Joy Bauer Weight Loss

Trim Before the Turkey


My 3-4-5-Plan

Get ahead of holiday weight gain! If you’re looking to be proactive by shedding a few pounds before Thanksgiving rolls around, give this “3-4-5 Plan” a try.

The rules are simple: enjoy any breakfast for no more than 300 calories, any lunch for no more than 400 calories, and any dinner for no more than 500 calories. Create your own meals and menu or choose from the nutrient-packed options below.

Also, in addition to your three meals, enjoy one to two snacks each day. I provided a smart list for inspiration.

Breakfast Options: No more than 300 calories

Egg-Vegetable Scramble

  • 1 whole egg + 3 egg whites scrambled with any veggie combination (chopped tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, green beans, etc.) + 1 slice whole grain toast OR 1 orange or 3/4 cup berries

Apple with peanut butter

  • 1 apple with 2 tablespoons peanut butter 

Greek Yogurt Parfait

Lunch Options: No more than 400 calories

Trim ‘n Slim Salad

  • Mixed greens topped with 4-5 ounces protein (chicken, turkey, salmon, shrimp or tofu), ½ cup beans, and unlimited non-starchy veggies. Dress with 1 teaspoon olive oil + unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice (alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons low-calorie vinaigrette).

Open-Faced Turkey & Swiss Sandwich

  • 1 slice whole grain bread layered with 4 ounces turkey, 1 slice of Swiss cheese, 1 tablespoon mustard or hummus, and preferred vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc.) + 2 cups of baby carrots on the side. *If preferred, nix the cheese and enjoy your sandwich on 2 slices of bread

 Soup and Salad

  • 2 cups of lentil, black bean, or hearty-vegetable soup + salad layered with non-starchy veggies and dressed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice (alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons of low-calorie vinaigrette).


Dinner Options: No more than 500 calories

Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes


  • Slow Cooker Chicken & Black Bean Chili
    • Enjoy 1 serving with 1 dollop low-fat Greek yogurt + ¼ cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese + ½ cup cooked brown rice or quinoa (OR 1/2 baked potato)

 Turkey Burger and Veggies

  • Turkey burger on ½ bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and squirt of ketchup + 2 cups steamed or roasted vegetables OR a salad dressed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice (alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons of low-calorie vinaigrette).

Baked Fish with Broccoli and Sweet Potato 

  • 5 ounces grilled, roasted or baked fish (cooked with 1 teaspoon olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper and preferred seasonings) + 2 cups steamed broccoli and 1/2 baked sweet potato.

Snack Options

  • 5 to 6 ounces Greek yogurt (low-fat, nonfat, plain or flavored) + ½ cup berries
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds (shell on)
  • String cheese and orange
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds (shell on)
  • Skim latte (skip sugar) and banana
  • ¼ cup hummus and veggies
  • Celery sticks with 2 level tablespoons nut butter
  • 4 cups light popcorn (or 150 calories worth of any brand)
  • ¼ cup (about a handful) of preferred nuts (walnuts, pecans, peanuts, almonds, shelled pistachios)
  • ½ cup of pistachios in the shell
  • Turkey-Bell Pepper Roll-Ups: 3 ounces turkey rolled with bell pepper sticks dipped in mustard or hot sauce
  • 1 cup steamed edamame in the pod
  • Small frozen yogurt
  • 2 rice cakes, each topped with 1 teaspoon nut butter

Here’s a neat trick to help you estimate how many calories you need for weight loss.