Nutrition

NHS Trusted Diet Plan — Lose Weight the Healthy Way

Have you tried every weight loss diet plan under the sun? Are you torn between swapping meals for diet shakes and following the Paleo diet?

Fad diets all claim to be the simple answer to losing weight. Unfortunately, science says that there is no such magic diet that results in healthy weight loss.

Conflicting advice makes it difficult to make a realistic, healthy eating plan that fits into your daily life.

Rather than calorie counting, the best way to lose weight is to change your lifestyle habits to enable you to plan meals, learn what healthy foods you like or dislike, and incorporate a variety of foods into your diet.

Low-fat diets often leave you feeling deprived and hungry, which is not sustainable in the long-term. We digest proteins and fats more slowly than carbs. This is why increasing intake of protein and healthy fats can result in feeling fuller for longer.

At the same time, swapping some carbs for non-starchy vegetables can leave you feeling satisfied while reducing our overall calorie intake. This is the basic rationale for a low-carb diet to lose weight.

Meal ideas

Devised by qualified dietitians and nutritionists, here are five different ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that could be included as part of a satisfying low-carb diet plan. The best plan is one that you can stick to, so remember you can substitute ingredients you don’t like for others and adjust meals to suit any dietary requirements.

Options suitable for vegetarians are highlighted with a (v). Full recipes and instruction videos of example meals can be accessed by clicking on the meal you want to make.

BREAKFAST IDEAS 200g plain, unsweetened Greek yoghurt with berries and sliced almonds (v)

Eggs your way + avocado (slice or mash ¼ of an avocado on 1 slice of wholegrain toast) (v)

Very berry smoothie (v)

2-3 egg mushroom omelette with 30g grated cheese and an optional slice of wholegrain bread (v)

Blueberry oat pancakes (v)

LUNCH IDEAS Courgette frittata slice + green salad (v)

Small jacket potato with a can of tuna + salad

Wholegrain wrap with roast beef/ chicken/ham, mustard and salad or Falafel, yoghurt and salad (v)

Leftovers from dinner

Peri Peri chicken and vegetables

DINNER IDEAS Goulash soup

Warm lamb, or falafel (v), salad

Coconut dahl (v)

Meatballs in chilli and tomato sauce + salad

Mediterranean quinoa with 2 tbsp plain, unsweetened Greek yoghurt (v)

Blueberry oatmeal pancakes with a spoonful of natural yoghurt on top.

 

Example 7-day meal plan

The following week plan is an example of how you could use the meal ideas above to structure your food and successfully begin your weight loss journey. Full recipes and instruction videos of example meals are available by clicking on the meal you want to make.

Not all meals in this example plan are suitable for vegetarians, but ingredient swaps or substitutes with meal ideas highlighted with a (v) from above can be made to cater to your requirements.

Throughout the week this diet plan includes some easy ‘quick prep’ sections, that shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. You can pre-prep the courgette frittata slices and lemon salad dressing (olive oil and lemon juice) to save time.

 

BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER
MONDAY 200g plain, unsweetened Greek yoghurt

(Optional toppings: berries and sliced almonds)

Courgette Frittata slice +

Salad (2x handfuls of baby spinach, 1 tomato, ¼ cucumber, ½ chopped red pepper, pre-prepped lemon salad dressing)

Goulash soup

Quick prep: put one serving of leftover soup in the fridge for lunch tomorrow and the rest in the freezer.

TUESDAY Eggs your way +

Avocado (Slice or mash ¼ of an avocado on 1 slice of wholegrain toast)

Goulash soup (leftover) Mediterranean quinoa

(Optional topping: 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt)

Quick prep: put leftover servings into containers for lunch on Thursday.

WEDNESDAY Very berry smoothie

Quick prep: make a salad similar to Monday and put in a container with a serving of Frittata vegetable slice (leftover) for lunch.

