Photo: Getty Images
Fast weight loss
Diet developed by Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD
After January 1, calorie amnesia comes to an end—and you’re officially out of excuses for nibbling on tree-shaped cookies for breakfast and lunching on gift buckets of cheese popcorn. But when the season of splurging is over, you need more than good intentions to start eating right. That’s why we loaded this supersimple, mix-and-match, 1,300-calorie-per-day menu plan with magic ingredients that are satisfying and scientifically proven to boost weight loss. Get ready to lose 15 pounds in six weekswithout hunger.
Honey-Pecan Oatmeal With Raspberries
Prepare 1 packet plain instant oatmeal with hot water, according to package directions. Top with 2 teaspoons honey, 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, and 3⁄4 cup fresh raspberries (or 3⁄4 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed).
Skinny secret! Oatmeal helps you blast off belly fat. In a study, people who ate whole grains like oatmeal as part of a diet lost more around their middles than people who ate refined grains.
Fresh Tomato and Feta Frittata
Whisk together 1 large egg, 2 large egg whites, 1⁄2 cup chopped tomato, and 2 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled. Cook the egg mixture over medium heat (without stirring) in a small skillet coated with cooking spray for 4 minutes or until eggs are firm. Flip and cook other side for 2 minutes more. Serve with 1 slice whole-grain toast with 2 teaspoons trans fat–free margarine.
Skinny secret! Crack an egg. Eating protein in the morning will make you feel fuller all day long and help you lose weight.
Black Bean, Steak, and Avocado Salad
Sauté 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet for 1 minute. Add 3 ounces steak, thinly sliced, and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1⁄4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained; sauté for another 3 minutes. Toss with 4 cups mixed salad greens, 1⁄4 diced avocado, 1⁄4 cup canned no-salt-added corn, and 1 tablespoon Italian dressing.
Skinny secret! Capsaicin, a compound in crushed red pepper, ups the calories you naturally burn after eating.
White Bean and Basil Penne
Cook 1⁄2 cup whole-grain penne pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside. Return pot to heat, and add 1⁄2 cup canned white beans, drained and rinsed, 1 cup chopped zucchini, and 1⁄4 cup spaghetti sauce; cook for 7 minutes. Stir pasta into sauce. Top with 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh basil and 1 teaspoon toasted pine nuts.
Skinny secret! Beans contain resistant starch, which triggers key appetite hormones that make you feel full.
Cashew-Coconut Shrimp Stir-Fry
Sauté 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 teaspoon peanut oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of frozen stir-fry vegetables; cook for 5 minutes. Add 12 medium precooked frozen shrimp, 1⁄2 cup precooked microwavable brown rice, and 1⁄3 cup light coconut milk; sauté 5–8 minutes more. Top with 1 tablespoon chopped cashews and 1⁄4 teaspoon light soy sauce.
Skinny secret! People who bulk up on veggies lose 25 percent more weight than people who just trim the fat in their diets.
Southwestern-Style Chicken and Veggies
Heat 1 frozen meal, 300 calories or fewer (such as Kashi Southwest Style Chicken), and 2 cups frozen vegetables in microwave. Top warm vegetables with 1 tablespoon fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
Skinny secret! Women who regularly eat frozen entrées lose 30 to 35 percent more weight than other dieters (probably because the portions are controlled).
Tuscan Tuna Sandwich
Mix 3 ounces light tuna in water, drained; 5 chopped jumbo black olives; 2 chopped celery ribs; juice from 1⁄2 lemon; and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place tuna mixture on 1 piece toasted whole-grain bread, and top with 1⁄2 cup mixed lettuce greens. Top with another piece of toasted whole-grain bread, and serve with 1 small orange on the side.
Skinny secret! Go for fish and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They keep you feeling full for long stretches.
Curried Lentil Soup With Pita
Stir 1⁄4 teaspoon curry powder into 1 1⁄2 cups low-sodium lentil soup (such as Amy’s Organic Lentil Soup-Light in Sodium), and heat in microwave. Top with 2 tablespoons low-fat Greek yogurt; serve with 1 whole-grain pita, cut into triangles. Enjoy 1⁄2 cup grapes on the side.
Skinny secret! Start your meal with soup, and you’ll eat 20 percent fewer total calories than you would if you skipped the soup. Why? Soup fills you up. (It could translate into a 10- to 15-pound loss in a year.)
Mushroom and Walnut Fettuccine
Cook 2 ounces fettuccine according to package directions; drain. In a skillet sauté 2 minced garlic cloves in 1 teaspoon olive oil for 1 minute. Add 1 cup sliced mushrooms, 1⁄2 cup canned artichokes, chopped, and 3⁄4 cup halved cherry tomatoes; cook for 6 minutes. Toss with pasta, and top with 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley.
Skinny booster! Swapping meat for mushrooms cuts hundreds of calories.
Dijon Chicken With Potatoes and Kale
Preheat broiler. Spread 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard on 1 (2-ounce) skinless piece of rotisserie chicken; place on foil. Broil for 7 minutes or until mustard is browned. Sauté 1 tablespoon olive oil and 2 minced garlic cloves in a skillet for 1 minute. Add 1 small potato, cut into wedges, and 2 cups chopped kale; sauté for 15 minutes. Drizzle all with juice from 1⁄2 lemon.
Skinny secret! Olive oil contains oleic acid, which sets off your satiety hormones.
Crisp Bread With Parmesan and Fig
Top 2 crisp bread crackers (like Wasa Crackers) with a total of 3⁄4 ounce shaved fresh Parmesan cheese and 2 dried figs, thinly sliced.
Skinny secret! A small bit of a flavor-packed seasoning, like Parmesan cheese, helps you enjoy your low-cal food more, so you eat less.
Pistachios and Black Cherry Spritzer
Mix 1 1⁄2 cups (12 ounces) club soda with 3 tablespoons (1 1⁄2 ounces) black cherry juice. Enjoy with 1 ounce pistachios (about 50 nuts).
Skinny secret! Eat a few nuts and you’re likely to eat 200 calories less per day. Nuts are high in fiber and protein, both of which help keep you satisfied.
Green tea and a cookie
Stir 2 teaspoons honey into 1 1⁄2 cups (12 ounces) brewed green tea, and enjoy with 1 whole-grain cookie (such as Kashi Oatmeal Dark Chocolate).
Skinny secret! Green tea is a great preworkout drink: It increases your endurance by as much as 24%, which means you may exercise longer, thus burning even more calories.
Apple slices and almond butter
Spread 1 tablespoon almond butter on 1 medium apple, sliced.
Skinny secret! Women who added apples to their daily routinewithout changing anything else about what they atelost 2 pounds in 10 weeks, according to one study. We added nut butter for protein to help keep you satisfied.
Cereal-Yogurt Parfait With Pomegranates
Top 6 ounces fat-free blueberry yogurt (such as Brown Cow Nonfat Yogurt) with 1⁄2 cup enriched whole-grain cereal (such as Total) and 1⁄4 cup pomegranate seeds.
Skinny secret! Want a great body? Breakfast cereal can help you get it. Fortified cereals boost your vitamin B6 levels, which help you keep healthy lean muscle while losing fat, according to Spanish researchers.
Photo: Don Penny
Honey-Broiled Grapefruit With Walnuts
Preheat broiler. Cut 1 grapefruit in half, and spread 2 teaspoons honey on top. Broil for 7 minutes or until the edges are golden. Top with 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts.
Skinny secret! People who ate half a grapefruit three times a day lost 3.6 pounds in 12 weeks—3 pounds more than those who didn’t. The grapefruit eaters had smaller waistlines, too.