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Get ready for bikini season with our diet plan

With only four weeks until the unofficial start of summer, we're going to help you shed any leftover “winter weight” you're carrying around and get your body ready for bikini season once and for all. Each week, nutritionist Joy Bauer will give you a step-by-step game plan for achieving your goals. We're kicking off this special series, the “Today” show’s Summer Slim-Down Guide, with her
/ Source: TODAY

With only four weeks until the unofficial start of summer, we're going to help you shed any leftover “winter weight” you're carrying around and get your body ready for bikini season once and for all. Each week, nutritionist Joy Bauer will give you a step-by-step game plan for achieving your goals. We're kicking off this special series, the “Today” show’s Summer Slim-Down Guide, with her program to jump-start your diet. Bauer was invited on “Today” to go over the first two steps of her healthy, no-fuss weight-loss plan. Here's her second step:

Congratulations! You’re about to begin a regimen that will help you look and feel smashing … just in time for summer. My low-calorie plan is loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant-rich foods. You’ll get a blast of daily nutrition, plus you'll feel full and satisfied while you lose weight. Be sure to drink plenty of water — aim for nine or more cups each day — and take a daily multivitamin simply for backup. Also, if you’re not getting enough daily calcium from low-fat dairy and calcium-fortified foods, consider taking a separate calcium supplement of 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams (split between two doses throughout the day, and taken with food). Be sure to purchase a calcium supplement that also provides Vitamin D and magnesium.

Step Two

“What’s on the menu”

This plan is based on my 90/10 food strategy: 90 percent healthy foods and 10 percent fun foods. All daily menus have been calculated at approximately 1,400 to 1,600 calories. If you don’t follow my menu, use the following food guidelines:

90 percent healthy

  • One serving of high-quality starch with each meal (or three total servings for the day.) One serving = 1 slice whole wheat bread (or, two slices reduced calorie bread), 1/2-cup cooked brown rice or whole wheat pasta, 1 small whole wheat pita bread (70 calories), 1/2 large whole wheat pita bread, 1/2 medium white baked or sweet potato, 3/4-cup whole grain breakfast cereal (120 calories or less), 1/2 cup dry plain oatmeal, 1/2 whole grain English muffin, 1/2 cup peas, corn, starchy beans (for example kidney beans or chickpeas), or acorn or butternut squash.
  • Two daily servings of fresh fruit. (They can be eaten with meals or snacks.)

    One serving = 1 medium piece of fruit, 1 small banana, 1/2 mango, 1/2 papaya, 1 cup berries, or fruit salad.
  • Unlimited vegetables throughout the day. One serving = 1 cup raw or 1/2-cup cooked. Try to count peas, corn, and potatoes as starch. (See above.)
  • Lean protein with each meal. Appropriate portions are 3 to 5 ounces of lean meat, chicken, fish or tofu; or 1 cup skim milk, non-fat yogurt or 1 percent reduced-fat cottage cheese; or 1 to 2 ounces of nonfat or low-fat sliced cheese; or 1 whole egg plus two egg whites.
  • Limit the fats. They should be limited at each meal to the following: 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil, or 1 tablespoon regular salad dressing, or 2 to 4 tablespoons low-calorie salad dressing, or 1 to 2 tablespoons nuts, or 1 tablespoon peanut butter, or 1 tablespoon healthy spread (light cream cheese, soft-tub, trans-fat-free margarine, guacamole, or reduced fat mayonnaise).

10 percent fun

  • Each day you have the opportunity to enjoy one daily fun food each and every day. All fun foods are portioned at 150 calories or less. This helps satisfy cravings and removes the deprivation often associated with dieting. You may choose to skip the daily fun food, and instead enjoy an additional serving of one of the following; high quality starch, fruit, protein, or fat.

  • You can choose your own fun food, or you can pick a dessert or snack from Joy's list.

10 fun foods

1 ounce dark chocolate

½ cup fat-free pudding

½ cup low-fat ice cream, frozen yogurt, or sorbet

1 low-fat ice cream pop (less than 150 calories)

7 cups of light popcorn

1 ounce baked chips

1 ounce pretzels

4 licorice sticks

1 cup natural applesauce

1 small bag of soy crisps

10 strawberries with 2 tablespoons reduced-fat whipped topping

1 baked apple with 1 teaspoon sugar and cinnamon

1 frozen banana

Joy’s Summer Slim-Down menu plan

Get ready to feel great! All my meals are interchangeable, so if you like one breakfast better than another breakfast, feel free to substitute and repeat it several times. The same thing goes for lunch, dinner, and snacks. If you dine out a lot, or don’t have time to prepare my specific meals — simply use my meal suggestions as a reference and stay as close to the course as you can. For example, to order my Fiesta Omelet in a restaurant, ask for an egg white omelet stuffed with spinach and onion, with one slice of dry whole wheat toast.

