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Jenny Craig tops list as most expensive for a week of prepared diet food
The Popular Wisdom is that most of us will put on a few extra pounds between Memorial Day and the New Year. While there is no definitive study to support or debunk that theory, practical experience does suggest that this may be the most difficult period of the year for healthy eating. There's just too many opportunities for the best laid diet plan to go awry.
Since you've already worked so diligently to get where you are, this may be the best time of the year to consider signing up for a home delivery diet meal plan. Of course, I've been forever convinced that the only unbeatable diet plan is to have a personal chef who has the glycemic index committed to memory. Close behind that, however, is having a full week of professionally prepared meals and snacks in the fridge on Monday.
Not only do you stay on course, but during the Holiday season not having to do any shopping or food preparation seems to add hours to the ever shortening day. Home delivery of chef-prepared recipes is the top end of diet meal planning.
Forbes Magazine, famous for naming the ins and outs in the World's Richest People every year, did an informal survey of the cost of home prepared, recipe specific diet meals. Jenny Craig topped the list as the most expensive. The least expensive, according to Forbes, was a weekly diet of Subway sandwiches.
I am not sure what to make of the Forbes's survey - a diet of Subway sandwiches? - but even if partially in jest the story did reinforce another piece of Popular Wisdom, that eating healthy just has to be more expensive.
Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS), the operators of Sebastian's Café, the cafeteria at the Harvard School of Public Health developed menu selections for Sebastian's based on the best available data on diet and health. These menu items reflect the tenets of the Harvard School of Public Health's Healthy Eating Pyramid, and adhere to the following guidelines:
* Fresh whole foods with great flavor are vital.
* Unsaturated fats, such as those found in vegetable oils, are preferred.
* Whenever possible, added sugars are kept to a minimum.
* Trans fatty acids from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are eliminated.
* Whole grains are an important part of menu planning.
* Fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, are featured.
There is nothing about the Harvard plan that would make eating healthy more expensive. You just have to make the right choices. Fresh lobster salad may be an Atkin's diet plan recipe, and there's little doubt it would be a real treat some dark December afternoon, but there's nothing wrong with orange roughy either.
In 1999 the US Department of Agriculture devised a week's worth of recipes for a family of four. The meal plan doesn't look much different from the balanced protein-carbohydrate-fat diet plans we see from The Zone, or from South Beach. The kicker? The USDA recipe plan could be covered entirely on Food Stamps.
If you got the resources go for the personal chef. Nothing can beat that. If you're more like the rest of us pay yourself a genuinely healthy dividend and learn all you can about healthy shopping and healthy eating.
About the Author: ((c) 2006 by Peter Somerville. Peter is a former military officer, attorney, writer, and the creator of The Paratrooper's Guide To Fitness and Weight Loss. Peter also contributes to You Look Good - What Diet Are You On?