Make Over One Meal to Lose Weight Faster

One change can make a whopper of a difference, prove these women. Follow their lead to get healthier and feel more satisfied. REDBOOK.

Before: Early riser Lindsay Michalcik ate two breakfasts: at 6:30 a.m., Cocoa Pebbles and coffee; at 9 a.m., a croissant and iced coffee with cream. The advice from dietitian Stephanie Middleberg: "Avoid refined carbs and sugar, which make you hungrier later. And swap the second breakfast for a mid-morning snack--under 150 calories."

Now: Lindsay eats breakfast at 6:30 a.m.: Kashi Heart to Heart cereal with a banana and coffee; and a snack, grapes, at 9 a.m.

The next step: "Whole-grain cereal and fruit are healthy choices," Middleberg says. (The payoff: Lindsay's lost 15 pounds!) "But she could pair the grapes (keep it to about 15) with ½ oz nuts (12 almonds). The protein will help carry her till lunch."

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Busy mom Talayia Rooks was choosing lunch based on convenience: turkey and cheese on a white roll, corn chips, a cookie, and a Diet Coke. "Ditch the soda (it makes you bloated), fried chips (too much saturated fat), cookie, and white bread (simple carbs spike blood sugar)," advises Middleberg.

: Talayia eats grilled chicken, some carrot sticks, and ¼ cup hummus.

The next step: "Fiber-rich carrots and hummus are filling picks--and one reason Talayia has lost four inches in eight weeks! But this new lunch is small. Adding a side salad or veggie soup would balance it out and prevent overeating later," says Middleberg.

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: Laurene Chavez was eating very little all day, then coming home from work and gobbling mostly fattening kid foods: chicken tenders, sweet potato fries, and broccoli, plus some cheese crackers while making lunches for the next day. Says Middleberg: "Not being ravenous at dinnertime is key to making smarter choices."

Now: Laurene eats a high-protein afternoon snack, like a Greek yogurt, then a dinner salad: veggies, ½ avocado, 1 cup chicken, and ¼ cup low-fat dressing.

The next step: "Lean protein helped Laurene drop 12 pounds. Now I'd suggest 2 tsp olive oil and some vinegar instead of bottled dressings, which are loaded with sugar," says Middleberg.

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