Here’s the calorie breakdown:

Breakfast: Approximately 300 calories

Lunch: Approximately 400 calories

Snack: Approximately 150 to 200 calories

Dinner: Approximately 400 calories

Fun Food: 150 calories or less

Day One


Fiesta Omelet: An omelet, made with one whole egg plus two egg whites, stuffed with vegetables. Try spinach, onions, tomato, or zucchini sautéed in 1 teaspoon olive oil. (See Joy's Summer Slim-Down recipes for Fiesta Omelet.) Cook omelet in a nonstick pan or coat a regular pan with cooking spray. Serve with one slice of whole wheat bread (any brand that provides two grams fiber and no more than 90 calories per slice). Optional cup of coffee or tea (plain or with skim milk, but no sugar).


Soup and salad: One bowl of minestrone, black bean, or lentil soup (about 2 cups or 300 calories of any prepared brand with nutritional information, i.e. Healthy Choice or Campbell’s Healthy Request). Eat with a mini whole wheat pita (any brand that has 70 calories, or 1/2 regular whole wheat pita), and a green salad tossed with 2 tablespoons of low-fat dressing (or 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and a small dash of olive oil).

Afternoon snack

One skim milk cappuccino or latte (optional teaspoon sugar or Splenda) and one orange.


Sweet Wild Salmon:Mix together 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce and 1 tablespoon honey. Drizzle over a six-ounce wild salmon fillet and broil for 10 to 15 minutes — basting every few minutes. Serve over a large mound of baby arugula leaves — and with 1 cup steamed broccoli.

Day Two


Cereal with fruit: 1 cup high fiber cereal with five or more grams fiber and less than 150 calories (Kashi Go Lean, Nature’s Path Flax Plus, Barbara’s Grain Shop, Barbara’s Cinnamon-Flavored Puffins, Fiber One, Mighty Bites, Total, Wheaties, or Shredded Wheat). Serve with 1 cup skim milk or low-fat soymilk, and 1/2 banana (sliced) or 1/2 cup berries. Optional cup of coffee or tea (plain or with skim milk, but no sugar).


Mediterranean Pita: Spread a medium whole wheat pita (150 calories) with 1/3 cup humus, then stuff it with shredded lettuce, tomato slices, and a few sliced black olives. Plus, six-ounce container of non-fat flavored yogurt (any brand 100 calories or less, i.e., Dannon Light-n-Fit or Breyers Light).

Afternoon snack

1 ounce raw almonds (about 20).


Steak & veggies: Green tossed salad with plain balsamic vinegar (or 2 tablespoons low-calorie dressing). One 6-ounce filet mignon or sirloin (trimmed of fat, with optional 2 tablespoons ketchup or steak sauce); 1 cup steamed vegetables (cauliflower, spinach, zucchini or peppers).

Day Three


Strawberry Yogurt Parfait: Mix a cup of non-fat vanilla-flavored yogurt, 1 cup of chopped fresh strawberries, and 1/4 cup low-fat granola. (See Joy's Summer Slim-Down recipes for Strawberry Yogurt Parfait.)Serve with a side plate of 20 raw almonds or 10 walnuts. Optional cup of coffee or tea (plain or with skim milk, no sugar).


Turkey and cheese sandwich: Toast two pieces of reduced-calorie whole wheat bread (no more than 60 calories per slice, or prepare an open-faced sandwich on one slice regular whole wheat toast). Layer one slice of bread with 1 teaspoon reduced-fat mayonnaise, unlimited spicy mustard, two ounces smoked turkey (or lean ham) and one slice of low-fat cheese. Top with a thick slice of tomato, onion and the remaining slice of bread. Handful of baby carrots.

Afternoon snack

One apple plus one slice low-fat cheese (Kraft-free, Laughing Cow Light triangle, or Polly-O part-skim string cheese).


Grilled chicken with Baked Sweet Potato Fries sprinkled with Cinnamon: One 6-ounce skinless chicken breast — baked, broiled or grilled — with sweet potato fries or a half of a plain sweet potato and 1 cup steamed spinach. (See Joy's Summer Slim-Down recipes for Baked Sweet Potato Fries sprinkled with Cinnamon.)

