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Beacon Senior News

Countdown to summer diet

Apr 04, 2022 03:16PM ● By Sandra Gordon

Swimsuit season is upon us. If you have weight you want gone, this mega-healthy 1,500-calorie low-fat diet features lots of delicious peak-season fresh fruits and vegetables and enough Mexican flair to keep your taste buds happy. Best of all, it’s so safe and healthy that you can repeat it for as many weeks necessary to get down to your goal weight. 

Just don’t forget that diet is only one part of the equation. This diet, created by the world-renowned Rancho La Puerta Spa in Tecate, Mexico, puts a strong emphasis on exercise as well. 

So make sure to hit the gym or get outside for a walk, run or bike ride at least three days a week while you’re on the diet. Bon appétit!

Ground Rules

• Calorie counts are roughly the same for each meal, so if you want to replace a meal with one from another day or would like to repeat a meal two days in a row, that’s fine. 

• You’ll eat plenty of food at meals, plus one afternoon snack. But if you get hungry, have a piece of fruit.

• Drink as much water, seltzer or herbal tea as you like, but limit your intake of coffee, tea or diet cola to two to three servings a day.

• Vegetarians can substitute meat from recipes with half cups of black, pinto, or garbanzo beans.

• For variety during the second week of the diet, swap any fruit in the plan for blueberries, raspberries, papaya, mango, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, apple, orange, grapefruit or banana. 

• Vary the bread. Try English muffins, pita pockets, tortillas or 100 percent whole-grain rolls.

7-Day meal planner menu

Day 1


• 1 slice whole wheat bread

• 1 small wedge of honeydew melon

• 1/2 c nonfat yogurt


• Spicy tuna pita (fill 1/2 whole-wheat pita pocket with lettuce, tomato, bean sprouts, 2 oz tuna in water, red onion and celery, 1 T fat-free mayo)

• 8 oz skim milk


• 1 oz string cheese, 1 apple, 4 wheat crackers


• Chicken Enchiladas (see recipe)

• 1 c tossed green salad with 1 T vinaigrette

• 1 cinnamon-baked banana (sprinkle 1 peeled banana with 1/4 t ground cinnamon and 1/4 c orange juice; bake at 375° F for about 20 minutes)

 Day 2


• 3/4 c bran cereal

• 1/2 c blueberries

• 8 oz skim milk


• Turkey Sandwich (2 oz turkey, 1 oz Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and 1 T mustard and/or fat-free mayo on whole-wheat bread)

• 1 nectarine


• 3/4 c raisins

• 2 T sunflower seeds

• 1 c nonfat yogurt

• 1 medium peach


• 4 oz grilled or broiled sea bass, flounder or sole

• Tomato and feta salad (1 c lettuce, sliced tomato, 1/2 oz feta cheese, chopped shallots and 1 t capers)

• 1/2 c brown rice

• 1/2 c steamed green beans sautéed with 1 T sliced almonds

• 1/2 c cherries

 Day 3


• 1 low-fat bran muffin

• 8 oz skim milk

• Cantaloupe slices


• Niçoise salad (top lettuce with 2 oz tuna in water, tomato slices, sliced olives; serve with oil and balsamic vinegar dressing)

• 2 breadsticks

• Red Zinger tea


• 1 orange

• 1/4 c dry-roasted almonds


• Pasta with Mushrooms (see recipe)

• 1 c lettuce tossed salad with 1/4 medium sliced avocado, 1/2 sliced tomato and 2 T vinaigrette dressing

• 1/2 c frozen yogurt

 Day 4


• 1 Orange Corn Muffin (see recipe)

• 1 T peanut butter

• 8 oz skim milk


• Veggie wrap (fill 1 whole-wheat tortilla with 3 oz low-fat Monterey jack cheese mixed with lettuce and tomato and 1 T vinaigrette dressing)

• 8 oz V8 juice


• 1 c nonfat fruit yogurt

• 1 medium peach


• 4 oz poached salmon or halibut

• 1 c tossed salad with 1 T grated Parmesan cheese

• 6 steamed asparagus spears

• 3 small red potatoes

• Mango slices

 Day 5


• 6 oz grapefruit juice

• 1 low-fat bran muffin

• 1/2 c strawberries

• 1 c nonfat yogurt


• 1 c vegetable soup

• Spinach salad with chicken or turkey (toss 1 c fresh spinach, tomato and red onion with 3 oz grilled/deli chicken or turkey breast and 1 T raspberry vinaigrette)

• 1 sourdough roll


• jicama, celery and carrot sticks with 2 T low-fat ranch dip

• Lemon tea


• Penne with grilled veggies (toss 1/2 c cooked penne with grilled eggplant, red bell peppers and mushrooms and 1 t sautéed garlic, chopped basil and 1 T olive oil and 1 T Parmesan cheese)

