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3-Day Military Diet Menu: All You Need to Know About Your Meals

Diet on a plate
Angie Moore
Written by Angie Moore

The 3-day diet menu is exactly what you would expect from a diet that promises fast results – up to 10 pounds lost in just a few days – which means it’s frugal to say the least. However, eating according to the menu has proved over and over again to deliver the expected results. These 3-days are also followed by another 4, during which it’s advisable to further restrict your caloric intake, provided you want to keep losing weight.

We’ll also give you an idea of a potential military diet menu for these following days, in case you want to continue your weight loss journey.

The menu

The 3-day diet menu has you eating 3 main courses every day, which are the ones you see below:

DAY 1

  • Breakfast: 1/2 grapefruit, 1 slice of toast, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1 cup coffee or tea (with caffeine)
  • Lunch: 1/2 cup of tuna, 1 slice of toast, 1 cup coffee or tea (with caffeine)
  • Dinner: 3 ounces of any type of meat, 1 cup of green beans, 1/2 banana, 1 small apple, 1 cup of vanilla ice cream

DAY 2

  • Breakfast: 1 egg, 1 slice of toast, 1/2 banana
  • Lunch: 1 cup of cottage cheese, 1 hard boiled egg, 5 saltine crackers
  • Dinner: 2 hot dogs (without bun), 1 cup of broccoli, 1/2 cup of carrots, 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream

DAY 3

  • Breakfast: 5 saltine crackers, 1 slice of cheddar cheese, 1 small apple
  • Lunch: 1 hard boiled egg (or cooked however you like), 1 slice of toast
  • Dinner: 1 cup of tuna, 1/2 banana, 1 cup of vanilla ice cream

During this time, you shouldn’t:

  • Drink alcohol.
  • Drink soda.
  • Put sugar in your coffee or tea.
  • Use salad dresses of any kind.
  • Snack.

Basically, you’re just supposed to stick to the exact plan, and don’t add anything you might crave for. Apart from this, you should drink lots of water and do some moderate exercise, if you have the time or if you want to further accelerate your metabolism.

Military diet food options

However, you can replace some food items from the 3-day diet menu with other ones you might like more. You can also use vegan or vegetarian substitutes, if eating meat isn’t your lifestyle choice.

The substitutes from the military diet menu are from the same food-group and have the same caloric intake. As such, you can substitute:

  • Protein for protein. Any meat can be replaced with another type of meat, eggs, cheese or the vegetarian option: lentils, soy, tofu. You should choose to eat another type of fish instead of tuna though.
  • Fat for fat. Aim to replace fatty foods like cheese with yogurt or milk, which means you’ll also have to stick to the dairy group. If you’re a vegan, try tofu or soy milk – any flavor will do, except for chocolate. Same goes for the vanilla ice-cream: don’t replace it with chocolate.
  • Carbs for carbs. The toast and the saltine crackers are interchangeable. You can also aim for something which is gluten-free, if gluten doesn’t agree with you. The rich in fiber vegetables should be substituted only with other such vegetables.

Day 1 menu

The calories from the first day of the 3-day diet menu can be summarized as follows:

Breakfast (370kcal):

  • 1/2 Grapefruit –  45 calories
  • 1 Slice of Toast – 120 calories
  • 2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter – 200 calories
  • 1 Cup Coffee or Tea (with caffeine) – 5 calories

Lunch (275kcal):

  • 1/2 Cup of Tuna – 150 calories
  • 1 Slice of Toast – 120 calories
  • 1 Cup Coffee or Tea (with caffeine) – 5 calories

Dinner (760kcal):

  • 3 Ounces of Any Type of Meat – 300 calories
  • 1 Cup of Green Beans – 35 calories
  • 1/2 Banana – 50 calories
  • 1 Small Apple – 75 calories
  • 1 Cup of Vanilla Ice-cream – 300 calories

Breakfast is the first meal of the day and allows you to eat 370kcal. Lunch gives you 275kcal, while dinner is the most consistent meal of the day, reaching 760kcal. All in all, the 3-day diet menu starts off pretty swell, with a total amount of 1405kcal, a few hundred calories more than the subsequent days.

