Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
The problem with most meal plans is that they drastically eliminate macronutrients or slash calories so much that you’re unable to resist the magnetic pull of that darned office doughnut box.
But as every savvy Oxygen woman knows, reducing calories too much or excommunicating an entire food group (usually carbs) means a sluggish metabolism and a screeching halt to your fat-loss goals. But this meal plan adjusts your macronutrients each week for a month with no eliminations or harsh restrictions, allowing for lasting results you’ll love. Eat up!
For this plan, you’ll keep your total daily calorie intake consistent while slowly tweaking your macronutrient ratios to keep energy high and augment your metabolism. Here’s how it will break down:
|Week||Protein/Carbs/Fat %||Protein/Carbs/Fat Grams|
Based on an intake of 1,500 to 1,600 calories a day.
Cinnamon Roll Protein Muffins
Makes: 12 Muffins
- 1½ cups oat flour
- 1 cup protein powder, vanilla or cinnamon flavor
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar or honey
- ½ cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 large eggs or 2 flax eggs
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 3 tsp water
Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix well. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake 22 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool. Combine glaze ingredients and drizzle over muffins.
Nutrition Facts (per serving = 1 muffin): calories 112, fat 2 g, protein 9 g, sodium 161 mg, carbs 15 g, fiber 2 g, sugar 7 g
Blue Raspberry Chia Jam
Makes: 12 servings
- 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
Place a small saucepan over medium heat and add fruit. Cook until it begins to break down and become syrupy, about 5 to 10 minutes. Using a fork, potato masher or spatula, mash to desired consistency (smooth or lumpy). Remove from heat and add lemon juice and honey. Stir in chia seeds and let stand 5 minutes to thicken. Transfer to a jar and allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
Nutrition Facts (per serving = 2 tbsp): calories 29, fat 1 g, protein 1 g, sodium 1 mg, carbs 5 g, fiber 2 g, sugar 3 g
One ounce of chia seeds contains almost 6 grams of fiber, which has been shown to facilitate weight loss, and plenty of omega-3 and alpha-linolenic acids, which help your body shed fat.
Red, White and Blue Power Smoothie
Makes: 1 Serving
- ¼ cup frozen strawberries
- ¼ cup frozen blueberries
- ½ frozen banana
- 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored protein powder
- ¼ cup nonfat milk of choice
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- 1-2 dates
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp almonds, chopped
Add all smoothie ingredients to a blender cup and blend on high until smooth. Top with honey and almonds (if using).
Nutrition Facts (without toppings): calories 370, fat 10 g, protein 31 g, sodium 152 mg, carbs 47 g, fiber 9 g, sugar 32 g
Bananas are better at replenishing electrolytes and facilitating recovery postworkout than sports drinks, according to research published in PLOS One. And dates are a nutritious sweetening alternative with 7 grams of fiber per 3-ounce serving.
Blueberry Lemon Pancakes
Makes: 1 Serving
- 1/3 cup oat flour
- ½ scoop protein powder, vanilla or unflavored
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 tsp sugar or honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ cup milk of choice
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tbsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp fresh or frozen blueberries
Add dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Add wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium. Pour in batter and sprinkle with blueberries. Cook until bubbles form, then flip and cook 1 to 2 minutes more.
Nutrition Facts: calories 272, fat 0 g, protein 26 g, sodium 244 mg, carbs 41 g, fiber 3 g, sugar 9 g
According to research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, drinking a blueberry smoothie before or after strength training may help reduce recovery time.
Chicken and Broccoli Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Makes: 8 servings
- 10 oz protein or chickpea elbow noodles
- 1 large head broccoli cut into florets and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups nonfat milk of choice
- 3 cups reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups cooked chicken breast, diced
- ¾ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
Cook pasta according to package instructions, adding broccoli for the last 5 to 6 minutes of cooking. Drain and set aside. Reduce heat to low, add butter and flour to pot and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Whisk in milk until smooth. Add cheese and stir until melted. Add pasta, broccoli, chicken, salt and pepper and heat through.
Nutrition Facts (per serving = about ¾ cup): calories 356, fat 13 g, protein 33 g, sodium 607 mg, carbs 29 g, fiber 3 g, sugar 3 g
Cheesy Turkey Meatballs
Makes: 6 Servings
- 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
- ¼ cup seasoned whole-wheat breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup baby spinach, chopped
- ½ cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and combine using your hands. Form 18 (1-inch) meatballs and arrange on baking sheet. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown, turning halfway through.
Try this recipe in your air fryer: Preheat the fryer to 400 degrees and cook meatballs 10 minutes, turning halfway through.
Nutrition Facts (per serving = 3 meatballs): calories 213, fat 11 g, protein 24 g, sodium 196 mg, carbs 4 g, fiber 0 g, sugar 0 g Try this recipe in your air fryer: Preheat the fryer to 400 degrees and cook meatballs 10 minutes, turning halfway through.
According to recent research, compounds such as sulforaphane in broccoli may help protect your skin from UV damage.
PBJ Protein Bites
Makes: 16 bites
- 1 cup raw unsalted peanuts
- ½ cup raw unsalted walnuts
- ½ cup raw unsalted cashews
- 1 cup protein powder, vanilla or unflavored
- 1 bag (34 g) freeze-dried strawberries
- 8 large or 10 small
- medjool dates, pitted
- pinch sea salt
Add nuts to a food processor container and pulse until a crumbly powder is formed. Add remaining ingredients and process until well-combined. Use a tablespoon to measure out portions and form into balls. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Nutrition Facts (per serving = 1 bite): calories 177, fat 10 g, protein 9 g, sodium 27 mg, carbs 16 g, fiber 3 g, sugar 10 g
A review of literature published in Nutrients determined that the polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in nuts can help with weight loss while reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and inflammation.
Shrimp Pad Thai Noodle Bowl
Makes: 4 Servings
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- ¼ cup tamarind concentrate or lemon juice
- 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
Shrimp + Noodles
- 8 oz protein or chickpea pasta of choice
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 lb cooked peeled and deveined shrimp (fresh or frozen)
- 2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- ½ cup carrots, shredded
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 green onions, sliced into 1-inch pieces
- ¼ cup chopped peanuts
- juice of 1 lime
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Add sauce ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. Cook noodles al dente according to package instructions. Drain and immediately toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Set aside. Heat remaining oil on high in a large saute pan or wok. Add shrimp and saute 1 to 2 minutes, tossing occasionally, until pink and cooked through. Transfer to a plate. Add peppers, sprouts, carrots and garlic and saute 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cooked shrimp, noodles, sauce and green onions. Toss well to combine. Serve with toppings (if using).
Nutrition Facts (per serving, without toppings): calories 420, fat 11 g, protein 35 g, sodium 1,627 mg, carbs 53 g, fiber 6 g, sugar 13 g
Several studies show that foods that contain capsaicin, such as is found in red pepper flakes, can help boost metabolism while suppressing appetite.
Finished with the Fit in Four plan? Use these scenarios to determine your next steps.
You were hungry. Add in one or two 1-cup servings of fruit or veggies throughout the day.
You were not hungry. Combine the snacks or eliminate one snack altogether.
You loved the results and are ready to switch to maintenance mode. Slowly rejig your macros to baseline to allow your body to reacclimate. Try following the meal plan backward — starting with Week 4 and working backward to Week 2 or 1.
You loved the results but want to lose a little more fat. Repeat the meal plan from the beginning.
You didn’t love the meals and want to use your own recipes. Use a nutrition app such as My Macros+ to calculate the macronutrient breakdown for your faves and plug them into the plan.