The Look Good in Shorts Diet: Fill Up to Slim Down
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The Look Good in Shorts Diet: Fill Up to Slim Down

This simple gimmick-free healthy-eating plan helps you shed pounds without feeling deprived, thanks to a satisfying mix of lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and veggies. (Bonus: You can have ice cream and cookies, too!) Choose one breakfast, lunch, and dinner and two snacks from the choices below, aiming to eat about 1,500 calories a day.


Approximately 300 calories each

Maple pecan waffle with bananas
Top 1 toasted whole-grain frozen waffle with 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, and 1 small sliced banana.

Cottage cheese with blueberries and almonds
Top 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1 cup blueberries and 3 tablespoons slivered almonds.

Berry smoothie
Blend 12 ounces skim milk with 1 cup frozen raspberries and 1 packet plain instant oatmeal.

Spinach omelet sandwich
Scramble 1 egg and 2 egg whites with 1 cup baby spinach and place on a toasted whole-grain English muffin. Serve with 1/2 grapefruit.

Almond butter and orange marmalade toast
Top 1 large slice whole-grain toast with 1 tablespoon almond butter and 2 teaspoons orange marmalade. Serve with 1 small orange.

Peach and granola yogurt
Top 8 ounces low-fat vanilla yogurt with 1 diced medium peach and 1 crumbled low-fat oat-and-nut granola bar.

Apple nut oatmeal
Prepare 1 packet plain instant oatmeal with water and top with 1 chopped small apple, 2 tablespoons chopped nuts, and 1 teaspoon brown sugar.

Bacon and egg breakfast burrito
Scramble 1 egg and 2 egg whites with 2 slices cooked and crumbled turkey bacon. Wrap in whole-grain tortilla with 1 tablespoon salsa. Serve with 1/2 cup diced cantaloupe.

Pancakes with vanilla-blackberry syrup
To make syrup, heat 1/2 cup blackberries in microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, then mash with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon honey. Pour syrup over 3 whole-grain pancakes.


Approximately 400 calories each

Turkey, swiss, and pear sandwich
Make sandwich with 2 slices whole-grain bread, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 2 ounces sliced turkey, 1 slice low-fat Swiss cheese, and 1/2 small sliced pear. Serve with 1/2 cup baby carrots dipped in 1 tablespoon low-fat ranch dressing.

Guacamole veggie burger
Top a heated plain veggie burger with lettuce, tomato, and 2 tablespoons prepared guacamole and place on a whole-grain hamburger bun. Serve with 1 small apple.

Mediterranean tuna sandwich
Mix together 3 ounces drained canned tuna (packed in water), 2 tablespoons full-fat Italian vinaigrette, 2 tablespoons sliced black olives, and 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper; place in 1 whole-grain pita. Serve with 1 medium plum.

Bean and cheese burritos
Top each of 2 small whole-grain tortillas with 1/2 cup fat-free refried beans, 4 tablespoons salsa, 4 tablespoons shredded low-fat cheddar cheese, and 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce.

Greek salad
Combine 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce, 1 small diced tomato, 1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained), and 1/4 cup croutons. Top with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 4 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese.

Veggie chili
Prepare 1 1/2 cups canned low-fat vegetarian chili according to package directions and serve with 8 whole-grain crackers.

Chicken Caesar wraps
Fill each of 2 whole-grain tortillas with 2 cups romaine lettuce, 3 ounces skinless rotisserie chicken, and 4 teaspoons light Caesar salad dressing. Serve with 3/4 cup grapes.


Approximately 500 calories each

Salmon with pesto fettuccine and garlic spinach
Serve 3 1/2 ounces baked or broiled salmon on top of 1 cup whole-grain fettuccine tossed with 1 tablespoon prepared pesto. Serve with 2 cups baby spinach sauteed in 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 clove minced garlic.

White bean and basil pasta
Top 1 cup cooked whole-grain pasta with 1/2 cup marinara spaghetti sauce, 1/2 cup canned white beans, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, and 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.

Chicken and asparagus with loaded baked potato
Serve 4 ounces grilled chicken breast with 8 medium-size grilled asparagus spears and 1 medium baked potato topped with 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives.

Broccoli-almond stir-fry
Saute 2 cups frozen broccoli, 3 tablespoons slivered almonds, 4 ounces cubed firm tofu, 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons olive oil. Serve with 1 cup cooked brown rice.

Grilled steak and arugula sandwich
Make sandwich with 1 small toasted whole-grain roll, 3 ounces grilled sirloin steak, 1 thin slice part-skim mozzarella cheese, 1 cup arugula, and 2 slices tomato. Serve with 1 cup low-sodium minestrone soup.

Shrimp tacos
Fill each of 3 whole-corn tortillas with 4 grilled shrimp, 3/4 cup shredded carrots and napa cabbage, 3 tablespoons salsa, and 3 tablespoons chopped avocado.

Spinach with grilled chicken
Toss 4 cups of baby spinach with 1 cup strawberries, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons olive oil, and 2 tablespoons chopped pecans. Top with 6 ounces sliced grilled chicken breast.


Approximately 150 calories each; choose two each day

- 2 whole-grain fig cookies served with 1 cup green tea with 1 teaspoon honey

- 4 whole-grain crackers, each topped with 1 thin slice low-fat Cheddar cheese

- 4 ounces low-fat cottage cheese served with 4 ounces no-sugar-added pineapple cup

- 1/2 cup low-fat chocolate ice cream topped with 1/4 cup sliced strawberries

- 12 ounces skim latte with 1 packet sugar

- 2 cups veggies dipped in 2 tablespoons low-fat ranch dressing

- 1 small whole-grain wrap filled with 2 tablespoons hummus and 2 tablespoons shredded carrots

- 1 small whole-grain tortilla filled with 2 tablespoons melted low-fat Cheddar cheese and salsa

- 6 ounces low-fat vanilla yogurt topped with 2 tablespoons whole-grain cereal

- 1 small sliced apple topped with 1 tablespoon peanut butter

- 3 slices tomato, each topped with thin slice part-skim mozzarella and 1 fresh basil leaf

- 1/2 cup grapes with 12 almonds

- 1 low-fat granola bar

- 4 ounces fat-free chocolate pudding topped with 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, June 2009.