Courgette frittata slice (leftover) + Salad Coconut Dahl

(Optional toppings: 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt and 2 tbsp roughly chopped parsley)

Quick prep: Put leftover dahl into a container in the fridge for dinner Friday.

THURSDAY Mushroom omelette (2-3 eggs) with 30g grated cheese

(Optional: serve with a slice of wholegrain bread)

Mediterranean quinoa (leftover)

(Optional topping: 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt)

Warm lamb salad

Quick prep: Put leftover lamb salad into containers for lunch and prep overnight oats (40g) for tomorrow breakfast.

FRIDAY Pre-prepped overnight oats

(Optional toppings: 200g Greek yoghurt, a handful of berries, or a handful of nuts)

Warm lamb salad (leftover) Coconut dahl (leftover)

(Optional toppings: 2 tbsp Greek yoghurt)

SATURDAY Blueberry oat pancakes

Quick prep: defrost a serving of goulash soup if you’re eating lunch at home today.

Eating out (opt for a meal with lots of non-starchy vegetables and a good source of protein)

OR

Goulash soup (leftover)

Meatballs in chilli tomato sauce +

Salad

Quick prep: store leftover meatballs in a container in the fridge.

SUNDAY Scrambled eggs (2-3 eggs)

(Optional: 1 grilled tomato, 1 handful baby spinach, 2 rashers of back bacon)

Peri Peri chicken + vegetables

Quick prep: put any leftovers into containers for quick and easy meals next week. For example, you could add leftover chicken to a salad, or use the leftover vegetables as a basis for another meal.

Meatballs in chilli tomato sauce (leftover)

(Optional: serve in a wholemeal wrap with baby spinach, red onion, and feta cheese)

OPTIONAL SNACKS

100g Greek yoghurt with a handful of berries (v)

½ – 1 blueberry oat pancake (v)

½ – 1 courgette frittata slice (v)

Veggie sticks with 60g hummus (v)

1-2 hard-boiled eggs (v)

1-2 meatballs in chilli tomato sauce

How to create your own diet plans

Before you attempt any meal planning, it’s important to have a basic understanding of food. This will help you put together balanced meals.

Nutrition basics

When we look at the nutritional requirements that our body needs to survive and function, we can broadly break these requirements into macronutrients and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). There are three kinds of macronutrients found in the foods we eat: protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

Most foods contain some of all three macronutrients; however, we usually categorise foods by whichever macronutrient they are mainly made up of.

PROTEIN FAT CARBOHYDRATES
Function Helps your body grow, maintain, and repair itself. Helps you to build muscle and stay strong.

Added benefit of helping you to feel full, as it takes longer to digest.

Critical for human survival. Used in your body for building the walls of your cells, allowing your brain and nervous system to function, and producing hormones.

Added benefit of helping you to feel full, as it takes longer to digest.

Source of energy for your body. Any extra energy that isn’t used straight away is stored and kept as a reserve. (For many of us living sedentary lifestyles, we do not need much reserve energy!)

Choose complex carbs, which are very high in fibre. Fibre helps food move through our digestive system and helps you to feel full.

Healthy Examples Chicken

Beef

Fish

Lentils

Eggs

Cheese

Tofu

Extra virgin olive oil

Nuts

Seeds

Salmon

Avocado

Olives

Quinoa

Sweet potato

Oats

Wholegrain bread

Wholewheat pasta

Buckwheat

Apples

NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES

These foods technically contain carbohydrates, but are very low in starch/sugar and mostly made up of fibre and water. They also provide vitamins and minerals:

  • Salad (pepper, cucumber, tomato, celery, lettuce, salad leaves, radish)
  • Root vegetables (beetroot, carrot, celeriac, daikon, parsnip, swede, turnip)
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cabbage, brussel sprout
  • Leafy greens (spinach, pak choi, swiss chard, kale)
  • Courgette, aubergine, marrow, pumpkin, squash, butternut squash
  • Corn, green/broad/ runner beans, peas, mangetout
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion, leek, garlic, fennel
  • Bamboo shoots and bean sprouts

 

 

Now that you have a basic understanding of the nutritional content of food, let’s put it all together! Aim to eat three balanced meals a day and space them evenly throughout your schedule.

