|Diets? They’re often unhealthy hunger-fests. For you instead: a satisfying meal plan that slims you with seriously energizing and nutritious eats. |
Start by following the key strategies, along with our week-long, 1,300-calorie-a-day kickstart. Then go to Health.com/yes-you-can for bonus snack recipes for the next 21 days—you’ll get an extra one each day.
When you add in exercise (at least four weekly 45-minute moderate-to-intense cardio sessions), you can knock off up to 12 pounds in 30 days!
(Colette de Barros)
|1. Grab fresh, in-season eats whenever possible. You’ll get the most nutrients for your buck, and these picks will energize you and keep your metabolism humming, says Jackie Newgent, RD. |
2. Sip mainly calorie-free drinks. Go for water, tea, and coffee to save hundreds of cals.
3. Eat with real plates and silverware (no takeout containers!), and you’ll feel more content.
Now take a peek at the totally yummy foods you get to chow down on.
• Lunch and dinner
|About 400 calories (Choose 1 daily) |
Blueberry Cooler and Cranberry Muffin
Puree 1 cup each frozen blueberries and 1 percent low-fat milk, 1/3 cup diced fresh pineapple, 11?2 tablespoons honey, and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract into a creamy beverage.
Enjoy with 1 small (2-ounce) cranberry muffin, such as CranBran VitaTops.
|Split and toast 1 whole-wheat English muffin, spreading both halves with 1 tablespoon blackberry jam. Enjoy with 2 1/2 ounces poultry sausage, such as Aidells Organic Chicken and Apple Breakfast Links, and half of a large pink grapefruit drizzled with 1/2 teaspoon honey. |
|Have 1 fast-food oatmeal (around 340 calories), such as Jamba Juice Berry Cherry Pecan. |
Pair with 8 ounces coffee, flavored with 1/4 cup 1 percent low-fat milk and a dash of cinnamon.
|Prepare 1 (300- to 320-calorie) organic or 'all-natural' frozen entree (choose an item that doesn’t contain the word "artificial" in its ingredient list), such as Cedarlane Uncured Turkey Bacon, Vegetable and Cheese Egg White Omelette, or Helen’s Kitchen Breakfast Burrito. |
Have with 1 small banana and 1 cup unsweetened iced jasmine green tea, garnished with 1 lemon wedge.
|Prepare 1 egg, omelet-style, in 1 teaspoon olive oil with 2 minced sun-dried tomato halves. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste, and place between 2 slices whole-grain toast. |
Serve with 1 1/2 ounces soft goat cheese, 1 cup loosely packed fresh baby arugula or other leafy greens, 4 thin slices zucchini, and a squirt of fresh lemon juice.
|In a bowl, layer 1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup granola and 1 cup sliced kiwifruit. Sprinkle with a dash of nutmeg. |
|About 400 calories (Choose 2 daily) |
Brush 1 large portobello mushroom cap with 2 teaspoons olive oil and grill. Top 1 grilled (2-ounce) whole-grain burger bun with mushroom, 2 tablespoons tzatziki sauce, and 4 thin slices each vine-ripened tomato, white onion, and cucumber.
Add a dash of curry powder to 1 cup grilled seedless grapes and serve on side, along with 1 cup unsweetened iced white tea, garnished with a sprig of fresh mint.
|Enjoy 1 grilled bone-in chicken breast, brushed with 2 teaspoons barbecue sauce, along with 1 medium ear grilled corn seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced chives or cilantro and a pinch of sea salt, and 1/2 cup canned vegetarian baked beans. |
Serve with 2 teaspoons hot sauce.
|Toss 3/4 cup cooked whole-grain fusilli or radiatore pasta with 1 teaspoon olive oil. |
Mix pasta with 1 ounce chopped prosciutto or American country ham, 1/2 cup canned, water-packed artichoke hearts (drained and sliced), 1/3 cup each chopped broccoli florets and yellow or orange bell pepper, 2 tablespoons each chopped red onion and thinly sliced fresh basil, 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/4 cup chopped plum tomatoes, and a pinch each of, sea salt, black pepper, and fresh minced oregano.
|Pan-grill until well-done 1 medium (4 1/2-ounce, about 93 percent lean) ground turkey patty, mixed with 1 teaspoon each soy sauce and freshly grated ginger. |
Place on a 1/2-cup bed of cooked whole-wheat couscous. Stir-fry 1/2 cup each cauliflower florets, bok choy, and cremini mushrooms in 2 teaspoons peanut oil and 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger.
