Try This Easy Meal Plan to Lose Up to 2 Pounds a Week

If you think that heart-healthy eating is all about what you shouldn't consume, think again

Try this easy and delicious plan for a stronger ticker and a slimmer you in 2017.

 By Karen Ansel, RD, Woman's Day

If you think that heart-healthy eating is all about what you shouldn't consume, think again. The latest research says that what you do eat is as important as what you don't. And one big "do" is produce. Colorful fruits and vegetables are jammed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Bonus: They help you stay slim. Follow this plan to load up on fruits and vegetables; pick any breakfast, lunch or dinner plus two snacks a day. You'll score an entire day's worth of produce—and likely drop at least 1 or 2 pounds per week to boot!


1. Egg, Hummus, and Spinach Sandwich: Spread 2 Tbsp hummus on 1 slice whole-wheat toast. Top with 1/4 cup baby spinach + 1 egg fried in 1 tsp olive oil. Drizzle with 1/4 tsp Sriracha or hot sauce. Eat with 1/2 grapefruit.

2. Mango Oatmeal: Cook 1/2 cup oats in 1/2 cup 1% milk + 1/2 cup water. Stir in a pinch ground ginger + 1 tsp honey. Top with 1/2 cup diced fresh mango + 2 tsp unsweetened coconut.

3. Breakfast Salad: Whisk together 1 Tbsp lemon juice + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil + 1 tsp chopped fresh mint. Toss with 1/2 diced cucumber + 1 diced plum tomato + 1 diced green pepper + 1 Tbsp feta crumbles. Eat with a 4-in. whole-wheat pita + 6 oz orange juice.

4. Strawberry Almond Waffle: Top 1 toasted multigrain waffle (like Kashi) with 1 Tbsp almond butter + ⅓ cup sliced fresh strawberries + 1 tsp sliced almonds. Eat with a 5.3-oz container nonfat vanilla Icelandic or Greek yogurt (like Siggi's or Chobani).

5. Roasted Pear: Spray 1 halved pear (cored) with nonstick cooking spray. Roast in a 425°F oven for 20 minutes. Whisk 1 pinch cinnamon into 1/2 cup nonfat ricotta. Spoon half the ricotta mixture over each pear half; top each with 2 tsp chopped pecans.

6. Kale Mini Quiches: Sauté 2 Tbsp chopped sweet onion in 1 tsp olive oil over medium-low heat for 3 minutes. Whisk together 1 egg + 2 egg whites. Add the onion + 1/2 cup baby kale + 1 Tbsp 1% milk + 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan. Spray two 1/2-cup ramekins (or muffin tins) with nonstick spray. Pour 1/2 egg mixture into each ramekin. Bake in a 375°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Eat with 1 cup grapes.

7. Raspberry-Banana Smoothie: In a blender, pur.e . cup lowfat plain kefir (or yogurt) + 1 cup frozen raspberries + 1/2 sliced banana + 2 tsp sunflower butter + 1 tsp honey for 2 minutes.


8. Spinach-Mushroom Quesadilla: Sauté 1/2 cup each chopped sweet onion + sliced mushrooms in 1 tsp olive oil over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 clove finely chopped garlic + 1 cup baby spinach + 1/2 cup low-sodium canned black beans (rinsed); sauté for 2 minutes. Scatter on an 8-in. whole-wheat tortilla, top with 2 Tbsp crumbled goat cheese and fold in half. Cook in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp, 3 minutes per side. Eat with 1 apple.

9. Power Lunch Plate: Arrange 1 sliced apple + 10 almonds + 15 baby carrots + 8 slices whole-grain melba toast + a 1-in. cube Swiss cheese on a plate.

10. Stuffed Sweet Potato: Toss together ⅓ cup low-sodium canned pinto beans (rinsed) + ⅓ cup thawed frozen corn + 1 sliced scallion + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil + 2 tsp lime juice + 1 tsp chopped cilantro + 1 pinch cumin. Serve over 1 baked sweet potato. Top with 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt.

11. Greek Pita Flatbread: Spray 1 large whole-wheat pita with olive oil cooking spray. Bake in a 375°F oven for 5 minutes. Toss together 5 halved grape tomatoes + 1 Tbsp chopped red onion + 2 chopped Kalamata olives + 2 Tbsp feta crumbles + 1 pinch oregano + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil. Spoon over pita. Eat with 2 dates.

12. Open-Faced Tuna Sandwich: Combine 5 oz water-packed tuna + 1/2 cup diced pineapple + 1/2 diced cucumber + 1 Tbsp chopped red onion + 1 Tbsp light canola oil mayonnaise. Layer tuna with 1/2 cup watercress on 1 slice wholewheat bread. Eat with 2 clementines.

13. Beet, Chicken, and Arugula Salad: Whisk together 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar + 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil + 1 tsp Dijon mustard. Toss with 3 cups arugula + 3 cooked (or canned) sliced beets + 2 Tbsp chopped celery + 3 oz sliced grilled skinless chicken breast + 1/2 cup canned low-sodium cannellini beans (rinsed).

