The "Fast Food" Diet: Quick and Easy Weight-Loss Meals for Busy People
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The "Fast Food" Diet: Quick and Easy Weight-Loss Meals for Busy People

Think you don't have time to lose weight? Consider that excuse busted. We put together a seven-day menu of super-healthy meals that couldn't be easier to prepare.

Your Get-Slim Shopping List

Still trying to get rid of the belly fat that never seems to budge? Don't sweat it, ladies -- we've got you covered with a 1,500-calorie healthy eating plan you'll actually stick to and enjoy. Just a couple of reasons why we know you'll love it:

For starters, you're not stuck eating salad, salad, and more salad. With tempting options like quesadillas, pepper-crusted sirloin, and sweet potato fries to choose from, you won't feel as if you're on a diet.

Even better, you don't have to fork over cash for obscure ingredients you'll never use again. Everything on the shopping list is available at your local supermarket -- no trips to specialty stores required.

Sounds totally doable, right? Tear out the list and start shopping -- you'll be feeling thinner and healthier in a matter of days. We've done the diet math for you -- simply choose a breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus two snacks from the mix-and-match choices to hit the 1,500-calorie goal.

Your Get-Slim Shopping List


Grains

Whole-grain tortillas (10)
Whole-grain bread (1 loaf)
Whole-grain pasta (1 box)
Rolled oats (1 container)
Brown rice (1 box)

Vegetables

Spinach (1 12-oz. prewashed bag)
Broccoli (1 head)
Sweet potato (1 medium)
Frozen vegetable mix (1 12-oz. bag)
Red bell peppers (4 medium)
Cucumbers (2 medium)
Tomatoes (3 medium)
Mushrooms (1 8-oz. package)
Onion (1 medium)

Fruit

Apples (5)
Frozen berries (2 bags)
Grapes (1 medium bunch)
Bananas (4)
Lemons (4)
Pineapple (20-oz. can in 100-percent juice)

Meat and dairy

Plain nonfat yogurt (1 32-oz. tub)
Cottage cheese, 1 percent milk (2 16-oz. tubs)
Reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese (1 bag)
Eggs (1 dozen)
Boneless chicken breast (15 oz.)
Salmon (12 oz.)
Sirloin steak (5 oz.)

Miscellaneous

Black beans (1 can)
White beans (1 can)
Sliced almonds (1 bag)
Marinara sauce (1 jar)
Garlic (1 bulb)
Hummus (1 8-oz. container)
Fresh basil (1 bunch)

If you'd prefer to download this list, go to

 

Breakfast Choices

(Approximately 400 calories each)

Tomato and Basil Breakfast Wraps

Whisk 1 egg and 2 egg whites and cook in pan with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Fill 2 whole-grain tortillas each with half the eggs, 1 tomato slice, 1 tablespoon chopped basil, and 1 tablespoon reduced-fat shredded cheese. Serve with 1 cup grapes.

Toasted Oat and Berry Yogurt Parfait

Toast 1/2 cup rolled oats and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for 4 minutes. Top 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt with toasted oats, 1 cup thawed frozen berries, and 2 teaspoons honey.

Honey-Spice Oatmeal with Bananas

Microwave 3/4 cup rolled oats and 1 1/4 cups water for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon honey, and 2 tablespoons sliced almonds. Top with 1 small sliced banana.

Cinnamon-Peanut Butter Toast with Apple Slices

Mix 2 tablespoons peanut butter with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and spread on 2 slices whole-grain toast. Top with 1 small sliced apple.

Pineapple Spread on Toast

Mash together 1/2 cup chopped pineapple with 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese and spread on 2 slices whole-grain toast. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sliced almonds.

Banana-Nut French Toast

Lightly dip 2 slices whole-grain bread into mixture of 2 beaten eggs and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook in pan with 1 teaspoon olive oil for 3 minutes on each side. Top with 1 medium sliced banana and 1 tablespoon sliced almonds.