Sprinkle mixture with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, and place on top of turkey. Garnish with sliced fresh scallion, and serve with 1/2 teaspoon each soy sauce and Sriracha (Thai chili-garlic sauce).
|Spread 2 tablespoons natural cashew butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons Neufchatel (1/3-less-fat cream cheese), and 1/4 cup gently smashed fresh or frozen thawed raspberries between 2 slices whole-grain raisin bread. |
Serve with 1 carambola (star fruit), sliced into eight stars.
|Toss together 1 cup each chopped romaine, radicchio, and seasonal veggies of choice (such as green beans or yellow squash), 1/4 cup each canned black or pinto beans (drained) and thinly sliced red onion, 1 ounce each diced Monterey jack cheese and smoked turkey breast, 5 coarsely broken blue corn tortilla chips, 1/4 cubed avocado, 1 very thinly sliced small jalapeño, and fresh cilantro to taste. |
Dress with mixture of 3 tablespoons salsa verde (tomatillo sauce), 1 teaspoon canola oil, and lime juice to taste.
|Select 3/4 cup (the size of a small fist) prepared veggie item, like mixed roasted vegetables; 3/4 cup prepared grain-based dish, such as quinoa salad; and 1/2 cup (the size of two eggs) protein-based item, such as shrimp salad. |
Place atop 1 cup fresh salad greens.
|Cook 1 medium baked russet potato in a microwave or toaster oven, halve, and top with 1/2 cup vegetarian chili (such as Kettle Cuisine Three Bean Chili) and 3 tablespoons each shredded sharp cheddar cheese and minced scallion. |
Savor with roasted beet salad: Combine 1/2 cup extra thinly sliced, roasted, chilled beets with 1 1/2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons minced scallion, and a pinch each of fresh minced rosemary, sea salt, and black pepper.
|Combine 3 ounces albacore tuna, such as Oregon’s Choice Gourmet Albacore, mixed with 1/4 cup finely chopped celery or jicama, 2 tablespoons plain fat-free Greek yogurt, 2 teaspoons each mayonnaise and capers, 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, and a pinch each of onion powder and fresh lemon zest. |
Serve open-faced on a 2-ounce portion of whole-wheat baguette, and enjoy with 1 Asian pear.
|Top 1 large, thick (3-ounce) slice of roasted eggplant with 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella, and broil until browned and bubbly. Pair with a side of 1 cup cooked whole-wheat spaghetti, tossed with 1/4 cup marinara sauce and 3 large roasted garlic cloves. |
Sprinkle eggplant and spaghetti with 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil and dried hot pepper flakes to taste.
|About 100 calories (Choose 1 daily) |
• 2 small fresh Black Mission figs, halved, each half topped with 1 teaspoon part-skim ricotta cheese and drizzled with 1/4 teaspoon honey
• 2 California prunes, such as Sunsweet Ones, and 1 Mini Babybel Light cheese
• 1 small (4-fluid-ounce) glass Pinot Noir or Syrah
• 1 grilled thick (the size of seven stacked CDs) pineapple slice, brushed with 1 teaspoon teriyaki sauce and sprinkled with 2 teaspoons crushed almonds
|• 1 Kind mini bar, such as Mini Fruit and Nut Delight |
• 1/2 cup scoop of frozen yogurt
• 8 slices English cucumber, each topped with 1/2 tablespoon hummus and 1 extra-thin slice Jamaican or Serrano pepper