Coconut oil is having a moment right now: it can be used as a butter or olive oil substitute in everything from baked goods to salad dressing, and can even be used as an alternative to milk in lattes (yes, really). Sass is a fan of the heart-healthy oil whipped into smoothies, and you can also use it to sauté veggies, sear fish, or as an olive oil replacement in soups and stews. (It's also a must-add to your beauty routine, and makes a wonderful natural moisturizer for skin and hair.)
While 1,200 may be the right number for some, it can be super restrictive for others, says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Try basing your meals and snacks off this plan and double up on veggies at any opportunity — more fruit at snack time works too! You can also add an extra ounce or two of protein at all meals if you find yourself feeling hungry. The combo of fiber from produce and lean protein makes this an adaptable strategy that’ll help you lose weight safely — one meal (and snack) at a time!

“Don't like eating meat?” asks Ginger Hultin, RDN, a dietitian in private practice in Seattle and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Then don't be paleo! Travel a lot and rely on eating out? The DASH diet may end in frustration for you.” The bottom line: The diet you choose needs to be safe and effective, while taking into account your lifestyle.


It's important to note that liquids are also restricted on the diet, and water and herbal teas are the only approved beverages, explains registered dietician Beth Warren. It's okay to drink coffee on the first day—but sugar, creamers, and artificial sweeteners are off limits, meaning you'll only be able to use stevia in your coffee (if needed). Alcohol, however, is definitely off limits, especially since wine and beer tend to contain a lot of calories, says Virgin.
Rachel is a writer, Montessori teacher, and mother, happily living with her family in Guatemala where fresh coffee is always ready. Professionally, she enjoys providing her audiences with thought-provoking articles about health and fitness, early childhood education, and parenting. When she's not busy meeting deadlines, Rachel, a former long-distance runner, still makes fitness and health a priority in her life. She enjoys concocting healthy meals in the kitchen, going for long walks and chasing after her 3 young children.
"There is promising research on effective weight loss from intermittent fasting, an eating strategy where you eat very few calories two days per week while eating higher calorie levels the remainder of the week. However, this form of eating involves careful planning to ensure every calorie consumed on ‘fasting’ days is nutritionally dense. I would encourage someone interested in the Military Diet to consider this weight loss strategy before following this diet plan. Fad diets don’t work — whatever you do to lose weight has to be something you can see yourself following for life. If it is too restrictive, you will just regain the weight."
When you're headed to the market, make sure to focus on the usual healthy fare, since you'll need at least a week's worth of food. But for the planned meals specifically, here's what you'll need to add to your 3-day military diet shopping list: 1 grapefruit, 4 slices of whole-wheat toast, 3 eggs, 2 cups of coffee, 11/2 cups tuna, 2 tbs peanut butter, 3 oz meat, 1 cup green beans, 2 bananas, 2 small apples, 2 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream, 1 cup cottage cheese, 10 saltine crackers, 2 hotdogs, 1 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup carrots, and 1 slice cheddar cheese. Chances are, you have a lot of this already in your kitchen.
If you're wondering about weight loss? Yes, you will lose some weight on the military diet if you're used to eating a couple thousand calories per day (just like any diet that restricts your calorie intake), according to Amidor. However, it's likely you'll go back to your old eating habits and gain the weight right back once you're off the diet, which can create a vicious cycle, she says.

Here’s the hard truth—the Military Diet is the quintessential definition of a “fad diet,” and it’s an eating plan that I would not recommend or advise anyone to follow. Not only does it provide inadequate nutrients, but the diet’s food choices and food group servings do not follow the guidelines that research suggests to maintain health and prevent disease.


There's a reason (well actually, many reasons) why lentils are considered one of the world's healthiest foods. With 13 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber per serving, this legume—another member of the pulse family—will keep you feeling full for hours in between meals. They're a great source of fat-burning resistant starch, too, with 3.4 grams in a half-cup serving.

“There are many diet plans on the market today that promote good health,” says Emily Kyle, RDN, who is in private practice in Rochester, New York. “The key is finding one that does not cause you stress or agony.” Ask yourself questions such as: Would the diet guidelines make you happy? Anxious? Stressed? Are you able to follow them long term? “Factors such as enjoyment, flexibility, and longevity should be strongly considered,” adds Kyle.

I used to be 100 pounds heavier than I am now. My eating habits were out of control and pretty much the epitome of mindless. I am A.D.D., I have two kids under four, and I work full time, so eating without constant distractions just doesn't happen. But over the years I’ve learned what it takes for me to lose my weight... and most importantly, keep it off.
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