high-fat)1

1 tablespoon peanut butter, reduced-fat

 

Free Food

2 teaspoons sugar-free jam

 

1 Starch

1 slice whole-wheat bread

 

1 Fruit

1 small banana

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed green salad

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

 

1 Fruit

1 1/4 cup whole strawberries, sliced

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

1 1/2 Meat + 1 1/2 Starch

3/4 cup black beans, no salt added

 

1 Starch

1/3 cup cooked brown rice

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked broccoli

Late Night

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup baby carrots, raw

 

1/2 Milk

1/2 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

1Note: If you choose a lean-meat choice instead of a high-fat meat exchange, you can increase your fat intake from other foods.

Table 17. 

Vegetarian Meal Plan: 1400 Calories

5 1/2 Starch Exchanges

4 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

3 Fruit Exchanges

3 1/2 Meat Exchanges

3 Milk Exchanges

2 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

2 Starch

1/2 cup low-fat granola

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1/2 cup tomato juice, low-sodium

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

2 Meat (high-fat)1

2 tablespoons peanut butter, reduced-fat*

 

Free Food

2 teaspoons sugar-free jam

 

1 Starch

1 slice whole-wheat bread

 

2 Fruit

1 large banana*

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed green salad

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

 

1 Fruit

1 1/4 cup whole strawberries, sliced

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

1 1/2 Meat + 1 1/2 Starch

3/4 cup black beans, no salt added

 

1 Starch

1/3 cup cooked brown rice

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked broccoli

Late Night

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup baby carrots, raw

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk*

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

*added food items or increased amounts from previous meal plan

1Note: If you choose a lean-meat choice instead of a high-fat meat exchange, you can increase your fat intake from other foods.

Table 18. 

Vegetarian Meal Plan: 1600 Calories

6 1/2 Starch Exchanges

4 1/2 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

4 Fruit Exchanges

3 1/2 Meat Exchanges

3 Milk Exchanges

4 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

2 Starch

1/2 cup low-fat granola

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

1 Starch

1 slice rye bread*

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon tub margarine*

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1/2 cup tomato juice, low-sodium

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

2 Meat (high-fat)1

2 tablespoons peanut butter, reduced-fat

 

Free Food

2 teaspoons sugar-free jam

 

1 Starch

1 slice whole-wheat bread

 

2 Fruit

1 large banana

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed green salad

 

1/2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1/2 cup cut-up raw vegetables*

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil*

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup fat-free plain yogurt

 

1 Fruit

1 1/4 cup whole strawberries, sliced

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

1 1/2 Meat + 1 1/2 Starch

3/4 cup black beans, no salt added

 

1 Starch

1/3 cup cooked brown rice

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked broccoli

 

1 Fruit

1 cup cubed cantaloupe*

Late Night

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup baby carrots, raw

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

*added food items or increased amounts from previous meal plan

1Note: If you choose a lean-meat choice instead of a high-fat meat exchange, you can increase your fat intake from other foods.

Table 19. 

Vegetarian Meal Plan: 1800 Calories

8 Starch Exchanges

5 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

4 Fruit Exchanges

4 Meat Exchanges

3 Milk Exchanges

4 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

2 Starch

1/2 cup low-fat granola

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

1 Starch

1 slice rye bread

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon tub margarine

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1/2 cup tomato juice, low-sodium

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

2 Meat (high-fat)1

2 tablespoons peanut butter, reduced-fat

 

Free Food

2 teaspoons sugar-free jam

 

1 Starch

1 slice whole-wheat bread

 

2 Fruit

1 large banana

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed green salad

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cut-up raw vegetables*

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup fat-free plain yogurt

 

1 Fruit

1 1/4 cup whole strawberries, sliced

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

2 Meat + 2 Starch

1 cup black beans, no salt added*

 

2 Starch

2/3 cup cooked brown rice*

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked broccoli

 

1 Fruit

1 cup cubed cantaloupe

Late Night

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup baby carrots, raw

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

*added food items or increased amounts from previous meal plan

1Note: If you choose a lean-meat choice instead of a high-fat meat exchange, you can increase your fat intake from other foods.

Table 20. 

