What You Should Know First
While 1,200 may be the right number for some, it can be super restrictive for others, says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Try basing your meals and snacks off this plan and double up on veggies at any opportunity — more fruit at snack time works too! You can also add an extra ounce or two of protein at all meals if you find yourself feeling hungry. The combo of fiber from produce and lean protein makes this an adaptable strategy that’ll help you lose weight safely — one meal (and snack) at a time!
Day 1: Breakfast
Combine 3/4 cup bran flakes, 1 banana, and 1 cup fat-free milk in a bowl.
Day 1: Lunch
Build a sandwich with 1 mini whole wheat pita, 3 ounces turkey breast, 1/2 roasted pepper, 1 teaspoon light mayonnaise, mustard, and lettuce. Serve with 1 stick part-skim mozzarella string cheese and 2 kiwis.
Day 1: Dinner
Serve 4 ounces broiled flounder or sole with 2 sliced plum tomatoes sprinkled with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, broiled until just golden. Eat with 1 cup cooked couscous and 1 cup steamed broccoli. Enjoy 1 fat-free pudding cup for dessert
Day 2: Breakfast
Blend 1 cup frozen berries, 1/2 banana, and 8 ounces fat-free milk into a smoothie. Grab 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs on your way out the door.
Day 2: Dinner
Brush 4 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast with barbecue sauce and grill. Combine 2 heaping cups of sautéed spinach with garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes and serve with ½ plain baked or sweet potato (as desired).
Day 3: Breakfast
In the microwave, cook 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats with low-fat or unsweetened soy milk. Add 1/2 apple (sliced or chopped), 1 teaspoon honey, and a pinch of cinnamon.
Day 3: Lunch
To make a chicken salad, toss 4 ounces shredded skinless roast chicken breast with 1/4 cup sliced red grapes, 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise, and 1 tablespoon plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt. Serve over lettuce. Eat with 1 banana.
Day 3: Dinner
Serve 4 ounces steamed shrimp with 1 baked potato topped with 3 tablespoons salsa and 1 tablespoon unsweetened Greek yogurt, plus 3 cups spinach, steamed. Finish the meal off with 1 ounce of chocolate or a 100- to 150-calorie ice cream bar.
Day 4: Breakfast
Top 1/2 toasted English muffin with 1/2 small apple, sliced, and 1 ounce shredded reduced-fat cheese, any type. Microwave 30 seconds on high. Serve with 2/3 cup plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt sprinkled with 1 tablespoon slivered almonds.
Day 4: Lunch
Heat 1 cup tomato soup. Serve with a sandwich made with 1 mini whole wheat pita, 3 ounces thinly sliced roast beef, 1 teaspoon horseradish, mustard, tomato slices, and lettuce. Eat with 2 cups raw veggies and 1/4 cup of hummus.
Day 4: Dinner
Serve 3 ounces poached salmon with a slaw made by tossing 1 1/4 cups coleslaw mix and 2 sliced green onions with 1 tablespoon each of rice vinegar and olive oil. Add spices, herbs, and seasoning as desired. Pair with 3/4 cup of a 100% whole grain (like quinoa) and an apple on the side.
Day 5: Breakfast
Combine 1 cup Cheerios, 1/2 cup berries, 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, and 6 ounces plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt in a bowl.
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Day 5: Lunch
Make a quesadilla by spreading 1/4 cup fat-free refried beans overa 100% stone-ground corn tortilla. Sprinkle on 1 ounce shredded reduced-fat cheese. Top with salsa and another tortilla; microwave 45 seconds on high. Serve with 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese topped with 2 clementines and cucumber spears.
Day 5: Dinner
Serve 3 ounces roasted pork tenderloin with 1 cup baked acorn squash, mashed with a pinch of cinnamon; 2 to 3 cups salad greens with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and as much vinegar as desired; and chocolate or an ice cream bar for dessert (100-150 calories).
Day 6: Breakfast
Toast 1 100% whole-grain frozen waffle, spread with 2 tablespoons nut butter, and top with 1 small sliced banana plus cinnamon and nutmeg. Serve with 8 ounces fat-free milk.
Day 6: Lunch
Make a tuna pita with 1 mini whole wheat pita, 2 ounces water-packed light tuna, 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise, mustard, cucumber, and onion slices. Serve with 10 baby carrots and 2/3 cup plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt with a small pear.
Day 6: Dinner
Make jambalaya by combining 3/4 cup cooked brown rice; 1/2 cup corn; 2 ounces cooked turkey sausage, sliced; 1/3 cup salsa; and 1/4 cup no-salt-added black or navy beans. Heat through. Eat with 3 cups spinach sauteed with garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Day 7: Breakfast
Layer 1/2 toasted English muffin with 1 ounce reduced-fat cheese, sliced; 1 tomato slice; 1/2 cup steamed spinach, drained; and 1 poached egg. Serve with 1 grapefruit.
Day 7: Lunch
Make black bean salad by tossing 1/2 cup canned black beans, 1/2 cup mandarin orange sections, chopped red bell peppers, red onion, scallions, and any other desired veggies with 1 teaspoon vinegar. Serve over salad greens. Serve with 1 100% stone ground corn tortilla and a piece of fruit.
Day 7: Dinner
Serve 3 ounces broiled or grilled flank steak with 1 baked sweet potato with 1 teaspoon butter; 1 cup steamed zucchini; and 1 1/2 cup berries.
Eat Clean, Lose Weight and Love Every Bite
Just because your diet is healthy, doesn’t mean it has to be boring (or bland). For more delicious recipes that will help you lose weight, check out this clean eating cookbook created by the editors of Prevention.