strawberry smoothie

Photo by Hope Carmichael

By: Hope Carmichael

Everyone knows that January means trying to make good on our resolutions, and for most of us that means dieting. When I started Dr. Mike Moreno’s 17-Day Diet, I was not expecting it to be fun. In fact, I expected it to be awful: a bland combination of salad and lean proteins that would make me want to cheat within days. Although I do find myself yearning occasionally for chocolate or pancakes with syrup, this diet has not been bad at all, and the fact that I have already seen significant results by Day 10 is really reassuring.

I have found some of the included recipes are actually quite delicious, and even after I move on to my ‘maintenance’ cycle, I plan to incorporate these healthier alternatives into my everyday diet. One of the rules of the first 17-day cycle of the diet (called Accelerate) is you should eat two servings of probiotics a day.

I adore Greek yogurt, but even so, eating two servings a day gets a little old, which is why I found a great, healthy way to get one serving in with the kefir smoothie. Kefir is basically a yogurt drink, and is not too hard to find in your local grocery store (try the organic section!). Although in Dr. Moreno’s book, he says to blend 1 cup of kefir, 1 cup of fresh berries and 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil, I found that it tastes excellent without the oil. Flaxseed oil is extremely expensive; it is in no way within my college student budget.

Additionally, on the diet you are only allowed 2 tablespoons of oil a day, and why would I waste it on something that is already delicious without? With this smoothie, I used blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. It is my favorite diet treat!

Another recipe I have dog-eared is one for lettuce wraps. The name is a little deceiving – this is basically a recipe for a mayonnaise-less version of chicken salad, and nothing like the PF Chang appetizer we all love, but even so I have found it a winner. This recipe calls for 1 baked chicken breast, diced, 2 tablespoons of diced celery, ½ cup of diced grapes, 1 diced scallion, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix these ingredients, chill, and then just spoon heaping tablespoons onto some iceberg lettuce leaves.

I made this recipe and found it is great with a little sauteed onion instead of the raw scallion, and also tastes great laid on a bed of greens or spinach. It makes a great on-the-go lunch, or even a quick dinner, and is even better because it can be premade.

Though my resolution for this year has proved slightly difficult, making these delicious dishes has made it much easier. In fact, the hardest part of the diet might even be the no-alcohol rule. While the 17-Day Diet may not be for everyone, these low-cal recipes are tasty and easy ways to incorporate healthy alternatives into the whirlwind of college life.

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