Top 10 tips

Kicking pre-existing unhealthy eating habits can be hard. These 10 top tips can help you overcome unhealthy cravings, or dependence on ultra-processed foods, and effectively create your own healthy meal plans:

  1. Have at least 4 servings of non-starchy vegetables and 1 serving of healthy fats a day.
  2. Include 100-175g of a protein source at each meal – a serving that is at least ¼ of your plate (or the size of the palm of your hand).
  3. Limit grains and/ or starchy vegetables (complex carbs) to a maximum of 3 servings per day.
  4. Have one meal free from complex carbohydrates a day.
  5. Have 1-2 servings of fruit a day, whole (not juice), for example, one piece of fruit or two small handfuls of berries.
  6. Cook all meals at home – plan and prep everything you eat, which might include bringing lunch into work.
  7. Avoid refined carbohydrates, ultra-processed foods, and items with added sugar – if you want something sweet, have 2 squares of high quality (75%+) dark chocolate and take the time to enjoy it.
  8. Drink at least 2 litres of fluids per day, including water, coffee/tea, or herbal teas.
  9. Avoid juices, fizzy drinks (regular and diet), and energy drinks.
  10. Take a break from drinking alcohol.

An example of a balanced plate for a carbohydrate-containing meal, including a chicken breast, ½ a baked sweet potato and 2 large handfuls of steamed non-starchy vegetables.

It is worth noting that these top tips provide general information and should not be used to substitute medical advice, especially if you suffer from a medical condition, in which case you should consult a medical professional before attempting a new diet plan.

 

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Write a response

Libby
11 April, 2021

I can only see this info on the website without signing in! Now that I’ve paid for the course and sign in it all disappears !!
Hope this gets fixed!
Libby


Joe Kurtzke
11 April, 2021

Why do many of the Second Nature recipes have so few vegetables?


Trudy Byrne
28 March, 2021

Find eat to many sweet things at night,


Alison Hood
2 March, 2021

Really like the sound of your weight loss programme but my problem with all weight loss initiatives is that I don’t cook because I can’t cook regardless of how hard I try. Food is inedible! No exaggeration! So, if you have any idea how I can eat hot low calorie food which I don’t need to cook, I’d Be delighted. I’ve previously consulted a dietician who advised that I didn’t over eat at all but I didn’t eat the right foods. It’s easy to eat “cold” but I would like to eat “hot” and not just beans and toast, egg on toast, cheese on toast! Advice appreciated.


Teresa Gordon
1 March, 2021

I’d like some information please but am worried as I’m a very fussy eater.
Thanks.


Ashley
18 February, 2021

Very interested in this diet, however, I think it’s a bit of a joke the cost of the shopping for just the one week above would cost over £50 (for one week, let that sink in) and then you have to pay the £10+ a week for the app and support needed. This is one of the things I find difficult with trying to stick to a healthy living is the cost of food each week which is not something I have in abundance, unfortunately!


Jackie Smith
18 February, 2021

Agree totally about the cost far too much and also the food bill. The diet sounds great just too pricey


Orla
7 February, 2021

I would like to try this plan it looks very doable.


Jean McMillan
13 January, 2021

Tried every diet under the sun, this could be the breakthrough that finally sorts it, my husband made one of the meals in the Sun Newspaper for dinner and it was amazing! This could be my dream come true!


