With summer coming to an end and fall rolling in with pumpkin-flavored everything, most people start packing on the chunky layers and sweaters and get ready to slowly gain weight throughout the winter and holiday seasons.

But that doesn’t have to be the case!

The secret to long-lasting weight loss results is a fundamental shift in eating.

So what does it take to stay on a super effective two week diet?

What You Can Eat

you can eat

One reason people fall off their diet plans is because they become too restrictive. I’m not going to do that to you.

Instead, try following a plan that focuses on variety and choice.

I’ll give you a few totally customizable meal ideas which I like to call “basic staples”. A basic staple is a healthy base that you can customize according to your tastes.

For example, overnight oats are one of my favorite make-ahead breakfasts. But oats on their own are pretty darn bland. By using this healthy base and adding your favorite flavors, you’ll never get tired of eating overnight oats.

And guess what?

If you love the food, you’ll be less likely to feel like you’re actually on a diet.

You are the one responsible for your weight loss and well being, don’t ever forget that – even if you weigh more than you’d like to, you are totally capable of reaching your happy place.

So with that being said, here are my favorite basic staples that promote weight loss and healthy living. Stick around for a two week meal plan using these recipes at the end.

Totally Customizable Basic Staples

Overnight Oats

customise staples

Nothing says easy breakfast hack quite so well as overnight oats. Whip them up the night before and grab them before you run out the door in the AM.

You can enjoy your overnight oats cold right from the fridge, or microwave them to be just as warming as instant varieties. Just make sure to pack your overnight oats in a microwavable container (I love using mason jars; hot or cold, they’re the perfect vessel).

All you have to do is mix 1/2 cup of rolled, old fashioned oats with 1/2 cup of milk.

That’s it. Talk about basic.

Customize it:

  • Switch up your milks: almond, cashew, coconut, and hemp milk all make interesting combos
  • Add a few heart-healthy nuts for crunch: almonds, walnuts, shelled pistachios, or pecans; watch your serving size
  • Sprinkle in seeds: chia, ground flaxseed, or hemp hearts
  • Add fruit: blueberries, raspberries, banana, and peach all make excellent additions
  • Flavor enhancers: pure maple syrup, cinnamon, pure vanilla extract, and honey taste great

Chia Pudding

customise staples

Chia pudding, just like overnight oats, can be made ahead the night before and customized to your specific preferences.

When chia seeds are soaked in liquid such as milk or juice, they expand and turn into a gel-like consistency similar to pudding. This pudding makes you feel full fast and lasts a while so you don’t overeat.

Just take 1/4 cup of chia seeds and combine with one cup of milk and 1/2 tablespoon of your favorite sweetener such as honey or pure maple syrup. Customize it the same way you enjoy overnight oats, or check out some amazing recipes here.

Roasted Chicken Breasts

customise staples

Chicken breast is a lean protein you can cook once and reuse for leftovers during the week. You can customize it with different seasonings and veggies (and even fruits!) when you bake it.

One 4 oz. chicken breast with skin on is 188 calories, with 49% of those coming from fat because the skin’s worth 10.5 g total fat.

However, going skinless makes that same 4 oz. serving just 118 calories, with 11% of those calories coming from fat. Your fat drops down to just 1.4 g of total fat.

Worth the switch, huh?

If you think you’ll be missing that chicken skin, don’t worry. Chicken breasts don’t have to be dry and bland if you follow this awesome method.

You’ll need:

  • Butter or another healthy oil of your choice
  • 1 or more boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper (+ other spices or seasonings)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Heat your oven to 400°F. Rub a baking dish and one side of a sheet of parchment paper with butter or olive oil to prevent the chicken from sticking.
  2. Pat the chicken dry and rub with a little butter or olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings.
  3. Place the chicken breasts in the baking dish, spaced slightly apart. Add herbs, veggies, or fruit such as orange or lemon wedges around the chicken for extra flavor.
  4. Lay the parchment, butter-side down, over the chicken. Tuck the edges into the pan and press the parchment down so it’s snug around the chicken and completely covers the breasts.
  5. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is completely opaque all the way through and registers 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.

Baked Salmon

customise staples

Wild salmon is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. You’ll be enjoying amazing omega-3s, plus 39 g of protein per half a fillet.

You can grill salmon or roast it in the oven. Both ways lend well to a myriad of flavor options for a quick dinner.

Here’s a simple basic recipe for two servings to get you started:

You’ll need:

  • 2 6-oz. wild salmon fillets
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • one small bunch of fresh dill, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a 13×9 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place the salmon fillets in the baking dish. Squeeze juice from one wedge of lemon over each fillet (save half for plating). Sprinkle with black pepper, dill, and garlic.
  3. Bake until salmon is opaque in the center, about 10 to 20 minutes. Squeeze on remaining lemon for flavor.

Basic Vinaigrette

customise staples

Instead of choosing dressings from a bottle that may contain lots of added sugar, it’s super easy to make your own at home. Plus, vinaigrette is just about the most customizable salad dressing on the planet.

Here’s what you need for a basic recipe:

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • salt and black pepper

All you have to do is whisk all the ingredients in a bowl or shake them up in a jar with a lid.

Here’s where the fun flavor mixing starts:

  • Switch oils for different flavors: avocado oil is great here
  • Choose white vinegar, super healthy apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, etc.
  • Add garlic, Italian seasonings, and balsamic vinegar for a Mediterranean twist
  • Dijon and honey make a classic combination
  • Fresh lemon juice, oregano, and garlic kick up a plain salad

Pasta Replacements

customise staples

Quinoa is gaining popularity because it’s just so darn healthy; it’s a complete protein, has lots of fill-you-up fiber, and is loaded with vitamins. You can use it as a pasta base or to replace white rice.

