Research shows that dieters have a far greater chance of losing weight when they follow an eating plan than those who go it alone and what better way to kick-start your new way of flexible eating than with a seven-day diet plan? Simply follow the breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options below and watch the pounds slip away...
Day oneBreakfast: Fig and flax oatmeal ½ cup skimmed or soy milk ½ cup water ½ cup rolled oats Two dried figs, chopped One tablespoon ground flaxseeds One teaspoon honey Bring milk, water and oats to the boil. Simmer and stir for five minutes. Add figs, flaxseeds and honey. 267 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat Snack: Honey cinnamon grapefruit One large grapefruit Two teaspoons of honey Dash of cinnamon Cut grapefruit in half and loosen segments with a knife. Drizzle honey and cinnamon on grapefruit halves. 149 calories, 0g fat Lunch: Caprese pitta One ounce fresh mozzarella, chopped One cup halved cherry tomatoes ¼ cup chopped fresh basil One tablespoon pine nuts Two tablespoons low-fat Italian dressing One wholegrain pitta bread, cut in half Mix mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, pine nuts and dressing together. Stuff mixture into pitta halves. 406 calories, 21g fat, 5g saturated fat Snack: Protein popcorn Two tablespoons popcorn Cooking spray Two tablespoons nutritional yeast Pop the corn, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. 153 calories, 2g fat, 0g saturated fat Dinner: Pesto-style Portobello penne 2/3 cup uncooked wholegrain penne One large Portobello mushroom, sliced ½ cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained Two teaspoons olive oil One tablespoon pine nuts, toasted ¼ cup chopped fresh basil Two tablespoons grated Parmesan Cook pasta al dente per package directions. Sauté mushroom slices and beans in oil over medium heat for three to four minutes. Toss with all remaining ingredients. 505 calories, 19g fat, 4g saturated fat
Day two Breakfast: Banana pecan waffles Two frozen wholegrain waffles ½ small banana, sliced One tablespoon chopped pecans One teaspoon maple syrup Toast waffles. Top with banana, pecans and add a drizzle of syrup 311 calories, 14g fat, 2g saturated fat Snack: 50 pistachios 158 calories, 13g fat, 2g saturated fat Lunch: Avocado and chicken wraps Two ounces cooked, diced chicken breast ¼ avocado, chopped ¼ cup salsa ½ teaspoon cumin One lime, juiced Two small (six-inch) wholegrain tortillas Mix chicken, avocado, salsa, cumin and lime juice. Wrap mixture in tortillas. 409 calories, 9g fat, 1g saturated fat Snack: Chocolate mousse with raspberries One package (12 ounces) silken tofu (lite, firm) Two tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder Two tablespoons agave nectar Dash of vanilla extract ½ cup raspberries With a hand blender, puree tofu, cocoa powder, agave and vanilla until smooth. Serve with raspberries on top. 151 calories, 2g fat, 1g saturated fat Dinner: Olive, fennel and goat's cheese flatbread One wholegrain flatbread Two tablespoons canned sliced black olives, rinsed and drained ½ cup canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained ¼ bulb fennel, thinly sliced 1 ½ ounces goats cheese, crumbled Three tablespoons pine nuts 1 ½ cups low-sodium tomato soup (brands with less than 500mg sodium per cup), heated Preheat oven to 350F. Bake flatbread on cookie sheet for seven minutes. Top baked flatbread with olives, tomatoes, fennel, goat's cheese and pine nuts. Bake an additional 15 minutes. Serve with heated soup. 489 calories, 32g fat, 8g saturated fat
Day three Breakfast: Herbed cheese and tomato bagel ½ cup low fat cottage cheese Two teaspoons chopped fresh chives Two teaspoons chopped fresh parsley Two teaspoons chopped fresh basil Dash of black pepper One small wholegrain bagel, toasted Two thick tomato slices Blend cottage cheese with hand blender. Stir in fresh herbs and black pepper. Spread on toasted bagel and top with tomato. 291 calories, 2g fat, 1g saturated fat Top tip: Low fat cottage cheese is a great substitute for cream cheese at a fraction of the fat content. Stay away from low fat cream cheese which is packed full of artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. Snack: Swiss cheese and crispbread One slice Swiss cheese Two wholegrain crispbread crackers 154 calories, 9g fat, 5g saturated fat Lunch: Barbecue Baja burger One vegetarian burger One wholegrain hamburger bun ¼ avocado, sliced ¼ cup sprouts (broccoli, radish or alfalfa) Two tablespoons barbecue sauce One orange Heat burger in microwave, place on bun and top with avocado, sprouts and barbecue sauce. Serve with an orange. 