Healthy eating takes some getting used to.
After spending 12 weeks on the active weight-loss phase of Optifast -- a medically prescribed diet -- you can expect a gradual reintroduction to regular foods during the transition phase. This phase typically lasts six weeks, and it's common to experience anxiety and have questions about what foods to choose. Initially, you'll eat one self-prepared meal and continue using Optifast products for the rest as upi slowly increase the number of meals you prepare yourself. Common healthy eating recommendations apply.
What to Expect
During the transition phase, you'll consume slightly more calories than you did on the active phase of the Optifast diet. You'll consume one low-calorie, highly nutritious meal that you prepare yourself. This typical calorie goal for this meal is 400 calories. You'll gradually stabilize, preparing more meals yourself and eating less meal-replacement products. As you continue preparing more of your meals, a typical aim is for each meal to contain between 300 and 500 calories. Keep in mind that Optifast programs vary slightly from clinic to clinic, so individual recommendations can vary. An Optifast dietitian works with you through the transition phase and sets individual calorie goals.
Plan Ahead and Limit Choices
Plan your meals ahead of time so you'll know what to prepare when you get hungry. When hunger catches you off guard, you're more likely to reach for something convenient but less nutritious. Have fun planning your menus, but limit your choices, recommends the Institute for Weight Management. As you transition from Optifast meals, having a lot of choices can feel overwhelming. Keep things simple as you get used to making your own meals again.
Make Fruits and Vegetables the Stars
It's crucial for you to choose whole, highly nutritious foods and eat conservative portions so you can maintain your weight loss. The program recommends avoiding starchy vegetables such as potatoes, so fill half your plate with nonstarchy vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach and the like. Keep fruit out on the counter; you're more likely to reach for it when it's visible in the immediate vicinity. The program recommends two daily servings of fruit as you stabilize.
Aim to eat lean protein with each meal. Plan a menu with fish twice each week. Fish contain heart-healthy fats that help protect you against heart disease. Snack on a variety of nuts and seeds and add them to your salads. Read labels and choose a small portion size; nuts and seeds provide a concentrated calorie source. Eat beans and other legumes as a side dish or in place or meat. Go for lean meat such as skinless chicken breast, sirloin or 90 percent lean ground beef.
Get to Know Whole Grains
Whole grains contain the entire kernel, which consists of the bran, germ and endosperm. They're more nutritious than refined grains. Choose oatmeal for breakfast; it's high in fiber and helps keep you full. Snack on a few whole-wheat crackers with low-fat cheese. Try quinoa, barley or brown rice as a side dish instead of white rice, and nibble on a small serving of plain popcorn without added butter or salt. Have some whole-wheat pasta with your favorite mixed veggies.