With the summer holidays upon us, there’s no escape: the time has come for the annual bikini face-off. But say goodbye to diets that sap your energy and leave you hungry and miserable. This two-week healthy eating plan has tasty, nutritious foods that will help you lose up to 10 pounds and leave you energized and glowing inside and out – it’ll even burn your cellulite!
Your meal plan
For the next two weeks, pick one of the breakfasts, lunches and dinners below and eat up to three pieces of fruit daily. As with all diets, staying hydrated is very important as it boosts the metabolism. Make sure you drink four to five glasses of water a day, as well as decaffeinated coffee and tea (ideally black and definitely with no sugar) and even the odd cup of cocoa. All of these contain antioxidants – high levels of which are linked to reduced quantities of body fat.
For breakfast: smoothies
For the perfect start to your day, opt for some of the following:
- 2-3 pieces or 5-6 handfuls of fruit. Soft fruits such as bananas, berries, peaches, mangos, papaya or fruit tinned in natural juice are best;
- Small handful of any unsalted nuts such as almonds, Brazils, cashews or pistachios;
- 1 scoop of pure whey protein. Now add enough water to create a smooth consistency. Before drinking, sprinkle 1tbsp of ground flaxseed.
Eating a nutrient-rich diet means lunches tend to be salad-based rather than focused around quick-fix takeaways, such as sandwiches. But while all of these lunches need to be made at home, they require no more than five minutes’ preparation and can easily be taken to work in plastic containers.
You can try:
- Salad of sliced tomatoes, black olives, basil leaves and celery. Season with black pepper and serve with a finely chopped boiled egg and a handful of walnuts.
- Mixed lettuce leaves with 75g (3oz) tinned salmon, asparagus and a dressing of chopped red pepper, onion and 1tsp flaxseed oil. Serve with 200g (7oz) spinach-based soup and 1tsp low-fat crème fraiche.
- Crudités made from celery, carrot, yellow pepper and red pepper and served with a dip made from 75g (3oz) flaked smoked mackerel and mixed with a little low-fat natural yoghurt. Serve with a side salad of spinach and rocket topped with 1tsp each balsamic vinegar and flaxseed oil.
- Crudités with a dip made from 2-3tbsp hummus mixed with 1tsp flaxseed oil. Serve with a side salad containing watercress and celery.
- Salad of green beans, cherry tomatoes, yellow pepper and a little chopped parsley. Top with 75g (3oz) chicken and a dressing made from 1tsp Dijon mustard, 3tsp flaxseed oil, 3tsp lemon juice.
- Salad of cooked and cooled wakame seaweed, cucumber and chopped radish mixed with a handful of sunflower seeds. Top with 75g (3oz) fresh prawns stir-fried with a little garlic.
- Salad of watercress, sliced strawberries and sliced pear. Add a small handful of flaked almonds. Top with balsamic dressing. Serve with 75g (3oz) crab meat (fresh or canned).
The meals below are based mostly around protein and vegetables – but remember, if you’ve exercised during the day, you can add a small (fist-sized) serving of carbohydrates. These should be wholegrain carbs such as brown rice, pasta, sweet potatoes or wholegrain bread or crackers.
- 75g (3oz) any white fish grilled and topped with a sauce of chopped tomato, onion and black olives. Serve with broccoli sautéed with a little olive oil, garlic and a pinch of chili flakes.
- 75g (3oz) lean grilled steak or chicken served with a selection of grilled vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, red pepper and asparagus. Add 1-2tsp avocado.
- 75g (3oz) salmon, trout, sea bass or mackerel served with steamed spinach, snap pea and grilled red pepper. Add 1tsp sesame seeds.
- 75g (3oz) grilled chicken breast and 2tsp avocado served on a salad of lettuce, tomato and onion mixed with a little coriander, some fresh chili or jalapeno peppers and sprinkled with lime juice.
- 75g (3oz) roast pork, lamb or beef with unlimited savoy cabbage, peas and sweetcorn. Serve with a little apple sauce or horseradish mixed with 1 handful of chopped nuts.
- 75g (3oz) prawns, chicken or tofu stir-fried with mixed vegetables, a little chopped chili, soy sauce and garlic. Serve with nori squares – make these by toasting a large sheet of nori seaweed until it crisps, then slice and sprinkle over a dash of soy sauce and a sliver of fresh ginger.
- 75g (3oz) of any white fish, grilled and topped with a salsa made with chopped mango, tomato, onion and coriander and a little lime juice. Serve with unlimited spinach and green beans.
Power up your results
You’ll lose weight just by following this diet plan, but for optimum results you add up some exercise. Three to five 40-minute sessions of cardiovascular exercise a week are highly recommended. This could be running, swimming, cycling or brisk walking at a pace that gets your heart beating fast.