Jesus Ayala/Studio D
Hear the word diet, and what comes to mind? For starters, pain, guilt, and pants that won't zip up - and let's not forget food that tastes like cardboard. If it's good in your tummy, it must be bad for your body, or so goes the old thinking. But how can a diet succeed if you never get the flavors you crave? That's why we designed this plan not only to help you lose ten pounds by swimsuit season, but also to give you the tastes you love. Whatever fattening food you long for - sweet, spicy, or savory - we've got the low-cal version. Follow the daily dishes we have designed or feel free to repeat whichever dinner or snack rings your bell. As long as you stick to the choices listed here, you'll keep your total calorie intake to 1,300 a day - and be looking sleek by sumer. We recommend you take a multivitamin and a 250 - to 400 milligram calcium supplement daily. Drink calorie-free beverages (water, soda, seltzer, unsweetened black coffee, or tea) as desired. Repeat plan for one month.
1 1/4 cups bran flakes cereal topped with 1/2 banana, sliced
1 cup fat-free milk
Spinach Salad: Top 3 to 4 cups baby spinach leaves with 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped; 2 strips cooked bacon, crumbled; 5 mushrooms, thinly sliced; 1/3 cup croutons; 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese; 3 slices red onion. Toss ingredients together, then drizzle with a flavored vinegar, such as red wine, balsamic or seasoned rice vinegar.
Savory Asian Patty: Mix 1 pound ground turkey breast with 8 canned water chestnuts, diced; 2 garlic cloves, minced; 4 green onions, thinly sliced; 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce; 4 teaspoons soy sauce. Shape mixture into 4 patties. Freeze 3 for later use. In nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook patty over medium heat until thoroughly cooked throughout. Serve with a side dish of 3/4 cup cooked rice tossed with 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil.
2 cups broccoli florets, steamed
1 cup berries
One split, toasted English muffin sprinkled with 1/4 cup shredded cheese (any type). Broil until cheese melts.
1/2 grapefruit sprinkled with 1 teaspoon brown sugar
Spread 1 slice raisin bread with 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter. Top with 1/2 banana, sliced. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon honey and cover with another slice of raisin bread.
1 cup fat-free milk
Spicy Chicken Olé: On a 12-inch-long sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, center a 5-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast. Top with 3/4 cup canned corn with peppers, 1/4 cup salsa, and 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (optional). Fold foil into a packet. Bake on cookie sheet at 450 degrees F about 18 minutes.
Avocado Salad: On lettuce leaves, arrange 1 tangerine, peeled and divided into segments; 1/4 ripe avocado, thinly sliced; 1 slice red onion. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.
Cook 1/2 cup oats with 1 cup fat-free milk. Stir in 2 tablespoons apple butter, 1 tablespoon raisins, and pinch of cinnamon.
Cut whole wheat pita in half. Spread 3 tablespoons hummus in each pocket. Stuff with tomato and cucumber slices and baby spinach leaves. Sprinkle stuffing with a flavored vinegar.
6 ounces light yogurt
Sweet Honey Pork: Cut 1 pound pork tenderloin into 8 slices. Pound slices into 1/4-inch-thick medallions. Freeze 6 medallions. Coat nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Cook 2 medallions over medium heat until lightly browned. Add 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 teaspoons honey, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Continue cooking pork until tender, about 3 minutes.
Apricot Couscous: In 1-quart saucepan, heat 1/3 cup chicken broth; 2 dried apricots, cut into thin strips; and 1/4 teaspoon grated orange rind until boiling. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 cup couscous. Cover and let sit 5 minutes. Serve with 1 cup steamed green beans.
Next Page: The rest of our daily menu and some tasty low-cal substitutions