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The 5-Factor Diet

Blaine Moats

Chicken Chow Mein

We can fly to the moon and map the human genome, but when it comes to finding a weight-loss plan that sticks, we're stumped. Even though extra pounds haunt so many of us this time of year, only recently have experts offered hope. That's big news: We're more likely to follow a diet that has healthy recipes we can make fast. This eating program, based on The 5-Factor Diet (Meredith Books, 2006) by Harley Pasternak, a best-selling diet and fitness expert, does just that. Every recipe contains protein, fiber, carbs, and a little bit of healthy fat, so you'll never feel hungry or deprived. To follow the plan, eat three meals and two snacks a day, says Pasternak. "You'll end up consuming less overall than you normally would, because you feel satisfied all day long."

We made it super-easy by giving you a supermarket checklist of every food item you'll need, plus five exclusive recipes adapted from The 5-Factor Diet for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

Fitness Tasted and Tested! 5-Minute Meals

They're packed with flavor and guaranteed to slim you down. Each can be prepared in just five minutes (minus the cooking time) and call for just five core ingredients, plus seasonings and oils. Try one tonight.

Chicken Chow Mein

Makes: 2 servings

5 Core Ingredients

  • 6 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into strips
  • 5 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 3 cups snow peas, stems removed
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce

Plus

  • Cooking oil spray
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

Directions

  1. Coat a wok with cooking spray and place over heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken strips and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  2. Add the carrots, snow peas, bean sprouts, sesame seeds, and garlic powder. Stir-fry for 1 minute.
  3. Add the soy sauce and cook for 1 minute. Ladle into shallow bowls and garnish with a few additional sesame seeds.

Nutrition facts per serving: 375 calories, 34g protein, 54g carbohydrate, 5g fat (1g saturated), 15g fiber.

Get 10 more recipes from The 5-Factor Diet

5-Factor Lasagna

Makes: 2 servings

5 Core Ingredients

  • 2 small eggplants, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 pound tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup nonfat ricotta cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup shredded nonfat mozzarella cheese

Plus

  • Salt and cracked black pepper
  • Cooking oil spray
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Season the eggplant slices with salt and pepper. Place them in a nonstick baking pan and roast for 15 minutes.
  2. Coat a glass baking dish with cooking spray and cover the bottom with eggplant slices. Ladle some of the tomato sauce over the eggplant and top with some of the tomato slices. Sprinkle the tomato with basil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Spread ricotta over the tomatoes. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Repeat the layers, ending with mozzarella.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes. Then place under the broiler until the cheese turns golden.
  4. To serve, cut the lasagna into slices and garnish with additional Italian seasoning.

Nutrition facts per serving: 315 calories, 34g protein, 45g carbohydrate, 2g fat (1g saturated), 12g fiber.

Oatmeal-Berry Pancakes

Makes: 2 servings

5 Core Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cups chopped strawberries
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup nonfat sour cream
  • 1 cup blueberries

Plus

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar or Splenda
  • Butter-flavor cooking oil spray

Directions

  1. Beat together the egg whites, strawberries, rolled oats, and sugar until smooth.
  2. Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat. Ladle 1/4 cup batter into the skillet.
  3. Cook until batter is set around the edges of the pan, then push batter toward the center with a spatula. Cook until batter begins to set in the center.
  4. Turn the pancake over. Cook for 1 minute. Repeat with remaining batter.
  5. To serve, top pancakes with sour cream and blueberries.

Nutrition facts per serving: 506 calories, 35g protein, 79g carbohydrate, 5g fat (1g saturated), 9g fiber.

Espresso Panna Cotta

Makes: 2 servings

5 Core Ingredients

  • 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 cup nonfat sour cream or quark
  • 1 shot espresso coffee, chilled (To avoid caffeine, use decaf espresso.)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Plus

  • 2 teaspoons sugar or Splenda

Directions

  1. Whisk together the yogurt, sour cream, coffee, chopped chocolate, vanilla extract, and sugar until smooth.
  2. Pour into two small containers and chill until ready to serve.

Nutrition facts per serving: 268 calories, 15g protein, 41g carbohydrate, 2g fat (1g saturated), 0.4g fiber.

Pesto Crisps with Tomatoes and Cheese

Makes: 2 servings

5 Core Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup nonfat ricotta cheese
  • 6 Bran-a-crisp crackers
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves
  • Salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Spread a generous amount of ricotta on each cracker. Season tomatoes with salt and arrange them on crackers. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper; garnish with basil.

Nutrition facts per serving: 145 calories, 16g protein, 25g carbohydrate, 1g fat (0.4g saturated), 7g fiber.

Shopping List

From the produce section

  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • 2 small eggplants
  • Carrots
  • Snow peas
  • Bean sprouts
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries

From the dairy case

  • Nonfat sour cream
  • Nonfat yogurt
  • Nonfat ricotta cheese
  • Nonfat mozzarella cheese

From the center aisles

  • Espresso
  • Bittersweet chocolate
  • Rolled oats
  • Bran-a-crisp crackers
  • Tomato sauce
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Vanilla extract
  • Sugar or Splenda
  • Cooking oil spray
  • Dried basil
  • Italian seasoning
  • Garlic powder
  • Sesame seeds

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