It’s like a dream come true! Tucking into a bowl of pasta with a glass of wine, and still lose weight… This seven-day wine and pasta diet, devised by nutritionist Paola Lovisetti and based on her book The Mamma Mia! Diet (co-written by Paola Palestini), will leave you feeling lighter, healthier and more energised.
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‘I want people to know that you can eat delicious food, drink wine, and still lose weight,’ says Paola. ‘Research has proven that the Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world. The key is to eat quality, wholegrain pasta combined with fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish and light cheeses. When you satisfy your taste buds with your favourite foods, the weight loss is effortless.’
Here are the wine and pasta diet rules:
Start every day with…
A glass of warm water mixed with the juice of half a lemon.
Eat pasta (obviously!), but…
Choose wholegrain and vary your grains – try wholewheat, spelt and buckwheat varieties. One serving is 70g. Some days, substitute it with rice, barley or other grains. Go easy on sauces. Remember, it’s pasta with sauce, not sauce with pasta! Be creative and serve your pasta with lots of different veggies.
Try different nuts and seeds. Consume oily fish. Eat cheese, in moderation. Read labels and stay away from food with trans and hydrogenated fatty acids. Be careful of foods labelled ‘light’ as this doesn’t always mean reduced fat, sugar or salt.
Eat pasta, rice or other grains with bread at the same time. Eat processed foods, fast foods or carbonated drinks. Add sweeteners to drinks. Eat fried food unless it’s home-made, and even then only occasionally.
Eat carbs earlier in the day
It’s best to eat carbs at breakfast and lunch, as this is the time your body needs more energy. Complex carbohydrates (wholegrains) should make up at least 60% of your kilojoule intake. That’s about 130g a day.
Add fibre to your diet
Aim to eat 25-30g of fibre daily. In addition to keeping your gut ‘clean’, fibre also keeps you full and can cut your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
No more than 5-10% of your kilojoule intake a day.
Snack smart in the morning and afternoon
To be eaten mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Options include one seasonal fruit, fresh orange juice, a small plain yoghurt or 6 to 8 nuts.
When in doubt, drink water
Try drink 1 to 1,5 litres of water every day. Have black coffee or tea with breakfast and herbal tea after dinner. No soft drinks.
Stick with your favourite bottle of red wine
One small (120ml) glass of red wine per day.
Treat yourself with dark chocolate
One serving (30g), once or twice a week as a treat.
Keep your heart rate up and stay active
Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day – walk, jog, cycle, swim, dance or stretch to get your heart pumping and your muscles working.
Read more: 5 reasons why carbs aren’t the enemy
Your seven-day wine and pasta diet plan:
BREAKFAST: Wholegrain toast with jam – toast 1 slice of wholegrain bread, spread with 1 tsp sugar-free jam. Serve with a small glass (120ml) of milk.
LUNCH: Wholewheat spaghetti with baby spinach, pear and pomegranate salad. Cook 70g spaghetti and top with tomato and basil sauce. Serve with salad made of baby spinach, pomegranate seeds, sliced pear, olive oil and black pepper.
DINNER: Baked vegetable frittata – mix cooked, chopped carrot, asparagus, peas and 1 small potato with 10g Parmesan, salt, pepper and 2 whisked egg yolks. Set aside. Add 2 beaten egg whites. Place in a dish and bake for 20 min. Serve with rocket and cherry tomato salad.
BREAKFAST: Oat and banana cake – mix 65g rolled oats, 25g dried cranberries, 20g toasted almonds and ½ tsp cinnamon. Add 40ml almond milk. Leave for a few minutes. Add 1 mashed banana and ½ apple, peeled and finely sliced. Bake for 15 min.
LUNCH: Wholewheat linguine with leeks and nuts – sauté 1 chopped leek in olive oil. When soft, add 6 chopped walnut halves. Cook 70g linguine, then add to leeks and nuts. Finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan.
DINNER: Orange and pistachio chicken – marinate 1 chicken breast in the juice of a freshly squeezed orange (preferably a blood orange). Pan-fry then top with 1 tbsp toasted pistachios. Serve with rice, and a salad topped with pumpkin seeds.
BREAKFAST: Muesli with yoghurt – mix 40g rolled oats, 1 tsp sunflower seeds, 1 tsp flaxseeds, 30g chopped almonds, pinch of nutmeg. Top with 120ml plain yoghurt and fresh or thawed blueberries.
LUNCH: Wholewheat pasta salad with mackerel – mix 70g cooked pasta with cherry tomatoes, basil, olives, chilli flakes and 70g mackerel.
DINNER: Stuffed peppers – mix 70g mince, salt and pepper, garlic, 15g Parmesan and 1 egg. Stuff 1 bell pepper with mixture and bake. Serve with green salad.
BREAKFAST: Repeat Day 1 breakfast.
LUNCH: Chickpea salad – mix 50g chickpeas, handful cherry tomatoes, olives, sliced red onion, basil, olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper. Serve with 1 slice seeded bread.
DINNER: Fish with asparagus and peas – grill 1 white fish fillet and serve with asparagus, peas and lemon juice.
BREAKFAST: Peach shake – blend 1 small peach, 1 date, and 1 banana with 120ml almond milk and a pinch of cinnamon.
LUNCH: Wholewheat pasta with prawns and spinach – cook 70g penne. Sauté spinach, garlic and 6 prawns in olive oil. Add pasta and toss.
DINNER: Baked chicken with herbs – marinate 1 chicken breast with a mix of chilli pepper, garlic, salt, pepper, Dijon mustard, rosemary, marjoram and thyme. Bake and serve with a salad of shaved fennel, orange, olives, lemon juice and olive oil.
Days 6 & 7
REPEAT any two days.