Looking for an easy way to lose a few pounds? We’ve
got the program. It’s simple, and it works. So get with
Many runners would like to lose a pound or 2.
Maybe 5. Maybe more. Why? That’s easy: to feel
better, look better, improve their health, and run
farther and faster.
However, losing weight can be surprisingly
difficult. In fact, national health surveys show
Americans in general are getting fatter. Sure,
regular runners should be ahead of the pack, but
many are still losing the weight-gain war.
What you need is a simple plan. Here it is, in just
two parts: (1) Make a little more time to run; (2)
Concentrate on a handful of dietary changes that,
over the course of a year, can produce significant
Below we’ve listed 20 great diet changes that you’ll
find easy to achieve. Many of them will help you
cut 100 calories or more from a single serving.
Now do the math. Say you eat this particular food
or meal three times a week. That’s 100 x 3 x 52, or
15,600 calories saved in a year. Which comes to
almost 5 pounds, since you’ll lose one pound for
every 3,500 calories cut from your food intake.
Make another food substitution, and you’re up to
10 pounds. Beyond that, the sky’s the limit. Here’s
your meal-by-meal planner. Don’t skip breakfast.
A good breakfast is the most crucial part of any
healthy weight-loss effort, as it revs up your energy
level and metabolism for the full day.
Homemade raisin bran
Description: Mix one cup of Total cereal, a packet
of raisins, and 1 cup nonfat milk. This simple
home recipe with 244 calories fortifies you with
100 percent of the Daily Value for most vitamins
and minerals, boosts your protein intake by 12
grams, and gives you a sweet, natural fiber and
You’ll Save: 50 calories, 6 teaspoons of sugar, and
5 grams of fat compared with ready-to-serve raisin
bran doused with a cup of 2-percent milk.
Scrambled whites with greens
Description: This low-fat, scrambled-egg
alternative provides 54 grams of high-quality
dietary protein in just 255 calories. First, spray
your frying pan with fat-free Pam. Then pour the
equivalent of four servings of Eggology egg whites
(or Second Nature or Egg Beaters egg whites) in a
bowl and blend with 1/2 cup spinach and 1/2 cup
mushrooms. Heat the pan until the Pam starts to
bubble, pour in the eggs, and fry until the eggs are
You’ll Save: 40 calories, 100 milligrams of
cholesterol, and 13 grams of fat compared with two
normal scrambled eggs.
Balanced Diet Shake
Description: For something cool, tasty, and
nutrient-filled in the morning, try a shake or
smoothie. The Balanced Diet nutritional drink
provides 180 calories with lots of complex
carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in a
naturally flavored French vanilla or chocolate
royale. Each serving includes 5 grams of dietary
fiber and 10 grams of soy, or 40 percent of the
daily minimum now recommended by the
American Heart Association.
You’ll Save: 60 calories daily and nearly 6 grams of
fat compared with many other similar drinks.
Frozen fruit smoothie
Description: You can prepare your own personal
antioxidant-filled fruit smoothie like the following
one that runner Bruce Shapiro used to lose 30
pounds over the last few years. Combine and
blend: one cup frozen, unsweetened blueberries;
1/2 banana; 1/4 cup wheat germ; and water.
You’ll Save: 200 calories for each 2- to 3-cup
serving, compared with many store-bought and
canned smoothie beverages.
Toasted plain Lender’s Bagel with natural jam
Description: Sure, a frozen bagel can’t match a
fresh one, but it’s easier to obtain for many people,
and a little toasting brings it to near perfection.
Just spread with your favorite natural jam.
You’ll Save: Anywhere from 160 to 360 calories
and more than 10 grams of fat compared with
similar bagels bought at Dunkin’ Donuts and other
outlets where the bagels are spread with cream
Lunch is the second-most-important meal of the
day in your weight-loss plan. It boosts your energy
level and regulates your metabolism to keep you on
an even keel.
Boca Burger Grilled Vegetable burger
Description: This zesty, soy-based vegetarian
alternative to the high-saturated-fat American BBQ
staple contains hints of zucchini, red-bell pepper,
garlic, onion, and even a couple of cheeses. It
tastes great and provides a good dose of protein.
Add some lettuce, tomato, ketchup, or your other
favorite toppings, and you’ll hardly notice the
difference from the traditional burger.
You’ll Save: Up to 180 calories and 19 grams of fat
compared with a typically-grilled 3-ounce beef
Alvarado Street sprouted wheat tortilla
Description: It’s easy to make your own delicious
wrap and save hundreds of calories. With this
tasty, organic, whole-wheat tortilla you’ll have no
trouble fixing a quick, hearty lunch. Boost your
vitamin and mineral intake by loading on a
handful of greens, shredded carrots, tomato, and
peppers along with grilled chicken, lean meat,
turkey, or a bean-based filler.
You’ll Save: Anywhere from 50 calories and 5
grams of fat to much more if you customarily buy a
commercial wrap drowning in mayo, oily toppings,
or greasy chicken.
Subway roast beef sub sandwich
Description: Can’t live without meat? You don’t
have to. Meat is a great source of protein, iron,
and several important minerals, and the Subway
lean 6-inch roast beef sub contains just 264
calories and 4.5 grams of fat in a meal perfectly
balanced with lettuce, tomato, and vegetables.
You’ll Save: Nearly 100 calories and 12 grams of
fat compared with a tuna salad sub, and more than
20 grams of fat compared with the classic meatball
Health Valley chili
Description: The right soup is always a great part
of your weight-loss arsenal. This can of fat-free
chili is tasty, easy to prepare, and filled with
You’ll Save: 200 calories and 22 grams of fat
compared with other prepared and restaurant
Tossed salad with croutons instead of salad dressing.
