You Can Do It!
If weight loss is your goal, combine the Lose Weight workout program, part of the "You Can Do It!" makeover plan, and our super-simple diet.
Each day, one meal is marked "Your Choice!" In that case, grab a (roughly) 300-calorie frozen entree or whip up one of the 20 low-calorie recipes from our online collection. Follow the days in order or feel free to mix them up. You'll consume about 1,800 calories a day and lose up to four pounds in a month — six if you skip each day's snack. Next month we'll deliver a whole new menu of waist-whittling meals for a total loss of 12 pounds!
- Very Berry Sundae: Layer 1 cup whole, hulled strawberries, 2 peeled, chopped kiwis, 6 ounces low-fat strawberry-kiwi yogurt, and 1/3 cup granola cereal.
- 1 whole wheat pita bread torn into chunks, 1/2 cup hummus (premade or packaged using olive oil and minced garlic) topped with 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes and
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- Sweet Potato Fries: Cut one 6-ounce sweet potato into strips, rub with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and cayenne pepper. Roast for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F.
- 1/2 cup sugar-free vanilla pudding made with nonfat milk
- 3 Wasa breads topped with 2 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese, 1 sliced apple and 2 1/2 tablespoons mango chutney
- 1 frozen whole wheat waffle, toasted and topped with 2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter and 2/3 cup fresh or thawed blueberries
- Coffee with 3 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half
- South-of-the-Border Grande Salad: Combine one 8-ounce bag mixed greens, 1/3 cup drained black beans, 1/3 cup corn, 2 tablespoons diced red onion, 10 cherry tomatoes, 1 ounce grated low-fat mozzarella cheese, and 3 tablespoons low-fat ranch dressing.
- 1 cup nonfat milk with a dash of sugar-free flavoring (such as hazelnut or vanilla)
- Roasted Vegetables: Cut 2 peeled carrots into rounds; cut 2 small potatoes into quarters. Rub with 2 teaspoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon thyme. Roast at 400 degrees F. for approximately 25 minutes.
- 1/2 cantaloupe seeded and filled with 1 cup low-fat lemon yogurt and sprinkled with 1/2 tablespoon slivered almonds
- Morning Super Shake: Blend 3 tablespoons orange juice concentrate, 1/4 cup whole cranberries, 1 banana, 1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ, and 1 cup nonfat milk or light soy milk.
- 1 slice whole wheat toast topped with 1 tablespoon low-fat cream cheese and 1 tablespoon cranberry sauce
- Open-Face Spicy Chicken Sandwich: Layer one 3-ounce chicken breast and 2 canned green chilies on 1 slice toasted whole wheat bread.
- Pear Salad: Combine 1 small pear, stemmed, seeded, and chopped, 1 tablespoon raisins, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint.
- 1 cup nonfat milk
- 1/2 cup cooked brown rice (make extra for use later in the week)
- 1 steamed artichoke with 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 slice cinnamon-raisin bread dipped in 6 ounces low-fat cinnamon-apple yogurt
- 1 medium Granny Smith apple
- 1 small banana and 1 navel orange, peeled and sliced
- Latte made with 1/2 cup nonfat milk
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable-beef soup with 1/2 cup added mixed vegetables
- 1 slice French bread
- Marinated Vegetable Salad: Combine 1/2 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup carrot rounds, and 1/2 cup cauliflowerets, lightly steamed, and mix with 1 tablespoon light Italian dressing.
- 1 cup fresh or frozen cheese-and-spinach ravioli topped with 1/2 cup bottled low-sodium spaghetti sauce and 1 tablespoon low-fat grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup steamed fresh green beans (cook extra for use later in the week) topped with 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 mango, peeled, sliced and drizzled with 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
- Nachos: 2 cups tortilla chips (about 27 chips), 1/4 cup fat-free refried beans, 2 tablespoons salsa, and 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- Breakfast in a Mug: Blend 2/3 cup whole-grain flake cereal, 1/2 cup nonfat milk, 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt, 1 small banana, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and 1/2 teaspoon maple extract until smooth.
- 2 small unsalted bread sticks
- 1 apple, seeded and cut into quarters and dipped in 2 tablespoons caramel sundae topping
- Spicy Shrimp Skewers: Mix 1 tablespoon chili sauce and 1 teaspoon chili powder in a bowl. Add 3 ounces large shrimp; coat with sauce. Thread onto skewers along with chunks of red onion, sliced zucchini, and mushrooms. Place on heated grill or grill pan until cooked through, turning occasionally so they don't burn, approximately 10 to 12 minutes total.
- Vegetable and Rice Salad: Combine 1 cup cooked brown rice (from Wednesday), 1/4 cup diced yellow peppers, 2 tablespoons diced green onion, and 5 cherry tomatoes, halved. Mix with 2 teaspoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, and 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley.
- Almond Milk: In a blender, puree 1 cup nonfat milk, 1 teaspoon almond extract, nutmeg, and ice until frothy.
- 1 slice angel food cake topped with 1 cup peaches mixed with 5 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon rum or brandy extract
- Egg Sandwich: Top 1 toasted whole wheat English muffin with 2 slices tomato, 1 scrambled egg (scrambled in a nonstick skillet using vegetable spray), and 1 ounce low-fat cheese. Place under the broiler just long enough for the cheese to melt, approximately 2 minutes.
- 1/2 pink grapefruit
- 1 cup nonfat milk
- Pocket Sandwich: Fill 1 whole wheat pita bread with 1/4 cup kidney beans, 1/4 cup diced red pepper, 4 cucumber slices, 1 teaspoon sunflower seeds, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard.
- Tossed Salad: Combine 2 cups mixed greens, 1/4 cup grated carrots, and 2 tablespoons low-calorie Italian dressing.
- 1 cup watermelon cubes topped with 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
- 1 five-ounce baked potato topped with 2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream and 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 cup asparagus sauteed in 1 teaspoon olive oil and 2 minced garlic cloves
- Tomato Salad: Combine 1 large sliced tomato with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, and sliced fresh basil.
- 1/2 cup raspberry sorbet with 2 tablespoons raspberries
- 3 fig bar cookies
- Hot cocoa made with one packet sugar-free cocoa mix and 1 cup nonfat milk
- 1 orange, peeled and sectioned
- 1 cup nonfat milk
- Steak Fajitas: Combine 3 ounces sliced, broiled lean steak, 1/4 cup sauteed onions, 1/4 cup sauteed red pepper slices, and 1 tablespoon fajita sauce; wrap in a 10-inch flour tortilla.
- Green Bean and Tomato Salad: Mix 1 cup leftover green beans (from Thursday) with 2 tablespoons chopped red onion, 6 halved cherry tomatoes, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, and 2 teaspoons chopped parsley.
- 1 slice Fresh Vegetable and Cheese Pizza: Top 1/8 of a 15-inch frozen cheese pizza with chopped green onions, sliced mushrooms, fresh spinach, and artichoke hearts (canned in water and drained). Bake according to directions. Top with sliced tomatoes just before serving.
- Low-Fat Coleslaw: Mix 2 cups shredded cabbage with 1/3 cup pineapple (canned in its own juice and drained) and 2 tablespoons low-calorie coleslaw dressing.
- 1 cup low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt
- 3/4 cup grapes
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, September 2006.