Flat Belly

28 Day Diet Plan

As summer ends and autumn bursts onto the scene, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate your diet goals for the season ahead. The start of any new season signifies a new beginning and, if you’ve fallen off the healthy eating wagon over summer and come back from your hols with more excess baggage than you wanted, a diet reboot may be just what you need to get back on track.

Our 28-day diet is designed to help you lose any excess pounds that you’ve put on over the summer months. It’s high in low-cal foods, protein sources to keep you feeling full, some complex carbs, and good fats to help curb any cravings. The best part about the four-week plan is that, unlike so many diets out there, there’s not an ounce of deprivation involved. Instead, you get to eat delicious food that’s super-easy to prepare. Each day, you’ll eat three portion-controlled meals, plus two snacks, so you’ll never go hungry. And to catapult results, we’ve put together some simple rules and a maintenance plan, meaning you can head into autumn feeling lighter, energised and happy.

Depending on your current weight and eating habits, if you follow the plan correctly, you could lose up to a stone in four weeks. You can also expect a skin boost, greater energy and improved concentration levels. And before embarking on the plan, we recommend working out your current BMI (body mass index) to find out where you are in the weight range, and if weight loss is required. You can also consult your GP or a qualified nutritionist for further advice.

Your weight loss maintenance plan

These simple tips will help to sustain longterm results.

Plan in advance

Following a healthy diet for the long haul requires a little bit of planning. Create a weekly shopping list with healthy ingredients that you’ll need for the week ahead. Always have your fruit bowl filled with fresh fruit so you’ve got a snack on hand when hunger strikes and make meals in advance, freeze and defrost when needed to save time.

Body brush daily

Weight loss can leave you with looser skin, so get body brushing every day to firm up. Start from the soles of your feet, working your way upwards using sweeping circular movements towards the heart.

Ditch sugar

Sugar is your number one diet enemy so try and cut it out of your daily diet as much as you can. Make sure you read labels to avoid hidden sugars and swap regular chocolate for a couple of squares of dark or raw chocolate as a treat.

Get interested in cooking

Check out healthy recipes on Instagram and Pinterest, invest in a few cookery books and swap healthy recipes with your friends to keep motivated to eat well.

Set up a sleep routine

Getting enough rest is crucial for long-term weight loss, as sleep helps to regulate hunger hormones. Get around eight hours of slumber each night to keep your weight in check.

The diet rules

1. Drink hot water and lemon

Every morning, sip a cup of warm water with lemon juice to rev-up digestion and rehydrate you for the day ahead. Continue as you start and drink two litres of water throughout the day.

2. Eat mindfully

Put away your phone and concentrate on what you’re eating. It takes time for your stomach to communicate fullness with your brain, so chew slowly and try to appreciate the food that’s in front of you.

3. Clear out any junk

Get rid of any processed food in your kitchen to help avoid temptation. Make a shopping list of the foods you need for the week, based on the diet, and fill your fridge with these healthy finds.

4. Eat early

We know it’s not always easy to sync a diet to a busy schedule but, where possible, try to eat the last meal of the day in the early evening (ideally no later than 8pm). This gives your body time to digest before bedtime.

5. Stay active

Try to incorporate more exercise into your day. Cycle to work, walk more, go for a morning run – anything that keeps you moving will burn extra calories.

Fast-track your results

These fat-fighting foods could help speed up weight-loss results. Add them to your diet today!

1. Chillies

Capsaicin, a chemical found in chillies, has been found to increase metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories), burning as much as an extra 50 calories per day.

2. Coffee

Not only is caffeine a performance-booster, it’s also been reported to help increase metabolism by up to 11 percent. Three cups (270mg of caffeine) daily is the magic number.

3. Cacao

Love chocolate? Replace cocoa for cacao, a purer form of chocolate. Studies show that extracts from cacao may stimulate the use of fat for energy. Opt for raw versions, as processing makes cacao less nutritious.