Elaine Preece
7 January, 2021

I cant seem to loose weight in spite of following 1400 cal diet a day with nutracheck


Sandra
20 October, 2020

I am hoping to support others to follow a healthy diet


Hazel Diaper
18 October, 2020

Suffered from back problems now had surgery now it’s a matter of recovery also have osteoporosis now need help to lose the weight I have gained.I’m 80 yrs old I have now started aquatic jumping from healthy eating to binge eating

Need help Thank


Amy Groome
1 December, 2020

Hi Hazel, thanks for your comment! We designed our programme to cater for people of many different abilities. To find out more about how Second Nature can help you, just take our health quiz here


Carol Budgen
29 September, 2020

Have had one knee and two hips replaced due to severe osteoarthritis. I also have an interactive thyroid, b12 deficiency and pernicious anaemia. Since having my replacements, the last one being 3 years ago I have put on almost a stone. I still needed to take more weight off when they agreed to perform my operations. I am jumping from one fad diet to another and end up not eating enough and then binging. I am 73 and am fairly active for my age. Walk dogs daily.

I really need help to eat a proper eating plan and to stop yo yo dieting.

Please help. Thank you.


Amy Groome
2 October, 2020

Hi Carol, thanks for your interest in the programme! We designed our programme to cater for people of many different abilities and with different requirements. That’s why all exercise recommendations and nutritional recommendations you’ll see in our app can be adjusted to suit you. To find out more and sign up, take our health quiz here


Antoinette Perkins
23 August, 2020

i eat all hours due to doing shift work and working nights


Terri anne Barnes
21 August, 2020

I have been told to loose 5stone im female sixty three with many health problems curve of the spine server arthitis also a fatty liver, its alright for them sat behind there desks and say get rid, I also suffer with depression ive lost in weight so far 11lb’s but thats only doing weight watchers on line which I cant really afford, I need to be weighed in weekly but icant get any where as im with two walking I live out in the country where buses have been cut, waiting to get help with my low moods and depression sorry this is so long but im so need in a lot of help, they wont operate as my BMI is high, but I am trying kind reguards im also home twenty four hrs which dont help


Diane Samuels
7 August, 2020

It wont i loss weight


Elaine Cook
25 July, 2020

Desperate to get back some control of my weight. I’ve rheumatoid arthritis Lipodema and just can’t loose any weight.


Jennie
25 July, 2020

It’s probably only half a stone to loose but needed your help to sort out which foods were important. I play sport and do palates but tend to nibble at night. Great help Thanks very much


john Mayes
16 July, 2020

I am a fit and well 86 year old but would like to sensibly loose about one stone. Present weight 14st11bs – an extra stone has just appeared over the last 12 months. I have no food restrictions.


Jane
31 May, 2020

I want to do the diet but I can’t have any dairy or soya products please help a lot of diets contain mostly milk cheese yoghurt


Linda
9 May, 2020

I am interested in signing up but I cannot eat garlic, tomato based sauces or courgettes. The meal plan seems to have lots of meals I wouldn’t eat, dahl for one. Are there alternatives or can I do my own menu? Thank you.


Clive
3 May, 2020

I need to lose 2 stone (6ft 1ins 14 stone) never been over 13 stone ever
Would like to lose weight in six/eight weeks I don’t like myself I think
Everybody is looking at me I forgot to mention I am 14 stone I would
Like A meal plan for one /two weeks which I will stick to I have bought
Low fat foods salads fruit ect no more rubbish pizza chocolate crisps
I live on my own and after work it was to easy to throw in a pizza ect
I don’t drink smoke can anybody please please help


Jocelyn
28 April, 2020

I need help with diet and my weight . I dont like to eat in morning because i am to busy with my family so can you please help me. thank you,


Sarah Harrison
27 April, 2020

If you don’t like a meal what’s on the plan. Just looking at the demo one and I don’t eat lamb and mushrooms?


Tamara Willner
27 April, 2020

Hi Sarah, thanks for raising this query. When you sign up to Second Nature, you are assigned a health coach (registered nutritionist or dietitian) who can tailor all the recipes to suit your dietary requirements and preferences. To find out more, take our health quiz here!


Hari
26 April, 2020

Concerned about the quantity of eggs in the veggie options, I can’t eat eggs.


