In a low-fat meal plan, healthy fats, high-quality carbs, and lean proteins work together to keep you feeling full. Trading processed foods and fried foods for plenty of fruits and vegetables can seem tricky at first, especially if you don’t have a plan for a low-fat diet.
Luckily, there are many foods that provide enough essential fatty acids while keeping the amount of fat in the diet low. Ahead, find sample low-fat diet plans, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack ideas.
What Is a Low-Fat Meal Plan?
A low-fat meal plan includes low-fat foods, each containing 3 grams (or less) of fat. In terms of calories, most of these foods are also 100 calories or under. Based on an average 2,000-calorie diet, a low-fat meal will typically contain 15-20 grams of fat.
Understanding the types of fat included in fatty foods is important. Some high-fat foods contain saturated fats and trans fats, both of which have been linked to heart disease. On the other hand, “healthy” fats (unsaturated) can have a heart-protective effect.
Some people need more calories from fat than others. For example, pregnant women may need to consume a higher percentage of healthy fats in order to support their baby’s development. Other life stages or health conditions may affect the amount of fat you need from your diet, meaning the low-fat diet isn’t right for everyone.
However, since diets high in fat can increase cardiovascular health risks or worsen symptoms in the case of some diseases, a low-fat diet can be a great lifestyle change for certain people. If you’re looking to reduce fat in the diet, be sure to enlist the support of your healthcare team by consulting with a doctor or dietitian before beginning the low-fat diet.
While it’s often used as a weight loss meal plan, the low-fat diet may have other health benefits. A low-fat diet allows you to still enjoy your favorite foods but emphasizes items that are low-fat or fat-free. Proteins like lean meats keep you fueled and full without all the added saturated fats and health risks.
7-Day Low-Fat Diet Plan
Whether you are looking to lose weight or have other health goals in mind, a sample low-fat diet plan with simple meals can help you get started.
• Breakfast: ½ cooked oatmeal with ½ cup fruit and a sprinkle of cinnamon + 1 cup orange juice
• Lunch: 1 cup leafy green salad + 1 large baked sweet potato (with 1 tsp butter, salt, pepper, herbs, and green onions)
• Dinner: 1 cup meatless chili (made with beans, lentils, etc.) + 1 corn muffin with honey + ½ cup broccoli
• Snack: 2 cups nonfat cottage cheese topped with 1 cup pineapple chunks
• Breakfast: parfait (¼ cup ancient grain granola + 1 cup low-fat yogurt + ½ cup mixed berries)
• Lunch: 3 oz tuna salad on 2 slices whole wheat bread + hard-boiled egg
• Dinner: ½ cooked white rice, topped with stir-fry (made with 3 oz chicken breast and desired mix of vegetables)
• Snack: 1 medium apple with 1 tbsp peanut butter
• Breakfast: 1 Tbsp light or fat-free cream cheese + 1 whole grain bagel + 1 banana
• Lunch: Thai lettuce wraps (made with 3 oz lean meat of choice, such as ground turkey, and vegetables)+ 1 cup edamame + 1 cup mixed fruit cocktail
• Dinner: 1 large stuffed green bell pepper (made with 3 oz ground turkey, low-fat cheese, brown rice, onions, peppers, and herbs)
• Snack: 2 cups plain popcorn
• Breakfast: 1 medium grapefruit drizzled with honey + 1 toasted English muffin topped with hummus and cucumber
• Lunch: 1 cup vegetable soup + turkey, spinach, and tomato sandwich (made with mustard, 1 tsp mayo, and 2 slices whole grain bread) + 1 small apple
• Dinner: 6 medium asparagus spears + 3 oz halibut with lemon + ½ cup rice pilaf (made with 2 tsp olive oil)
• Snack: 1 medium poached pear
• Breakfast: 2 small buckwheat pancakes + 1 Tbsp maple syrup + 1 small banana
• Lunch: chicken salad sandwich (made with 3 oz of skinless chicken breast and 2 slices whole wheat bread) + 1 cup grapes
• Dinner: ½ cooked spaghetti with tomato sauce + 3 oz lean ground beef meatballs + 1 cup cooked green beans
• Snack: 1 cup mandarin oranges
• Breakfast: 2 slices whole-grain toast with 1 tsp butter and 2 tsp jelly + egg white omelet (made with 3 egg whites or 6 tablespoons liquid egg white product, plus herbs/seasonings and ½ cup bell peppers
• Lunch: 3 oz crab cakes + ½ cup cooked quinoa salad with ½ cup vegetables + 1 cup applesauce
• Dinner: ½ cup cooked wild rice + 1 cup cubed roasted squash + 3 oz herbed turkey breast tenderloin
• Snack: ½ cup low-fat ricotta cheese with herbs + 10 whole wheat or whole grain crackers
• Breakfast: breakfast burrito (made with ½ cup chopped tomato, 2 Tbsp chopped onion, ¼ cup corn, 2 egg whites, 1 whole wheat tortilla, and 1 Tbsp salsa or hot sauce)
• Lunch: homemade ramen (made with 3 cups vegetable broth, ½ cup cooked ramen noodles, ½ cup shredded carrots, ½ cup leafy greens, ½ cup sliced mushrooms, ¼ cup green onions, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, low-sodium soy sauce, and other spices or seasonings as desired)
• Dinner: 3 oz grilled salmon + ½ cup cooked brown rice + 1 cup roasted zucchini
• Snack: 1 cup baby carrots + 6 Tbsp hummus
Feeling overwhelmed? BistroMD’s heart-healthy plan can ease you into low-fat eating without all the hassle.
The Last Word on Low-Fat Diet Plans
While the low-fat diet may not be right for everyone, for some, it can be a welcome lifestyle change. Replacing unhealthy fats with unsaturated fats (the “healthy” ones) can have health benefits, and has even been linked to weight loss.
Consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats on a low-fat diet is the key to feeling full and fueled throughout the day.
How we reviewed this article
Haynes F. Easy Low-Fat Lunch Ideas. The Spruce Eats. Published March 2019.
Low Fat Diet Plan. Gastroenterology Associates.
Low-Fat Foods. American Cancer Society. Published June 2020.
Low-fat recipes. Mayo Clinic.
Move to Low-Fat or Fat-Free Dairy. USDA MyPlate.
Nall R. A guide to low fat foods. Medical News Today. Published July 2019.
White DA. Daily Guide for a Low-Fat Meal Plan. Health. Published September 2022.