The Hollywood baby food diet is yet another diet of desperation. This quirky meal plan requires little more than a trip to the baby food aisle of your local grocery. From a glance at the magazine covers by the checkout stand, it's quite believable that half of Hollywood is on a diet of this type.

And what is it, exactly?

Shape magazine's website, Shape.com describes the diet as consisting of eating several jars of baby food throughout the day, then eating a healthy dinner. Marie Claire, the fashion magazine, gives credit to a designer for using baby foods to maintain his "slimline figure."

According to the popular Huffington Post, Jennifer Aniston was recently put on the diet by her trainer, an accusation she denies.

Is it possible that consuming tiny portions of baby food could help a person lose weight? Sure. It's also reasonable that eating such small portions of food for several days — or weeks — is one way to learn how to stop the stuffing and gorging to which much of America has become accustomed.

But baby food?

While spooning up pureed fruits and vegetables may be a better alternative to junk food, eating foods like squashed peas and carrots for days on end could give someone, well, a real dislike for fresh peas and carrots — fabulous additions to a healthy summer salad. Additionally, eating a constant diet of mostly soft foods deprives folks of the palate-pleasing textures of nuts and apples, the healthy grains of wild rice, and the fresh, sweet juices from a whole peach.

And it's no secret that fad diets are famous for creating a gorging binge when the diet is abandoned, often leading to a net weight gain.

Dr. Andrew Weil, a physician who specializes in integrative medicine, highlights specific problems presented by fad diets. He believes that cutting out a large portion of complex carbohydrates, or relying on one type of food or one food group isn't healthy, and is likely to be a poor choice for long-term use. Though it's the same information heard from nutritionists and doctors over and over again, he advocates eating less food and getting more physical activity:

"Despite the popularity of these [fad] diets, the best way to achieve and maintain weight is to eat less and exercise more. Eat the right amounts of the right kinds of foods, and re-learn what it means to be physically active for healthy weight loss."

If you're tempted to eat more than you should, consider preparing fruits and vegetables in portion sizes and storing them in the refrigerator for the week. They'll be ready to toss in a travel cooler, or a lunch bag for the office. Do the same with other snacks like nuts, whole-grain crackers, and popcorn.

And if you're tempted to go for some rapid weight-loss with a spoon and a four-ounce jar of pureed beans. Here are some better ideas of easy foods to eat (and travel with):

  • One banana. It's quite soft in its natural state, and portion-controlled in its own yellow package. Additionally, you'll avoid additives or preservatives found in some baby foods.
     
  • One avocado. This slightly-firm food will give you a dose of healthy fats, enough to help satisfy the stomach and help with hunger.
     
  • A couple of carrots, or a handful of baby carrots. If you like crunchy foods, these are a great vegetable. They contain dietary fiber, which helps fill the stomach, and several nutrients.
     
  • An apple. Whether and apple a day will actually keep the doctor away may or may not be true, but these red fruits are full of crunch, loaded with fiber and provide a variety of vitamins.

I've educated myself on healthy eating, but I'm not a doctor, a nutritionist, or a dietitian. Before embarking on any diet or meal plan, check with your physician.