What’s the Best Weight Loss Diet Plan for Women?

Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Reviewed by Craig Primack, MD, FACP, FAAP, FOMA

Written by Vanessa Gibbs

Published 05/07/2024

Let’s cut to the chase: There’s no single best weight loss diet plan for women. Before you click away, let us explain.

The best weight loss diet depends on your goals, body, and food preferences. Beyond that, it’ll be the one you can stick to consistently and enjoy the most.

Generally speaking, men need more calories than women. But the best weight loss meal plan for women won’t look that different from the best one for men — the key principles are the same.

Whatever plan you choose to follow, eating more fruits, vegetables, protein, and fiber can help you reach your weight loss goals.

Want some inspiration? Read on for a seven-day weight loss diet plan to get you started.

PSA: You don’t need to follow a weight loss diet plan if you don’t want to. You can simply incorporate healthy changes — like eating more veggies and upping your protein — into your everyday meals.

That said, having a plan to follow can be helpful if you need inspiration and guidance to get you going.

We’re providing seven days of meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus two daily snacks and dessert — yes, you can eat dessert and lose weight!

The meals focus on:

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Lean meats

  • Fish

  • Whole grains

  • Fiber

  • Healthy fats

  • Low-fat or non-fat dairy products

Though this may be a good beginner diet plan for weight loss for females, it isn’t meant to be prescriptive. Feel free to swap out anything you don’t like the sounds of, and sub in your favorite nutritious foods we might not have mentioned.

You can also make changes if you’re vegan or vegetarian or want to avoid certain foods because of religious reasons or allergies.

One final thing: We haven’t provided calories, servings, macronutrient info — the amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fats — or portion sizes. Listen to your body and eat what feels satisfying to you.

Let’s get to it.

Here’s a selection of meals to get you through the week feeling satisfied, energized, and strong.

Day 1

Breakfast: 

  • Oatmeal topped with almonds, cashews, flaxseeds, and blueberries

Snack:

  • Egg muffin with spinach, tomato, and mozzarella

Lunch:

  • “Whole-meal wrap” with chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, and avocado

Snack:

  • Handful of dried fruit, like apricots, raisins, or mango

Dinner:

  • Lentil curry with sweet potato, mushrooms, spinach, and plenty of spices

Dessert:

  • Greek yogurt with strawberries and kiwi slices

Day 2

Breakfast:

  • Omelet with mushrooms, bell peppers, onion, and cilantro

Snack:

  • Carrot and cucumber sticks with hummus

Lunch:

  • Soup made with shredded chicken breast, quinoa, celery, and onions

  • Side of whole-wheat toast

Snack:

  • Banana or dried banana chips

Dinner:

  • Grilled salmon with brown rice and broccoli or asparagus

Dessert:

  • Air-popped popcorn

Day 3

Breakfast:

  • Almond butter on whole-wheat toast

Snack:

  • Edamame

Lunch:

  • Whole-wheat wrap with falafel, grilled eggplant, and hummus

Snack:

  • Roasted chickpeas with olive oil and paprika

Dinner:

  • Burrito bowl with brown rice, chicken breast, avocado, black beans, sweet corn, salsa, and a sprinkle of cilantro and shredded cheese

Dessert:

  • Homemade trail mix with dark chocolate, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, and pecans

Day 4

Breakfast:

  • Overnight oats with raspberries, pumpkin seeds, honey, and cinnamon

Snack:

  • Kale chips, roasted with olive oil and a pinch of salt

Lunch:

  • Grilled chicken and vegetable skewers with bell peppers, zucchini, and onions

  • Side of quinoa

Snack:

  • Hard-boiled egg

Dinner:

  • Stir-fry with tofu or shrimp, bean sprouts, bok choy, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, and ginger

Dessert:

  • Chia seed pudding topped with honey and dried fruit

Day 5

Breakfast:

  • Smashed avocado and poached eggs on whole-wheat toast

Snack:

  • Cottage cheese

Lunch:

  • Tuna salad with lettuce, celery, cucumber, quinoa, white beans, and Dijon mustard dressing

Snack:

  • Apple slices with peanut butter

Dinner:

  • Whole-wheat pasta with zucchini, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese

