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Home Cooked Meals For Weight Loss

Less Canned Goods
Less Canned Goods
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Yes, your chances of gaining weight increase when just one meal a week comes from takeout, according to a study in the December 2011 issue of the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association!" Cooking your meals at home has many advantages that can help you lose weight, but in the end it depends on how many calories you consume regardless of who prepares the food.

Less Canned Goods
Less Canned Goods Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Less Canned Goods

Do you want to know why obesity is so rare among serious chefs? These are the people on the front line of the food crusade. By all logic, they should be huge. But they’re not, and the reason is simple: They eat real food. While the rest of America is trying to lose weight with pantries full of rice cakes and Reduced Fat Oreos, these guys and gals are feasting on grilled sirloin and produce-studded pasta dishes!

Make Your Own Breakfast...no Cereal Boxes
Make Your Own Breakfast...no Cereal Boxes Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Make Your Own Breakfast...no Cereal Boxes

Waffle and pancake plates are bad enough at most restaurants and diners, but throw in a side of eggs and breakfast meats and you're bound to start your day with the caloric equivalent of a triple cheeseburger. Cereal is no better!!!

We've made our own version of a superpopular (and supercaloric) dish by building an open-faced sandwich with a toasted waffle. The ingredients may sound like a strange combination, but the flavors are nicely balanced, the portion size is perfect, and the nutritional profile is just what you want for the most important meal of the day.

You'll Need:
4 thick slices Canadian bacon or deli ham
4 eggs
4 frozen wholegrain waffles
2 Tbsp maple syrup
4 Tbsp shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Salt and black pepper to taste
Parsley (optional)

Heat a nonstick skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Coat with a bit of olive oil cooking spray and cook the Canadian bacon for a few minutes on each side, until well browned. Remove. Coat the same pan with a bit more spray and cook the eggs (2 at a time, if you must; avoid overcrowding the pan) sunny side up until the whites have set but the yolks are still runny.

* In the meantime, toast the waffles. Top each toasted waffle with a slice of meat, a drizzle of maple syrup, a sprinkle of Cheddar, and the warm fried eggs. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parsley (if using).

More Fish and Chicken
More Fish and Chicken Neilson Barnard

More Fish and Chicken

You'll Need:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp chipotle pepper puree
1 Tbsp honey

How to Make It:
* Preheat the oven to 450°F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the egg whites in a shallow bowl. Place the crumbs on a plate and season those, too. Dip the chicken tenders into the egg, then toss in the crumbs, being sure to coat fully.

* Place the breaded chicken pieces on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crumbs have browned and the chicken is firm.

* Combine the mustard, chipotle, and honey in a large bowl. Toss the cooked chicken tenders in the mixture so they are all evenly coated with the spicy-sweet sauce.

More Guacamole (good fat) and Salads
More Guacamole (good fat) and Salads Neilson Barnard

More Guacamole (good fat) and Salads

Next to nachos, quesadillas are the most perilous food to be found on a Mexican restaurant menu. Overstuffed with cheese and teeming with greasy toppings, quesadillas are all but guaranteed to pack quadruple-digit calories. Tussle with Chili's rendition and you'll take in 35 bacon strips' worth of saturated fat. Our quesadilla reverses the cheese-to-filling ratio, going long on the nutrient-dense vegetables and using just enough chorizo and cheese to make it feel like an indulgence.

You'll Need:
1/2 Tbsp canola oil
4 oz chorizo, casing removed
1 small red onion, sliced
4 oz white button mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
1 large poblano pepper, seeded, sliced into thin strips
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 medium whole-wheat tortillas
Guacamole (store-bought or use the perfect-guac recipe in Cook This, Not That!)

How to Make It:
* Heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and chorizo; cook until browned, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat into smaller pieces. Remove from the pan and drain all but a thin film of the fat. Return to the heat and add the onion, mushrooms, and pepper; saute, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are brown—5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

* Divide the cheese between 2 tortillas and top each with half of the vegetable mixture. Top with the remaining tortillas.

Grilled Fish with fruit salsa
Grilled Fish with fruit salsa Neilson Barnard

Grilled Fish with fruit salsa

You'll Need:
4 thick fish filets
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 firm peaches or nectarines, halved and pitted
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar