The Party Diet
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The Party Diet

Go ahead and enjoy the holidays (isn't that what they're for?) and still slim down! Guaranteed.

The Diet That Lets You Indulge

Wait! Don't resign yourself to gaining weight over the holidays like you usually do. This eat-what-you-love-and-still-lose program makes it possible to put yourself at the top of your to-do list (and go to the office party looking hot).

On these pages, Melissa Clark and Robin Aronson, authors of The Skinny: How to Fit in Your Little Black Dress Forever (Meredith Books), give you a starter kit for eating right on the run with a week's worth of meals and snacks, including easy recipes you can whip up fast, as well as healthy takeout and prepared foods. Going to a party? Swap the day's snack and dessert for one of the goodies in "You Can Indulge Guilt-Free" on the final page.

Follow this plan and you'll consume about 1,500 calories a day and drop 5 pounds in a month. (For variety, replace some of the foods with your favorites; eat about half of your usual-size portion.) Even better: Combine the diet with our fat-blasting workout and you'll double your weight loss to 10 pounds in just four weeks!


Day 1

Breakfast: 1 cup low-fat yogurt topped with 1 cup strawberries and 2 teaspoons almonds.

  • 239 calories, 16g protein, 35g carbohydrate, 5g fat (2g saturated), 4g fiber

Lunch: Salad with chicken and vegetables (about 2 cups) tossed with 2 tablespoons dressing; 1 medium apple for dessert.

  • 297 calories, 24g protein, 27g carbohydrate, 11g fat (2g saturated), 3g fiber

Dinner: 6-ounce salmon fillet, brushed with 2 teaspoons each molasses and olive oil and broiled. Two cups steamed broccoli and carrots. Small whole wheat roll.

  • 640 calories, 42g protein, 53g carbohydrate, 30g fat (6g saturated), 13g fiber

Dessert: 3 mini Milano cookies and 1 cup skim milk.

  • 170 calories, 10g protein, 22g carbohydrates, 4g fat (2g saturated), 1g fiber

Snack: Toasted whole wheat pita bread and 1 thin slice (3/4 ounce) reduced-fat cheese.

  • 144 calories, 10g protein, 18g carbohydrates, 5g fat (2g saturated), 2g fiber

Day 2

Breakfast: 1 cup whole grain cereal topped with 1 cup nonfat milk and 1/2 banana, sliced.

  • 286 calories, 14g protein, 63g carbohydrate, 1g fat (0g saturated), 9g fiber

Lunch: Tuna-salad sandwich on a whole-grain roll made with small can (3 ounces) water-packed tuna, 2 tablespoons light mayo, and 2 tablespoons each chopped celery and bell peppers.

  • 312 calories, 24g protein, 22g carbohydrate, 14g fat (2.5g saturated), 3g fiber

Dinner: 6 ounces skinless rotisserie chicken, 2/3 cup whole wheat couscous (made from 1/3 cup dry) and 1 cup string beans sauteed in 2 teaspoons olive oil and garlic.

  • 602 calories, 53g protein, 37g carbohydrate, 27g fat (6g saturated), 9g fiber

Dessert: 2 small fig cookies.

  • 111 calories, 1g protein, 21g carbohydrate, 2g fat (0g saturated), 1g fiber

Snack: 1 nectarine and 11 baked chips.

  • 193 calories, 3g protein, 35g carbohydrate, 6g fat (1g saturated), 4g fiber

Day 3

Breakfast: 1 1/2 cup oatmeal topped with 1/2 cup blueberries and a splash of milk.

  • 281 calories, 12g protein, 52g carbohydrate, 4g fat (1g saturated), 8g fiber

Lunch: Sandwich made with 3 ounces turkey breast on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, and Dijon mustard; 1 cup (about 30) grapes.

  • 392 calories, 23g protein, 64g carbohydrate, 7g fat (2g saturated), 6g fiber

Dinner: 4 ounces shrimp stir-fried with mushrooms, garlic, and ginger (cook in sauce made by whisking together 4 teaspoons each soy sauce and rice vinegar and 2 teaspoons each olive oil and honey), 1/2 cup steamed carrots, and 3/4 cup brown rice.

  • 517 calories, 32g protein, 70g carbohydrate, 13g fat (2g saturated), 6g fiber

Dessert: 1/2 cup chocolate nonfat frozen yogurt topped with 2 teaspoons chopped walnuts.

  • 136 calories, 7g protein, 22g carbohydrate, 4g fat (1g saturated), 2g fiber

Snack: A medium apple sliced with 1 tablespoon almond butter.

  • 171 calories, 3g protein, 22g carbohydrate, 9g fat (1g saturated), 4g fiber

Day 4

Breakfast: Smoothie made with 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt, 1 large banana, 1 kiwi, 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup, and crushed ice.

  • 415 calories, 16g protein, 86g carbohydrate, 3g fat (2g saturated), 7g fiber

Lunch: Roast beef sandwich made with 2 ounces lean meat, lettuce, tomato, and mustard on whole wheat bread; 1/2 cup baby carrots and 1 medium pear.