14. Egg Salad-Avocado Wrap: Combine 1 chopped hardboiled egg + 2 chopped hard-boiled egg whites + 1/2 mashed avocado + 1 tsp lemon juice + 2 tsp chives. Spread on an 8-in. wholewheat tortilla. Top with romaine lettuce and roll into a wrap. Eat with 2 kiwis.


15. Pasta With Salmon and Peas: Season a 4-oz salmon fillet with 1 pinch garlic powder. Roast at 400°F for 12 minutes. Serve over 1 cup cooked whole-wheat spaghetti tossed with ⅔ cup microwaved frozen peas + 2 Tbsp lemon juice + 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil + 1 tsp Dijon mustard + 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley.

16. Grilled Shrimp Pesto Skewers: Toss 10 large shrimp + 12 cherry tomatoes with 1 Tbsp pesto. Thread tomatoes and shrimp alternately onto 2 skewers. Broil for 6 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve with 1 cup green beans sautéed in 1 tsp olive oil + 1 cup cooked quinoa tossed with 2 tsp pine nuts.

17. Pork Medallions with Grapes: Slice 6 oz pork tenderloin into 1-in. medallions; season with 1 pinch thyme. Cook in 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for 4 minutes, flipping halfway through; remove to a plate. Add 1 cup halved red grapes + 2 Tbsp chopped shallots + 2 Tbsp red wine to skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Spoon grapes over pork. Serve with 1 baked sweet potato.

18. Chicken Bowl: Top 1 cup cooked quinoa with 3 oz sliced grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast + 5 spears steamed asparagus + 5 halved grape tomatoes + 1/2 medium sweet onion sautéed in 1 tsp canola oil. Whisk together 1 Tbsp orange juice + 1 tsp tahini + 1/2 tsp honey + dash chili powder; drizzle on quinoa bowl. Top with 1 tsp pumpkin seeds.

19. Beef-Brussels Sprout Stir-Fry: Dust 2 oz sliced lean sirloin steak with cornstarch. Stir-fry in 1 Tbsp peanut oil over medium-high heat for 3 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add 1 cup shredded Brussels sprouts to skillet and sauté for 4 minutes. Add 1 sliced scallion + 1/2 cup sliced sugar snap peas + 1/2 tsp each finely chopped ginger and garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in 1 Tbsp each low sodium soy sauce + rice vinegar. Serve over 1 cup cooked brown rice.

20. Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry: Sauté 1/2 cup chopped onion in 1 Tbsp canola oil in a pot over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add 2 cups cauliflower florets + 1 cup canned low-sodium chickpeas (rinsed) + 2 diced plum tomatoes + 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth + 1 tsp curry powder. Simmer 25 minutes. Top with 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro.

21. Black Bean Soup: Sauté 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion + 1 clove finely chopped garlic in 1 tsp olive oil in a pot over medium heat for 4 minutes. Add 1 cup each low-sodium chicken broth + low-sodium black beans (rinsed) + 1 diced plum tomato + 1/2 tsp cumin + 1/4 tsp each smoked paprika + chili powder; simmer 10 minutes. Top with 1/4 diced avocado + 1 6-in. corn tortilla (sliced).

Snack Time

22. Chai Latte and Chocolate: Combine 6 oz brewed chai tea + 6 oz warmed 1% milk. Serve with 4 dark chocolate Hershey's Kisses.

23. Blackberry-banana skewers: Alternate 1-in. chunks of banana with blackberries. Drizzle with 1 tsp caramel sauce.

24. PB&J Yogurt: Stir 1 tsp peanut butter into a small container nonfat plain Greek yogurt. Top with 1/2 cup sliced strawberries.

25. Peach melba ice cream: Mix 1/4 cup chopped frozen peaches + 1/4 frozen raspberries into 1/2 cup light vanilla ice cream.

26. Berry-Cherry Trail Mix: Combine 1 Tbsp each dried blueberries, dried cherries, walnuts + sunflower seeds.


27. Maple-Chili Walnuts: Whisk 1 Tbsp maple syrup + 1 pinch chili powder. Toss with 8 walnut halves in a skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool.

28. Cheese and Grapes: 1 piece part-skim string cheese + 1/2 cup grapes.

29. Hummus Celery Boats: Whisk . cup hummus + 1 pinch smoked paprika. Fill hollows of 2 celery stalks with hummus; top each with 1 tsp sesame seeds.

30. Avocado Rye Crisps: Top 3 whole-grain rye crackers (like Finn Crisp or Wasa) with 1/4 mashed avocado.

31. Protein pack: 3/4 cup steamed, shelled edamame.

32. Tzatziki and Veggies: Whisk 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt + 1 Tbsp light sour cream + 1/4 grated cucumber + 1 tsp lemon juice. Serve with sliced bell peppers.


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Women's Magazine: Try This Easy Meal Plan to Lose Up to 2 Pounds a Week
Try This Easy Meal Plan to Lose Up to 2 Pounds a Week
If you think that heart-healthy eating is all about what you shouldn't consume, think again
Women's Magazine
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