Natural Living

Farmers' Market Diet: Lose Weight With Our Fresh Recipes

YUNHEE KIM


We've found a new secret weapon for healthy weight loss. It's not gimmicky or expensive but all natural, delicious, and sure to give you fast results: It's your local farmers' market.

Because just-picked fruits and vegetables smell and taste so amazing, our plan gets you excited about the right foods—the ones that make it easy to shed pounds. And when you surround yourself with juicy tomatoes and sweet peaches (plus farm-fresh eggs and dairy, lean meats, seafood, and whole-grain breads), you'll want to slow down and savor them. That means you'll fill up quicker on fewer calories. So grab your basket, and read on to discover our fresh take on dropping pounds.

Your fresh-picked plan
We designed a week's worth of delicious menus that add up to about 1,500 calories a day (breakfasts about 300 calories each, lunches about 400, dinners about 500, and snacks and desserts around 150). Pair the diet with this fitness plan and you'll lose up to 10 pounds in five weeks.

Note: The amounts of ingredients are to taste unless otherwise noted.


Monday

Breakfast
Farm-Stand Oatmeal: Cook a packet of plain instant oatmeal. Top with 2 tablespoons almonds and 1 cup blackberries; drizzle with 1 teaspoon honey.

Snack
Top 6 ounces plain low-fat yogurt with 1⁄2 cup blueberries and lemon zest.

Lunch
Chicken and Arugula Salad: Marinate 1 quartered apricot in balsamic vinegar; grill until softened. Brush a 4-ounce skinless chicken breast with olive oil, cut in strips, and grill. Top arugula with chicken, apricot, and 2 tablespoons fresh Parmesan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon each olive oil and balsamic vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
FYI
Produce takes off the pounds: In a recent study, people who increased the amount of water-rich fruits and vegetables they ate, while lowering their fat intake, lost one-third more weight over six months; they also felt less hungry.

Snack
Serve 1 1⁄2 cups raw summer squash rounds with 1⁄4 cup hummus.

Dinner
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms: Brush 2–3 portobello mushroom caps (stems removed) with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes per side in a grill pan. Mix fresh chopped basil, corn kernels, peas, and minced garlic; drizzle with olive oil. Serve mushrooms and vegetables with 1 cup whole-wheat couscous.


Tuesday

Breakfast
English Muffin With Peanut Butter: Top a whole-grain English muffin with 1 1⁄2 tablespoons natural peanut butter and 2 teaspoons fruit preserves.
FYI
A healthy mix is what you need: Combining protein, good fats (like the ones in fish), and fiber will help you feel satisfied and keep your blood sugar level stable, which means you won't be reaching for the cookie jar.

Snack
Combine 1⁄2 cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1 cup fresh cherries.

Lunch
Chopped Green-Market Salad: Top shredded green leaf lettuce with grape tomatoes, diced cucumber, 1⁄4 cup diced avocado, 2 tablespoons feta, chickpeas, and diced red onion; drizzle with 1 tablespoon each olive oil and lemon juice.

Snack
Spread 11⁄2 tablespoons natural almond butter on 2 whole-grain crisps.

Dinner
Arugula and Blueberry Salad With Seared Red Snapper (see recipe)


Wednesday

Breakfast
Farmers' Yogurt Parfait: Top 6 ounces plain low-fat yogurt with 1⁄4 cup granola, diced apricot, and 1 teaspoon honey.

Snack
Enjoy 1⁄4 cup raw, unsalted almonds.

Lunch
White Bean and Tuna Wrap: Mix 1/3 cup cannelini beans and 3 ounces chunk light tuna with red onion, diced tomato, and 1 tablespoon pecorino Romano cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Fill a whole-wheat wrap with mixture.

Dinner
Grilled Chicken With Pesto Asparagus: Brush 2 (3-ounce) chicken breasts with olive oil; cook in grill pan. (Save 1 breast for Thursday's lunch.) Mix 1 tablespoon pesto with halved cherry tomatoes and 1 cup each steamed aspara-gus and roasted fingerling potatoes.