Banana-Berry Smoothie

Blend 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, 1 1/4 cups frozen berries, 1 medium banana, 1/2 cup water, and 1 tablespoon honey.

Lunch Choices

(Approximately 400 calories each)

White Bean Ragu with Pasta

Simmer 1/2 cup marinara sauce, 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 cup spinach, and 1/4 cup rinsed and drained canned white beans for 15 minutes. Pour over 1 cup cooked whole wheat pasta and top with 2 tablespoons chopped basil.

Greek Salad with Salmon

Whisk together 2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt, juice from 1/2 lemon, and 1 clove minced garlic. Toss dressing with 3 cups spinach, 1/4 cup chopped cucumber, 1/4 cup chopped broccoli, 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons sliced almonds; top with 6-ounce grilled salmon fillet.

Mexican Rice and Chicken Bowl

Combine 3/4 cup thawed frozen vegetables, 3/4 cup cooked brown rice, 2 ounces chopped grilled chicken, and 2 tablespoons rinsed and drained canned black beans. Top with 1/4 cup salsa and 2 tablespoons reduced-fat shredded cheese and heat in microwave 1 to 2 minutes.

Dijon Egg Salad Sandwich

Chop 1 hardboiled egg plus 2 hardboiled egg whites and mix with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt, 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper, and 1 tablespoon chopped basil. Make sandwich with 2 slices whole-grain bread and 1/4 cup spinach. Serve with 1/2 cup diced pineapple topped with 2 tablespoons sliced almonds.

Garden Hummus Wrap with Apple Slices

Spread 3 tablespoons hummus on 1 whole-grain tortilla and fill with 1/4 cup chopped broccoli, 1/4 cup chopped tomato, 1/4 cup spinach, and 1/4 cup chopped cucumber. Top with 2 tablespoons reduced-fat shredded cheese. Serve with 1 sliced apple dipped in 1 tablespoon peanut butter.

Basil Chicken Salad Wrap with Cucumber Chips

Whisk together 2 tablespoons plain nonfat yogurt, juice from 1/2 lemon, 1 teaspoon honey, and 2 tablespoons chopped basil. Toss with 3 ounces chopped grilled chicken breast, 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper, 1/4 cup halved grapes, and 1 teaspoon sliced almonds. Spread on 1 whole-grain tortilla. Serve with 1/2 cup cucumber slices and 3 tablespoons hummus.

Steak and Pepper Quesadilla

Saute 1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper and 1/4 cup chopped onion in 1 teaspoon olive oil for 6 minutes. Layer sauteed vegetables, 2 ounces cooked sirloin steak strips, and 4 tablespoons reduced-fat shredded cheese between 2 whole-grain tortillas and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with 1/2 cup grapes.

Dinner Choices

(Approximately 400 calories each)

Dinner Frittata with Sweet Potato Fries

Cut 1 medium sweet potato into fries and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bake at 425 degrees F. for 25 minutes. Beat 1 whole egg with 3 egg whites and mix in 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms, 2 tablespoons reduced-fat shredded cheese, and 1 tablespoon chopped basil. Pour into skillet coated with 2 teaspoons olive oil and cook (without stirring) for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and broil for 3 minutes. Serve with fries.

Pepper-Crusted Sirloin with Broccoli and Brown Rice

Mix together 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Pat onto a 3-ounce sirloin steak and broil for 10 minutes, flipping once. Serve with 2 cups steamed broccoli florets topped with 2 tablespoons sliced almonds and 1/2 cup brown rice.

Vegetable-Chicken Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce

Thaw 1/2 cup frozen mixed vegetables and stir-fry with 1/2 cup cooked brown rice and 3 ounces cooked chicken strips with 1 teaspoon olive oil for 4 minutes. Whisk together 2 teaspoons peanut butter, 1 tablespoon plain nonfat yogurt, 1 tablespoon water, 1 minced garlic clove, and juice from 1/2 lemon; add to stir-fry and cook 4 additional minutes.