Dessert:

  • A square or two of dark chocolate

Day 6

Breakfast:

  • Shakshuka with tinned tomatoes, chickpeas, bell peppers, onion, and poached eggs

  • Whole-wheat pita to dip

Snack:

  • Dates topped with nut butter

Lunch:

  • Spicy parsnip and cauliflower soup topped with sunflower seeds

  • Side of rye crackers

Snack:

  • Stuffed avocado with bell peppers, black beans, salsa, and parsley

Dinner:

  • Chili with turkey, kidney beans, black beans, carrot, and celery, topped with diced avocado and cilantro

Dessert:

  • Fruit salad with pineapple, melon, and kiwi, topped with nutmeg or cinnamon

Day 7

Breakfast:

  • Protein pancakes made with whole-wheat flour, eggs, and baking soda, topped with Greek yogurt, pear slices, and chia seeds

Snack:

  • Clementine

Lunch:

  • Tacos with tempeh marinated in chili, lime, and cumin

  • Shredded cabbage, avocado, black beans, and salsa for topping and sides

Snack:

  • Celery sticks and hummus

Dinner:

  • Turkey burger with whole-wheat bun, lettuce, tomato

  • Sweet potato fries

Dessert:

  • Greek yogurt with walnuts and goji berries

Here’s what to add to your grocery list to make the meals above:

  • Fruits. Blueberries, apples, strawberries, kiwis, bananas, raspberries, dates, pineapple, melon, pears, clementines, and dried fruit, such as apricots, raisins, cranberries, mangoes, or goji berries.

  • Vegetables. Bell pepper, avocado, sweet potato, mushroom, spinach, onion, carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, edamame, eggplant, avocado, sweet corn, kale, zucchini, bean sprouts, bok choy, celery, spinach, parsnips, cauliflower, and cabbage.

  • Nuts. Almonds, cashews, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, and peanut butter or almond butter.

  • Seeds. Flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds.

  • Legumes. Lentils, chickpeas, black beans, white beans, and kidney beans.

  • Protein. Chicken breast, Greek yogurt, eggs, hummus, salmon, falafel, cottage cheese, mozzarella, milk, tofu, shrimp, tuna, tempeh, and turkey.

  • Whole grains. Quinoa, brown rice, popcorn, rye crackers, and whole-wheat wraps, pitas, bread, and tortillas.

  • Other. Dark chocolate, honey, herbs, spices, and condiments like salsa and mustard.

Of course, you don’t need to buy all of these ingredients. You can choose your favorite nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and protein sources and use them throughout the week. We’ve just provided you with plenty of variety for inspiration.

Remember, you can swap out meat, fish, and dairy for vegetarian or vegan options and make any changes you need for religious reasons, allergies, or just plain not liking something — no shame in that!

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Weight loss treatment that puts you first

Cooking a healthy meal at the end of a busy workday or making breakfast before getting the kids off to school can feel overwhelming. But don’t panic.

Here’s what you can prepare ahead of time to make your meals easier and still eat a balanced diet:

  • Buy pre-chopped, canned, or frozen veggies — or chop them yourself ahead of time.

  • Roast a tray of sweet potato, kale, chickpeas, and cauliflower — or whatever you’re eating this week.

  • Make dishes like egg muffins, overnight oats, trail mix, and hard-boiled eggs ahead of time.

  • Meals like soups, pasta, and curries can be premade and reheated. For the extra-organized out there, try meal-prepping in bulk — that way, you’ll have a freezer full of healthy foods. Leftovers make for great lunches the next day or repeat dinners later in the week.

Low-carb, low-calorie, paleo, keto, Atkins — there are so many diets out there to choose from, and it’s hard to separate fad from fact. But remember, you don’t have to follow a diet plan to lose weight.

You can just focus on eating nutritious meals with a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

You’ll generally want to create a calorie deficit to lose weight, which is when you eat fewer calories than you burn.

This doesn’t mean restricting yourself, drastically cutting your calorie intake, or banning certain food groups, though. You can do it by fueling your body with nutritious, whole foods and incorporating more movement into your day.

If you like the structure of following a meal plan, consider one of these healthy diets for women — or men!