4. Asparagus

There are rumours that this veg is a ‘negative calorie’ food, meaning that it might require more calories to chew then it contains. Either way, it makes a great diet food and tastes yummy!

5. Almonds

These nuts could help you slim down. One study shows that those who ate a daily helping of almonds lost more weight than those who followed the same diet without the nuts.

The Plan

Day 1

Breakfast: Blueberry smoothie
Blend 1 scoop pea protein with 25g mixed blueberries, 1 banana and 170ml nut milk.

Morning snack: 50g red grapes and 4 walnuts

Lunch: Turkey breast with sweet potato mash
Grill 1 turkey breast marinated with 1tsp dried mixed herbs and set aside. Peel, steam and mash 1 small sweet potato. Serve together with a large salad.

Afternoon snack: 1 cup of miso soup

Dinner: Herb-topped salmon with roasted vegetables and cauliflower rice
Steam 1 salmon fillet. Meanwhile cube 1/2 courgette and 1/2 yellow pepper. Place on a baking tray and cook in the oven at 180°C until soft. Grate 60g cauliflower and then sauté until soft. Serve together.

Day 2

Breakfast: Spinach omelette
Beat 2 eggs and add 50g spinach leaves. Ladle into a non-stick frying pan and cook. Serve with 3 roasted tomatoes and 4 roasted asparagus spears.

Morning snack: 1 small pot of low fat Greek yoghurt with 2tbsp blueberries

Lunch: Salmon paté sandwich
Spread 2tbsp salmon paté on 2 slices of wholemeal bread. Add rocket leaves, 4 slices of tomato, 2 chopped radishes and 2 chopped cherry tomatoes.

Afternoon snack: 20g fresh coconut slices with 3 Brazil nuts

Dinner: Turmericspiced chickpea stew (makes two portions)
Thinly slice 1 onion, 1 garlic clove, 1 carrot and 1 celery stick. Add 2tbsp tomato puree, 1 can of chickpeas, 100g spinach leaves and a splash of water. Stir through 1tsp turmeric, 1tsp cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Serve with 60g cauliflower rice.

Day 3

Breakfast: Crunchy granola with blueberries (makes 2 portions)
Combine 100g oats, 2tbsp mixed nuts (roughly chopped) and 1tbsp pumpkin seeds. Stir in 2tbsp honey and 2tbsp melted coconut oil. Transfer the mixture onto an ovenproof tray and bake at 180°C until golden. Serve with 150ml skimmed milk and 2tbsp blueberries.

Morning snack: Sliced apple, topped with 1tbsp nut butter

Lunch: Low fat Lebanese mezze
Serve 4 shop-bought falafels with 2tbsp low fat hummus, tabbouleh (made with a handful of chopped parsley), 1 large chopped tomato and 20g chopped cucumber. Dress in the juice of 1 lemon.

Afternoon snack: 2 brown rice cakes and 1tbsp low fat hummus

Dinner: Pork chops
100g grilled pork chops seasoned with rosemary and served with 100g steamed kale and 4 grilled tomatoes

Day 4

Breakfast: Good morning smoothie
Blend 180ml coconut water with 1 banana, 30g spinach, 2tbsp frozen berries, 2tbsp oats, 1tbsp flaxseeds, a pinch of cinnamon and juice of half a lemon.

Morning snack: 1 nectarine and 4 walnuts

Lunch: Tricolore wrap
Melt 50g low fat mozzarella on 1 wholemeal tortilla. Add half a tomato and 1/4 avocado, sliced. Serve with a green salad.

Afternoon snack: Celery sticks served with 2tbsp low fat hummus

Dinner: Turmericspiced chickpea stew (see day 2)

Day 5

Breakfast: Strawberry smoothie bowl
Blend together 1 frozen banana, 140ml almond milk, 3 strawberries, 2tbsp blueberries, 1tbsp chia seeds and a pinch of raw cacao powder. Spoon into a bowl, with 2 sliced strawberries and 1tbsp chia seeds.