Grilled Chicken Tacos with Pineapple-Black Bean Salsa

Combine 2 tablespoons diced pineapple, 3 tablespoons rinsed and drained canned black beans, and 2 tablespoons salsa. Fill 2 warmed whole-grain tortillas each with 1/4 cup spinach, 2 ounces grilled chicken strips, and 3 to 4 tablespoons salsa mixture.

Vegetable Pasta Bake

Saute 1/2 chopped onion, 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper, and 1 clove minced garlic with 2 teaspoons olive oil for 8 minutes. Combine with 3/4 cup cooked whole-grain pasta, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, and 2 tablespoons chopped basil. Top with 2 tablespoons reduced-fat shredded cheese and bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 minutes.

Lemon-Herbed Salmon with Pasta and Tomatoes

Whisk together juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 minced garlic clove, and 2 tablespoons chopped basil. Pour over 6-ounce salmon fillet and broil for 10 minutes. Serve on top of 3/4 cup cooked whole-grain pasta mixed with 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes and 2 tablespoons chopped basil.

Mediterranean Chicken Salad with Lemon-Hummus Dressing

Toss 2 cups spinach, 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper, 1/4 cup chopped cucumber, 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/4 cup rinsed and drained canned white beans, 3 ounces grilled chicken strips, and 2 tablespoons sliced almonds. Whisk together 3 tablespoons hummus, juice from 1 lemon, and 1 clove minced garlic; toss with salad.

Snack Choices

(Approximately 150 calories each; choose two each day)

Pineapple and Cottage Cheese

Top 3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1/2 cup pineapple chunks.

Bell Pepper and Hummus

Serve 1 1/2 cups red bell pepper slices with 4 tablespoons hummus.

Yogurt with Honey and Cinnamon

Stir 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon honey into 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt.

Grapes and Almonds

Sprinkle 3 tablespoons sliced almonds on 1 cup halved grapes.

Stuffed Bell Pepper

Fill 1/2 large red bell pepper with 3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese and top with 1 tablespoon chopped basil.

Tomato and Hummus Wrap

Fill 1 whole-grain tortilla with 2 tablespoons hummus and 3 tomato slices.

Apple and Cheese Melt

Top 1 slice whole-grain toast with 1 small sliced apple and 2 tablespoons reduced-fat shredded cheese. Microwave for 30 seconds.

Tea Sandwich

Cut 1 slice whole-grain bread in half and make sandwich with 2 tablespoons hummus and 4 cucumber slices.

Warm Apple and Peanut Butter Wrap

Fill 1 whole-grain tortilla with 2 teaspoons peanut butter and 2 apple slices. Microwave for 30 seconds.

Frozen Peanut Butter Banana

Cut 1 small banana lengthwise and spread 1 teaspoon peanut butter on each half. Reassemble banana and cover in plastic wrap. Freeze for 3 hours.

Quick Caprese Salad

Mix 3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese, 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons chopped basil.

Homemade Berry Sorbet

Blend 1 cup frozen berries, 3 tablespoons water, juice from 1/2 lemon, and 1 tablespoon honey.

Black Bean Salsa with Baked Chips

Cut 1 whole-grain tortilla into 6 triangles and bake for 8 minutes at 400 degrees F. Serve chips with 2 tablespoons salsa mixed with 3 tablespoons rinsed and drained canned black beans.

Micro-Baked Cinnamon Apple

Combine 1 sliced apple, 1 tablespoon water, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Microwave for 4 minutes, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sliced almonds and 1 teaspoon honey.

Eating on the Go?

These tasty picks will fill you up without sabotaging your diet.

McDonald's

Meal: Premium Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken (320 cal, 9g fat)
Snack: Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait (160 cal, 2g fat)

Starbucks

Meal: Chicken Santa Fe Panini (400 cal, 11g fat)
Snack: Deluxe Fruit Blend (90 cal, 0g fat)

Au Bon Pain

Meal: Turkey Cobb Salad (340 cal, 19g fat)
Snack: 2 mini oatmeal raisin cookies (120 cal, 6g fat)

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, July 2011.

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