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When respondents to our Ladies' Home Journal American Woman Survey last year reported that their weight is one of the most dissatisfying aspects of their lives -- fully 61 percent are not happy with what the bathroom scale tells them -- we developed a research-based, healthy, doable diet. The result is the Ladies' Home Journal/American Dietetic Association Diet of the Century. This diet isn't about quick weight loss (which on fad diets is mostly water loss); it focuses on helping you develop eating habits you can really live with. Guided by the USDA Food Guide Pyramid (an outline of what to eat every day based on dietary requirements), we created a diet plan that is low in fat and recipes that offer great taste and variety. There's even room for snacks and desserts.THE TEST
We put this diet plan to the test with 20 women who needed to lose weight. During a 12-week period, our dieters met three times with a registered dietitian to help them adapt the eating plan to fit their food likes and dislikes and activity levels. Then the dieters were on their own, and most of them chose to either continue the plan and lose more weight or to go on maintenance, which involves using the Food Guide Pyramid to plan meals, but also allows more servings.THE RESULTS
All 20 women stayed on the diet and all lost weight -- though some more than others. But no matter what their personal weight results were, all of our dieters learned new healthy habits and were encouraged that they can incorporate these changes into their daily lives. We think you'll be pleased with the Ladies' Home Journal/ American Dietetic Association Diet of the Century as our dieters were.THE DIET OF THE CENTURY MENUS
Here's our meal-by-meal eating plan -- it's simple enough to follow on your own. These balanced menus, which you can mix and match as you like, are based on the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. We aimed for an average of 1,550 total calories a day (1,400 calories from the menu and 150 from snacks or a dessert each day). You choose where the 150 calories come from. And remember, the more active you are, the faster you will shed pounds. This eating plan is one the whole family can enjoy, but if your family members aren't dieting with you, just increase their portion size.
Researched by Michele Peters, R.D., and Patricia Cobe. Desserts by Carol Prager and Jane Yagoda Goodman; all by Michele Peters, R.D.
Fear not! You needn't go dessert-less while you diet, as long as your choices are wise ones. Some sweet-ending options:
Snacking while dieting isn't taboo. In fact, it's a good idea, because it can keep you from pigging out at dinnertime. Here are some smart snack suggestions (or choose any snack that is 150 calories or less).LESS THAN 150 CALORIES
The following table provides three weeks worth of dinner options. Click on highlighted entrees for their recipes.
|Sunday||Three-Bean Chili with rice; 1 cup mixed green salad 2 teaspoons low-fat or fat-free dressing; Baked tortilla chips||Grilled Steak Fajitaswith rice; Sliced orange and red onion salad: 1/2 cup oranges layered with rings sprinkled teaspoon fat-free dressing||Carrot and celery sticks; Pork with Apples and Cabbage; 1 cup mixed green salad with 2 teaspoons fat-free dressing|
|Monday||4 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast, marinated in fat-free Italian dressing and grilled; 1/2 cup cooked bulgur wheat; steamed sugar snap peas or green beans; slice French bread||3/4 cup mixed-vegetable juice; 1/4 barbecued chicken, skin removed (homemade or takeout); cooked ear corn on the cob kernels; health salad (from deli); to 2 slices Italian bread||1/4 pound grilled turkey sausages; 1/2 cup cooked noodles or orzo; sauteed peppers and onions (cooked in nonstick skillet coated with vegetable cooking spray); small (6-inch) pita bread|
|Tuesday||Shells with Tuna and Peppers; 1 to 2 slices Italian bread; green salad with lemon wedge||Carrot and celery sticks Soy-GingerSoy-Ginger Salmon with sesame spinach and orzo||Citrus-Baked Sea Bass; 1/2 cup cooked couscous; spinach salad with 2 teaspoons fat-free dressing|
|Wednesday||Marinated cucumbers: 2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced; 6 sliced radishes mixed with tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon each sugar soy sauce;Asian Pork and Vegetables||Burger with the works: 4 oz. extra-lean ground round, grilled, served on toasted English muffin topped 1 teaspoon ketchup, 2 lettuce leaves, tomato slices and slice sweet onion; Small baked potato tablespoons prepared salsa||1 cup prepared vegetable soup; Chef's Salad: 2 cups mixed salad greens tossed with 1 oz. cooked turkey strips, lean ham or roast beef Jarlsberg cheese assorted cut-up vegetables (fresh mushrooms, green beans, broccoli, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers) and tablespoon nonfat dressing; to slices Italian bread|
|Thursday||4 oz. scrod, flounder or other white fish, broiled with lemon; 2 small red potatoes, boiled; 1/2 cup steamed sliced zucchini green vegetable; slices French Italian bread; teaspoon butter margarine||Hearty Vegetable Soup; 2 slices whole grain bread with 1 oz. reduced-fat cheese||Rigatoni with Vegetables; 2 cups salad greens with 1 tablespoon low-fat or nonfat dressing; 1 slice Italian bread|
|Friday||Wedge of melon; 1 cup cooked pasta topped
1/2 cup prepared marinara sauce; 2 cups mixed green salad with 1 tablespoon fat-free dressing; 2 breadsticks
|Turkey Parmigiana with spaghetti; 1/2 cup steamed broccoli||1 cup sliced jicama tossed with 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice and/4 teaspoon salt; Lemon Chicken and Broccoli with rice|
|Saturday||Chicken-Vegetable Curry with couscous; 1 cup spinach salad with 2 teaspoons fat-free dressing||Light Shrimp Risotto; 1 cup mixed green salad with 2 teaspoons low-fat or fat-free dressing; small dinner roll||Grilled Steak with Potatoes; Sliced tomato and cucumber salad|