Dessert
Honey-Roasted Peaches With Lavender (see recipe)


Thursday

Breakfast
Toast and Berries: Top 2 slices whole-grain raisin toast with 1 ounce goat cheese and 3⁄4 cup sliced berries.
FYI
Fiber helps you stick to any diet: It makes you feel full longer—and our fruit-and-veggie-packed plan serves up about 24 grams of fiber a day.

Snack
Combine 1 1⁄2 cups cubed honeydew with fresh mint and 2 tablespoons flaked coconut.

Lunch
Market-Table Pasta Salad: Cook 1 ounce penne pasta; cool. Mix pasta with fresh basil, diced chicken, 1 cup diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano cheese. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil.

Snack
Top apple slices with 1 ounce aged Gouda cheese (about 2–3 thin slices).

Dinner
Spiced Turkey Burger With Moroccan Carrots: Mix 4 ounces lean ground turkey with 1 tablespoon feta cheese, 1⁄4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1⁄8 teaspoon red chili flakes. Form into a patty; grill. Top with sliced tomato and 1⁄4 cup tzaziki sauce. Serve burger on a whole-wheat bun, with a side of Moroccan Carrots (1 1⁄2 cups steamed carrots, 1⁄4 teaspoon cumin, garlic, lemon juice, and 2 teaspoons olive oil).


Friday

Breakfast
Hearty Cereal With Fresh Berries: Combine 1 cup whole-grain cereal with 1 cup raspberries and 3⁄4 cup skim milk.

Lunch
Market Lunch Box: Pack up 2 slices multigrain bread with 2 hard-boiled farm-fresh eggs, 6 steamed asparagus spears, and 1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese.

Snack
Spread 1⁄2 ounce part-skim ricotta on 2 whole-grain crisps, top with 2 fresh figs (quartered), and drizzle with 1 teaspoon honey.

Dinner
Sugar Snap Pea Saute With Free-Range Chicken Breasts (see recipe)

Dessert
Strawberry-and-Rhubarb Compote: Mix 1⁄2 cup each chopped strawberries and rhubarb with 2 teaspoons sugar, a dash of lemon juice, and 1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Simmer for about 5–8 minutes. Cool. Top with 1⁄2 cup plain low-fat yogurt.


Saturday

Breakfast
Multigrain Pancakes With Peaches: Prepare batter from a mix, and cook 3 silver-dollar-size pancakes. Top with sliced fresh peaches, and serve with 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt. Drizzle 2 teaspoons maple syrup and 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Snack
Spread 1 cup plum slices with 1 ounce farmer's cheese.

Lunch
Steak Salad With Red Peppers and Ginger Vinaigrette: Cook 4 ounces lean flank steak on a grill or in a grill pan. Slice steak into strips. Top a bed of spinach with steak, red bell pepper slices, orange slices, and sliced scallion. Make dressing with 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1 tablespoon grapeseed (or canola) oil, 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, minced ginger, and garlic. Sprinkle salad with sesame seeds.

Snack
Artichoke-and-Caper Dip With Fresh Vegetable Crudites (see recipe)

Dinner
Heirloom Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart (see recipe)


Sunday

Breakfast
Poached Eggs With Vine-Ripened Tomatoes and Chives: Poach 2 eggs, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon minced chives. Serve with fresh tomato slices, seasoned with salt and pepper, and 2 slices turkey bacon.

Snack
Top 1 cup mixed melon (watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe) with 1⁄4 cup granola.

Lunch
Grilled Vegetable and Goat Cheese Sandwich: Brush zucchini and red onion slices with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook on a grill pan for 8–10 minutes. Spread 1 ounce herbed goat cheese on 2 pieces toasted multigrain bread, and top with roasted red peppers, zucchini, and red onion. Serve with 2 cups mesclun greens, drizzled with fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil.

Snack
Enjoy 1 fresh nectarine and 1 small iced latte.

Dinner
Grilled Salmon With Avocado Salsa: Brush a 5-ounce salmon fillet with olive oil, and cook in a grill pan. Mix diced avocado, red onion, cilantro, fresh lime juice, and a dash of salt. Top salmon with 3⁄4 cup salsa, and serve with mixed greens drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil.

Diet by Marissa Lippert, MS, RD