If you’re trying to lose weight, planning and preparing your own meals is a good place to start. It’s the only way to control what goes onto your plate and in what portions, which is half the battle when it comes to weight loss. But if even the idea of creating a menu feels overwhelming, this weeklong plan can help. It focuses on putting fresh, whole foods on every plate, generally in the proportions experts recommend: half fruits or nonstarchy vegetables, a quarter lean protein, and a quarter starchy vegetables or whole grains, with a small amount of healthy fats mixed in.
Of course, weight loss is ultimately a game of calories in, calories out: you’ll need to cut 500 calories from your day, either through diet or exercise, to lose one pound in a week. So, work to determine the number of calories you can eat each day, based on your age, activity level, and more — then adjust your menu accordingly.