The Every-Other-Day diet was developed by University of Illinois assistant professor Dr. Krista Varady, who instructs followers to alternate days of regular meals with days of no more than 400 to 500 calories for women and 500 to 600 calories for men. Your menu on the restricted calorie days will consist of just one meal consumed between noon and 2 p.m. and will require advance planning. A study published in 2006 in "Medical Hypotheses" indicated that this type of intermittent fasting may aid weight loss and offer health benefits, but talk to your doctor before beginning.
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Go for Soup and a Salad
A woman on the 500-calorie day of the Every-Other-Day diet could eat a bowl of low- or no-sodium vegetable or tomato soup prepared with water and a salad of lettuce leaves topped with approximately 1/2 cup of skinless cooked chicken dressed with lemon juice and freshly ground pepper, followed by 1 1/4 cups of a fruit salad prepared with fresh fruit like strawberries, pears, melon and mandarin orange segments. This meal would provide up to 475 calories, depending on the brand of soup. Men could add a 96-calorie medium-sized whole-wheat dinner roll for a 566-calorie meal.
Have Some Lean Beef
You don't have to give up beef on the Every-Other-Day diet as long as you pick a lean cut like tenderloin or sirloin steak and keep the side dishes low-calorie. For a 456-calorie meal appropriate for women on the plan, have 3 ounces of seared steak topped with carmelized onions and crumbled blue cheese served with 1/2 cup of polenta and 1 cup of chard sauteed in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and seasoned with fresh lemon juice. To add 80 more calories for men, include 1 cup of steamed asparagus drizzled with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
Work in Seafood
Seafood on your calorie-restricted days can ensure that you get enough heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. One 451-calorie option for women could be 3 ounces of shrimp sauteed with onions, garlic, jalapenos and diced fresh tomatoes tucked into a 6-inch corn tortilla along with one-quarter of a chopped avocado and served with 1/2 cup of brown rice. A man can increase the calorie count to 553 by adding in a 102-calorie, 1-cup serving of kale sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with garlic, red wine vinegar and crushed red pepper.
Skip the Meat
A 473-calorie meatless meal for women following the Every-Other-Day diet could consist of a slice of whole-wheat pizza topped with barbecue sauce, black beans, fresh corn kernels, diced tomatoes and shredded mozzarella with a 3/4-cup serving of butternut squash soup made using vegetable stock and 3/4 cup of fruit sorbet. Men can add 1 cup of cauliflower salad made with reduced-fat mayonnaise for 48 extra calories, or, if he consumes dairy products, 1/2 cup of plain, low-fat yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup of fruit like blueberries.
- University of Illinois at Chicago: Faculty Profiles -- Varady, Krista
- University of Illinois at Chicago: Krista Varady Weighs in on How to Drop Pounds
- Medical Hypotheses: The Effect on Health of Alternate Day Calorie Restriction - Eating Less and More Than Needed on Alternate Days Prolongs Life
- Cosmopolitan: What 500 Calories Looks Like
- Woman: 500 Calorie Meal Plans for the 5:2 Diet
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Rolls, Dinner, Whole-Wheat
- Eating Well: 500-Calorie Dinners -- 30-Minute Dinners, Seared Steaks with Caramelized Onions & Gorgonzola
- Eating Well: 500-Calorie Dinners -- Seafood, Shrimp Veracruzana
- Eating Well: 500-Calorie Dinner -- Vegetarian, Smoky Corn & Black Bean Pizza