How To Lose 12 Pounds In A Month
A slimmer you
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!
Get-slim golden rules
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 metabolismhumming, 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.
English Muffin Deluxe
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.
Heat 'N' Eat
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 & 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.
Farmers' Market Egg Sandwich
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.
Greek Yogurt Sundae
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.
Lunch and dinner
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.
Fusilli Pasta Salad
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.
Ginger Turkey Stir-Fry Stack
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).
CB & Berries
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.
Tossed Southwestern Chef Salad
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.
Chili-topped Baked Russet
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.
Rosemary Tuna Salad Baguette
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.
Spaghetti With Eggplant "Steak"
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 & 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