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Get ahead of holiday weight gain! If you’re looking to get proactive by shedding a few pounds before Thanksgiving Day rolls around, give my “3-4-5 Plan” a try.
The rules are simple. In the morning, enjoy any breakfast that's under 300 calories, eat lunch for no more than 400 calories, and eat a dinner that's 500 calories or less. You can create your own meals and menu or choose from the nutrient-packed recipes we've customized here.
Also, in addition to your three meals, enjoy one to two snacks each day. We've included a handy smart list for inspiration.
Breakfast Options: No More Than 300 Calories
- 1 whole egg + 3 egg whites scrambled with any veggie combination (chopped tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, green beans, etc.) + 1 slice whole grain toast or 1 orange or 3/4 cup berries
Apple with Peanut Butter
- 1 apple with 2 tablespoons peanut butter
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal Bake + dollop of vanilla Greek yogurt
Lunch Options: No More Than 400 Calories
Trim ‘n Slim Salad
- Mixed greens topped with 4 - 5 ounces protein (chicken, turkey, salmon, shrimp or tofu), ½ cup beans, and unlimited non-starchy veggies. Dress with 1 teaspoon olive oil + unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons low-calorie vinaigrette.
Open-Faced Turkey & Swiss Sandwich
- 1 slice whole grain bread layered with 4 ounces turkey, 1 slice of Swiss cheese, 1 tablespoon mustard or hummus, and preferred vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc.) + 2 cups of baby carrots on the side. If preferred, nix the cheese and enjoy your sandwich on two slices of bread
Soup and Salad
- 2 cups of lentil, black bean, or hearty-vegetable soup + salad layered with non-starchy veggies and dressed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice. Alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons of low-calorie vinaigrette.
Dinner Options: No More Than 500 Calories
Slow Cooker Favorites
- Love cooking in a Crock-Pot or slow cooker? Try this delicious Chicken Curry and Vegetables or Slow Cooker Chicken and Black Bean Chili.
Turkey Burger and Veggies
- Enjoy a hearty turkey burger on ½ bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and a squirt of ketchup + 2 cups steamed or roasted vegetables or try a salad dressed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice — alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons of low-calorie vinaigrette. Try other variations like a Turkey Black Bean Burger or Turkey-Spinach Burger.
Enjoy 2 servings of cauliflower fried rice + 4 ounces cooked protein of choice such as shrimp, fish, chicken, tofu, pork tenderloin, lean steak or poultry sausage mixed into the rice.
Baked Fish with Broccoli and Sweet Potato
- 5 ounces grilled, roasted or baked fish (cooked with 1 teaspoon olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper and preferred seasonings) + 2 cups steamed broccoli and 1/2 baked sweet potato. If you really love fish, try this Grilled Asian Salmon or Tilapia with Spicy Tomato Pineapple Relish.
- 4 slices eggplant Parmesan + 5 ounces chicken paillard + 1 cup green beans
Healthy Snack Options
- 5-6 ounces Greek yogurt (low-fat, nonfat, plain or flavored) + ½ cup berries
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds (shell on)
- String cheese and orange
- ½ cup sunflower seeds (shell on)
- Skim latte (skip sugar) and banana
- ¼ cup hummus and veggies
- Celery sticks with 2 level tablespoons nut butter
- 4 cups light popcorn (or 150 calories worth of any brand)
- ¼ cup (about a handful) of preferred nuts (walnuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds, shelled pistachios)
- 1/2 cup of pistachios in the shell
- Turkey-Bell Pepper Roll-Ups: 3 ounces turkey rolled with bell pepper sticks dipped in mustard or hot sauce
- 1 cup steamed edamame in the pod
- Small frozen yogurt
- 2 rice cakes, each topped with 1 teaspoon nut butter
Pumpkin Power Snacks
DIY Pumpkin Spice "Latte" + Ginger-Spiced Pumpkin Muffin
- Use ground coffee or K-cup pods. Add splash of skim milk and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. You can also froth the milk with a milk frother for an extra tasty touch.
OR Pumpkin Spice Popcorn
- Pop 4 cups of light popcorn. Mist with oil spray and add a dash of pumpkin pie spice.
This post was originally published on Sept. 20, 2017.