410 calories, 15g fat, 2g saturated fat Snack: Dark chocolate-dipped apricots Two tablespoons dark chocolate chips Two dried apricots Two teaspoons crushed pistachios Melt chocolate chips. Dip apricots in chocolate, covering only 50 per cent of apricot. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios. Place on wax paper to set for about 10 minutes. 154 calories, 9g fat, 4g saturated fat Dinner: Tortilla and cheddar chilli ¼ onion, diced One green bell pepper, diced One jalapeno pepper, diced without veins or seeds One clove garlic, minced Two tablespoons chilli powder Two teaspoons olive oil One cup canned no-salt-added crushed tomatoes (not drained) ½ cup canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained One cup water ½ slice cheddar cheese, chopped into pieces, or ½ ounce cheddar cheese, shredded 10 wholegrain tortillas chips, crushed Sauté onion, green pepper, jalapeno, garlic and chilli powder in oil over medium heat for five minutes until pepper is tender. Add tomatoes, beans and water and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and top with cheese and tortillas. 490 calories, 22g fat, 5g saturated fat
Day four Breakfast: Florentine-scramble breakfast sandwich Cooking spray One cup baby spinach One egg, beaten Dash of black pepper Two rashers of lean bacon, grilled One wholegrain English muffin, toasted Spray pan with cooking spray and sauté spinach for one minute until wilted. In same pan, scramble egg with spinach and black pepper. Put scrambled eggs and hot vegetarian sausage patty on English muffin. 311 calories, 14g fat, 3g saturated fat Snack: Honey-drizzled yoghurt One container plain low fat yoghurt Two teaspoons honey 138 calories, 0g fat Lunch: Arugula salad with fig and goats cheese Three cups arugula Three dried figs, chopped One ounce goat's cheese, crumbled Two tablespoons balsamic vinegar Two ounces cooked, diced chicken Two tablespoons chopped walnuts Toss all ingredients together 404 calories, 17g fat, 5g saturated fat Snack: Mexican hot chocolate One cup skimmed or soy milk One tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder One tablespoon honey Dash of cinnamon In a saucepan, bring milk to almost boil. In a mug, stir cocoa, honey and cinnamon together and slowly add hot milk into cocoa mixture, stirring until smooth. 160 calories, 1g fat, 1g saturated fat Dinner: Polenta pizza bake Two cups water ½ cup polenta (medium-grind wholegrain cornmeal) Dash of salt and black pepper Cooking spray One clove garlic, minced One tablespoon Italian seasoning Two ounces cooked lean ground turkey Two teaspoons olive oil One cup canned no-salt-added crushed tomatoes (not drained) One tablespoon balsamic vinegar Two tablespoons grated low-fat mozzarella cheese Bring water to the boil, and slowly sprinkle in polenta, salt and black pepper while whisking. Simmer and stir for about 15 minutes (until water is absorbed). Spray an eight-inch casserole dish with cooking spray; then spread polenta evenly on the bottom. Sauté garlic, Italian seasoning and turkey in oil for three minutes. Stir in tomatoes and vinegar and bring to the boil. Spoon tomato mixture on polenta and top with cheese. Grill until cheese in golden. 504 calories, 17g fat, 4g saturated fat
Day five Breakfast: Peanut butter banana smoothie One cup (eight ounces) low fat plain yoghurt (liquid not set) One tablespoon peanut butter One small banana Blend yoghurt, peanut butter and banana with hand blender until smooth. Add ice cubes for thicker consistency. 298 calories, 11g fat, 3g saturated fat Snack: Cinnamon spice crunch popcorn Two tablespoons popcorn Cooking spray Two teaspoons cinnamon ¼ teaspoon chilli powder One tablespoon soy nuts Pop corn, spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with spices and toss with soy nuts. 149 calories, 3g fat, 0g saturated fat Lunch: Apple, fennel and pistachio salad One apple, chopped ½ fennel bulb, thinly sliced ¼ cup chopped pistachios Three cups green spring salad mix Two tablespoons of low-fat Italian dressing Toss all ingredients together. 395 calories, 24g fat, 3g saturated fat Snack: Honey Cafe au Lait One skimmed or soy latte One teaspoon honey 148 calories, 0g fat Dinner: Cauliflower cashew curry One cup chopped cauliflower One teaspoon curry powder ½ cup crushed no-salt-added tomatoes (not drained) Nine medium cooked shrimp, thawed ¼ cup frozen peas, thawed One tablespoon raisins ¾ cup cooked brown rice Two tablespoons chopped cashews One green onion, chopped In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook cauliflower, curry powder, tomatoes, kidney beans, peas and raisins covered for 10 to 12 minutes (stirring occasionally). Serve on brown rice and top with cashews and onion. 491 calories, 10g fat, 2g saturated fat