Morning snack: 3 strawberries chopped with 2tbsp low fat Greek yoghurt

Lunch: Smoked mackerel salad
Flake 1 mackerel fillet with half a bag of mixed salad leaves, 1 beetroot, 4 cherry sliced tomatoes, 20g cucumber, 2 sliced radishes and 2 chopped walnuts.

Afternoon snack: 2 oatcakes, 1tbsp low fat cream cheese and 4 slices of cucumber

Dinner: Chicken stir-fry
Stir fry half a packet of mixed stir-fry vegetables in 1tbsp reduced salt soy sauce. Add 1 chilli and 1 sliced skinless chicken breast. Garnish with the juice of half a lime and 1tsp chopped coriander. Serve with courgetti

Day 6

Breakfast: (Prepare the evening before) Bircher muesli
Soak 50g oats in a bowl with 70ml fresh apple juice. Add 60g mixed berries, 2tsp mixed seeds and 1 pinch of cinnamon, then allow to thicken overnight. Top with 1tbsp chopped mixed nuts, 3 chopped strawberries and 1tbsp grated apple in the morning, plus a touch more apple juice.

Morning snack: 1 satsuma and 1 tbsp cashew nuts

Lunch: Feta salad
Crumble 20g feta cheese. Add half a bag of mixed salad leaves, 4 cherry tomatoes, 20g cucumber (sliced), 4 black olives and 1/4 yellow pepper. Dress with 1tsp balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.

Afternoon snack: 2 oatcakes with 1tbsp low fat cottage cheese

Dinner: Chicken breast with salad
Grill one chicken breast and serve with a large green salad, 30g garden pea, 20g sweetcorn and 2tbsp cooked brown rice.

Day 7

Breakfast: Granola with blueberries (see day 3)

Morning snack: Fruit cocktail
Cube 30g pineapple and half a small mango. Stir through 60g low fat Greek yoghurt and top with 1tbsp sunflower seeds.

Lunch: Veggie pizza
Spread 1tbsp tomato purée on 1 large wholemeal tortilla. Top with 30g low fat mozzarella,1tbsp sweetcorn, 1tbsp peas and a handful of rocket. Place in the oven at 160°C, until the mozzarella has melted.

Afternoon snack: 2 wholegrain brown rice cakes with 1tbsp low fat cottage cheese and 4 cucumber slices

Dinner: Cod kedgeree
Grill 1 cod fillet. Slice and fry 1 spring onion and 1 garlic clove. Add the juice of 1 lime and half tsp curry powder. Flake the salmon into the curry powder mixture and add 40g cauliflower rice. Stir through 100g spinach leaves and 2tbsp peas. Garnish with 1tsp coriander, chopped.

Day 8

Breakfast: Banana on toast
Spread 1tbsp nut butter on a slice of toasted rye bread. Top with 1 small chopped banana.

Morning snack: Cucumber sticks served with 2tbsp tomato salsa

Lunch: Mexican sweet potato
Bake 1 small sweet potato. For the filling, combine 100g tinned black beans with 50g sweetcorn, 1 chopped spring onion. Top with 1tbsp Greek yoghurt and 1tbsp mashed avocado. Serve with a green salad.

Afternoon snack:
2 wholemeal crackers, 2 slices of smoked salmon and 4 cucumber slices

Dinner: Salmon with roasted veggies
Poach 1 salmon fillet. Roast 30g aubergine cubes, 4 cherry tomatoes and 1/2 green pepper. Serve with 100g rocket.

Day 9

Breakfast: Berry yoghurt
1 small pot low fat yogurt served with 1tbsp pumpkin seeds and 2tbsp blueberries

Morning snack: 1 satsuma and 3 Brazil nuts

Lunch: Beans on toast
Toast 1 slice wholegrain bread and top with 1 small 200g can of reduced sugar baked beans

Afternoon snack: 1 carrot, cut into crudités, served with 1tbsp cottage cheese

Dinner: Lentil soup
1/2 carton of fresh lentil soup served with 1 slice wholemeal bread and a large green salad.

