Pancakes, stir-fry and more: Lose weight on Joy Bauer's meal plan

Jan. 15, 2013 at 6:17 PM ET

Protein pancakes with berries -- a perfect start to your day!
Protein pancakes with berries -- a perfect start to your day!

TODAY nutrition expert Joy Bauer shares her meal plan for helping you eat right and lose weight!

If you’re looking for a dynamite program to help you jumpstart your weight loss, this food plan is the perfect guide. I've done all the work for you: these meals are designed with the right mix of lean proteins, high-quality carbs and healthy fats to give you fast, effective results. Simply choose one breakfast, one lunch, one snack, one dinner and one "healthy extra" per day (feel free to mix and match in any way you like and repeat your favorite meals as often as you like).

When it comes to beverages, I strongly advise you to skip sugary drinks like soda, fruit drinks, sweetened iced teas and flavored waters that add on unnecessary calories. Instead, drink plenty of water throughout the day, including two 8-ounce glasses of water before lunch and dinner to help fill you up. If you prefer something other than water, stick with calorie-free beverages such as naturally flavored seltzers and sparkling waters and unsweetened iced or hot coffee and tea (with optional skim, soy or unsweetened almond milk).

If you get hungry between meals and snacks, you can enjoy unlimited amounts of non-starchy vegetables (non-starchy veggies include: peppers, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, beets, sugar snap peas, snow peas, carrots, mushrooms, onions, green beans, asparagus, lettuce and leafy greens like spinach and kale). All non-starchy vegetables in the plan are interchangeable, so feel free to swap a salad for steamed broccoli, have sautéed spinach instead of cauliflower, or enjoy sugar snap peas instead of baby carrots with lunch.

**Learn about my “EnJOY Getting Fit” challenge, and be sure to check back regularly, as I’ll be updating the food plan each week with new meal and snack options!


Berry-granola power parfait: Click here for recipe.

Cheezy egg-wich: Click here for recipe.

Vegetable frittata muffins: Enjoy two vegetable frittata muffins (click here for recipe) with 1 piece fruit (apple, banana, orange, grapefruit or pear).

Joy's greens-in-a-glass: Click here for recipe. Enjoy with an optional hard-boiled egg OR a container of plain nonfat Greek yogurt OR 1Ž2 cup scoop low-fat cottage cheese.

Apple with peanut butter: Enjoy 1 sliced *apple with 2 level tablespoons peanut or almond butter (*may substitute a banana for the apple if preferred).

Oatmeal with nuts: Prepare ½ cup rolled oats with 1 cup water as directed on package. Top with 2 tablespoons toasted, chopped *nuts. Sweeten with optional 1 teaspoon sugar, honey or maple syrup. (*May skip the nuts and instead enjoy 1 hard-boiled egg OR 1 container nonfat Greek yogurt on the side.)

Protein smoothie:Click here for recipe.

Veggie scrambled eggs: Whisk together 1 whole egg with 3 egg whites (or use egg substitute). In a medium skillet coated with oil spray, sauté unlimited preferred vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, bell peppers and spinach over medium heat until soft. Add the eggs and ¼ cup shredded reduced-fat *cheese, and scramble until fully cooked. Season with preferred herbs and seasonings. (*May skip cheese and instead enjoy 1 slice whole-grain toast.)

Greek yogurt and fruit: Enjoy 1 (6-oz) container nonfat Greek yogurt (plain or flavored) with 1 piece fruit (apple, banana, orange, grapefruit or pear).

Protein pancake: Enjoy 1 protein pancake (click here for recipe) topped with ½-cup fresh or frozen, thawed berries OR a dollop of flavored nonfat yogurt.

Cereal with fruit: Enjoy 1 cup whole-grain cereal (any brand with 150 calories or less per 1-cup serving, at least 3 grams fiber, and no more than 8 grams sugar) with 1 cup skim, 1 percent or soy milk. Top cereal with ½-cup berries or ½ sliced banana. *Get a list of Joy-approved cereals.

Hearty black bean soup
Hearty black bean soup


Turkey tortilla roll-up: Enjoy 1 turkey tortilla roll-up (click here for recipe) with baby carrots or crunchy bell pepper sticks.

Salmon salad with crackers: Serve wild salmon salad over a bed of salad greens. Enjoy with 150 calories-worth of whole-grain crackers, such as Triscuits.

Mini veggie pizza: Enjoy one Mini Veggie Pizza (click here for recipe) with a side vegetable salad dressed with 1 to 2 tablespoons low-cal vinaigrette (50 cals or less per 2 tablespoons) or 1 teaspoon olive oil and unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon.

Quinoa chickpea salad: Click here for recipe.

Tuna pita pocket: Stuff a whole-wheat pita with tuna salad made by mashing together 1 can drained light tuna, 1 tablespoon light mayo or nonfat Greek yogurt, chopped onion and desired seasonings. Enjoy with bell pepper sticks or sliced cucumber on the side.

Fiery chicken salad with rice cakes: Mash 5 to 6 ounces diced, cooked chicken (canned or fresh) with 1 tablespoon reduced-fat mayo, minced onion and jalapeno to taste. Serve with 2 rice cakes and baby carrots or sliced cucumber.

