The Food Lover's Diet
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Fitness

The Food Lover's Diet

No fooling: This weight-loss plan includes tasty breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes with pasta, waffles, even peanut butter. And it totally works.

5 Eat-Right Strategies

The days are getting longer, the weather warmer. It can mean just one thing -- only four weeks left to get in shape for the beach! Don't panic: This plan is built on five simple and proven guidelines.

Eat! If you exercise and consume fewer than 1,500 calories a day, it will be too hard to get all the nutrients you need. Plus, you'll be ravenous. (Follow our plan exactly and you won't have that problem.)

Get the right mix of carbs, fats, and protein. The most effective combo for dropping pounds fast is one that is high in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, contains mostly unsaturated fats from olive oil or nuts, and provides a healthy dose of extra-lean protein from dairy, legumes, soy, fish, and lean meat. Our plan is perfect.

Temper your expectations. Dropping one to two pounds a week ensures that you lose fat, not muscle.

Stay real. Every plate in this plan is piled high with vegetables and fruits and moderate amounts of whole grains, legumes, extra-lean meat or fish, nonfat milk or yogurt, and other "real" (i.e., unprocessed) foods.

Exercise. A combo of cardio and strength training is best. In just one month, you'll lose five pounds -- that's half a dress size (and at least a whole bathing-suit size). Follow the plan longer and you can lose all the weight you want.

 

Breakfast

Average nutrition for any selection:

394 calories, 23 percent fat (10.5g, 3.14g saturated), 60 percent carbs (63g), 17 percent protein (17g), 6.7g fiber, 359mg calcium, 111mcg folic acid, 4.3mg iron.

 
The P 'n' B Waffle

  • 1 whole-grain frozen waffle topped with 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup calcium- and vitamin D-fortified orange juice

Souped-Up Cereal

  • 1 cup shredded-wheat cereal topped with 1 tablespoon walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons dried fruit
  • 1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk
  • 1 cup strawberries

Apricot Smoothie

In a blender or food processor, blend together:

  • 3/4 cup calcium- and vitamin D-fortified soy milk
  • 4 canned apricot halves (packed in juice)
  • 2 tablespoons orange-juice concentrate
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
  • 1/2 ounce your choice of nuts

Breakfast Burrito

  • 1 8-inch flour tortilla filled with 1 scrambled egg (scramble with a teaspoon of low-fat milk in a nonstick pan coated with cooking spray), 1 ounce low-fat cheese, 2 tablespoons salsa, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3/4 cup cantaloupe
  • Cafe latte: 1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk and espresso or French roast coffee (Optional: Sweeten with sugar substitute.)

Lox and Bagel

  • 1 whole-wheat bagel, toasted and topped with 2 ounces smoked salmon, 1 tablespoon low-fat cream cheese
  • 1 medium tomato (sliced), 1 slice red onion, 1/4 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 3/4 cup honeydew melon

ADD: Almond-Scented Cappuccino

  • 2/3 cup warm low-fat (1 percent) milk
  • 1/2 cup espresso or French roast coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

The Daylight Special

  • 2 poached eggs, 1 slice whole-wheat toast with 1 teaspoon butter, 1 medium tomato (sliced)
  • 1 cup calcium- and vitamin D-fortified orange juice
  • Tea or coffee

The 5-Minute Breakfast

  • 1 cup whole-grain flaked cereal with 2/3 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk, 1 tablespoon raisins, 3 dried plums, chopped
  • 6 ounces apricot nectar or other juice

Lunch

Average nutrition for any selection:

499 calories, 24 percent fat (13.5g, 4.8g saturated), 57 percent carbs (75.9g), 19 percent protein (25g), 9.3g fiber, 431mg calcium, 159mcg folic acid, 4.4mg iron.

 
Low-Cal BLT

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, 1 slice Canadian bacon or turkey bacon
  • 2 thick slices tomato, 2 lettuce leaves, 1 tablespoon fat-free mayonnaise
  • 11 baby carrots
  • 1 medium apple, cored and drizzled with 2 teaspoons caramel sauce
  • 1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk flavored with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and sugar substitute

Veggie Wrap

  • 1 10-inch flour tortilla, 1 ounce grated low-fat cheese, 1/4 cup black beans
  • 3 slices avocado, 3 slices cucumber (cut into thin strips), 1/2 medium tomato (chopped), hot sauce to taste
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk, warmed and sprinkled with freshly grated nutmeg

Grilled Cheese 'n' Veggie Sandwich

  • Grill 2 slices whole wheat bread, 2 slices American cheese, 1 roasted red pepper half, 1 medium tomato (sliced), 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce with 1 tablespoon fat-free dressing
  • 1/2 mango drizzled with 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Iced herb tea

Soup 'n' Crackers

  • 2 cups chunky minestrone soup with 1/2 cup peas and carrots added
  • 4 whole wheat crackers
  • 1 cup cubed honeydew melon, sprinkled with 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and a dash of ground red pepper
  • 1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk

Chili-Stuffed Sweet Potato

  • 1 medium sweet potato, microwaved and topped with 3/4 cup black-bean chili (made with 1/2 cup black beans, 1/4 cup chopped onion, minced garlic, and 1 tablespoon canned green chilies)
  • 1 corn tortilla
  • 1 ounce low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced and drizzled with 1 tablespoon low-calorie Italian dressing and 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Sparkling water flavored with lime

Peanut Butter Sandwich

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, 1 tablespoon peanut butter mixed with 1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ, 2 teaspoons honey, 1 small banana
  • 1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk

Chef's Salad

  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce, 1/3 cup grated carrot, 4 ounces extra-lean ham, 1 tablespoon grated low-fat cheese, 2 tablespoons low-calorie Italian dressing
  • 1 slice French bread
  • 1/2 cup canned mandarin oranges, sprinkled with 1 teaspoon candied ginger
  • 1 cup low-fat (1 percent) milk flavored with 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Dinner

Average nutrition for any selection:

599 calories, 25 percent fat (17g, 4g saturated), 51 percent carbs (79.6g), 24 percent protein (37.4g), 12.1g fiber, 243mg calcium, 225mcg folic acid, 8mg iron.