Day Four


PBJ English muffin: Toast whole grain English muffin; spread each slice with one teaspoon peanut butter and one teaspoon low-sugar jam. End with a whole pink grapefruit (or cup of berries). Optional cup of coffee or tea (plain or with skim milk, but no sugar).


Bauer’s Power Salad: Unlimited lettuce and raw vegetables (tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, mushrooms, etc.) mixed with 2 to 4 tablespoons of low-fat dressing (or unlimited balsamic vinegar and 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil) and topped with one of the following: One four-ounce grilled wild salmon; one six-ounce grilled chicken breast, turkey breast, tofu, or ham; Plus, the option to add small scoop (1/2 cup) of either chick peas, black beans, low-fat cheese.

Afternoon snack

Any granola bar less than 200 calories (Nature Valley, Lara, or Pria)


Chinese take-out: Order steamed seafood, tofu or chicken and vegetable entrée (like steamed chicken and broccoli) — request garlic or ginger sauce on the side — also order small container steamed brown rice. Pile your plate with steamed entrée and flavor with 1 tablespoon sauce and unlimited low-sodium soy sauce on your dish. Eat with 1/2 cup brown rice.

Day Five


Toasted whole grain English muffin and turkey bacon: One whole grain English muffin topped with 1 tablespoon of light cream cheese, or soft-tub, trans-fat-free margarine spread with a side plate 3 slices of reduced-fat turkey bacon (Applegate Farms, Louis Rich, Jennie-O, etc.). Optional cup of coffee or tea (plain or with skim milk, but no sugar).


Cottage cheese with fresh fruit salad: 1 cup fresh fruit salad (any preferred fruit) topped with 1 cup 1 percent reduced-fat cottage cheese (or 1 cup non-fat, plain or flavored yogurt) topped with 2 tablespoons wheat germ.

Afternoon snack

Part-skim string cheese and 10 almonds.


Extra-Lean Turkey Chili: Start with tossed vegetable salad with fresh lemon or plain balsamic vinegar; plus, 2 cups of Extra-Lean Turkey Chili or any prepared turkey or vegetarian chili. (See Joy's Summer Slim-Down recipes for Extra-Lean Turkey Chili.)

Day Six


Cottage cheese with fruit and almonds: 1 cup 1 percent low-fat cottage cheese (or nonfat flavored yogurt) mixed with 1/2 sliced banana, 1/2 cup chopped strawberries and 1 tablespoon slivered almonds. Optional cup of coffee or tea (plain or with skim milk, but no sugar).


Spinach and cheese omelet with salad: Whip 1 whole egg with two to three egg whites and pour on heated pan coated with nonstick cooking spray; add unlimited raw or cooked spinach and 1 ounce reduced fat or fat-free cheese; enjoy with a mixed green salad tossed with 2 teaspoons olive oil and unlimited balsamic vinegar or fresh lemon (or 2 to 4 tablespoons of low-calorie dressing).

Afternoon snack

Sliced apple with 1 level tablespoon peanut butter.


Pork tenderloin with cauliflower: One 5-ounce pork tenderloin; 1 or more cups of cooked cauliflower or Brussels sprouts.

Day Seven


Oatmeal with chopped apple: 1/2 cup dry oatmeal made with 1 cup skim milk (microwave for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes); mix oatmeal with 1 chopped apple and microwave for additional 30 seconds. Sprinkle with optional cinnamon plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar, white sugar or honey (or use artificial sweetener). Optional cup of coffee or tea (plain or with skim milk, but no sugar).


Yogurt with fruit and nuts:1 cup non-fat vanilla yogurt mixed with 1/2 chopped apple (or pear), 1/2 banana and 1/2 cup berries (other preferred fruit may be substituted); plus 2 tablespoons wheat germ, 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds, and 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts.

Afternoon snack

Fruit smoothie. In a blender, mix 1 cup skim milk, 1 cup frozen strawberries, and 1/2 frozen banana.


Turkey burger with greens: one 5-ounce turkey burger (or veggie burger) on half bun topped with sliced tomato and onion; served with unlimited leafy greens tossed in 2 to 4 tablespoons low-calorie vinaigrette (or 1 teaspoon olive oil and unlimited balsamic vinegar).

For more information on healthy eating, visit Joy Bauer’s Web site at