This will help ease you into the dieting mentality, while at the same time keeping you below the threshold of 1500kcal, under which most people manage to lose weight. To find out how many calories you need per day to keep you up and running, try using an online calculator for your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). These numbers will tell you the interval margins for your necessary caloric intake: TDEE is the high margin, while BMR is the low one.

Nevertheless, a good rule of thumb would be to multiply your current weight by 12, that should tell you approximately the number of calories below which you’ll need to eat in order to be at a caloric deficit and start losing weight. Say you’re 140 pounds; 140*12=1560, which means eating below 1560kcal can result in weight loss for you.

Apart from this, you’re on the first and only day where the 3-day diet menu allows you to enjoy a cup of coffee with your breakfast. It’s also the first and only day where you will have to eat half of a grapefruit. In fact, even though this piece of fruit doesn’t seem like much, you shouldn’t replace it with something else. Its purpose is to prepare your body for a period of dieting. As such, it creates alkaline conditions in your body, which will help you burn more fat, since fat is more easily consumed this way than in an acidic environment.

More to this point, the grapefruit is rich in vitamins A and C. Both types of vitamins accelerate the burning of fat: vitamin A can only be metabolized if some fat molecules are destroyed in the process, while vitamin C contributes to your body’s thermogenesis. That means it raises your body temperature, while also lowering your blood sugar. Your body will not only work harder to burn calories, but it will burn calories from FAT, and not from SUGAR.

The same fat burning effect is attained due to the high intake of Potassium you’ll get from various food items in the military diet menu. One of them is the grapefruit, but peanut butter also has a decent amount of Potassium. Furthermore, it gives you some much-needed protein to make sure you won’t lose muscle mass. The tuna and meat you’ll be eating for lunch and dinner will likewise increase the number of protein you’re having on the first day of this diet.

3-day Diet Menu Day 1

One of the most interesting facts you can notice from the military diet menu is the fact that you’re allowed to eat some processed carbs for breakfast and lunch, in the form of toast. Dinner doesn’t provide those, but the reasoning is quite simple: carbs are transformed in sugar, and your body likes to burn sugar more than anything else. The sugar that isn’t burnt is transformed into fat. But if you’re eating processed carbs early in the day, when your metabolism works faster, then less carbs will be deposited as fat.

Day 2 menu

Breakfast (245kcal):

  • 1 Egg – 75kcal
  • 1 Slice of Toast – 120kcal
  • 1/2 Banana – 50kcal

Lunch (375kcal):

  • 1 Cup of Cottage Cheese – 230kcal
  • 1 Hard Boiled Egg – 75kcal
  • 5 Saltine Crackers – 70kcal

Dinner (610kcal):

  • 2 Hot-dogs (without bun) – 350kcal
  • 1 Cup of Broccoli – 35kcal
  • 1/2 Cup of Carrots – 25kcal
  • 1/2 Banana – 50kcal
  • 1/2 Cup of Vanilla Ice-cream – 150kcal

Dinner is again the most consistent meal of the day, reaching 610kcal. Lunch is 375kcal, while breakfast doesn’t go over 275kcal. All in all, you’re eating a moderate amount of 1230kcal for today.

The 3-day diet menu allows you to eat these many calories for dinner each and every day, because its proponents know how hard it is to diet when you have to sleep on an empty stomach. Besides, it doesn’t matter when you eat your calories, it matters more what combinations you do between the main macronutrients.

That’s why you’re eating healthy fats and proteins for dinner, along with nutritious fiber to help accelerate your metabolism, while also improving your digestive process. The carrots, the broccoli and the banana have a lot of fiber, while also being rather poor in energy density. Moreover, they are very important sources of Potassium, which is a great aid for burning fat.

3-day Diet Menu Day 2

The reason you’re not eating too much broccoli though, even if it’s high in Potassium and fiber, and low in calories, is that it’s also rich in sodium. That can make you retain water, and actually slow down your weight loss. Moderate amounts of sodium can’t do you too much harm, provided you don’t have a diagnosed heart condition.

Hot-dogs are also rich in Potassium, protein and fat, just like the cottage cheese you’re eating for lunch. The combination between fats and proteins gives an extra boost to your metabolism, that’s one of the reasons why you’re seeing – correctly! – ice-cream on the military diet menu.