 
Lemon-Dill Salmon

  • 3 ounces salmon, broiled with lemon juice and chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup roasted asparagus (Coat with vegetable spray, season, and bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes.)
  • 2/3 cup cooked wild rice

ADD: Spinach Salad

  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup canned mandarin oranges
  • 2 tablespoons red onion
  • 2 tablespoons low-calorie Italian dressing
  • PLUS: 1 small chocolate chip cookie

Crispy Chicken

  • 4 ounces baked chicken breast (Dip skinless chicken breast in egg white, then coat with 3 tablespoons bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until cooked through.)
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli
  • 1 medium baked potato topped with 1 teaspoon butter, 2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream, and chopped chives
  • 1 baked apple (Core and fill with 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon chopped walnuts, and 1 tablespoon raisins. Place in pan and cover with 2 tablespoons apple juice. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes, or until tender.)

Chicken Fajitas

  • 2 corn tortillas
  • 3 1/2 ounces broiled chicken-breast tenders, seasoned with 2 teaspoons soy sauce and sauteed in 1 teaspoon canola oil with 1/2 cup chopped green peppers and 3 thick slices red onion
  • 2/3 cup chopped lettuce
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup sliced carrots, steamed and mixed with 1 tablespoon orange-juice concentrate, 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger and salt and pepper to taste

Tofu Stir-Fry

  • Stir-fry 4 ounces firm tofu in 1 teaspoon canola oil with 1 sliced carrot, 1/4 cup chopped celery, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 4 large sliced mushrooms, 1/2 sliced red bell pepper, and 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice

ADD: Fruit Parfait

  • 1 kiwi (peeled and sliced), 1/2 orange (sectioned), 1 teaspoon rum extract, 2 teaspoons grated coconut

Meat 'n' Potatoes

  • 3 ounces broiled sirloin steak
  • 1 medium baked sweet potato, topped with 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 cup peas and carrots

ADD: Caesar Salad

  • 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce tossed with 2 tablespoons low-calorie Caesar dressing
  • PLUS: 1 poached pear in chocolate-orange sauce (Simmer 1/2 large, peeled pear in 3/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons honey, a slice of orange peel, and a dash of cinnamon and grated nutmeg for 15 minutes. Remove pear; boil liquid until reduced by half. Season with 2 teaspoons cocoa powder and a dash of vanilla extract. Pour over pear and sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg.)

Halibut with Mango Salsa

  • 4 ounces grilled halibut (or other flaky white fish), topped with 1/3 cup chopped mango mixed with 1 tablespoon each diced red onion, cilantro, red bell pepper, and canned green chilies
  • 1 cup green beans sauteed in chicken broth and topped with 1 teaspoon slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup couscous
  • 1/2 cup lemon sorbet topped with 1/4 cup blueberries

Linguine with Shrimp

  • 1 cup linguine tossed with 3.5 ounces broiled medium shrimp, 2 minced garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup sauteed spinach: 2 1/2 cups fresh spinach cooked in 1 teaspoon olive oil with 2 minced garlic cloves

ADD: Tomatoes and Mozzarella

  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced and topped with 1 ounce fresh mozzarella cheese, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, and 1 tablespoon low-calorie Italian dressing
  • PLUS: 1/2 cup strawberries sprinkled with sugar substitute and lemon juice

 

16 Snacks Under 100 Calories

Add one snack on the days you exercise.

Add one snack on the days you exercise:

  • 1 cup air-popped popcorn
  • 1 large apple
  • 1 Fudgsicle
  • 1/2 whole-wheat bagel with 1 teaspoon peanut butter
  • 6 vanilla wafers
  • 1 medium banana or small pear
  • 5 ounces red or dry white wine
  • 2 ounces low-fat cheese
  • 6 ounces nonfat, plain yogurt
  • 1 small orange and 1 kiwi
  • 1/2 cup sorbet
  • 6 ounces apricot nectar
  • 3 tablespoons raisins
  • 4 chocolate kisses
  • 2 tablespoons almonds

Get a Flatter Belly in 3 Days

If you have only 72 hours to fit into that slightly tight skirt, further slim your tummy with these strategies:

  1. Pass the salt. Skip sodium-packed foods, such as processed foods, canned soups, packaged snacks, and fast foods.
  2. Get wet. The more water you drink, the more easily your body excretes it. Spice up your beverage intake by drinking iced ginger-lemon tea.
  3. Cut back on carbs. Skip the extra slice of bread and have an open-faced sandwich, or select the smoothie instead of the waffle for breakfast. Choose protein-rich snacks such as low-fat cheese or nuts.
  4. Deflate. Go light on gas-forming bran, legumes, cabbage, bell peppers, dried fruits, and onions.

Originally published in Fitness magazine, June 2006.

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