By Ingela Ratledge
March 06, 2013

Choose one breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus two snack options per day. Your total calories will be around 1,500, allowing the average 5-foot-4-inch woman to lose up to a pound-and-a-half a week. (Follow our workout plan to lose another half-pound weekly.) For every inch taller or shorter, add or subtract 50 calories.

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  • Top 1 cup cooked oatmeal with 2 tablespoons sliced almonds and 1 tablespoon raspberry preserves.
  • Scramble 1 egg and 1 egg white; top with 1/4 cup salsa, 1/4 cup black beans, and 2–3 thin avocado slices; arrange all atop 1 serving (about 12–15) multigrain tortilla chips.
  • Mix 6 ounces plain low-fat yogurt with 1 cup fresh blueberries and 1/4 cup granola (like FEED or Bear Naked).
  • Enjoy 1 cup whole-grain cereal (look for one with more than 5 grams of fiber and less than 7 grams of sugar per serving) with 3/4 cup organic skim or soy milk; top with 1 small barely ripe ban-ana, sliced (for resistant-starch benefits).
  • Have an omelet with 1 egg, 2 egg whites, 1/3 cup each chopped asparagus and tomato, and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese; serve with 1 slice multigrain toast and 2 slices turkey bacon.

Next Page: Morning or afternoon snack [ pagebreak ]
Morning or afternoon snack

  • Eat 1 barely ripe banana or other fresh fruit.
  • Have 1 all-natural 100% fruit-and-nut bar (like KIND or Lärabar).
  • Enjoy 1 cup edamame sprinkled with sea salt.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon herbed goat cheese onto 2 whole-grain crackers (like Wasa); serve with 1 pear.
  • Top 1 slice toasted whole-grain bread with 3 tablespoons mashed avocado; drizzle with a mixture of 1 teaspoon olive oil and red pepper flakes and lemon juice, to taste.
  • Treat yourself to 2 squares dark chocolate and 10 pecan halves.
  • Have 1/3 cup trail mix (like Navitas Naturals 3 Berry, Cashew, and Cacao Nibs).
  • Munch on 4 cups natural microwave popcorn sprinkled with
    garlic salt and Parmesan cheese, to taste.
  • Enjoy 1/4 cup dried cherries, figs, or pineapple.
  • Spread 1 tablespoon almond or cashew butter onto 1 sliced apple.

Next Page: Lunch [ pagebreak ]

  • Order 1 salmon-and-avocado sushi roll made with brown rice; add a side salad with carrot-ginger dressing and 3/4 cup edamame.
  • Make a salad at a salad bar—Top mixed greens or spinach with 4 ounces (about the size of your fist) lean protein, lots of veggies, and 2 tablespoons of one or a combo of two of the following: nuts, dried fruit, cheese, avocado; drizzle lightly with low-fat vinaigrette.
  • Zap a healthy frozen meal (like one from Amys Kitchen or Kashi).
  • Wrap 1 grilled portobello mushroom, 2 tablespoons hummus, 1/3 cup roasted red bell peppers, 1 slice light Jarlsberg cheese, and a few leaves of romaine lettuce in 1 (8-inch) multigrain wrap (like Ezekiel or Aladdin); enjoy with 1 cup grapes.
  • Layer 3 ounces turkey, 1 tablespoon premade olive tapenade, and some tomato slices and arugula between 2 slices whole-wheat sourdough.
  • Top 2 cups mixed greens with 1/2 cup cooked faro or barley, 1/2 cup canned white kidney beans, 1/2 cup peas, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint, and 1 ounce feta cheese; drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and lemon juice, to taste.
  • Top baby spinach with 3 ounces grilled chicken breast, 1 ounce goat cheese, 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 2 teaspoons toasted pine nuts, and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette.

Next Page: What's for dinner [ pagebreak ]


  • Toss 1 cup whole-wheat penne with 3 ounces Italian chicken or turkey sausage and 1 1/2 cups broccoli rabe sauteed in 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese and 1⁄4 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
  • Grill a 4-ounce turkey, bison, or 97% lean–beef burger; serve with grilled asparagus spears and 4 small boiled and cooled (for resistant-starch benefits) baby red potatoes tossed with 1 teaspoon olive oil (or melted butter) and sprinkled with chives and sea salt, to taste.
  • Saute 2 tablespoons onion in 2 teaspoons peanut oil; add 4 ounces tofu, 1/4 cup each pineapple and red bell pepper slices, 1/4 cup light coconut milk, 2 teaspoons Thai-style curry paste, and 2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce to pan. Serve over 1/2 cup brown jasmine rice.
  • Roast 4 ounces trout with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons premade basil pesto, and 2 small tomatoes; serve with 1 cup canned white kidney beans stewed with 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth and 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary.
  • Fill 2 (5-inch) corn tortillas with 4 ounces grilled flank steak, 2 tablespoons fresh or store-bought guacamole, and Mango-Cabbage–Red Pepper Slaw (toss 1/4 cup each diced mango, shredded red cabbage, and red bell pepper strips with 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar); enjoy with 1/2 cup black beans.
  • Mix 3/4 cup soba with 1 tablespoon scallions and 1 teaspoon each low-sodium soy sauce and sesame oil; top with 3 ounces grilled salmon marinated in 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, 2 teaspoons honey, and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Serve with 1 1/2 cups steamed broccoli.

Next Page: Evening snack [ pagebreak ]
Evening snack

  • Top 1/2 cup vanilla frozen yogurt with 1 tablespoon caramel sauce.
  • Cut 1 barely ripe banana into 5 pieces; roll in chocolate syrup and coconut. Freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Sprinkle 1 peeled and thinly sliced apple with a mixture of 1 tablespoon quick-cooking oats, 1 tablespoon flour, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon melted unsalted butter; bake at 350° for 15–20 minutes in a 6- or 7-ounce ramekin.
  • Top 1/2 cup chocolate sorbet with raspberry sauce (microwave 1/4 cup frozen raspberries and 2 teaspoons sugar for 90 seconds).
  • Spread 1 tablespoon store-bought vanilla frosting between 2 small oatmeal-raisin cookies.