Lean in four weeks meal plan

Advice Andre Jackson
29 Apr 2014

Shed the fat with this exercise-friendly four-week fat-loss meal plan

Although following a structured exercise plan is vital to achieving your fitness goals, it’s just as important to get your nutrition right. You’ll find it a lot harder to get lean if you’re eating the wrong things – even if you think your diet is healthy because it doesn’t revolve around beer and burgers. That's where this lean in four weeks meal plan comes in. We can guarantee that you will lose weight and become more lean if you follow this plan to the letter, but we realise that's easier said than done. Even if you just use the plan as a guide to get an idea of the types of foods you should be eating, it's still a great weight-loss resource.

Processed foods and refined sugars are relatively recent additions to the human diet, so our bodies tend to store them as fat. Replacing processed carbs and sugars with fresh vegetables, healthy fats and animal proteins will help you to shed fat while maintaining muscle. When you're trying to lose weight, it's also essential that you choose foods that are rich in fibre, to keep you feeling full, and high in antioxidants and nutrients to regulate your blood sugar levels.

As well as following those simple principles, this weekly meal plan – devised by trainer Sion Colenso – cuts your daily calorie intake to around 1,800 calories, helping you to remove all the excess flab from your frame. It’s designed to get you lean in just four weeks, while giving you all the nutrition and energy you need to train hard, too.

Monday

Breakfast: 45g oats with 300ml skimmed milk and 1tsp honey; 200ml apple juice.
Snack: 120g low-fat yoghurt with blueberries and honey.
Lunch: Grilled chicken (1 chicken breast) salad sandwich on wholemeal bread.
Snack: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 80g raspberries, 80g blueberries, 50g blackberries and water.
Dinner: 120g tuna steak with stir-fried broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, sesame seeds and oil; 70g brown rice.
Snack: 250ml skimmed milk.
Daily total: 1,835 calories, 136g protein, 229g carbs, 33g fat

Tuesday

Breakfast: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 300ml skimmed milk, 100g strawberries and a banana.
Snack: 120g low-fat yoghurt, blueberries and honey.
Lunch: Tuna sandwich on wholemeal bread; 200ml skimmed milk.
Snack: Mixed nuts, raisins and cranberries.
Dinner: 100g chicken, bacon and avocado salad.
Snack: 1 apple with 2tbsp natural peanut butter.
Daily total: 1,802 calories, 131g protein, 219g carbs, 37g fat

Wednesday

Breakfast: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 300ml skimmed milk, 100g strawberries and a banana.
Snack: 90g mackerel on 1 slice of wholemeal toast.
Lunch: 1 apple; chicken salad sandwich on wholemeal bread.
Snack: 1 banana.
Dinner: 120g fillet steak with spinach and 2 grilled tomatoes.
Snack: 100g low-fat cottage cheese and pineapple.
Daily total: 1,821 calories, 138g protein, 222g carbs, 35g fat

Thursday

Breakfast: 4 scrambled egg whites on 2 slices of wholemeal toast.
Snack: 1 low-fat yoghurt with blueberries and a handful of oats and honey.
Lunch: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 80g raspberries, 80g blueberries, 50g blackberries and water; 30g brazil nuts.
Snack: 100g low-fat cottage cheese and pineapple.
Dinner: Tuna niçoise salad (100g tuna, mixed salad leaves, plum tomatoes, a red pepper and 4 new potatoes).
Snack: 250ml skimmed milk.
Daily total: 1,835 calories, 136g protein, 229g carbs, 33g fat

Friday

Breakfast: 45g oats with 300ml skimmed milk and 1tsp honey.
Snack: 10 radishes with balsamic vinaigrette.
Lunch: 1 can of tuna with beetroot; 1 low-fat yoghurt.
Snack: Smoothie – blend 25g whey protein, 80g raspberries, 80g blueberries and 50g blackberries with water.
Dinner: 120g barbecue chicken kebab with peppers and 70g brown rice.
Snack: 100g cottage cheese; grapes.
Daily total: 1,808 calories, 133g protein, 219g carbs, 34g fat

Saturday

Breakfast: 2-egg omelette with cheese.
Snack: Smoothie: blend 25g protein, 1 apple, 50g blueberries, 50g blackberries and a banana with water.
Lunch: 90g sardines on 1 slice of wholemeal toast.
Snack: 150g raw carrots and hummus.
Dinner: 100g grilled salmon with green beans, asparagus and 70g brown rice.
Snack: 200ml skimmed milk.
Daily total: 1,822 calories, 135g protein, 221g carbs, 36g fat

Sunday

Breakfast: 4 scrambled egg whites on 2 slices of wholemeal toast; 1 grapefruit.
Snack: Smoothie – blend 25g protein, 300ml skimmed milk, 50g blueberries, 50g blackberries and a banana.
Lunch: Tuna sandwich on wholemeal bread; 1 pear.
Snack: Mixed nuts and fruit bar.
Dinner: 120g fillet steak with 1 small jacket potato, spinach and 1 grilled tomato.
Snack: 1 apple with 2tbsp natural peanut butter.
Daily total: 1,840 calories, 140g protein, 228g carbs, 39g fat

5 nutritional tips to help burn fat 

Drink water and lots of it

Water is important in absolutely all aspects of fitness and nutrition and it’s surprising to a lot of people how key it is in burning fat. H20 is the medium in which most cellular activities occur, this includes the transport and burning of fat. In addition to this, consuming a lot of calorie-free water can actually make you feel full meaning that you’re less likely to start snacking. Try to drink between 2 and 3 litres of water per day, it sounds like a lot but it’s a genuine difference maker.

Reduce your intake of starchy carbs

Consuming a lot of starchy foods, like pasta, bread and rice (especially all at one) provides the body with more than it needs for glycogen stores and energy, anything that is left over will be stored up as fat. Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA) revealed that when 69 overweight people were given a diet with a modest reduction in carbohydrates for eight weeks, they had 11 percent less deep abdominal fat than those given a lower-fat diet. Further, during a second eight-week period in which calories were reduced by 1,000 each day, those on the lower-carb diet lost 4 percent more total body fat.

Get your 5-a-day

It’s drilled into our head on a daily basis but it is an important part of staying healthy and burning fat. Vegetables are laced with nutrients, packing maximum nutritional value into minimal calories, leaving you more full on less calories. Try to consume five servings a day of vegetables (not including fruit). It might sound like a lot but if you start working them into sandwiches, snacks and even junk food like burgers and pizza you can hit your quote with ease. 

Don't become overly reliant on fat burners 

While fat burners do help to reduce body fat they will not counteract poor eating habits. If you are taking any fat burning supplements it doesn't mean that you can then hit the kebab shop three times a week, you still have to watch what you eat and exercise. Unfortunately fat burners are not magcal pills that shed the calories for you, they are to be used alongside a disciplined exercise and nutritional regime. 

Limit your consumption of sugar 

Indeed, taking in simple carbs (sugars) prior to training does replenish liver glycogen stores and muscle, but too much sugar consumed at other times of the day will be stored up as fat. Of course we all need to satisfy our sweet tooth occasionally, sometimes a doughnut just hits the spot, but moderation is key, so limiting your intake of sugar to fresh fruit is advised most of the time. Also, remember the amount of sugar that can be found in certain beverages like fruit juice, that's a sneaky one. Try to replace sugary drinks with water, coffee or tea (with no added sugar...obviously.) 

For more great weight-loss plans, go to our weight-loss meal plans section.

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