Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

Healthy Weight Loss Plan

This Seven Day Eating Plan is bursting with nutrients and full of delicious produce. Itís ideal for anyone who needs to lose some weight and a useful guide to regular sensible eating.

You may want to lose a few pounds, but remember we're all targets for the multi-million pound slimming business which is more concerned with extracting pounds from pockets than it is with the nation's health. Most dietary advice includes worthless pills, unhealthy meal substitutes or extreme diets based on pseudoscience and hocus pocus. This plan provides good nutrition, happy eating and real food. You won't be hungry, you will be healthy and you will lose pounds if you need to.

This week's eating provides you with all you need of most nutrients, but to make sure that you don't miss out on any of the essential vitamins or minerals it's a good idea to take a simple one-a-day vitamin and mineral supplement which you can get from any chemist, health food store and even off your supermarket shelf.

No-one will stick to a "diet" which is full of dreary food lacking eye appeal or taste, so this eating plan contains mouthwatering recipes that not only look good but do you good as well. Healthy eating is the only sane way to shed the surplus pounds so, start with these simple changes:

Choose leaner cuts of meat and eat more fish and poultry. Choose semi-skimmed or skimmed milk (not for the under 5's) and look for lower fat cheeses and yoghurts. Eat much more fresh fruit and vegetables - around a third of your food - a minimum of five helpings a day, excluding potatoes. Do eat lots of potatoes - but not fried - pasta, rice and beans but all without cream or fatty meat sauces.

Normally you should eat good breakfast cereals like porridge, muesli or wholewheat products without added salt and sugar, and at least five slices a day of wholemeal bread - be very mean with the butter. Avoid all sugar if possible and watch out for the hidden fat in biscuits, cookies, cakes and meat products.

More often it's what you do to your food, rather than the food itself, that piles on the weight. Don't fry, but grill (broil), steam or bake instead. Roast meat or poultry on a rack in the pan - so it won't soak up the fat. Never eat chicken or duck skin - they're oozing with fat. Avoid all thickened or creamy sauces. Use low fat yoghurt or fromage frais instead of cream. Try using a smaller plate - it looks like you've got more in front of you - and take plenty of time over your meals so they're more satisfying.

Never miss breakfast and don't go for long periods without food. If you're making a conscious effort to cut down your consumption, then keep your vitamin and mineral levels up to the mark with a good daily supplement. Women need some extra calcium too.

This is definitely not a starvation level existence, but a diet of good meals. It is possible to eat well and lose weight if you need to. But it's also essential that your new regime should be satisfying and enjoyable. Most diets fail because you give up in despair or disgust at the thought of one more cracker and cottage cheese. Donít forget to drink at least 3-4 pints of fluid each day.

Increase your calorie output by a little more exercise - a brisk 20 minute walk each day will do - and you could certainly be a whole lot healthier and if necessary, pounds lighter in just a few weeks.

Remember that weight loss depends on burning up more calories than you consume and exercise is a vital part of this equation. Eating two slices of bread and butter a day less and walking for ten minutes each day more will produce a regular weight loss of one pound a week. Itís as simple as that. What you need is a sensible calorie intake that will provide your body with all the nutrients it needs and you with all the energy you need, both physically and emotionally. By increasing your physical activity by whatever means are suitable to your own personal health and fitness, your bonus in terms of health is many-fold. You donít just lose weight more easily, but you improve your cardiovascular system. You increase muscular strength. You build stamina and maintain mobility. In addition, exercise produces the "feel-good" endorphins in your brain and this is a huge bonus.


Baked beans on toast with a grilled tomato; a cup of tea or coffee with semi-skimmed milk. Have either drink with breakfast every day.

Light meal:
A large portion of coleslaw made with red, white and green cabbage, carrots, sultanas, onion, apple, plain yoghurt, a little olive oil and a tablespoon of cider vinegar, with a small cup of cottage cheese and a piece of fresh fruit.

Main meal:
Chicken breast (skin removed) covered with a sliced courgette (zucchini), thin strips of red pepper, a little garlic, the juice of a lemon, half a glass of dry white wine and quarter of a pint of vegetable stock (from a cube) cooked in a covered casserole for 30 minutes at 175C/350F/gas mark 4, with carrots and parsnips mashed together. A baked apple (cooked in the oven at the same time). Remove the core, cut off the bottom quarter, put it back in the hole and stuff with 30g ground almonds mixed with orange juice, sprinkled with a little cinnamon and nutmeg.


