We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
If dieting drops down your to-do list the busier you get, Monica Grenfell’s minimum-effort, maximum-results diet is for you…
How it works
The golden rules
1 Take time
However short your time, always sit down to eat. If you’re really pushed, have half your lunch now and save a yoghurt and fruit for an hour later, rather than rush it.
2 Make savvy food swaps
Choose brown bread and rice for slow-release carbohydrate and longer lasting energy.
3 Include stress-fighting foods
Choose foods that calm the side effects of stress – use garlic in cooking, chop a stick of celery in your salad, snack on a handful of almonds and sunflower seeds.
4 Eat protein at every meal
This diet is designed to keep blood sugar levels stable by giving you enough protein in each meal to reduce the temptation to snack.
5 Make sure you eat enough to fill you up
Choose bulky low calorie foods such as soup or a large salad rather then low fat crisps that won’t leave you feeling satisfied.
Ready in 2 mins
The healthiest, quickest breakfast is cereal and milk. Don’t guess portions; choose variety packs and sachets of Oatso Simple and sugar-free cereals like Special K, Shredded Wheat, Weetabix, sugar-free museli, All Bran and Bran Flakes, Porridge, Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes. Also, choose skimmed or semi-skimmed milk to save fat and calories.
* Individual box of cereal, 250ml semi-skimmed milk, small tin fruit.
Ready in 5 mins
Choose one each day, all 300-400 cals
* Any wholemeal sandwich with sliced tomato and lettuce. Low-fat fruit yoghurt.
* 300ml fresh veg soup with 1 slice wholemeal bread. Apple or banana.
* 2 Ryvitas with Philadelphia soft cheese. Bunch of grapes and 1 small carton fresh orange juice.
* Sliced banana and 12 grapes folded into 3 tbs fromage frais, 1dsp nibbed hazelnuts. Easy to take in a tub. I finger of Twix. Bottle of flavoured water.
* Slice of bought quiche, with salad. Carton Hartley’s jelly with fresh fruit.
3-Step Perfect Lunchbox
Filling, 350 cals and will help you stick to your diet when you’re on the go.
1. Make a sandwich: 2 slices wholemeal, granary or rye – cut off the crusts. Fill with 80g cold meat or 2 eggs or 80g tuna or 30g cheese
2. Add as much vegetables and salad as you want in a Tupperware to eat raw
3. Add 1 low-fat yoghurt, 1 piece of fruit, either small packet of nuts and raisins or a Chocolate chip rice cake.
Ready in 5-25 mins
Choose one each day, all 400-500 cals
* Jacket potato with 30g cheese or cottage cheese or small tin tuna or flaked salmon or hard-boiled egg, serve with salad.
* Birds Eye Simply Fish with layered, microwaved vegetables.
* Baked beans, 30g cheese, tuna or egg on 2 slices wholemeal toast.
* Weight Watchers prawn curry with rice and salad.
* Individual frozen chilli con carne or Moussaka with rice and salad.
* Ready made fresh fruit salad
* 1 pot of low-fat Ambrosia rice pudding or custard
* 1 pot low fat fruit yogurt
Keep them with you in your bag so you won’t be tempted to grab a chocolate bar when hunger strikes.
* Chocolate-chip rice cake
* Yoghurt break bar
Your weekly shopping list
These are all guide amounts – you may have some things left over, depending on which meals you choose
Fruit and veg
* 10 apples
* 5 bananas
* Pack cherry tomatoes
* 3 bags of mixed salad leaves
* 5 cartons of layered vegetables
* 4 pack baking potatoes
* 5 pints skimmed milk
* Individual cartons of fresh orange or grapefruit juice with bits (for fibre)
* Large tub low-fat fromage frais
* Bag of ready-grated Edam cheese
* Large tub cottage cheese (with chives, pineapple etc, to taste)
* Tub low-fat Philadeplhia soft cheese
* Olive oil spread (for sandwiches)
* Individual cheeses e.g BabyBel
* Carton fresh veg soup (carrot and coriander or like, to taste)
* Variety pack low-fat fruit yoghurts
* 6 large eggs
* 2 slices ham
* 1 slice any quiche to taste
* 2 slices cheddar cheese (or buy a bag of grated)
* Pack of ready-cooked salmon flakes
* Vogel soya and linseed loaf or Own brand wholemeal/granary loaf
* Pack Ryvita Multigrain
* Chocolate chip rice bakes
* 12-sachet Oatso Simple, original
* Variety packs of sugar-free cereal
* 3 small tin Baked beans
* 3 pack tuna in spring water
* Portion-sized tins of fruit – grapefruit, peaches, plums and rhubarb
* Individual Hartley’s jellies with fresh fruit
* 2 packs Simply Fish
* 2 Count On Us or Weight Watchers meals Extras
* 4-pack individual low-fat Ambrosia rice
* 4-pack individual low-fat custard
* 50ml bottles flavoured water
* Pack of plain nuts – hazelnuts, walnuts, to taste
* Chocolate chip rice cakes
* Yoghurt break bars