Vegetarian Meal Plan: 2000 Calories

9 Starch Exchanges

5 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

5 Fruit Exchanges

5 Meat Exchanges

3 Milk Exchanges

4 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

2 Starch

1/2 cup low-fat granola

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

1 Starch

1 slice rye bread

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon tub margarine

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1/2 cup tomato juice, low-sodium

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

2 Meat (high-fat)1

2 tablespoons peanut butter, reduced-fat

 

Free Food

2 teaspoons sugar-free jam

 

1 Starch

1 slice whole-wheat bread

 

2 Fruit

1 large banana

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed green salad

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

 

1 Fruit

1 1/4 cup whole strawberries, sliced

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

2 Meat + 2 Starch

1 cup black beans, no salt added

 

2 Starch

2/3 cup cooked brown rice

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked broccoli

 

2 Fruit

2 cups cubed cantaloupe*

Late Night

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup baby carrots, raw

 

1 Starch + 1 Meat (high-fat)

1/3 cup hummus*

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

*added food items or increased amounts from previous meal plan

1Note: If you choose a lean-meat choice instead of a high-fat meat exchange, you can increase your fat intake from other foods.

Table 21. 

Vegetarian Meal Plan: 2200 Calories

10 Starch Exchanges

5 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

5 Fruit Exchanges

6 Meat Exchanges

3 Milk Exchanges

5 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

3 Starch

3/4 cup low-fat granola*

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

1 Fruit

2 tablespoons raisins*

 

1 Starch

1 slice rye bread

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon tub margarine

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1/2 cup tomato juice, low-sodium

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

2 Meat (high-fat)1

2 tablespoons peanut butter, reduced-fat

 

Free Food

2 teaspoons sugar-free jam

 

1 Starch

1 slice whole-wheat bread

 

2 Fruit

1 large banana

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed green salad

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

 

1 Fruit

1 1/4 cup whole strawberries, sliced

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

2 Meat + 2 Starch

1 cup black beans, no salt added

 

1 Meat (medium-fat)

4 ounces (1/2 cup) tofu*

 

2 Starch

2/3 cup cooked brown rice

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil*

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked broccoli

 

1 Fruit

1 cup cubed cantaloupe*

Late Night

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup baby carrots, raw

 

1 Starch + 1 Meat (high-fat)

1/3 cup hummus

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

*added food items or changed amounts from previous meal plan

1Note: If you choose a lean-meat choice instead of a high-fat meat exchange, you can increase your fat intake from other foods.

Table 22. 

Vegetarian Meal Plan: 2400 Calories

11 Starch Exchanges

5 Nonstarchy Vegetable Exchanges

6 1/2 Fruit Exchanges

6 1/2 Meat Exchanges

3 Milk Exchanges

5 Fat Exchanges

     

Meal

Meal Plan

Sample Menu for One Day

Morning

3 Starch

3/4 cup low-fat granola

 

1 Milk

1 cup low-fat (1%) milk

 

1 1/2 Fruit

3 tablespoons raisins*

 

1 Starch

1 slice rye bread

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon tub margarine

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1/2 cup tomato juice, low-sodium

 

Free Food

coffee or tea

Noon

2 Meat (high-fat)1

2 tablespoons peanut butter, reduced-fat

 

Free Food

2 teaspoons low-sugar jam

 

2 Starch

2 slices whole-wheat bread*

 

2 Fruit

1 large banana

 

Free Food

1 cup mixed green salad

 

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cut-up raw vegetables

 

2 Fat

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

Free Food

balsamic vinegar to taste

 

Free Food

iced tea, unsweetened

Afternoon

1 Milk

2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt

 

1 Fruit

1 1/4 cup whole strawberries, sliced

 

Free Food

sugar substitute and vanilla extract, if desired

Evening

2 Meat + 2 Starch

1 cup black beans, no salt added

 

1 1/2 Meat (medium-fat)

6 ounces (3/4 cup) tofu*

 

2 Starch

2/3 cup cooked brown rice

 

1 Fat

1 teaspoon olive oil*

 

2 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup cooked broccoli

 

2 Fruit

2 cups cubed cantaloupe*

Late Night

1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

1 cup baby carrots, raw

 

1 Starch + 1 Meat (high-fat)

1/3 cup hummus

 

1 Milk + 1 Fat

1/2 cup light ice cream*

 

Free Food

non-sugary, non-caloric beverage

*added food items or changed amounts from previous meal plan

1Note: If you choose a lean-meat choice instead of a high-fat meat exchange, you can increase your fat intake from other foods.

Footnotes

1.

This document is FCS8750, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date: August 2002. Latest revision: October 2012. Please visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Linda B. Bobroff, PhD, RD, LD/N, professor, Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.