Calcium-rich foods help you keep the weight off

Week three of our new year, new you diet plan focusses on foods that are high in calcium.

Studies show that people who get adequate calcium have an easier time losing weight and keeping it off. This week's plan is packed with low-fat, calcium-rich foods, including milk, cheese and labneh. For people who are lactose intolerant, soy milk is an excellent substitute. This sample weight-loss meal plan is intended for an overweight, moderately active healthy woman. People with higher energy needs, including men who are also looking to lose weight, should follow the bigger appetite option. For best results, drink at least two to three litres of water every day (or 30-35ml of water per kilogram of body weight), exercise regularly and evenly space your meals throughout the day. Anyone attempting this meal plan should first consult with his or her doctor.


Breakfast 250ml low-fat yogurt with 60ml toasted oats, 125ml blueberries and 30ml sliced almonds. Snack 125ml pudding (such as Carrefour Dessert Creme citron). Lunch Two slices whole-grain bread with 60ml canned salmon, 15ml low-fat yogurt, 60ml spinach, sliced tomato and dill; one apple; 250ml low-fat milk or calcium-fortified soy milk (such as Provamel Soya). Snack 250ml raw broccoli with 60ml hummus (such as LuLu's brand). Dinner 90g chicken baked with 250ml kale, one small potato, 125ml carrots, onions, garlic and 5ml each olive oil and balsamic vinegar.


Breakfast 250ml low-fat milk or calcium-fortified soy milk with 125ml strawberries and one banana; one slice whole-grain toast with 15ml peanut butter. Snack 375ml low-fat latte, seven unsalted, dry roasted almonds. Lunch 500ml spinach with 125ml lentils, 60ml chickpeas, 125ml orange segments, two figs and 15ml calorie-reduced vinaigrette dressing (such as Home Brand Delightfully Light Italian); three pieces Melba toast (such as Van de Meulen). Snack One kiwi. Dinner 90g grilled salmon with 150ml whole-wheat couscous (such as Suma), roasted red capsicum and courgette with 5ml each olive oil and balsamic vinegar, 250ml tabbouleh.


Breakfast Two poached eggs, one slice whole-grain bread and 5ml non-hydrogenated margarine (such as Flora Original), 125ml low-fat milk. Snack 250ml low-fat yogurt. Lunch Two slices thin-crust pizza with vegetables and cheese (such as Waitrose Stone Baked Pizza Funghi). Snack Apple with 15ml peanut butter. Dinner 250ml wholewheat pasta (such as Barilla) and 60g grilled chicken with one diced tomato, garlic and fresh basil, with 30ml Parmesan cheese; 500ml spinach salad with 250ml sliced vegetables and 15ml vinaigrette dressing.


Breakfast 125ml foul medames with half a small wholewheat Arabic bread, 125ml low-fat milk. Snack 250ml low-fat milk, one apple. Lunch Grilled cheese: one slice whole-grain bread with 30g cheese and one tomato, 12 cucumber slices. Snack 250ml low-fat yogurt with 125ml each blueberries and strawberries and 15ml flaxseeds (such as Hodgson Mill Milled Flaxseeds). Dinner Stir-fry: 200g silken tofu (try Morinaga) with 250ml spinach, 125ml broccoli, 15ml each tahini, orange juice, garlic and ginger. 150ml cooked brown rice.


Breakfast 175ml high-fibre cereal (such as Bran Flakes) with 250ml low-fat milk and 250ml mango. Snack 250ml low-fat yogurt. Lunch Spicy lentil salad: 250ml lentils with 125ml each cucumber and tomato, season with cilantro, lime juice and chilli flakes; half a slice of dense rye bread (such as Delba Backbetrieb Whole Grain Rye Bread) with 15ml mashed avocado. Snack 30g cheddar, four wholewheat saltine crackers. Dinner 90g grilled mackerel with one medium baked potato (with skin on), 250ml each steamed spinach and carrots seasoned with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.


Breakfast One waffle with 125ml raspberries; 250ml low-fat yogurt with 15ml chopped unsalted, dry roasted almonds. Snack Medium low-fat latte. Lunch One small wholewheat Arabic bread with two chicken kebabs (90g), 250ml tabbouleh, lettuce and sliced tomato. Snack 2 kiwi. Dinner 250ml wholewheat pasta with 60g cooked lean beef, 60ml cheddar and 125ml tomato vegetable sauce (such as Prego Tomato Basil Garlic), 500ml spinach salad with 250ml vegetables and 15ml vinaigrette.


Breakfast Two eggs cooked with 125ml each spinach and red capsicum, 60ml cheddar and garlic; one slice whole-grain toast. Snack 250ml low-fat milk, one banana. Lunch Two sliced tomatoes tossed with 150ml barley, 60ml bocconcini cheese, 250ml rocket, green onions, basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar and 10ml olive oil. Snack 250ml low-fat yogurt with 125ml fresh pineapple chunks. Dinner 90g grilled trout seasoned with dill and lemon, eight spears asparagus with 5ml each balsamic vinegar and olive oil, 250ml each steamed spinach and carrots, 150ml steamed quinoa (such as Bohlsener Muhle Organic Quinoa). For bigger appetites, choose any five of the following calcium-rich add-ons each day: 250ml low-fat milk, 175ml low-fat yogurt, 30g cheese, 60g salmon or trout, one piece of fruit, 15ml peanut butter or a small (250ml) low-fat latte.

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