Ericka McConnell

  • By Shaun Chavis
  • From Health magazine
  • Let’s say you hope to lose a quick 10 but want to do it the healthy way. What would a Food Network nutritionist advise you to eat? A leading weight-loss doctor? A chef to the stars? We asked Ellie Krieger, Louis J. Aronne, MD, and Art Smith each to share their perfect diet day.

Eat like these experts (each day’s menu adds up to about 1,200 to 1,250 calories), add in an hour of aerobic activity (like jogging, swimming, cycling, or brisk walking) four days a week, and you can lose up to 10 pounds in a month.

Expert #1
The top diet doctor, Louis J. Aronne, MD

“Don’t ban carbs—instead, eat them as a side dish at the end of your meal,” says Louis J. Aronne, founder and director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Program at New York–Presbyterian Hospital–Weill Cornell Medical Center. Save any starches for last, and you’ll get the benefit of a low-carb diet without depriving yourself of the food you love. Here, Aronne shares meal ideas and recipes adapted from his book, The Skinny: On Losing Weight Without Being Hungry.

Breakfast: Veggie Omelet

In a skillet, sauté 1/4 cup each diced bell pepper, diced onion, diced tomato, and sliced mushrooms in 1 teaspoon canola oil; add salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the vegetables to a plate. Wipe skillet clean, coat with canola oil cooking spray, and return to heat; add 4 egg whites, beaten, and cook until set. Spread the vegetables across half of the omelet and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley; fold top half of the omelet to cover vegetables. Garnish omelet with parsley, and enjoy with 3 turkey breakfast sausage links alongside.

Lunch: Black Bean Burger

Heat 1 black bean burger patty, such as Morningstar Farms or Gardenburger. Top with 1/4 cup sliced avocado and 2 slices each tomato and red onion; serve on 1 multigrain English muffin.

Dinner: Orange, Radish, and Roasted Asparagus Salad with Broiled Scallops and Bulgur

Prepare 1/2 cup bulgur according to package directions; set aside. Cut 8 asparagus spears into 1-inch pieces and discard tough ends. Lightly coat asparagus and 3 sea scallops with canola oil cooking spray, season with salt and pepper, to taste; place on a baking sheet and broil 4 minutes. In a bowl, toss 1 1/2cups fresh spinach with broiled asparagus and scallops, sections of 1 large orange, and 1 sliced radish; add 1 tablespoon toasted pine nuts and shaved fresh Parmesan cheese. Drizzle salad with 1 tablespoon orange or balsamic vinaigrette (choose your favorite), and serve with bulgur alongside.

Snack: Grilled Fruit with Yogurt-and-Honey Dip

Combine 1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt and 2 teaspoons honey; set aside. Preheat a grill or grill pan. Grill 1 cup pear, apple, or pineapple slices until grill marks are visible on each side. Serve fruit with Yogurt-and-Honey Dip.

Total calories: 1,213

Expert #2
The healthy TV chef, Ellie Krieger, RD

What’s missing from most diets? “Balance!” Food Network host Ellie Krieger says. “From this menu you can see that you can include cheese and chocolate and still eat healthy—just as long as the majority of what you eat are foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. There’s no deprivation, so you’ve got a plan you can live with.” She built her favorite low-cal day with recipes from her new book, So Easy: Luscious Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week.

Breakfast: Cheddar-and-Apple Quesadillas

Fan out slices of 1/4 Granny Smith apple on the bottom half of a 9-inch whole-wheat flour tortilla; top with 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Fold tortilla in half; cook in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until cheese is melted and tortilla is brown.

Lunch: Curried-Chicken Salad with Pita Chips

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup plain fat-free yogurt, 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, and 1 teaspoon curry powder. Fold in 2 1/2 cups cubed cooked skinless chicken breast, 1 cup halved red grapes, 1/4 cup each toasted almonds and chopped fresh cilantro, and salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy 1 cup chicken salad with 1 1/4 cups mixed salad greens drizzled with juice of 1 lemon wedge; serve with 1 ounce pita chips alongside. (You can refrigerate the remaining chicken salad in an airtight container for up to seven days.)

Dinner: Prosciutto-Wrapped Cod with Pesto Potatoes and Green Beans

Steam 1 1/2 pounds cubed red new potatoes for 6 minutes; add 1 pound trimmed green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces, to the potatoes, and steam for 4 more minutes. In a bowl, combine the vegetables with 3 tablespoons store-bought pesto and salt and pepper, to taste. Then season 1 (6-ounce) cod or other lean white fish fillet with salt and pepper, to taste. Wrap 1 wide slice prosciutto around cod. Coat a large nonstick skillet with canola oil cooking spray, and preheat over medium-high heat. Add fish; cook until prosciutto is crisp and fish is cooked through, about 3–4 minutes on each side. Enjoy fish with 1 3/4 cups Pesto Potatoes and Green Beans alongside.

Snack: Cherry-Almond-and-Chocolate Cluster

In a bowl, combine 1 cup coarsely chopped roasted almonds and 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Divide 6 ounces chopped dark chocolate; melt 3 ounces in the top of a double boiler, then turn off heat and stir in remaining 3 ounces until it melts. Stir in fruit-and-almond mixture. Spoon 12 heaping tablespoon-size clusters onto wax paper, and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Enjoy 1 cluster. (Store remaining clusters at room temperature.)

Total calories: 1,230

Expert #3
The celebrity chef, Art smith

Art Smith (best known as Oprah’s personal chef) is using his cooking skills to lose weight: He dropped 27 pounds in a month. His number-one secret? “For any weight loss, you have to have a routine,” he says. “You really have to plan your meals ahead and stick to them.” Here are some healthy eats that have helped him lose.

Breakfast: Oatmeal with Berries

In a saucepot, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add a dash of salt and 1/2 cup thick rolled oats (such as Bob’s Red Mill Organic Thick Rolled Oats). Cover pot and reduce heat to low; do not stir oats. Cook for 10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Serve oatmeal topped with 1/2 cup thawed frozen berries and 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional).

Lunch: Chicken Vegetable Soup

In a saucepot, sauté 1/2 cup diced onion with 1/4 cup each diced carrot and diced celery in 1 teaspoon canola oil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and 1 cup diced vegetables. (Use whatever veggies you have on hand—squash, mushrooms, peas, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, or parsnips are all good choices.) Saute vegetables for 2 minutes; add 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth and simmer for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add 1 precooked shredded skinless boneless chicken breast to soup; cook 3 minutes more. Stir in 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley. Enjoy half of the soup (about 2 1/2 cups) with 7 whole-grain crackers (like Kashi); refrigerate remaining soup for up to seven days.

Dinner: Grilled Spiced-Shrimp Salad with Rice

Mix 1 tablespoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon each ancho chile powder, ground cumin, and salt. Rub 8 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, with spice mixture. Lightly coat shrimp with canola oil cooking spray, and grill over medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp are done. Top 2 cups mixed salad greens with 1 cup halved grape tomatoes, 1 sliced shallot, and grilled shrimp; drizzle with 2 teaspoons red wine vinaigrette (choose your favorite). Serve with 1⁄2 cup cooked brown rice on the side.

Snack #1: Greek Yogurt and Peach Shake

In a blender, combine 8 whole almonds, 1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt, 1 cup unsweetened soy milk or skim milk, 1/2 cup unsweetened frozen sliced peaches, and a dash of ground cinnamon.

Snack #2: Dark chocolate

Enjoy 1-ounce 70% cacao (or higher) dark chocolate. (Art likes Scharffen Berger or Valrhona.)

Total calories: 1,258