Day six Breakfast: Vanilla spice French toast with berry syrup One egg and two eggs whites One teaspoon vanilla extract One teaspoon pie spice (apple or pumpkin) Two slices whole grain bread Cooking spray ½ cup unsweetened frozen mixed berries Mix egg, vanilla and spice. Lightly dip bread into egg mixture. Cook in pan sprayed with cooking spray for three minutes on each side, until golden. Heat berries in microwave for 30 to 45 seconds, mash with fork, and serve on French toast. 301 calories, 8g fat, 2g saturated fat Snack: 10 peanuts 156 calories, 5g fat, 1g saturated fat Lunch: Artichoke and white bean hummus pitta ¼ cup chopped onion One teaspoon Italian seasoning 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes One teaspoon olive oil ½ cup cannellini beans, drained and rinsed ½ cup canned (in water) artichoke hearts, drained ½ lemon, juiced ½ cup cucumber, sliced One wholegrain pitta pocket, cut in half Sauté onion, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes in olive oil for about five minutes. In a large bowl, using a hand blender, puree cooked onion, beans, artichoke hearts and lemon juice until smooth. Stuff mixture and cucumbers into pitta halves. 387 calories, 8g fat, 1g saturated fat Snack: Peapods and ranch One teaspoon ranch seasoning ¼ cup low-fat sour cream 1 ½ cups peapods Mix seasoning and sour cream together and let sit 10 minutes for flavour to develop. Serve dip with peapods. 127 calories, 7g fat, 4g saturated fat Dinner: Grilled primavera rigatoni ¾ cup uncooked wholegrain rigatoni ½ small courgette, sliced thick ½ small red onion, sliced thick ½ small yellow squash, sliced thick Two plum tomatoes, halved Two teaspoons olive oil One teaspoon dried rosemary Dash of salt and black pepper ¼ cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained One tablespoon pine nuts Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Toss together zucchini, onion, squash, tomatoes, oil, rosemary, salt and black pepper. Grill ingredients for 10 minutes (turning once), until tender. Toss together cooked pasta, grilled vegetables and beans. Top with pine nuts. 514 calories, 17g fat, 2g saturated fat
Day seven Breakfast: Dried cherry and pistachio oatmeal ½ cup water ½ cup skimmed or soy milk ½ cup rolled oats Two tablespoons dried cherries One tablespoon chopped pistachios One teaspoon maple syrup Bring water, milk and oats to the boil. Simmer and stir for five minutes. Top with cherries, pistachios and syrup. 300 calories, 6g fat, 1g saturated fat Snack: 15 in a pod edamame beans and dash of salt Lunch: Chicken Ranch salad One teaspoon ranch seasoning Two tablespoons low-fat Italian dressing Three ounces cooked, diced chicken ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved ¼ cup canned no-salt-added corn, drained ¼ cup chopped green bell pepper Three cups green spring salad mix One nectarine Whisk ranch seasoning into vinaigrette. Toss all salad ingredients together. Serve with nectarine on the side. 396 calories, 16g fat, 2g saturated fat Snack: Cracked pepper and salt pitta chips One wholegrain pitta pocket ½ teaspoon olive oil Dash of cracked black pepper and salt Preheat oven to 350F. Brush pitta with oil, cut into six to eight triangles and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Bake on cookie sheet for eight to 10 minutes until golden and crunchy. 139 calories, 3g fat, 0g saturated fat Dinner: Vegetable enchiladas ¼ onion, chopped ½ cup no-salt-added tomato sauce Two teaspoons chilli powder One teaspoon olive oil ½ cup canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained One cup frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, carrot), warmed and chopped Two small (six-inch) wholegrain tortillas Three tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese Sauté onion, tomato sauce and chilli powder in oil over medium heat for seven minutes. Put ¼ cup tomato sauce mixture on bottom of small casserole dish. Roll beans and veggies into tortillas and lay filled tortillas in sauce. Cover both with remaining sauce and top with cheese. Grill until cheese is bubbly and golden, about seven to eight minutes. 504 calories, 14g fat, 6g saturated fat The Flexitarian Diet by Dawn Jackson Blatner is available from Amazon. Looking for flexitarian friendly food? The Flexitarian Diet book was launched in association with tibits restaurant in London. Visit www.tibits.co.uk to find out more. See more diet plans on handbag.comSee our BMI calculator on handbag.com