By Lisa Messinger
“American Heart Association No-Fad Diet: A Personal Plan for Healthy Weight Loss” (Clarkson Potter)
Have you already tried the dozens of new diets that have emerged since the beginning of the year? Even if you’re only on your first or second fad diet, it probably already feels like you’ve been down that road before. Millions have, with still only a less than 5 percent success rate for diets overall.
“The American Heart Association No-Fad Diet” has been since its first edition the go-to guide for forgetting fad diets altogether. You won’t find more practical, solid advice virtually anywhere. And speaking of virtually, along the way, if you Google “American Heart Association No-Fad Diet,” you’ll see that the AHA has added a lot of free information online regarding the No-Fad Diet, including tips and recipes.
The AHA wants everyone to shelve the stunts. Its No-Fad Diet is billed as a custom plan and has that feel. The book helps you figure out how many calories you should be eating to lose weight and then gives a number of 14-day programs: 1,200, 1,600 and 2,000 calories.
In the “No-Fad Toolkit” section of the book, you’ll also get a daily food diary, a menu planner, an exercise planner and an activity tracker. Besides scores of recipes on every topic, the book is full of lists of easy ideas, such as food substitutions and snacks that are 50 calories or less.
Fad diets have been shown to almost always guarantee failure; the AHA experts, while they can’t make any promises, cheer you on as you begin your jog down a path in the opposite direction.
ARTICHOKE AND BELL PEPPER LASAGNA
4 dried whole-grain lasagna noodles
3 medium green bell peppers, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, finely chopped
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (lowest sodium available)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
16 turkey pepperoni slices, quartered (lowest sodium available)
1 (14.5-ounce) can artichokes, drained and finely chopped
2 ounces shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
Yields 4 servings.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray an 11-by-7-by-2-inch baking dish and a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Prepare the noodles using the package directions, omitting the salt. Drain well in a colander. Meanwhile, in the large skillet, cook the bell peppers and zucchini over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until beginning to brown, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.
Place 2 noodles in the baking dish. Make sure the edges of the noodles are tucked under to keep them from drying out. Spoon 2 tablespoons spaghetti sauce over each noodle. Sprinkle with half of each of the following, in order: basil, oregano, pepperoni, artichokes, bell pepper mixture and mozzarella. Repeat the layers.
Lightly spray a sheet of aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray. Cover the baking dish with the foil with the sprayed side down.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the mozzarella has melted. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting so the flavors blend.
Nutrition per serving: 212 calories; 4.5 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 16 milligrams cholesterol; 562 milligrams sodium; 31 carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 7 grams sugars; 14 grams protein.
QUICK MEXICAN-STYLE SOUP
1 3/4 cups fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
1 large tomato, diced
1 (4-ounce) can chopped mild green chilies
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil (extra-virgin preferred)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Yields 4 servings.
In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the tomato and green chilies. Return to a boil. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the remaining ingredients. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes so the flavors blend.
Nutrition per serving: 35 calories; 2 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 132 milligrams sodium; 3 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 1 gram sugars; 1 gram protein.
Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the author of seven food books, including “Mrs. Cubbison’s Best Stuffing Cookbook” and “The Sourdough Bread Bowl Cookbook.”
Cooks’ Books: No-frills diet advises to forget the fads
By Lisa Messinger