Here’s how you make a 3 cup batch that will accompany your meals for days:

  1. Bring 1 cup uncooked quinoa and 2 cups water or broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  3. Enjoy one serving (1/2 cup) as a side or base for your favorite meals.

Zucchini noodles, aka “zoodles”, are a healthy alternative to the standard pasta, but they do take a bit of work. You can use a veggie peeler, mandolin, or veggie spiral cutter to make these tasty guys.

Spaghetti squash is an easier replacer, in my opinion.

Here’s all you need to do to cook up a bright yellow spaghetti squash:

  1. Slice the spaghetti squash lengthwise in half. Scoop out the seeds. Place each half, flesh side down, on a microwaveable plate. Microwave for about 8–10 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
  2. Let cool for 5 minutes before you start scraping out the flesh with a fork. You’ll notice immediately that the strands look just like spaghetti.

So now that we have a few basic staples under our belt, let’s incorporate them into a two week weight loss menu.

Two Week Weight Loss Meal Plan

Week One

Day 1 – Monday

breakfast

Breakfast: Overnight oats with banana and walnut

Snack: Apple with 1 tablespoon of almond butter

Lunch: Avocado egg salad on cloud bread

Snack: 1/2 cup of sliced cucumber with a slice of Swiss cheese

Dinner: Roasted chicken breast with tabbouleh (make a big batch for leftovers)

Day 2 – Tuesday

snack

Breakfast: Pumpkin spice chia pudding

Snack: One hard boiled egg

Lunch: Whole grain pita with hummus, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a sprinkle of feta cheese

Snack: 1/4 cup of almonds

Dinner: Zucchini pasta with roasted salmon

Day 3 – Wednesday

snack

Breakfast: Overnight oats with blueberries, cinnamon, and honey

Snack: Celery and carrots with hummus

Lunch: Roasted chicken on 1 slice whole grain bread topped with tomato and avocado with rest of tabbouleh

Snack: Handful of mixed berries and nuts

Dinner: Mediterranean frittata

Day 4 – Thursday

snack

Breakfast: Whole grain toast with almond butter and hemp hearts

Snack: 1 pear with 1 oz. goat cheese

Lunch: Caprese salad with white beans in vinaigrette

Snack: 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup blueberries

Dinner: Grilled salmon with avocado salsa and quinoa

Day 5 – Friday

snack

Breakfast: Omelet with veggies and 1/2 whole wheat English muffin

Snack: 10 baby carrots with vinaigrette for dipping

Lunch: Garlic shrimp and quinoa

Snack: Kale chips and guacamole

Dinner: Hummus-crusted chicken with veggies

Day 6 – Saturday

snack

Breakfast: Overnight oats with strawberries and almonds

Snack: 2 slices lean ham with 1 slice of Swiss cheese

Lunch: Spinach quinoa patties

Snack: 1 cup sliced apples with 1 oz. cheddar

Dinner: Big vegan bowl

Day 7 – Sunday

dinner

Breakfast: Two sunny side up eggs with sliced avocado and roasted tomato

Snack: Nut butter energy bites

Lunch: Chicken pesto on whole wheat pita bread, grapes on the side

Snack: 1 oz. fresh mozzarella, 1 sliced tomato, balsamic vinaigrette

Dinner: Salmon and asparagus in foil

Week Two

Day 8 – Monday

snack

Breakfast: My amazing Fat Burning Breakfast

Snack: Hummus with red and yellow raw peppers

Lunch: Chicken pesto over salad with vinaigrette

Snack: 1/2 cup slices peaches with 1 oz. prosciutto

Dinner: Quinoa bowl

Day 9 – Tuesday

snack

Breakfast: Carrot cake overnight oats (shredded carrot, raisin, pure maple syrup)

Snack: Edamame with sea salt

Lunch: Tuna packed in olive oil, whole wheat crackers, 2 clementines

Snack: Popcorn with squeeze of fresh lime (no butter!)

Dinner: Balsamic chicken and veggies (make your own balsamic vinaigrette) with quinoa

Day 10 – Wednesday

snack

Breakfast: Plain Greek yogurt with walnuts, chia seeds, and a drizzle of honey

Snack: Celery with almond butter and raisins

Lunch: Quinoa burritos

Snack: Roasted chickpeas

Dinner: Clean eating power meatballs and salad with vinaigrette

Day 11 – Thursday

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Breakfast: Overnight oats with almond butter and banana

Snack: Figs and 1 oz. goat cheese

Lunch: Balsamic chicken and veggie whole wheat wrap

Snack: Watermelon, 1 oz. feta cheese, fresh mint

Dinner: Homemade veggie burgers

Day 12 – Friday

spaggetti squash fork

Breakfast: Chia pudding with figs and homemade pistachio milk

Snack: 1 cup of grapes with a slice of Swiss cheese

Lunch: Clean eating power meatballs, quinoa, and veggies

Snack: 10 baby carrots with vinaigrette for dipping

Dinner: Spaghetti squash with mushrooms and Gruyere

Day 13 – Saturday

pancakes

Breakfast: Whey protein pancakes

Snack: 2 slices lean ham with 1 slice of Swiss cheese

Lunch: Rainbow power kale salad

Snack: 1 pear with 1 oz. goat cheese

Dinner: Baked Thai salmon

Day 14 – Sunday

breakfast

Breakfast: Veggie omelet (whole eggs plus egg whites, spinach, mushrooms, sprinkle of cheese)

Snack: Celery and carrots with hummus

Lunch: Thai peanut spaghetti squash

Snack: Pumpkin pie smoothie

Dinner: Rosemary lemon chicken with quinoa and broccoli

What’s your take on these healthy meal plans? Have anything else you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below!