More proteins come today in the form of eggs, while the toast and the saltine crackers will give you the necessary carbs your body needs. Eggs are also a good source of fat-burning vitamin A, Calcium and Iron. Many studies have argued that people who have enough Calcium and Iron in their diets manage to lose weight faster than people who are Calcium/ Iron deficient.

Day 3 menu

Breakfast (265kcal):

  • 5 Saltine Crackers – 70kcal
  • 1 Slice of Cheddar Cheese – 120kcal
  • 1 Small Apple – 75kcal

Lunch (195kcal):

  • 1 Hard Boiled Egg (or cooked however you like) – 75kcal
  • 1 Slice of Toast – 120kcal

Dinner (650kcal):

  • 1 Cup of Tuna – 300kcal
  • 1/2 Banana – 50kcal
  • 1 Cup of Vanilla Ice-cream – 300kcal

The last day of the 3-day diet menu gives you the least amount of calories, reaching a total of just 1110kcal. Some nutritionists would warn you that this isn’t a healthy number of calories to stick to for a very long time. One day however isn’t a tragedy. Women are allowed to eat as little as 1000kcal/ day for a few weeks’ time when they want to lose weight, but men shouldn’t go below 1200kcal/ day.

3-day Diet Menu Day 3

That being said, dinner is again a feast for your palate, giving you another chance to enjoy a vanilla ice-cream treat. You’re eating healthy fats, fiber and protein, while also enjoying the benefits of a number of vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, Potassium, vitamin C, and Iron.

Your fiber intake is more consistent again with breakfast and lunch, which are also providing you a decent amount of protein (egg, cheddar cheese) and carbs (toast, saltine crackers). You’ll likewise be getting enough vitamins C and A from the apple, which is moreover a great source of natural fiber.

Tips and tricks to improve your menu

  • Bake and mix. The 3-day diet menu allows you to eat 1/2 banana, 1 small apple, 1 cup of vanilla ice cream for dinner on day one. Bake the apple to make it softer, add the sliced banana and the vanilla ice-cream, and voilá: a delicious dessert awaits you.
  • Save it for later. You can enjoy your fruits or ice-cream as a snack between meals, if you’re used to snacking. It’ll seem like a treat, and you’ll get through your diet faster.
  • Shake it up. This is something you can do with all your vegetables and fruit, but it’s especially tasty with the carrots and broccoli you’re eating for dinner on day 2. Boil them and turn them into a shake. Not only is it delicious and can be eaten as a snack between lunch and dinner, or even after dinner, but it’s also more nutritious. Recent studies have found out that shakes out of boiled vegetables make people feel less hungry for longer periods of time. Apparently, shakes are digested slower, which keeps your stomach full for more time.
  • Make a warm porridge. On day 3, the military diet menu gives you 5 saltine crackers, 1 slice of cheddar cheese, and 1 small apple for breakfast. Slice or grate the apple in very small bits, mix it with the finely grinded saltine crackers, and add the grated cheddar cheese on top. Put this mix in the oven for a few minutes, until the cheese melts. Give it another mix, and you get yourself a nice warm porridge-like food for breakfast. It’ll keep you warm and feeling full for more time than eating just the regular items separately.

The following days

If you’ve finished your 3-day diet, congratulations! But be wary of a mistake many people tend to make: they feel so relieved after these days, that they completely forget their initial purpose. Over-eating during the next days is a fairly common error in judgment, caused by a child-like feeling of needing an immediate reward in the form of food.

Say NO to alcohol

But if you want to see continued results, still your heart and stick to your military diet menu for the following four days. The good news is that you’re now allowed to have a few snacks, while also enjoying the occasional alcoholic drink. Here are some rules to help you lose weight, even if you’re drinking:

  • No sugary cocktails.
  • No alcohol and fat-rich foods.
  • No beer, except dark beer.
  • A glass of wine can help you burn more fat.
  • Count your calories, and eat less if you’re drinking.
  • Don’t overdo it, moderation is key.

You’ll also be reaching about 1500 – 1600kcal each day, which is enough to keep you at a steady weight-loss pace.