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is based on foods typically eaten in Mediterranean countries, hence the name. It includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fish, and olive oil.

As well as promoting weight loss, research shows the Mediterranean way of eating may be better than some other diets at reducing low-density lipoprotein — or “bad cholesterol” — in the long run.

The DASH Diet

The DASH diet — or dietary approaches to stop hypertension — was developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to promote heart health and treat high blood pressure.

It includes fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, vegetable oils, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

The Flexitarian Diet

The flexitarian diet involves eating mostly vegetarian foods but having some meat in your diet when you fancy it. Try swapping out meat in a few of your meals for vegetarian options like eggs, tofu, tempeh, or lentils.

You’ll be naturally eating leaner proteins and more legumes. You might find your vegetable intake naturally increases too. Score.

What Is the Best Weight Loss Diet Plan for Women?

Most research comparing diets comes to the same conclusion: There isn’t one single best diet for weight loss.

There may not be a difference for men and women, either. One paper on weight gain in mid-life women noted that as long as people create a caloric deficit, they can lose weight — no matter which diet they follow.

In short, the best diet plan for you will depend on your:

  • Weight loss goals

  • Personal tastes

  • Eating preferences — like vegan or halal

  • Allergies

Look for a plan you’ll enjoy and can stick to consistently.

And consider speaking to a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to find the best diet for you. They may suggest a different way of eating, depending on any health conditions you have or medications you’re on.

Besides what you eat, think about hydration, sleep, and movement as part of a holistic weight loss journey.

  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated can help you feel fuller and promote lipolysis, the breakdown of fat for energy.

  • Get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep can keep hunger levels in check and give you the energy and motivation to cook healthy meals.

  • Move your body. Physical activity — like cardio and weight lifting — can boost your weight loss efforts and provide other health benefits, like building muscle and improving cardiovascular health.

CDC guidelines say to aim for 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week — or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity. For strength training, shoot for at least two sessions a week.

Depending on your current activity levels, it might be best to start slowly and increase how much movement you do each week with these numbers in mind.

Beyond structured exercise, think about increasing how much general movement you do, like taking more walks.

Additionally, weight loss medications — like Ozempic and metformin — can be useful for some. They can lower blood sugar levels, reduce your appetite, and curb cravings. This can make sticking to a healthy eating plan easier.

There’s a lot to think about when trying to improve your health and wellness. Following a meal plan can take the guesswork out of what to eat and provide inspiration for tasty meals.

But there’s no one best diet plan for women — or men, for that matter.

Here are the key takeaways on female weight loss diets:

  • Research comparing diets hasn’t found a clear winner. A high-protein and high-fiber diet might help you lose weight. But you don’t need a specific plan if you don’t want one. Focus on eating nutritious foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

  • Don’t forget hydration, sleep, and movement. Drink more water, get sufficient sleep, and incorporate more steps and general movement into your day to complement your healthy eating efforts. All of this will help with weight loss and weight management.

  • Weight loss medication is an option. It’s not for everyone, but weight loss medication can help on your journey toward a healthy weight. It might make sticking to a meal plan — or just eating nutritious foods, in general — easier.

You can learn more about the many metformin benefits in our guide.

If it’s something you’re considering, take our free online assessment to learn which weight loss treatments could work for you.

10 Sources

  1. Ge L, et al. (2020). Comparison of dietary macronutrient patterns of 14 popular named dietary programmes for weight and cardiovascular risk factor reduction in adults: systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomised trials.
  2. Johnston, BC, et al. (2014). Comparison of weight loss among named diet programs in overweight and obese adults.
  3. Kapoor, E, et al. (2017). Weight gain in women at midlife: A concise review of the pathophysiology and strategies for management.
  4. Kim JY. (2021). Optimal diet strategies for weight loss and weight management.
  5. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2021). DASH eating plan.
  6. Papatriantafyllou, E, et al. (2022). Sleep deprivation: Effects on weight loss and weight loss maintenance.
  7. Thornton, SN. (2016). Increased hydration can be associated with weight loss.
  8. Truby, H. (2020). Comparative weight loss with popular diets.
  9. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). Dietary guidelines for Americans 2020 - 2025.
  10. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical activity guidelines for Americans.
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