  • 367 calories, 23g protein, 60g carbohydrate, 6g fat (2g saturated), 11g fiber

Dinner: Pad Thai (about 8 ounces, takeout) served with 1 1/2 cups broccoli and peppers stir-fried in 2 teaspoons olive oil.

  • 422 calories, 17g protein, 48g carbohydrates, 19g fat (3g saturated), 8g fiber

Dessert: 2 shortbread cookies.

  • 160 calories, 2g protein, 18g carbohydrate, 8g fat (2g saturated), 2g fiber

Snack: Reduced-fat string cheese (1 stick) and 12 almonds.

  • 135 calories, 9g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 10g fat (2g saturated), 2g fiber

Day 5

Breakfast: 2 pieces whole wheat toast, each topped with 1 slice reduced-fat cheese; 1/2 cup grapefruit juice.

  • 404 calories, 21g protein, 48g carbohydrate, 16g fat (8g saturated), 4g fiber

Lunch: 1 cup black-bean soup, green salad with assorted veggies of your choice tossed with 2 tablespoons dressing; 3 chocolate kisses.

  • 319 calories, 10g protein, 40g carbohydrate, 14g fat (4g saturated), 5g fiber

Dinner: 8 pieces assorted sushi (takeout), 1/2 cup shelled edamame, and 1 medium orange.

  • 485 calories, 21g protein, 90g carbohydrate, 4g fat (0g saturated), 10g fiber

Dessert: 6 ounces plain nonfat yogurt topped with 1 tablespoon raisins.

  • 155 calories, 9g protein, 23g carbohydrate, 2g fat (2g saturated), 1g fiber

Snack: 28 dry-roasted peanuts.

  • 166 calories, 7g protein, 6g carbohydrate, 14g fat (2g saturated), 2g fiber

Day 6

Breakfast: 2 poached eggs, 1 whole-wheat English muffin and 1/2 medium grapefruit.

  • 359 calories, 22g protein, 37g carbohydrate, 14g fat (4g saturated), 6g fiber

Lunch: Green salad with 4 ounces grilled chicken strips, veggies of your choice (like peppers), and 2 tablespoons dressing; a small banana.

  • 290 calories, 28g protein, 21g carbohydrate, 12g fat (1g saturated), 5g fiber

Dinner: 4 ounces prepared lean sliced steak (from the supermarket), 1 cup broccoli sauteed in 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 small whole wheat dinner roll, and 3 clementines.

  • 550 calories, 40g protein, 56g carbohydrate, 20g fat (5g saturated), 12g fiber

Dessert: 1/2 cup vanilla nonfat frozen yogurt and 4 small vanilla wafer cookies.

  • 161 calories, 5g protein, 30g carbohydrate, 3g fat (1g saturated), 0g fiber

Snack: 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese and 3 small bread sticks.

  • 142 calories, 16g protein, 13g carbohydrates, 2g fat (1g saturated), 0g fiber

Day 7

Breakfast: 1 cup whole-grain cereal topped with 1 cup nonfat milk and 1 cup sliced strawberries.

  • 271 calories, 14g protein, 58g carbohydrates, 1g fat (0g saturated), 10g fiber

Lunch: Veggie burger on a whole-grain hamburger roll with lettuce and tomato, and 1 small pear.

  • 359 calories, 20g protein, 56g carbohydrate, 7g fat (2g saturated), 12g fiber

Dinner: 6-ounce halibut fillet brushed with 2 teaspoons olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and roasted 10 to 15 minutes (depending on thickness); 4 ounces cheese ravioli; 1 cup string beans sauteed in 1 teaspoon olive oil; 2 fresh figs.

  • 553 calories, 44g protein, 47g carbohydrate, 22g fat (4g saturated), 9g fiber

Dessert: 2 shortbread cookies.

  • 160 calories, 2g protein, 18g carbohydrate, 8g fat (2g saturated), 2g fiber

Snack: 1 ounce dark chocolate.

  • 151 calories, 2g protein, 17g carbohydrate, 9g fat (5g saturated), 2g fiber

You Can Indulge Guilt-Free

If you're heading to a party, replace your daily snack and dessert with one of these treats, which are about 300 calories each:

  • 6 melba toasts topped with 2 teaspoons caviar and chopped egg
  • 15 tortilla chips and about 1/2 cup guacamole
  • 10 potato chips and about 1/3 cup sour cream and onion dip
  • 4 pigs in a blanket
  • 6 chicken fingers
  • 2 ounces Brie and 6 crackers
  • 3 small crab cakes
  • 2 ounces pate on 4 toast points
  • 6 antipasto hors d'oeuvres made with 1 slice pepperoni, 1 olive, and a small cube (about 1/4 ounce) of part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 serving (about 3 1/2 ounces) gingerbread
  • 3 homemade chocolate chip cookies
  • 1 piece carrot cake with icing
  • 4 large strawberries dipped in dark chocolate
  • 7 small (2-inch) sugar cookies
  • 2 1/2 ounces fudge
  • 6 ounces eggnog (alcoholic)
  • 2 martini cocktails (2 1/2 ounces each)
  • 2 glasses red wine (5 ounces each)
  • Two 12-ounce beers

Next: Add this workout, only 4 weeks to getting slim, strong, and sexy!


Originally published in FITNESS magazine, December 2006.