• 1 whole-wheat roll

• 1/2 c strawberry sorbet

 Day 6


• 8 oz skim milk

• 3/4 c oatmeal

• 1/2 c fresh fruit


• Tomato slices and 2 oz low-fat mozzarella on baguette with 1 T olive oil

• 8 oz skim milk


• 1/2 c fresh fruit

• 1/2 c nonfat yogurt


• 4 oz grilled chicken breast

• 1 c sautéed vegetables

• 1 whole-wheat roll

• Mini Blueberry Cheesecake (see recipe)

 Day 7


• 6 oz orange juice

• 1 whole egg plus 2 whites, scrambled

• 1 slice whole-wheat toast with jam


• Black bean salad (mix 1/2 c cooked black beans, diced tomato, diced bell peppers, red onion and scallions with 1/2 c diced papaya, 1 T olive oil and 4 T vinegar; serve over greens)

• 1 flour tortilla


• 1 Orange Corn Muffin (see recipe)

• 1 T peanut butter


• Shrimp scampi (sauté 6 oz cleaned shrimp with chopped onion, garlic and ¾ c white wine)

• 1/2 c steamed rice

• 1/2 c steamed broccoli

• 1 pear


Orange Corn Muffins

Makes 12 servings

Nutrition information per serving: 170 calories, 38 g carbohydrate, 1 g fat,
5 g protein

• 2 oranges, zested then peeled (reserve zest)

• 1/4 c honey

• 2 cs all-purpose flour

• 1/2 c cornmeal

• 1 T baking powder

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1/2 c brown sugar

• 4 egg whites

• 1 c buttermilk

• 1/2 c mashed banana

Preheat oven to 400° F. Spray muffin
tin with nonstick cooking spray.

Cut oranges into six slices each and remove all seeds. Place a tsp. of

honey into each muffin cup; top with an orange slice and set aside. Mix

flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt
in a medium bowl and set aside. In

another bowl, combine sugar, egg whites, buttermilk, bananas and 2

T zest; mix well. Fold mixture into the
dry ingredients and mix

until just combined. Spoon batter into cups about three-fourths full. Bake

15 to 20 minutes, until golden. 

Chicken Enchiladas

Makes 6 servings

Nutrition information per serving: 160 calories, 18 carbohydrate, 4 g fat,
14 g protein

• 1/2 onion, chopped

• 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced

• 2 chicken breasts, skinned and cubed

• 6 ounces mushrooms, sliced

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 2 T fresh oregano

• 1/4 tsp chili flakes

• 1/2 c feta cheese

• 6 corn tortillas, warmed

• Ready-made tomato salsa

Preheat oven to 350° F. Sauté onion and pepper with the chicken for three minutes in a medium-size pan that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook five minutes more, or until chicken
is cooked through.

   Remove pan from the stove and fold in oregano and chili flakes. If necessary, drain excess liquid in a strainer; mixture should be moist but not too wet, or tortillas will be soggy. Fold in the feta cheese. Over low heat, warm a dry frying pan and heat each tortilla separately. Transfer tortillas to a plastic bag to keep warm. Remove them one by one and coat both sides with salsa. Place 2 T of the chicken-vegetable mixture on tortilla and roll up carefully. Place enchiladas seam side down in an ovenproof dish lightly sprayed with nonfat cooking spray and cover with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes, or until filling is hot and bubbling. 

Pasta with Mushrooms

Makes 6 servings

Nutrition information: 366 calories, 75 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 14 g protein

• 1 pound fettuccine

• 1/2 red onion, sliced

• 1 tsp. olive oil

• 3 cloves garlic, minced

• 1/4 pound porcini or button mushrooms, washed and dried

• 1 c low-sodium canned vegetable or chicken stock

• 1/2 c sun-dried tomatoes

• 3 T chopped fresh basil

• Freshly ground nutmeg

Cook pasta in a large pot according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a medium pan, sauté the onion in the oil until golden, 3- 5 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Add stock and cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes, basil and nutmeg and cook 1 minute, stirring. When pasta is done, drain well and return to pot. Toss sauce with pasta and serve immediately. 

Mini Blueberry Cheesecake

Makes 1 serving

Nutrition information per serving: 240 calories, 51 g carbohydrate, 1 g fat,
9 g protein

Crumb crust:

• 1 whole graham cracker, crushed

• 2 T unsweetened apple juice


• 2 T unsweetened apple juice

• 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin

• 1/4 c plain nonfat yogurt

• 2 T nonfat ricotta cheese

• 2 T packed brown sugar

• 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice

• 1/4 c fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray an individual ramekin with nonstick cooking spray. To make the crust: Put graham-cracker crumbs in a small bowl; add apple juice and stir with a fork until the crumbs are moist but not sticky. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and sides of ramekin. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden. Set on a wire rack to cool completely. To make filling: In a small saucepan, bring apple juice to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle gelatin over juice and stir until gelatin dissolves. In a food processor or blender, combine yogurt, ricotta, brown sugar, lime juice and gelatin mixture and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and fold in three-fourths of the blueberries. Pour into crust and smooth with a spatula. Top with remaining blueberries. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving

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