Here’s a suggestion of what you could be having:

Day 4 menu

  • Breakfast: Yogurt Parfait. 1 cup of plain yogurt layered with 1 cup mixed berries, 1/4 cup granola and 1 tablespoon of sliced almonds.
  • Snack 1: 1 cup snap peas with 1/4 cup hummus.
  • Lunch: Tuna Pita. Mix 1/2 can of tuna with 1/4 cup white beans, 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Serve in a 4 inch whole-wheat pita with 2 leaves lettuce. Eat 1 cup of grapes on the side.
  • Snack 2: 1 cup of cantaloupe with 1/2 cottage cheese.
  • Dinner: BBQ Black Bean Burger and Slaw. 1 black bean burger cooked with 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce, served in a whole wheat bun. You can eat the slaw in the burger or on the side. Mix 1.5 cups of shredded cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Day 5 menu

  • Breakfast: Cheerful morning. 1 cup milk, 1 sliced banana and 1 cup cheerios. You can also eat 1 orange.
  • Snack 1: Fruit-and-nut bar.
  • Lunch: Protein Salad. Toss 2 cups lettuce, 1 cup chopped raw vegetables, 1 hard-boiled egg, 2 teaspoons of raisins and 2 teaspoons of almonds. Top with 2 teaspoons of balsamic dressing.
  • Snack 2: 1 cup carrot sticks with 3 tablespoons of hummus.
  • Dinner: Shrimp and Zucchini Pasta. Cook 2 ounces frozen or fresh shrimp with 1 clove of garlic, 1 cup chopped zucchini, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Serve on one cup of whole wheat pasta noodles of your choice.

Day 6 menu

  • Breakfast: Egg on toast. 1 egg scrambled in 1 teaspoon butter on a slice of whole grain toast with tomato slices and 1/4 avocado sliced.
  • Snack 1: 1 apple and 22 pistachios.
  • Lunch: Mediterranean Plate. 1 piece of whole wheat pita bread stuffed with 1 ounce feta cheese, 1 cup of tomatoes, 6 olives, 1/4 cup hummus and 1 cup raw spinach drizzled with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice.
  • Snack 2: 12-oz latte and 1 clementine or mandarin orange.
  • Dinner: Hot Peanut Chicken Wraps. Sautee 2/3 cup of sliced chicken, 1/4 cup scallions, 2 tablespoons of peanuts, 1 tablespoon hot sauce and 1 cup of shredded cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and carrot mix in cooking spray. Wrap all this in 2 whole wheat tortillas.

Day 7 menu

  • Breakfast: Florentine Egg and English Muffin. scramble 2 eggs and 1 cup fresh spinach and eat on top of a whole wheat toasted English muffin.
  • Snack 1: 1 banana with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • Lunch: Veggie Lunch. 1 cup of lentil soup with 1 slice of toasted whole wheat bread topped with 1 teaspoon pesto, 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella and 1 tablespoon chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
  • Snack 2: 1 cup plain yogurt with 1 cup mixed berries.
  • Dinner: Black Bean and Zucchini Quesadilla. Sauté 1 cup chopped zucchini, 1/2 cup black beans, 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon of cumin. Place mixture on 2 whole wheat tortillas, sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheddar. Fold in half and cook in a pan until the cheddar melts. Top with 2 teaspoons of salsa.

The military diet menu for these 4 days is quite generous, as you can see, but each tasty meal is in the range of 300 to 400 calories, while the snacks are about 100 to 200 calories each. This proves you can still enjoy your meals, while also losing weight. Consequently, the military diet teaches you to take better care of your portion sizes, proving that healthier eating habits can lead to weight loss and successfully maintaining your desired weight.

Sadly, there is a generalized negative outlook on thin people or people who diet, that can discourage anyone who wants to reach a healthier weight; as such, it is said that thin people aren’t eating anything palatable or nutritious.

Nevertheless, the 3-day diet menu shows you that you can lose weight even when you’re eating ice-cream! In addition to this, the military diet menu for the other 4 days provides you with a plethora of delicious low-calorie meals and snacks, which will further accelerate your weight loss.

That’s why changing your mind-set and getting over whatever prejudice you may have about dieting can prove very advantageous for your lifestyle in general, and for this diet in particular.

About the author
Angie Moore
Angie Moore

Angie brings a mix of knowledge and experience in diet creation and fitness best practices. With Kansas State University‘s bachelor’s degree in dietetics and over 7 years of experience working with thousands of clients to better their life, Angie is passionate about your health and well-being. She is also a well-known foodie, having published a few books about diets that work. For most of the time, you can find her in the gym working out with friends and clients, pushing them for top results and fulfilled life.

