7-Day Weight-Loss Meal Plan for Insulin Resistance


Insulin is a hormone that plays a vital role in how your body cells obtain energy to function properly. After meals, some of the food you eat is broken down into a sugar called glucose, causing a normal increase in blood sugar levels. In response, the pancreas releases insulin, which signals the body to move sugar out of the blood and into the muscle, liver and fat cells for energy.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when the body is insulin resistant, it doesn’t respond as efficiently to release insulin. As a result, the pancreas releases more and more insulin to counteract the decreased sensitivity and return the blood sugars to healthy levels. Over time, the pancreas can’t keep up with the increased demand for insulin, meaning that blood sugars are less able to return to normal levels, which results in elevated blood sugars. Insulin resistance is a precursor to several health concerns, including prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and obesity, per StatPearls.





What Causes Insulin Resistance?

It’s pretty challenging to pinpoint exactly what causes insulin resistance. And, it can lurk for many years before symptoms are apparent, making it difficult to diagnose. However, factors like genetics, a sedentary life, a high-calorie, high-sugar diet, elevated LDL cholesterol and obesity may increase your risk of insulin resistance.


Insulin resistance can impact your weight because the excess blood sugars are stored as fat, particularly visceral fat—fat around the abdomen and organs, notes the Obesity Medicine Association. That said, losing weight is one of the many steps that can help improve insulin resistance.


To support a healthy weight loss for most people, we set this plan at 1,500 calories a day and included lots of fiber and protein to support healthy blood sugar levels and improve satiety. We included modifications for 1,200 and 2,000 calories per day for those with other calorie needs. As with all meal plans, this is meant to be a framework for a nutritious eating routine. If there’s a swap you’d prefer, or you grab dinner with a friend one evening, don’t fret. The idea is to start cooking more meals at home and eating regular meals and snacks with plenty of protein, fiber, fruits and vegetables. Perfection is not required to reap the benefits of this eating plan.





Foods to Focus On

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit, such as berries, pears, apples and more
  • Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, freekeh, whole-wheat, bulgur, oats and more)
  • Lean protein
  • Eggs
  • Fermented dairy (yogurt, kefir)
  • Fish
  • Healthy fats (like olive oil and avocados)
  • Nuts and seeds, including natural nut butters (with no added sugar)


Learn More: 10 Foods to Eat to Help You Lose Weight



How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals

  1. Make Chopped Salad with Chickpeas, Olives & Feta to have for lunch on days 2 through 5.
  2. Prepare Maple Granola to have with breakfast throughout the week



Day 1

Carson Downing

Breakfast (317 calories)



A.M. Snack (62 calories)



Lunch (368 calories)



P.M. Snack (265 calories)

  • ¼ cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds
  • 1 medium peach


Dinner (478 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,490 calories, 98g fat, 75g protein, 90g carbohydrate, 31g fiber, 1,478mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Omit orange at breakfast and almonds at P.M. snack.


Make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 serving Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie to breakfast and add 3/4 cup plain strained (Greek-style) yogurt with 3 Tbsp. chopped walnuts to A.M. snack.



Day 2

Photographer: Rachel Marek, Food stylist: Holly Dreesman

Breakfast (345 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain strained (Greek-style) yogurt
  • 1 serving Maple Granola
  • ½ cup raspberries


A.M. Snack (263 calories)

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. natural peanut butter


Lunch (351 calories)



P.M. Snack (125 calories)

  • ¾ cup low-fat plain kefir
  • ½ cup blueberries


Dinner (403 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,485 calories, 61g fat, 78g protein, 163g carbohydrate, 28g fiber, 1,672mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Change A.M. snack to 1/2 cup blackberries and omit blueberries at P.M. snack.


Make it 2,000 calories: Increase to 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter at A.M. snack, add 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to lunch, 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds to P.M. snack and 1 serving Strawberry Nice Cream as an evening snack.



Day 3

Photographer: Jen Causey, Food Stylist: Melissa Gray, Prop Stylist: Shell Royster

Breakfast (345 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain strained (Greek-style) yogurt
  • 1 serving Maple Granola
  • ½ cup raspberries


A.M. Snack (206 calories)

  • ¼ cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds


Lunch (351 calories)



P.M. Snack (179 calories)

  • 1 medium pear
  • 1 large hard-boiled egg


Dinner (437 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,517 calories, 64g fat, 78g protein, 160g carbohydrate, 32g fiber, 1,281mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Change A.M. snack to 1 plum and change P.M. snack to 1/2 cup blueberries.


Make it 2,000 calories: Add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to the apple at lunch, 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to dinner and 1 serving Strawberry Nice Cream as an evening snack.



Day 4

Photographer: Jen Causey, Food Stylist: Margaret Dickeyt, Prop Stylist: Julia Bayless

Breakfast (286 calories)

  • 1 slice sprouted-wheat or whole-wheat toast
  • 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup low-fat plain kefir


A.M. Snack (263 calories)

  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. natural peanut butter


Lunch (351 calories)



P.M. Snack (185 calories)

  • 20 dry-roasted unsalted almonds
  • ½ cup blackberries


Dinner (430 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,515 calories, 75g fat, 68g protein, 152g carbohydrate, 37g fiber, 1,479mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Omit kefir at breakfast and change A.M. snack to 1 medium peach.


Make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 serving Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie to breakfast, 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to lunch and 1 medium peach as an evening snack.



Day 5

Kelsey Hansen

Breakfast (345 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain strained (Greek-style) yogurt
  • 1 serving Maple Granola
  • ½ cup raspberries


A.M. Snack (206 calories)

  • ¼ cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds


Lunch (351 calories)



P.M. Snack (179 calories)

  • 1 medium pear
  • 1 large hard-boiled egg


Dinner (428 calories)



Meal-Prep Tip: Reserve two servings Quick Lemony Chicken Soup to have for lunch on days 6 & 7.


Daily Totals: 1,509 calories, 70g fat, 85g protein, 147g carbohydrate, 32g fiber, 1,530mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Change A.M. snack to 1 plum and change P.M. snack to 1 medium peach.


Make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 slice sprouted wheat toast with 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to breakfast, 1 medium peach to A.M. snack, 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to lunch and 1 serving Strawberry Nice Cream as an evening snack.



Day 6

Photographer: Robby Lozano, Food Stylist: Jennifer Wendorf

Breakfast (345 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain strained (Greek-style) yogurt
  • 1 serving Maple Granola
  • ½ cup raspberries


A.M. Snack (95 calories)



Lunch (402 calories)



P.M. Snack (152 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain kefir
  • ½ cup blueberries


Dinner (509 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,502 calories, 59g fat, 109g protein, 145g carbohydrate, 30g fiber, 1,786mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Change A.M. snack to 1 medium peach, omit bell pepper and hummus at lunch and omit kefir at P.M. snack.


Make it 2,000 calories: Add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to A.M. snack, 1 serving Guacamole Chopped Salad to dinner and 1 medium peach as an evening snack.



Day 7

Carson Downing

Breakfast (317 calories)



A.M. Snack (156 calories)

  • ¾ cup low-fat plain strained (Greek-style) yogurt
  • ½ cup raspberries


Lunch (402 calories)



P.M. Snack (131 calories)



Dinner (486 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,492 calories, 59g fat, 115g protein, 132g carbohydrate, 31g fiber, 1,856mg sodium


Make it 1,200 calories: Omit yogurt at A.M. snack and bell pepper and hummus at lunch.


Make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 serving Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie to breakfast, 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts to A.M. snack and 1/4 cup dry-roasted unsalted almonds to P.M. snack.



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