Dietitian’s 7-day metabolism-boosting meal plan
A faster metabolism equals faster weight loss, so here’s dietitian Melissa Meir’s metabolism-boosting meal plan.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, you could put the blame your metabolism. And while you might’ve heard that you can eat your way to a faster metabolism (think: ice cold water, chilli and coffee, for example), it’s not necessarily that simple.
You see, your metabolism is like your body’s engine. It’s the combination of all of the processes going on inside your body and the calories said processes burn. It’s broken into three distinct sections:
1. Your basal metabolic rate. This makes up the vast majority of the energy you burn. It’s the kilojoules required to keep your body ticking at the bare minimum (your lungs breathing and your heart beating, for example).
2. The thermic effect of food, which is the energy used to digest food.
3. Physical activity, which is pretty self-explanatory.
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What might surprise you is that the thermic effect of food only accounts for around ten per cent of your daily energy expenditure. That means by far and away it is not necessarily the best aspect of your metabolism to focus on if you want to speed things up. Sure, some foods can briefly spike your metabolism, but the effect is marginal and not long-lasting. Sorry to burst your bubble.
If you want to boost your metabolism, my bet is to focus on how much you move your body. This is the most tweakable aspect of your metabolism by far – and it’s not rocket science. Simply move your body more, and you’ll burn more calories. Plus, by doing more exercise, particularly if it’s the resistance type, you’ll build lean muscle mass which in itself can increase your basal metabolic rate because it takes more energy to maintain muscle mass than fat mass.
Dietitian-approved metabolism-boosting meal plan
Although this probably isn’t the answer you had hoped for (read: there’s no magical food or miracle way of eating that will boost your metabolism), what you eat is still of utmost importance if you want to lose weight. The trick to losing weight while keeping your metabolism ticking is to cut your calories slightly, but not so much that your metabolism wanes (goodbye silly 1000 calorie diets). So, without further ado, here’s what a healthy weight loss diet could entail, no silly fad diets in sight.
- Two poached eggs on a slice of wholegrain sourdough with cherry tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms cooked in one teaspoon of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
- Half a cup of natural muesli with 170g reduced-fat yoghurt and a punnet of fresh berries
- Two slices of wholegrain toast topped with a quarter of an avocado, one sliced tomato and a sprinkle of feta cheese
- Quinoa salad made of one cup of cooked quinoa, mixed roasted vegetables (roasted in minimal oil) and fresh salad leaves, served with two hard-boiled eggs and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
- Lentil salad made of one cup of lentils, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and rocket dressed in a mixture of EVOO, honey and mustard
- One slice of wholegrain bread topped with one small tin of salt-reduced baked beans, served with two cups of salad leaves dressed in EVOO and balsamic vinegar
- Eight small wholegrain crispbreads topped with half a cup of reduced-fat ricotta cheese, crudités and a tin of tuna in oil, drained
- One wholegrain wrap filled with 100g shredded chicken, mustard, one slice of cheese and salad
- Dhal made of red split lentils, pumpkin, tomatoes and spices, served with a dollop of plain Greek yoghurt
- 100g chicken breast and one bunch of broccolini, marinated in a dash of oyster sauce and steamed, served with one small roasted sweet potato
- 150g baked white fish served with one small corn on the cob and salad dressed in EVOO and fresh lemon juice
- Stir fry made of 150g tofu, two cups of mixed vegetables (think: onion, broccoli, carrot, squash, capsicum) and one cup of cooked brown basmati rice
- Homemade prawn pizzas made of one wholegrain wrap, one teaspoon of store-bought pesto, sliced zucchini, prawns and a small amount of cheese
- One small wholemeal bun filled with one homemade burger patty (100g lean beef mince, onion and spices), tomato, lettuce and one teaspoon of mayonnaise
- Two eggs baked in a sauce made of onion, capsicum and tinned cherry tomatoes, sprinkled with 20g feta cheese
- A piece of fresh fruit
- A small tub of plain yoghurt (sweetened with fresh fruit if desired)
- Crudités served with one tablespoon of hummus
- Four small wholegrain crispbreads with one tablespoon of sweet potato and cashew dip
- Two cups of plain air-popped popcorn
- A small handful of unsalted nuts
- One slice of wholegrain bread with one teaspoon of peanut butter (occasionally for something more substantial)
Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.