  • Julia Doma

    Dont spam again other´s blog or face the same

  • Jamey Bronn

    And how about skipping the dinner completely? I usually don’t feel like eating it anyway.

    • In order for the diet to work, you shouldn’t skip any meal or add anything. Besides, skipping meals make you eat more on the next meal.

  • Mary Ong

    This is actually a great detailed meal plan. Dieters will love the fact that dinner is included in the list. The quantity of food has lessen on breakfast and lunch, so to maintain a balance body working system, there must be a dinner. However, I found some of these meal plans are quite hard to prepare and time consuming. Well I guess that’s military diet was all about – strictness and self control.

    • These are suggested meal plans only to guide you on your way to fitness. Feel free to make your own meal plans based on your time, schedule and budget.

  • Steven Schick

    Thanks for this article, Miss Angie. Eggs are rich in protein and give you energy. Many are afraid to eat eggs because of its unsaturated fats, but the truth is, eggs won’t really affect your cholesterol unless you’re eating more than half a dozen a day and not being active. 🙂

    • Yes, eggs were the bad guys of diets until about a few years back when scientists discovered they are filled with good cholesterol. They are actually one of the best sources of protein you could find.

  • Kisses Nelson

    Calories really matter for weight loss. If you are not losing weight, you are maybe eating too many calories. I like how this article emphasizes on the calorie count per meal. Very big help!

  • Sophia Smith

    Your food selection can make a huge impact on your diet. Losing weight is about an attitude shift with regards food. The vast majority of people who are overweight are usually the ones with unhealthy food relationships. Something to think about.

  • David Brown

    Really? I didn’t know wine could burn fats. I’ve heard that when you are trying to lose weight, you should make water your best friend.

  • Mark Davis

    You mentioned about not drinking beer except for dark beer. I was wondering what’s actually a dark beer and what’s in it that makes it good anyway for a diet?

  • Samantha Taylor

    Will it help if I skip a meal, let’s say for example a breakfast? Actually, I am not used to eating every morning. I just have a cup of coffee before I leave or when I’m in the office.

  • Aubrey Moore

    Make vegetables your partner too, in diet. Veggies usually contain hardly any calories, so you can consume large amounts of them.

  • Hi Aubrey! In order to lose weight, we also have to practice portion control and calorie-counting. Vegetables have calories, too so it’s wise to measure what you eat, as well. In the military diet, every food in the meal plan is carefully selected and have a set amount of calories per serving.
    For example, potato is a vegetable but consuming a lot of these with no regard to calorie restriction will not help you lose weight.

  • You can move your breakfast later in the day, if it will help. If you’re doing the military diet, skipping one meal will make you really hungry. The rest of the meals might not satisfy you since these are restricted as well. It might promote cheating or just giving up by the end of the day.

  • Dark beer is rich in flavonoids that have a powerful antioxidant effects. The darker, the better since these kinds of beers (like red wine) are good for the heart and may prevent blood clot.

  • Drink wine in moderation, especially when you’re on a diet. There’s a marked difference in enjoying a glass of wine and getting drunk.
    Many red wines contain ellagic acid, a chemical that has been found to dramatically slow down the growth of existing fat cells and the formation of new ones. This makes the body burn fat better.

  • Losing weight and keeping it off for life should be our goals, don’t you think? Our past experiences have all affected how we deal and look at food. I once read a book with an apt title “It’s not what you’re eating, it’s what eating you…”
    Our food relationships are complex, so it’s up to us to seek help when we need it. The military diet is simple to do and provides the best food choices available in the market.

  • Aside from that, you can also have yourself checked to see why you’re not responding to your weight loss regimen. Most people I know had their thyroid function checked to rule out hyporthyroidism, which makes it difficult to lose weight.

  • Xavier Wright

    I like that shake it up thing on your tips and tricks list. I enjoy doing shakes out of the fruits and vegetables I see on our cooler. My regular shake consists of banana, milk, peanut butter, oats, and olive oil.

    • Glad that you like those shakes. These are easy and nutritious drinks that we can drink up to have more energy. You can even try putting some MCT oil in your shake or smoothies. This is a good fat that do awesome wonders to our body.

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