This plan from Jackie Newgent, RD, author of Big Green Cookbook, was created specifically for summer when farmers' markets offer an endless variety of veggies and fruits and fussy meal prep is the last thing anybody wants to be doing. The combo of fresh and fast fare is so tasty you'll be tempted to keep eating this way long after you've retired your swimsuit for the season.
During the first week's 1,200-calorie jumpstart, choose a breakfast, an a.m. snack, a lunch, and a dinner for each day. After the first week, add an extra snack in the afternoon or evening.
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Breakfast: Yogurt or Cereal
(300 calories each)
Fruit Yogurt + Nutrition Bar Enjoy a 6-oz fruity nonfat Greek yogurt, such as Chobani 0% Blood Orange, with one mini nutrition bar (about 110 calories), like a Kind Mini Almond Cashew + Flax (Omega-3) bar, and a small fresh peach.
Cereal with Fruit Combine 200 calories' worth of whole-grain cereal made with flax or other seeds, such as 1 cup Kashi GoLean Crunch! Honey Almond Flax or 1 1/4 cups Nature's Path Mesa Sunrise Flakes, with 3/4 cup plain light soy or fat-free milk and 1/2 cup assorted fresh berries.
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Breakfast: Eggs, Sandwich, or Waffles
Herbed Eggs Cook 1 egg plus 2 egg whites, omelet style, in 1 tsp olive oil. Top with 2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs like basil, parsley, and tarragon, and a pinch of sea salt. Serve with 1/4 cantaloupe, sliced, plus 1 piece
whole-grain toast spread with 1/2-oz goat cheese.
Breakfast Sandwich Have a wrap, such as Starbucks Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap or Cosi Roasted Veggie and Egg White Wrap.
Summer Waffles Top 2 whole-grain blueberry waffles, such as Van's Organics, with 1 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup and 1 fresh nectarine, sliced.
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Lunch: Sandwich or Sushi
(300 calories each)
Turkey Arugula Sandwich Stuff a 2-oz whole-grain baguette portion with 1 TBSP creamy
horseradish sauce, 1 1/2 oz smoked turkey, and 1 1/2 cups baby arugula. Enjoy
with 1 large sliced tomato sprinkled with sea salt and balsamic vinegar.
Sushi to go Order 1 (6-piece) vegetarian sushi roll, such as avocado with brown
rice. Serve with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger to taste, plus 3/4
cup steamed edamame.
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Lunch: Salad Options
Confetti Mexican Salad Toss together 2 cups finely chopped romaine, 1 cup finely chopped red
cabbage, 1/2 cup each diced yellow squash and quartered grape tomatoes,
1/3 cup finely diced or shredded fennel bulb or carrot, 1/4 cup each
canned white and black beans, drained, 1 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro, 1
tsp olive oil, juice of 1/2 lime, and sea salt to taste. Serve with 8 blue
corn tortilla chips and 1/4 cup salsa.
Serrano Chicken Caesar Toss 3 cups romaine lettuce with 2 TBSP low-cal Caesar dressing, 3 1/2 oz pre-grilled chicken breast strips, 1 minced serrano pepper, and 2 tsp sunflower seeds. Serve with 15 grapes or 1/8 honeydew melon.
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Lunch: Gyro or Frozen Entree
Veggie Gyro Grill a garden veggie burger, cut into thin strips, and season to
taste with paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper; place in 1/2 large
whole-grain pita, and add 1/3 cup extra-thin slices of orange bell
pepper, 2 TBSP tzatziki sauce (or mixture of hummus and plain yogurt),
and 2 TBSP fresh parsley or chives. Enjoy with 2 cups mixed salad greens
topped with 1/8 cup thinly sliced red onion, 1 tsp olive oil, and lemon
juice to taste.
Quick-Fix Entrée Heat up an organic or all-natural frozen entrée (about 275 calories),
such as Amy's Indian Mattar Tofu or CedarLane Low Fat Chicken Burrito.
Enjoy with 2 cups mesclun tossed with 1/3 cup diced cantaloupe, 1/8 cup
diced red onion, and a splash of fresh lime juice.
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Dinner: Turkey Burger or Veggie Sandwich
(450 calories each)
Mediterranean Turkey Burgers Pan-cook or panini-grill 2 thin (2-oz) lean turkey burgers. Arrange in
alternating layers with 2 large pieces roasted red bell pepper, 1/4 cup
crumbled feta cheese, and 12 large basil leaves. Top with slices from 1/4 avocado. Serve on a bed of 1/2 cup steamed red quinoa, with lemon wedges.
Veggie to go Select a fast casual restaurant vegetarian meal (about 450 calories),
such as Panera Bread Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich (on rye, no feta). Or
go a la carte at Panera: low-fat garden vegetable with pesto soup,
Caesar salad (skip the croutons), and an apple.
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Dinner: Shrimp Salad or Thai Salmon
Shrimp Salad & Corn Toss 2 cups salad greens with 10 large grilled shrimp, 1 cup chopped
fresh or grilled seasonal veggies, such as broccoli, zucchini, carrots,
or sweet onion, and 2 TBSP vinaigrette of choice. Enjoy with 1 ear
grilled corn with 1/2 tsp butter and 2 tsp grated Romano cheese, plus a
1 1/2-oz whole-grain roll with 1/2 tsp butter.
Thai Salmon & Soba Brush 5 oz wild Alaskan salmon with 1 tsp sesame oil and grill or
pan-grill. Serve with 8 grilled asparagus spears and 1 1/2 cups soba
(buckwheat) noodles tossed with 1 1/2 TBSP Thai peanut sauce and garnished
with 2 TBSP each minced fresh scallions and red cabbage.
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Snacks: Fruit or Frozen Yogurt
(150 calories each)
3/4 cup fresh raspberries and 1 (3/4-oz) piece of dark chocolate
1 small (6-inch) or 1/2 large banana cut into 10 slices crosswise and
paired with 1/2 tsp chocolate-hazelnut spread between each pair, then
1 scoop (1/2 cup) fat-free frozen yogurt, like Stonyfield Gotta Have
Java, in a sugar cone
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Snacks: Berries, Nuts, and More
2 cups sliced strawberries tossed with 1 1/2 tsp honey or agave nectar
and 1 tsp white balsamic or Champagne vinegar
1 cup snow peas with 1/4 cup hummus
Smoothie of choice (up to 150 calories), such as an 8-oz V8 V-Fusion
15 roasted pistachios with 1 oz aged goat cheese or Gouda