Summer Slim-Down meal plan: Week 6

Follow our eight-week fitness and meal plan to look and feel your best, without feeling deprived. This week’s focus: Allow yourself to indulge’just make sure you budget for it

Summer Slim-Down meal plan: Week 6

Source: Web exclusive, July 2011

Sticking to your meal plan doesn’t mean giving up the sweeter things in life.  If adding sugar to your coffee or honey to your Greek yogurt makes it more enjoyable for you, then by all means, go for it, says Mary Bamford, a Toronto-based registered dietitian. Just keep track of those calories and subtract them from your daily allowance. If you’re going to indulge in something like a small dessert, make sure it’s part of the overall plan.

Enjoy a treat

For luxuries or treats, Bamford suggests allowing yourself 100 calories a day (or 700 for the week in total), which count toward your total daily calories. If you look at your meal plan as a weekly budget, you can also plan ahead and save up those calories for a special treat at the end of the week.

‘Choose where you want to have those extra calories,’ says Bamford. ‘You could choose to be ridiculously perfect all week and have two 350-calorie desserts, or you could choose to have extra calories each day of things that make your food taste better.’

Those 100 calories of treats per day includes things such as the sugar you add to your coffee, ketchup, barbeque sauce, chocolate chips, candy and ice cream. These calories are part of your total caloric intake for the day’you just have to decide how you want to spend those calories, says Bamford.

For instance, if you know ahead of time that Friday night is date night and you might want to have dessert, save up those calories until the end of the week. ‘Look at the menu and see how many calories are in that dessert and decide how much you’ll have or whether you’ll have it,’ says Bamford.

Stick within your budget

Just as you plan your meals, you need to plan your treats or you’ll go way over your daily calorie goal.

‘It’s a budget,’ says Bamford. ‘Some weeks, if you’re going to a wedding, for example, you’ll design your weekly budget differently.’

It’s also fine to indulge in a small slice of cake once in a while, says Bamford.
‘You can eat anything you want as long as you understand the budget,’ she says.

By designing a calorie budget for yourself, and keeping a careful record of what you "spend," you’ll have an easier time sticking to your meal plan, without depriving yourself of the occasional treat.

Here’s an of idea of what your daily calorie budget could look like:

For women:
Breakfast: 400
Snack/treat: 100
Lunch: 400
Snack: 100
Dinner: 400
Total: 1,400 calories

For men:
Breakfast: 600
Snack/treat: 100
Lunch: 600
Snack: 100
Dinner: 600
Total = 2,000 calories

If you’re satisfied using your treat calories on a daily basis rather than saving them up for later, Bamford suggests additions that will make your ‘real food’ taste amazing. Try adding a bit of honey or maple syrup to your Greek yogurt, having a small piece of dark chocolate, or going for that non-fat vanilla latte. These are great options to incorporate into your diet once in a while to make your meals more enjoyable.

Or try these 100-calorie ways to satisfy your sweet tooth.

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