Day 10

Breakfast: Avo toast
Mash half an avocado and top on 1 slice of rye toast. Top with 1tsp chopped coriander and the juice of half a fresh lemon.

Morning snack: 1 pear and 4 Brazil nuts

Lunch: Cheesy spinach & ham frittata
Slice and fry 1 onion and stir through 100g spinach. Beat two eggs and transfer all the ingredients into an oven-proof dish with 1 slice of ham, cut into strips. Add 1tbsp ricotta cheese and cook in the oven at 180°C until set. Serve with salad.

Afternoon snack: 1 satsuma and 3 pecan nuts

Dinner: Asian-style prawns
Stir-fry half a packet of mixed stir-fry vegetables in 1tbsp reduced salt soy sauce. Add 1 chilli and 100g cooked prawns. Flavour with the juice of half a lime and 1tsp chopped coriander. Serve on courgetti.

Day 11

Breakfast: Bircher muesli (see day 6)

Morning snack: Fruit cocktail (see day 7)

Lunch: Smoked mackerel salad (see day 5)

Afternoon snack: 20g fresh coconut slices with 3 Brazil nuts

Dinner: Chicken stirfry (see day 5)

Day 12

Breakfast: Soldier eggs
Softly boil 2 eggs and serve with 1 slice of rye bread and 5 asparagus spears

Morning snack: 1 nectarine and 4 walnuts

Lunch: Veggie pizza (see day 7)

Afternoon snack:  1 small pot of low fat Greek yoghurt with 2tbsp blueberries

Dinner: Lentil soup (see day 9)

Day 13

Breakfast: Spinach omelette
Beat 2 eggs and add 50g spinach leaves. Ladle into a non-stick frying pan and cook. Serve with 3 roasted tomatoes and 4 roasted asparagus spears.

Morning snack: 50g red grapes and 4 walnuts

Lunch: Feta salad
Crumble 20g feta cheese. Add half a bag of mixed salad leaves, 4 cherry tomatoes, 20g cucumber sliced, 4 black olives and 1/4 yellow pepper. Dress with 1tsp balsamic vinegar and the juice of half a lemon.

Afternoon snack: 1 carrot, cut into crudités, served with 1tbsp cottage cheese

Dinner: Pork chops (see day 3)

Day 14

Breakfast: Avo toast (see day 10)

Morning snack: 1 satsuma and 3 Brazil nuts

Lunch: Beans on toast (see day 9)

Afternoon snack: Celery sticks served with 2tbsp low fat hummus

Dinner: Asian-style prawns (see day 10)

Day 15

Breakfast: Blueberry smoothie (see day 1)

Morning snack: 1 nectarine and 4 walnuts

Lunch: Smoked mackerel salad (see day 5)

Afternoon snack: 2 wholegrain brown rice cakes with 1tbsp low fat cottage cheese and 4 slices of cucumber

Dinner: Chicken stir-fry (see day 5)

Day 16

Breakfast: Strawberry smoothie bowl (see day 5)

Morning snack: 1 satsuma and 3 pecan nuts

Lunch: Turkey breast with sweet potato mash
Grill 1 turkey breast marinated with 1tsp dried mixed herbs and set aside. Meanwhile peel, steam and mash 1 small sweet potato. Serve together with a large salad on the side.

