Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

The Seven Day Healthy Eating Plan

We are constantly bombarded from all sides with endless advice on how to lose weight, stay slim and be healthy. Every newspaper, woman's magazine and countless radio and TV programmes urge everyone to think thin. We are 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. Unless you are grossly obese you are almost certainly better off staying as you are than making your life a misery by trying to reach the mythical "ideal weight".

Most of the dietary advice you see will include worthless pills, unhealthy meal substitutes or extreme diets based on pseudoscience and hocus pocus. If you have gained an extra inch or two and this makes you feel uncomfortable and not able to wear your favourite clothes, then here's a simple healthy one week eating plan that 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 the required amounts of most nutrients, but in order 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 multivitamin and mineral supplement.


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, 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 1 oz 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 - 1 oz pot barley, 1½ pints water, 4 sliced carrots, 1 chopped turnip, 2 sliced leeks, 2 sticks celery, 1 chopped onion, 1 dsp 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 5 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 or cod on a finely chopped onion, tomato and garlic mixture onto 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 1-1 1/2 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 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons soya sauce, 1 tablespoon 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 3 minutes. Add a small leek thinly sliced lengthways, stir for another 2 minutes, then add a chopped spring onion, a chopped clove of garlic and a little freshly grated ginger and cook for another 3 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 and coffee. You may have one glass of wine or half a pint of beer or one pub 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 eat for the better.


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