Hearty soup: Serve 2 cups hearty soup such as lentil, black bean or minestrone (if using canned soup, choose a reduced-sodium variety with 350 cals or less per 2 cups), with unlimited baby carrots on the side.

Open-faced turkey sandwich: Top 1 slice *whole-grain bread with 4 ounces sliced turkey, lettuce, tomato, onion and mustard or 1-2 teaspoons low-fat mayo. (*May substitute 1 whole-grain sandwich thin or 2 slices reduced-calorie bread.) Enjoy with choice of fruit (1 apple, 1 orange or 1 cup purple grapes) and unlimited baby carrots or crunchy bell pepper strips on the side.

Power salad: Top a large bed of salad greens with 5-6 ounces lean protein (chicken, turkey, salmon, shrimp, or tofu), 1/2 cup beans (black, pinto, kidney, chickpeas, etc.), and unlimited non-starchy veggies (carrots, cucumbers, peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, etc.). Dress with 2 tablespoons low-cal vinaigrette (50 calories or less per 2 tablespoons) or 1 teaspoon olive oil and unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon.

Cottage cheese with berries and nuts: Top 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese with ¾ cup fresh or frozen berries and 1 tablespoon toasted, chopped nuts (or sunflower seeds).

Grilled cheese and tomato: Toast 1 whole-grain English muffin or sandwich thin. Top each half with sliced tomato and 1 slice reduced-fat cheese; broil until cheese melts. Enjoy with baby carrots or grape tomatoes on the side.


Each day, enjoy one of the following snacks with a cup of hot tea (green, black or herbal):

  • Half a Haas avocado, drizzled with lime juice and a light sprinkle of kosher salt
  • PB-Banana freeze (click here for recipe)
  • Parmesan popcorn (click here for recipe)
  • Chocolate protein pudding (click here for recipe)
  • 2 cups edamame in the pod
  • ¾ cup low-fat cottage cheese with unlimited cherry tomatoes or bell pepper strips
  • ¼ cup whole nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, etc.) or ½ cup pistachio nuts in the shell
  • 1 (6-ounce) container nonfat Greek yogurt (plain or flavored)
  • Nutrition bar (under 200 cals)
  • Apple or banana with a string cheese


      Whenever possible, start dinner with a vegetable first course such as a vegetable salad tossed with 1-2 tablespoons light dressing, a bowl of my Skinny Veggie Soup (click here for recipe), OR any plain vegetable such as a sliced cucumber or red bell pepper or a handful of cherry tomatoes or baby carrots. This will help fill you up before the main part of your meal.

      In addition, whenever possible, enjoy your dinner without starch (no pasta, rice, potatoes, or bread). This will help slash your dinner calories and accelerate your weight loss.

      Grilled chicken parmesan with broccoli
      Quinoa with caramelized onions and mushrooms:here

      Mini meatloaves with baked potato: Enjoy 1 serving Mini Turkey Meatloaves (click here for recipe). Serve with 1 small baked sweet or white potato topped with optional salsa, low-fat sour cream, and/or nonfat plain Greek yogurt.

      Chicken curry: Enjoy 1 serving chicken curry and vegetables (click here for recipe).

      Spinach lasagna: Enjoy 1 to 2 servings spinach lasagna (click here for recipe).

      Turkey chili: Enjoy 1 serving Turkey Chili (click here for recipe) topped with optional salsa, low-fat sour cream, and/or nonfat plain Greek yogurt.

      Turkey sausage with sautéed peppers and onions: Enjoy 1-2 servings turkey sausage with sautéed peppers and onions (click here for recipe).

      Grilled chicken parmesan with broccoli: Enjoy 1 serving grilled chicken parmesan with unlimited steamed broccoli or green beans (click here for recipe).

      Shrimp-vegetable stir fry: Coat a skillet with oil spray and heat over medium-high heat. Stir fry unlimited non-starchy vegetables (onions, peppers, mushrooms, carrots, snow peas, water chestnuts, etc.) until tender-crisp. Add 6 ounces shelled *shrimp and sauté until just cooked, about 2 minutes. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons low-sodium teriyaki sauce. (*May substitute chicken or tofu for shrimp.)

      Fish with salsa and veggies: Top 6 ounces grilled/baked/broiled fish (cod, halibut, haddock, sole, tilapia, etc.) with ¼ cup salsa. Enjoy with side of unlimited steamed or roasted asparagus, green beans or Brussels sprouts.

      Bunless burger with mashed cauliflower: Enjoy 1 bunless veggie burger (any brand 200 cals or less) or spinach taco burger (click here for recipe) with 1.5 cups *cauliflower mashed "potatoes" (click here for recipe). *May substitute unlimited steamed or roasted cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, or green beans for mashed cauliflower.

      Vegetable frittata: Enjoy 2 servings red pepper, chard and feta frittata (click here for recipe).


      Enjoy one extra treat or snack of your choosing every day — you can add anything you like as long as your treat is 150 calories or less. For example, you could enjoy a glass of wine or a low-fat ice cream pop or 1 ounce of chocolate or an extra piece of fruit or 4 cups of light popcorn as your daily "healthy extra."

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      Health-conscious cuisine: Linguini, spinach frittata, more
      5 dishes that will make you keen for quinoa