Meals that melt pounds

These healthy five-minute dishes can help you burn off one pound a week.

Diving into a plateful of healthy food can feel like doing your taxes: a necessary evil in order to keep you in the black…jeans you love, that is. But when the food is healthy and tastes great, too? Hallelujah! Luckily, we have some menus that will keep you slim, satisfied and genuinely surprised that healthy food can taste that good. Each one has a healthy dose of protein, which is a waistline watcher’s best friend. Your body actually expends more energy digesting protein than fat or carbs, and protein-rich foods can postpone hunger pangs and boost your energy. Aim for about 50 grams of protein throughout the day and look for sources that are low in fat. Smart choices include my favorite nonfat Greek yogurt (15 g per 8-ounce serving!) or a 4-oz baked salmon fillet.

Try some of the protein-rich meals below, which are part of the 2009 SELF Challenge, our free online slim-down plan. To lose 1 pound a week, eat 1,800 calories; mix and match these meals to find your perfect eating plan.

BODY-SLIMMING BREAKFASTS

RICOTTA WRAP (350 calories): 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp nonfat ricotta, 2 tbsp slivered almonds, 1/2 cup berries and 2 tsp honey in 1 whole-grain wrap such as Flatout multigrain flatbread

YOGURT CRUNCH (350 calories): 5 oz plain yogurt, 4 walnut halves, 3 tbsp All-Bran, 1/4 cup granola and 3/4 cup cubed melon

BACON, EGG AND CHEESE MUFFIN (500 calories): Scramble 1 large egg in 1 tsp margarine and place on a toasted whole-grain English muffin spread with 1 tsp margarine. Top with 1 slice cooked turkey bacon and 2 tbsp shredded reduced-fat cheddar. Serve with 3/4 cup berries, 1/4 cup lowfat vanilla yogurt and 12 oz skim latte. Try this blogger’s tips to cut the cooking time.

LEAN AND LUSCIOUS LUNCHES
SHRIMP SALAD (400 calories): 10 cooked shrimp, 1/3 avocado, sliced, 1 tbsp slivered almonds, 2 tbsp each diced red onion and carrot, 1 tbsp prepared sesame dressing, tossed with 2 cups greens; 3 whole-grain crispbreads

TANGY TURKEY PITA (550 calories): 3 oz turkey breast, 5 olives, 3 tbsp feta, 2 tbsp each diced cucumber and tomato, 6 spinach leaves, 1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tsp balsamic vinegar in 1 whole-wheat pita; 1 large orange

PEAR ‘WICH (650 calories): 3 tbsp almond butter, 1/2 large pear, sliced, 1/8 tsp cinnamon on 2 slices whole-wheat bread. Serve with the other half of the pear.

DELICIOUS, TRIM-DOWN DINNERS
FISH AND FRIES (400 calories): 4 oz cod rubbed with 1 tsp olive oil, seared (2 to
3 minutes per side); 12 Alexia Sweet Potato Fries, baked as directed on package; 1 1/2 cups sliced cabbage tossed with 2 tbsp reduced-fat dressing

CHICKPEA PASTA (550 calories): 1/3 cup chopped onion, 2 cups chopped zucchini, 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped, and 1/2 cup chickpeas sautéed in 1 tbsp olive oil. Mix with 1 cup cooked ziti, 2 tbsp Parmesan.

CHICKEN PILAF (600 calories): 3/4 cup cubed, cooked, skinless chicken mixed with 1 1/2 cups cooked Near East Whole Grain Wheat Pilaf drizzled with 1 tbsp olive oil; 1 cup steamed cauliflower with 1 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp fresh parsley

SATISFYING SNACKS
Turkey and cheese roll-up (100 calories): 1 oz sliced turkey breast, 1 oz sliced reduced-fat cheddar rolled up

Chocolate milk with nuts (150 calories): 1 cup light chocolate soymilk, 13 pistachios

Orange spritzer and almonds (150 calories): 8 oz orange juice mixed with 4 oz sparkling water; 7 almonds

Find more tasty (but healthy) meals—and totally free online logs where you can track your calorie and nutritional intake—at Self.com/challenge. Need more incentive? You could win a spa trip for two to Antiga, just for signing up.

Posted on: April 3, 2012, by :