Porridge with half water, half skimmed milk, a slice of wholemeal toast with a little butter and honey.

Light meal:
A large bowl of vegetable, bean and barley soup - 45g pot barley, 900ml water, 4 sliced carrots, 1 chopped turnip, 2 sliced leeks, 2 sticks celery, 1 chopped onion, 15ml tomato puree, black pepper, bring them to the boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Add a can of kidney, butter, haricot or any other sort of beans; cook for another five minutes to make six large portions. Serve with a green salad with oil and vinegar dressing.

Main meal:
Any grilled fish with a green vegetable followed by some soft cheese with a large stick of crunchy celery.


Half a grapefruit, 2 poached eggs, 2 grilled tomatoes.

Light meal:
2 or 3 large flat mushrooms or a good handful of button mushrooms fried in a little butter very gently in a covered pan for about 15 minutes on wholemeal toast with a salad.

Main meal:
Grilled lamb chops with most of the fat removed with peas and carrots, a portion of dried fruits soaked and served with low fat natural yoghurt mixed with a pinch of cinnamon, grated lemon rind and a teaspoon of honey.


A mixture of an orange, an apple and a pear sliced into a bowl with a carton of natural yoghurt and a teaspoonful of honey,

Light meal:
A sandwich of wholemeal bread without butter, a mashed banana, a couple of chopped up dates, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of any chopped nuts. A fresh pear and a few grapes.

Main meal:
Chicken cooked any way you like, but not fried, with at least two different vegetables. Chopped ready to eat Californian prunes and apricots soaked in the juice of a lemon, an orange, a tablespoon of brandy, half a teaspoon of sugar.


2 boiled eggs, 2 slices of wholemeal toast spread very thinly with butter.

Light meal:
A bowl of bean and barley soup (left over from Tuesday) with a wholemeal roll.

Main meal:
Put a fillet of hake, cod or any white fish on a finely chopped onion, tomato and garlic mixture in a large piece of cooking foil, sprinkle more of the mixture on top of the fish, season with pepper and a little olive oil. Wrap the foil into a parcel, bake at 200C/400F/gas mark 6 for 20 minutes. Serve with a salad of watercress, orange segments and chicory. A piece of soft cheese (Brie, Camembert etc) and a bunch of grapes.


As much fresh fruit as you like.

Light meal:
Italian toast - bruschetta. Toast a thick slice of coarse wholemeal bread until lightly brown on both sides. Rub one side with a cut clove of garlic, dribble on a little olive oil and pile with thin slices of fresh tomato - a wonderful snack for any time of the day or night.

Main meal:
Chicken, beef or lamb casserole - remove skin and fat, cut into cubes, seal for a few seconds in hot oil, remove the meat with a slotted spoon, add onion, garlic and celery, continue cooking till soft but not brown, add vegetable stock (from cube) with diced parsnip, carrot, swede, leek, turnip, potato, return meat to the mixture, cover tightly and cook at 180C/350F/gas mark 4 for one to one and a half hours till meat is tender. 2 tangerines in segments with a small carton of fromage frais and a teaspoon of honey.


2 slices of wholemeal toast with a little butter and honey. A glass of fresh orange juice.

Light meal:
Green pasta and tuna fish. While the pasta is cooking put 4 coarsely chopped spring onions including the green tops into a frying pan with a little oil. When they're soft add a small can of drained tuna and stir until warm but not cooked. Drain the pasta, return to the saucepan, mix in the tuna and spring onions and serve. A piece of fresh fruit.

Main meal:
Stir fry lamb. Remove all fat from the meat and cut into thin strips. Put in a shallow dish with 15ml olive oil, 10ml soya sauce, 30ml dry sherry and leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Then in a wok or thick bottomed frying pan heat some olive oil, add the lamb and some of the marinade, stirring vigorously for three minutes. Add a small leek thinly sliced lengthways, stir for another two minutes, then add a chopped spring onion, a chopped clove of garlic and a little freshly grated ginger and cook for another three minutes. Serve with a tomato and onion salad. Half a small melon.

You must drink at least three pints of fluid each day - water, diluted unsweetened fruit juices and some tea, herbal teas and a little coffee. You may have one glass of wine or half a pint of beer or one small measure of spirits each day as well. This is seven days of delicious healthy eating which I hope you will enjoy. It is not a diet but a guide to help you change the way you


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