I never thought that diet food could be this good. The curried chicken salad wraps that you see above are absolutely scrumptious. If you eat 1/2 cup of the salad without the tortilla, you consume 210 calories, and you get 20 grams of protein.
Individual bison meatloaves (above) with quinoa added to boost the protein tally out at 200 calories and 16 grams of protein.
These are five of the 25 recipes in "A Small Guide to Losing Big" (Flavor First LLC, $12.99) by Cheryl Forberg, a book deliberately made little enough to carry with you. Forberg is the nutritionist for NBC's "The Big Loser," which means she really knows how to take off the pounds. And how to eat well. She's a trained chef as well as a registered dietitian.
"Diets are temporary," she says. Keeping the fat off requires a life style change, which can mean altering everything, even relationships, if the person you live with shoves high calorie, fat laden food in your face.
Forberg (above) came to Los Angeles on a book promotion tour that included a stop at Melissa's Produce, where corporate chefs set out a lunch based on her recipes.
You wouldn't necessarily eat all the dishes served that day in a single meal. In the book, Forberg tells how to compute your caloric needs--everyone is different--and provides a sample two-week menu plan.
The diet plan seems generous--three meals a day plus snacks morning and afternoon--and one mid-morning snack is that heavenly chocolate coconut silk.
Skipping meals doesn't promote weight loss, Forberg points out. Paradoxically, it can result in weight gain. Eliminating all fat isn't the way to go either. "Our body needs fat," she says. "We need to focus on good fats."
Similarly, plain boiled or steamed food isn't advisable for dieters, because food needs to be delicious, not a drag. Her favorite flavor enhancers include smoked and grilled foods, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes and various mustards.
And forget the raw food diet. It's not good for the body, she says. A combination of cooked and raw is better.
A serious weight-loss program involves exercise and keeping a food journal. Still, Forberg has a simple guideline to keep you from overeating. "You should never have to unzip or unbutton anything after a meal," she says.
CURRIED CHICKEN SALAD
From "A Small Guide to Losing Big" by Cheryl Forberg
For the dressing:
1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chutney, such as mango chutney
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
For the chicken:
1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
3/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
16 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast, cut in 1/2-inch thin strips
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped dried tart cherries or currants or raisins
1/4 cup chopped toasted cashews
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
For the sandwich:
6 (7-inch) whole grain tortillas
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, chutney, lime juice, curry powder, cumin and coriander. Set aside.
Heat oil in a nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for about 4 minutes or until soft and just beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. Do not brown garlic.
Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked through. Remove from heat and season with salt.
Add cooled chicken mixture to the dressing in the mixing bowl. Add cherries, cashews and cilantro. Stir to combine.
To assemble: Place about 1/2 cup chicken salad on warmed tortilla. Roll up, burrito style. Serve immediately.
Makes 3 cups chicken salad or 6 small wraps.