Description: You know that green salads make an
important contribution to your day’s eating, but
you’ve probably never thought of them as an
expression of art and adventure. Here’s your
chance. Instead of drenching your salads in high-
fat dressings, decorate them with croutons, beans,
You’ll Save: 100 calories and 28 grams of fat when
you add 1 ounce of croutons and 1/2 cup of beans,
peas, and raisins to your salad in place of 1 ounce
of an oil-based dressing. You’ll also increase your
intake of iron, folic acid, Vitamin C, and fiber.
Everybody has a snack attack at one time or
another, and there’s no reason to fight it. Research
shows that those who snack when hungry eat less
later and control their weight better. Just be sure
you eat healthy, low-fat snacks such as the ones
Frozen grapes, blueberries, and/or bananas
Description: Frozen cold sweet fruits are
refreshing, satisfying, nutritious, and taste
“smooth” or even creamy like many fat-filled
desserts. They’re easy to store in your freezer,
whether store bought or picked-by-you-and-your-
family and then frozen. Because of their texture,
temperature, and consistency, they taste sweet, and
alert your body to stop eating before you’ve
You’ll Save: 80 calories when you compare a whole
12-ounce bag of frozen blueberries to a small
serving of TCBY frozen yogurt, and 200 calories
and 14 grams of fat when you compare a frozen
banana with a 1/2 cup of Ben and Jerry’s.
Dried papaya, mango, and/or dates
Description: For a sweet taste that mimics a piece
of candy, try a dried-fruit snack. Raisins are the
most popular, but these papayas, mangos, and
dates will provide your daily dose of vitamin C,
plus some vitamin A and iron. They require more
chewing time than raisins, and will satisfy most
people in a smaller quantity than raisins, which
are easy to overeat.
You’ll Save: 100 to 150 calories for 4 to 6 pieces
when compared with a handful of raisins or other
dense, sugary foods and candies.
Glenny’s Apple Cinnamon Low-Fat Soy Crisps
Description: Available in two-serving bags, these
crunchy cinnamon treats will satisfy your sweet
tooth while setting you back just 150 calories for 28
crisps. Also available in lightly salted and onion
flavor, each bag contains 10 grams of soy protein
(The American Heart Association recommends 25
to 50 grams of soy protein each day for heart
health) plus 200 percent of your daily vitamin C
need, 20 percent of your iron need, and 10 percent
of your calcium need.
You’ll Save: 150 calories and 15 grams of fat
compared with graham-cracker snack treats.
A satisfying dinner will help you avoid a late-night
pigout. The best dinners are high in complex
carbohydrates, and low in fat. The carbohydrates
will help you sleep better, and also fuel your
Description: When prepared, the spaghetti squash
actually resembles a plate of spaghetti, so you can
add all your favorite sauces and toppings. Rich in
fluids (about 92.3 percent water), carbohydrates,
fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and pantothenic acid
(a B vitamin), spaghetti squash makes an ideal,
low-calorie entre that’s still filling. (Note: This is
not, however, the best way to carbo-load for a
marathon, or resupply your leg muscles after a
hard workout. For that, you’ll want a traditional
plate of pasta, heavy on the spaghetti, and light on
You’ll Save: 200 calories compared with 2 cups of
Papadini, hi-protein, pure-lentil bean pasta
Description: This delicious, wheat- and gluten-free
pasta has a unique, appealing taste, and shouldn’t
trouble runners whose stomachs are sensitive to
regular pastas. It also has 5 more grams of protein
per serving than traditional pasta, and is richer in
iron, folic acid, and other B-vitamins necessary for
metabolizing carbohydrates, proteins, and fats for
energy. When you prepare Papadini pasta as a
vegetable primavera, tossed with peas, beans
carrots, tomatoes, and corn, you get as much
protein as a chicken or steak dinner without the
excess fat, cholesterol, and calories.
You’ll Save: 20 calories per 2-ounce serving
compared with traditional wheat pastas.
Idaho Supreme potato pasta
Description: Here’s another wheat- and gluten-free
alternative to the real McCoy. Potato-based pasta is
a delightful, high-complex-carbohydrate, high-fiber
wheat alternative. The Idaho Supreme pasta is
made from organic potatoes to help preserve the
Vitamin C, calcium, and iron necessary for strong,
You’ll Save: 20 calories per 2-ounce serving
compared with traditional pastas.
Description: This delicious pizza alternative
featuring grilled vegetables was designed by low-
fat health guru Dean Ornish. You can practically
eat the whole pie for the same number of calories
you get from one or two slices at your local
You’ll Save: 250 calories and more than 20 grams
of fat compared with most restaurant or
Barbara’s Mashed Potatoes
Description: They’re not a full meal, of course, but
these easy-to-prepare mashed potatoes in a box
make a great, high-carbohydrate, low-fat “comfort”
dish to go with your meal. Prepare them with
nonfat milk, water, a little salt, and nonfat
You’ll Save: 50 calories and 6 grams of fat
compared with a 1-cup serving of traditional
It’s normal and natural to want something sweet
after dinner. Especially if you’ve been training
hard. Since chocolate has recently been shown to
contain powerful antioxidants, why not indulge a
Haagen-Dazs chocolate sorbet
Description: Who ever thought Haagen-Dazs would
make it into this article? But it does. This richly
chocolate frozen treat manages to taste creamy
without containing any fat at all. Sure, it’s sugary,
but at least you’re getting some protein and fiber
You’ll Save: 100 calories and 15 grams of fat per
serving compared with HD’s chocolate fudge ice