Tamara Willner
27 April, 2020

Hi Hari, thank you for raising this important point. The Second Nature programme is certainly suitable for vegetarians! We have a number of vegetarian recipes and your qualified health coach, who’re registered dietitians and nutritionists, can tailor the programme and recipes to suit your dietary requirements. To find out more, take our health quiz here.


Amy
26 March, 2020

Hi there,, could you please tell me why we can’t drink Diet Coke – Diet Pepsi when we are leading a healthy life style ? Amy


Tamara Willner
27 March, 2020

Hi Amy, thanks for your comment! We do not recommend completely eliminating any foods on the Second Nature programme. The evidence is mixed, but overall suggests that artificial sweeteners (present in drinks like diet coke and diet pepsi) may stimulate our appetite and alter our taste for sweet foods, making cravings more likely. For that reason, we suggest trying to limit your intake of artificially sweetened beverages and when you really want one, enjoying it mindfully. To find out more, take our health quiz here.


Mira
11 March, 2020

Thank you so much for providing this guide of how to make my own diet. As a student, I try to save on anything, but I am thinking about subscribing to second nature in the future if needed, since you collaborate with NHS and your fee is not excessive. I am of normal weight, but I want to lose 9 kg I got suddently after being ill for a while. I will try your advise first, and if fail to maintain a proper diet, I’m going to subscribe.


Claire
6 January, 2020

I already follow all your rules but if I don’t stick to under 1000 calories, and eat NO complex carbs, I put on weight (taking into consideration the water weight from the carbs, too). I’m over 17st so should easily be able to eat 2000 calories and lose, but 30+ years of dieting seems to have killed my metabolism and the minute I restrict calories, my body slows me down. I simply CANNOT lose weight, whatever I try. The closest I came was losing 3 stone on the 8 week blood sugar diet. But then, over the next year and a half, I put 2.5 stone back on.


Jane
17 April, 2020

Cut out the carbs. follow a ketogenic diet.


Jacqueline
25 October, 2019

I really would like to start this. I cannot afford ‘from £30 a month’ I’ve seem the recipes on here but there’s only 3 non meat ones. Is there somewhere where there’s more recipes for me to look at?
Thank you


Al
12 October, 2019

This is perfect exactly what I was looking for. Except that I need if for a 5 Week plan, looking to lose 10kg, 2kg per week with eating plan and exercise. Can you help please?


Zola
7 October, 2019

Hi I would like an eating plan for 30 day. I need to loose weight.


Lynne
14 September, 2019

Your meal plan is very egg heavy, I am allergic to eggs, and it’s not the easiest thing to substitute. What do you suggest?


Tamara Willner
17 September, 2019

Hi Lynne, thank you for raising this important point. This weekly plan is just an example of how you can put meals together and plan ahead. On the Second Nature programme, your personal mentor can tailor the nutrition recommendations to suit any dietary requirements and allergies. Our qualified nutritionists have devised plenty of simple, satisfying recipes to choose from. To find out more, take our health quiz here.


donna preece
14 September, 2019

the problem I have is your weekly plan diet I only like greek yogurt salad lamb then im stuck has what to eat


Tamara Willner
17 September, 2019

Hi Donna, thanks for your feedback! The weekly plan in this guide is an example of how you could put meals together to make a 7-day diet plan. On the Second Nature programme, your personal health coach can help you choose recipes and foods that suit your preferences. To find out more, take our health quiz here.


Jackie
31 August, 2019

I’ve always been lead to believe that peas and sweetcorn are STARCHY vegetables not non-starchy as listed above?


Tamara Willner
2 September, 2019

Hi Jackie, thank you for your comment. Our criteria for starchy vegetables is any vegetable with >15g of carbohydrate per 100g. Since both peas and sweetcorn have less than 15g of carbohydrate per 100g, we classify them as non-starchy vegetables. I hope this helps!