diet

Penelope Cruz's chocolate and red wine diet

Friday, November 4, 2005
Penélope Cruz

Here's how sexy Penélope Cruz indulges her cravings while on a healthy food and exercise plan.

Gorgeous Penélope has an enviable figure, yet she makes no secret of loving food. "When I am working, I have to eat a lot because I need the energy," says the Madrid-born actress.

"I try to eat healthily, but I love fried food and bad things. Give me a plate of bread, some oil and salt and I'm happy. But you can't eat like this all the time."

When Penélope, 31, wants to lose a couple of kilos, she turns to NutriFit, an American gourmet catering service which provides delicious, healthy meals for figure-conscious stars. According to Jackie Keller, founder of NutriFit, Penélope loves the plan as it allows her to eat all her favourite foods without feeling she's on a diet.

"Penélope wanted to lose a little weight in preparation for a film role," Jackie says. "She's 5'5" [165cm] and weighs about eight stone [51kg], but she likes pasta, pizza and rice-based dishes."

Along with Angelina Jolie and Uma Thurman, Penélope followed the NutriFit diet and shed the kilos by eating three balanced meals and three healthy snacks every day. Her daily kilojoule intake was about 5900. By following a similar eating plan to Penélope and incorporating some exercise into your day, you can expect to lose 3.5-5kg in a month!

"The plan is designed to give you a diet made up of 50 percent favourable carbohydrates, such as brown rice, 25 percent lean protein and 25 percent healthy fats," Jackie explains.

The only things banned from the diet are foods high in saturated fat, such as butter and full-fat cheeses. But you can still eat chocolate and drink alcohol. "We discourage the over-consumption of alcohol, but studies show that red wine has some protective benefits. Dark chocolate is allowed as long as it's portion-controlled," Jackie says.

Jackie encourages portion control to avoid overeating and followers are told to eat when scheduled to, even if not hungry. "Vegetables should take up half the plate, the protein should be the size of one quarter of the plate and a small portion of healthy carbs should fit in the other quarter."

She also advises following a regular exercise routine of 30 minutes at least five times a week.

For details, go to www.nutrifitonline.com

Exercise plan

Five 30-minute workouts, such as brisk walking, cycling, free weights, sit-ups and lunges, rollerblading or swimming.

Daily diet

Breakfast
Buckwheat pancakes or scrambled eggs and onions, cooked in a dash of olive oil.

Mid-morning snack
Fruit salad with apple and berry granola or wild berry smoothie — just whiz mixed berries with half a banana in a blender.

Lunch
Barbecue-grilled chicken wholewheat pizza and raw vegetable garnish or wholewheat pasta with turkey-meat sauce and grilled mushrooms.

Mid-afternoon snack
Couscous with raisins and dates or a low-fat protein bar.

Dinner
Baked cod with green beans and a green salad or chicken with wine and mushrooms and mixed vegetables.

Snack
Four squares of dark chocolate.

Note: Penélope can drink a small amount of red wine. Only butter and full-fat cheeses are banned.
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