Although it’s called the military diet, this isn’t actually how people eat in the military. It’s a weight loss eating plan that focuses on high protein foods with low fats, carbohydrates, and calories.
The idea of the military diet is to follow a three-day military diet shopping list before spending the last four days of the week eating a normal diet. On the military diet, drinking water is fine as well as having one or two cups of coffee or tea per day.
Here, we’re sharing the three-day military shopping list, examples of meal plans, and some advantages and disadvantages of the military diet.
Military Diet Grocery List
The military diet shopping list includes everything you’ll need for three days of the plan.
If you’ve ever gone on a diet before, you’ll know how important it is to have a grocery list. Otherwise, we end up buying whatever our heart desires and regretting it later. To keep you on track with your goals, here is a military diet plan shopping list to take with you.
- Coffee or tea
- 1 grapefruit
- 2 bananas
- 2 apples
- Whole wheat bread
- Peanut butter
- 3 cans of tuna
- Hot dogs
- 3 ounces of meat of your choice
- Green beans
- Small head of broccoli
- Saltine crackers
- Cottage cheese
- A small block of cheddar cheese
- Vanilla ice cream
Military Diet Meal Plans
Once you’ve gone out and bought all the necessary ingredients from the shopping list for the military diet, it’s time to start making some meals.
For these three days, here are some breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas using the food from the list.
Breakfast: Half a grapefruit, one slice of whole wheat toast with two tablespoons of peanut butter, and one cup of coffee or tea
Lunch: Half a cup of tuna on one slice of whole wheat toast and one cup of coffee or tea
Dinner: Three ounces of meat (your choice), one cup of green beans, half a banana, one small apple, and one cup of vanilla ice cream
Breakfast: One egg (hard-boiled or poached), one slice of whole wheat toast, half a banana
Lunch: One hard-boiled egg, one cup of cottage cheese, and five saltines crackers
Dinner: Two bunless hotdogs, once cup of broccoli, half a cup of carrots, half a banana, and half a cup of vanilla ice cream
Breakfast: Five saltines crackers, one slice of cheddar cheese, and one small apple
Lunch: One hard-boiled egg and one slice of whole wheat toast
Dinner: One cup of tuna, half a banana, and one cup of vanilla ice cream
If you’re a vegetarian, there is still a way to do the military diet. Simply swap out the meat for avocados, hummus, chickpeas, veggie hot dogs, and baked beans.
These ingredients will give you the protein and fats that you’d usually find in the meat, tuna, and hot dogs in the classic military diet plan.
Things to Consider While on the Military Diet
As with anything in life, there are always pros and cons. It’s important to consider the upsides and downsides of the military diet before you try it yourself. Let’s go through some of the advantages and disadvantages of the military diet.
Advantages of the Military Diet
Most of the benefits of the military diet are short-term but there are some advantages to the military diet.
Easy to do.
It’s easy to follow with simple measurements and you don’t need to cook any fancy meals or buy expensive ingredients to do it.
Can aid in quick weight loss.
With its focus on high protein and limited carbs, it resembles an intermittent fasting plan with minimal calories for three days out of the week. This style of dieting has proven to be incredibly effective for weight loss.
Disadvantages of the Military Diet
Now let’s talk about some disadvantages of following a three-day military diet.
Limited nutrient intake.
With such a limited variety of foods, there’s a high chance that you won’t be getting all the necessary nutrients your body needs.
High in added salt, sugar, and saturated fats.
Most diets aim to eliminate processed foods while the military diet seems to be full of them. From hot dogs, peanut butter, saltines, and cheese, you’ll need to watch out for all the added salt, sugar, and saturated fats.
Also, this diet includes vanilla ice cream. That’s not something you see in many diet plans. Vanilla ice cream can be high in sugar and it’s not clear why they’ve included it.
Too few calories.
The military diet is similar to a “very low-calorie diet” or VLCD which allows a maximum of 800 calories per day. For people who are severely obese, this low-calorie plan could be necessary to achieve rapid weight loss.
For most people though, this is far too few calories and you won’t be able to exercise while following this diet. Most people need at least 1,400 calories to include exercise in their daily routine and exercise is a huge part of a healthy lifestyle.
Still, that’s why the military diet is meant only to be done three days per week while the rest of the week, a normal healthy diet is recommended.
Overall, the military diet is a restriction diet that allows for low calories, low carbs, and high protein for three days a week while maintaining a normal diet for the other four days of the week.
It may help to optimize weight loss but further research is required to fully support these claims. It’s best to use the military diet on a short-term basis as you may see some negative results in the long-term due to its poor nutritional density and added sugars, salt, and saturated fats.
There is no “quick fix” when it comes to weight loss or achieving a healthy lifestyle. A balanced, nutritious diet and physical activity should always be the priority.
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