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Dishes for a summer slim-down

Shed pounds safely and be beach-ready with our expert-designed meal plan.

By Joan Teotico

MARCH 2012

Many of us modify our diets by cutting back on calories or avoiding specific food groups without medical supervision, hoping to melt fat fast. But these methods can lead to nutritional deprivation and long-term health complications such as the weakening of the immune system and cardiac stress.

“Severely reducing your caloric intake deprives your body of vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins and nutrients that it needs to sustain itself. Having a diet low in fat is good, but having a diet free from fat is not acceptable—your body needs 30 percent of its daily calories to come from fats,” says Karla Cosico, a registered nutritionist-dietitian at Manila Doctors Hospital and a member of the Philippine Society of Nutritionist-Dietitians and Nutritionist-Dietitians' Association of the Philippines.

To help you get fit for the beach, Cosico created the one-day meal plan (see below), which has a total of 1,650 Kcal. Be sure to drink eight to 12 or more glasses of water per day. If you have a medical condition such as diabetes, hypertension or cancer, consult your doctor before following any diet or meal plan.

Breakfast (540 Kcal, C 69.5 g, P 28.5 g, F 17 g)
Tuna egg sandwich
1 cup fresh fruit medley made of ripe papaya, melon and watermelon
125 ml fresh low-fat milk

Morning snack (186 Kcal, C 23 g, P 10 g, F 6 g)
One serving of cheese pimento sandwich made with two slices of whole wheat bread and two tablespoons of homemade cheese pimiento spread

Lunch (383 Kcal, C 59 g, P 21 g, F 7 g)
1 oz grilled chicken fillet
1 cup fresh green salad with Asian dressing
½ cup brown rice
45 g slice of cassava cake
1 cup of freshly-squeezed orange or dalandan juice

Afternoon snack (158 Kcal, C 36 g, P 3.5 g, F 2.5 g)
1 cup bam-i made of fresh miki and sotanghon noodles, vegetables and meat

Dinner (383 kcal, C 59 g, P 21 g, F 7 g)
Grilled salmon (recipe below)
½ cup chop suey
½ cup steamed rice
1 slice fresh ripe mango

Grilled Salmon


1 ½ pounds salmon fillets
lemon pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil


1. Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder and salt.

2. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. Place fish in a large re-sealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate for at least two hours.

3. Preheat grill to medium heat.

4. Lightly oil the grill. Place salmon on the preheated grill, and discard marinade. Cook salmon for six to eight minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Makes 4 servings

Nutritional information:
Amount per serving
Calories: 318
Total fat: 20.1 g
Total carbohydrates: 13.2 g
Dietary fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 20.5 g

* Note: Karla Cosico got the recipe above from and calculated the nutritional information herself.

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