Try this simple menu of delicious, filling meal options that boost energy and trigger weight loss.
1 of 16Patrick Giardino
Eat for energy
This plan from Cynthia Sass, RD, isn’t a deprivation diet; it’s a simple menu of delicious, filling meal options that happen to boost energy and trigger weight loss.
Choose a daily breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. The meals provide an ideal balance of slow-burning carbs, lean protein, and good-for-you fat to fuel your transformation.
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Breakfast option #1
Sauté one small chopped apple in a pan over medium heat with one tablespoon lemon juice and two tablespoons water until tender. Spoon over one-quarter cup rolled oats, cooked with water and a dash of apple-pie spice. Sprinkle with two tablespoons chopped walnuts. Serve with a tall skim latte.
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Breakfast option #2
Spread one quarter avocado inside half a whole-grain pita; fill with half a sliced plum tomato, one cooked egg, one tablespoon chopped red onion, and one-quarter cup spinach leaves. Serve with a large pear.
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Breakfast option #3
Warm one cup frozen blueberries and one-quarter teaspoon of cinnamon in a pan over low heat until juicy. Layer berries with a single-serving nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt and one-quarter cup rolled oats. Top with two tablespoons chopped pecans
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Lunch or dinner option #1
Thaw one cup frozen corn. Make pico de gallo: Combine one-half cup quartered grape tomatoes, one-quarter cup minced yellow bell pepper, one-quarter cup minced white onion, one tablespoon chopped cilantro, one teaspoon minced jalapeno, and juice from half a lime.
Toss pico de gallo with 1.5 cups spinach leaves. Top with one-half cup warmed canned vegetarian refried black beans, corn, and half a medium avocado, sliced.
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Lunch or dinner option #2
Sauté one-half teaspoon garlic, one-quarter cup minced onion, and one-quarter cup chopped bell pepper in a skillet with one tablespoon olive oil until tender. Stir in one-half cup diced tomatoes and a dash each of chili powder and black and cayenne peppers. Add one-half cup water and bring to a simmer; cook 8 to 10 minutes. Fold in 3 ounces browned extra-lean ground chicken and serve over one-half cup cooked brown rice.
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Lunch or dinner option #3
Sauté 20 medium raw, deveined shrimp in a skillet with one tablespoon coconut oil until cooked through. Whisk one tablespoon each fresh orange juice and brown-rice vinegar with one-half teaspoon fresh grated ginger. Sauté one-quarter cup each snow peas, chopped onion, cabbage, and red bell pepper in a separate skillet with ginger sauce until slightly tender; stir in shrimp. Serve stir-fry over three-quarters cup cooked wild rice.
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Lunch or dinner option #4
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush one-half cup sliced eggplant and red bell peppers with one tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil; roast until tender. Toss 1.5 cups mixed greens with one tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Top greens with one-half cup each cooked, chilled quinoa and vacuum-sealed lentils (like Melissa’s brand), then roasted vegetables.
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Lunch or dinner option #5
Slice one whole-grain pita to create two circular halves; set one half aside. Preheat oven to 350°F; bake remaining pita half until toasted. Brush with one tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil; top with one-half plum tomato, thinly sliced, and three chopped basil leaves; sprinkle with one-quarter cup each part-skim shredded mozzarella and crumbled feta. Bake 4 to 5 minutes. Top with one cup watercress; drizzle with one-half tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
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Lunch or dinner option #6
Whisk one tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, one tablespoon red-wine vinegar, and one-half teaspoon minced garlic. Toss with one-half cup cooked, chilled whole-grain penne, 3 to 4 sliced basil leaves, one-half cup sliced grape tomatoes, one-quarter cup minced red onion, and 3 ounces canned wild salmon.
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Lunch or dinner option #7
Spread one tablespoon basil pesto on one toasted whole-grain English muffin; fill with 3 ounces extra-firm organic tofu. Serve with 12 baby carrots and two tablespoons hummus.
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Lunch or dinner option #8
At Panera Bread, order a You Pick Two combo of a cup of Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean Soup and a half Classic Café Salad, balsamic vinaigrette on side. Use half a portion of dressing and request a whole-grain baguette as your side.
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Snack option #1
Whisk together one-half tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, one tablespoon balsamic vinegar, one-half tablespoon fresh lemon juice and a dash of black pepper. Stir in 3 ounces drained chunk light tuna canned in water. Eat with one-half whole-grain pita.
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Snack option #2
Fold one-half cup fresh pineapple chunks into a single-serving nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt. Top with 5 or 6 whole macadamia nuts, chopped or crushed.
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Snack option #3
Blend one cup frozen pitted cherries with one cup organic skim milk, one tablespoon dark chocolate chips, and one-half tablespoon chia seeds.
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Snack option #4
Blend one-half cup frozen strawberries, one-half cup frozen banana slices, 6 ounces skim milk, and one tablespoon natural peanut butter.