Afternoon snack: 1 carrot, cut into crudités, served with 1tbsp cottage cheese

Dinner: Cod kedgeree (see day 7)

Day 17

Breakfast: Spinach omelette (see day 2)

Morning snack: Fruit cocktail (see day 7)

Lunch: Salmon paté sandwich (see day 2)

Afternoon snack: 1 cup of miso soup

Dinner: Salmon with roasted veggies (see day 6)

Day 18

Breakfast: Soldier eggs (see day 12)

Morning snack: 1 apple cut into slices and topped with 1tbsp nut butter

Lunch: Tricolore wrap (see day 4)

Afternoon snack: 2 wholegrain brown rice cakes with 1tbsp low fat cottage cheese and 4 slices of cucumber

Dinner: Chicken stir-fry (see day 5)

Day 19

Breakfast: Strawberry smoothie bowl (see day 5)

Morning snack: 1 satsuma and 3 Brazil nuts

Lunch: Low fat Lebanese mezze (see day 3)

Afternoon snack: 1 carrot, cut into crudités, served with 1 tbsp cottage cheese

Dinner: Chicken breast with salad
Grill 1 chicken breast and serve with a large green salad, 30g garden pea, 20g sweetcorn and 2tbsp cooked brown rice.

Day 20

Breakfast: Blueberry smoothie (see day 1)

Morning snack: 1 pear and 4 Brazil nuts

Lunch: Smoked mackerel salad (see day 5)

Afternoon snack: Celery sticks served with 2 tbsp low fat hummus

Dinner: Pork chops (see day 3)

Day 21

Breakfast: Banana on toast (see day 8)

Morning snack: 1 satsuma and 3 pecan nuts

Lunch: Feta salad (see day 6)

Afternoon snack: 2 wholegrain brown rice cakes with 1tbsp low fat cottage cheese and 4 slices of cucumber

Dinner: Turmeric-spiced chickpea stew (see day 2)

Day 22

Breakfast: Berry yoghurt (see day 9)

Morning snack: 50g red grapes and 4 walnuts

Lunch: Salmon paté sandwich (see day 2)

Afternoon snack: 2 wholemeal crackers with 2 slices of smoked salmon and 4 cucumber slices

Dinner: Herb-topped salmon with roasted vegetables and cauliflower rice (see day 1)

Day 23

Breakfast: Avo toast (see day 10)

Morning snack: Fruit cocktail (see day 7)

Lunch: Cheesy spinach & ham frittata (see day 10)

Afternoon snack: 1 cup of miso soup Dinner: Chicken breast with salad (see day 6)

Day 24

Breakfast: Good morning smoothie (see day 4)

Morning snack: 1 apple, cut into slices, topped with 1tbsp nut butter

Lunch: Tricolore wrap (see day 4)

Afternoon snack: 2 oatcakes, 1tbsp low fat cream cheese and 4 slices of cucumber

Dinner: Salmon with roasted veggies (see day 8)

Day 25

Breakfast: Berry yoghurt (see day 9)

Morning snack: 1 nectarine and 4 walnuts

Lunch: Turkey breast with sweet potato mash
Grill 1 turkey breast marinated with 1tsp dried mixed herbs and set aside. Meanwhile peel, steam and mash 1 small sweet potato. Serve together with a large salad on the side.

Afternoon snack: 1 pear and 4 Brazil nuts

Dinner: Asian-style prawns (see day 10)

Day 26

Breakfast: Blueberry smoothie (see day 1)

Morning snack: 1 pear and 3 walnuts

Lunch: Salmon paté sandwich (see day 2)

Afternoon snack: 20g fresh coconut slices with 3 Brazil nuts

Dinner: Turmeric-spiced chickpea stew (see day 2)

Day 27

Breakfast: Banana on toast (see day 8)

Morning snack: 50g red grapes and 4 walnuts

Lunch: Low fat Lebanese mezze (see day 3)

Afternoon snack: 2 wholemeal crackers with 2 slices of smoked salmon and 4 cucumber slices

Dinner: Salmon with roasted veggies (see day 8)

Day 28

Breakfast: Good morning smoothie (see day 4)

Morning snack: 1 satsuma and 3 pecan nuts

Lunch: Cheesy spinach & ham frittata (see day 10)

Afternoon snack: 1 cup of miso soup

Dinner: Cod kedgeree (see day 7)

Health & Wellbeing