You asked, we answered! Hundreds of Start TODAY members told us they wanted more healthy, balanced meal ideas to help them reach their health goals. This dietitian-designed meal plan gives you the flexibility to enjoy the holidays — all while learning the building blocks of healthy eating. After all, all that walking works up an appetite!
Meal planning isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Spend just 10 or 15 minutes mapping out your meals, jot down what you need and head to the store. That’s it. And since the holidays are busy enough, we’ve also got suggestions for streamlining meal prep — and, best of all, you can even take the weekends off if you’re dining out or celebrating with family.
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December 12, 2022: What to eat this week
This week’s meal prep goal: Minimize time in the kitchen by making simple meals and leaning into leftovers. Here’s an example: The frittata does double duty since it works as a breakfast and lunch option. (Feel free to swap it in for dinner, too.) And quick freezer staples make lunch effortless. For dinner, we’ve rounded up weeknight-easy meals that make use of convenient ingredients, like canned beans, frozen vegetables, and rotisserie chicken–basics we suggested in our blueprint for easy meal prep. Suggested side dishes and snacks also make use of these ingredient powerhouses.
Make-ahead meals will help you breeze through breakfast, but we’ve also offered a throw-together option using staple ingredients.
Cottage cheese and fruit
Sprinkle cinnamon over cottage cheese and serve with apple slices spread with nut or nutless butter.
Getty Images stock
Serve with fruit and avocado slices on the side.
Yumna Jawad / Feel Good Foodie
Spread a layer of low- or no-sugar-added Greek yogurt on top.
This week, lunches involve leftovers and meals made from freezer staples, but feel free to employ the mix-and-match strategy from last week.
Serve a store-bought veggie burger on a whole grain bun or English muffin with veggie fixings with red pepper slices (or another vegetable) on the side.
Want to make your own? Try this:
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
Chicken Tender Caesar Salad
Toss romaine lettuce pieces with parmesan cheese and pine nuts. Add baked chicken tenders and bottled Caesar salad dressing.
Want to make your own? Try this:
We’ve pulled together a list of some deliciously healthy recipes on today.com to make meal planning easier — feel free to swap out recipes for different days of the week or make enough of one dish to serve as leftovers to save time on another night. To make dinners well-balanced, we’ve offered serving suggestions, most of which involve the convenience items we suggested in our blueprint for easy meal prep.
Pasta is the perfect delivery vehicle for veggies, and this dish serves them up with a Mediterranean flair. The best part: prep is only 20 minutes. If you want to make this meal heartier, double up on the tuna, veggies, and dressing.
Courtesy Matt Armendariz
Chili is a crowd-pleaser, and this version takes the nutrition up a notch with black beans, sweet potatoes, and quinoa. Avocado slices are optional but encouraged. Serve the chili with warmed tortillas or tortilla chips.
Casey Barber/Good Food Stories LLC
It’s easy to get your veggies down when they’re dressed in a delicious sauce. You should be able to find Korean barbecue sauce at your local grocery store, but if not, you can order it from Amazon. To boost your protein and make it a balanced meal, serve sauteed tofu or shrimp on top or on the side. You can also add brown rice (from frozen or a microwavable pouch) if you like.
Kid in the Kitchen
This chicken parm skips the breading and deep-frying, so it’s a healthier option that’s just as tasty. Serve it with a side of whole grain or bean-based pasta and roasted veggies. Pro tip: While you’ve got the cutting board out and oven on, roast an extra batch of veggies to serve with upcoming meals.
Skip the takeout. This meal will be on the table in 20 minutes, thanks to shortcuts like rotisserie chicken and frozen peas and carrots. To bulk up the veggie content, add an extra package of frozen stir-fry vegetables and adjust the soy sauce to taste.
Snacks that contain whole food sources of protein and fiber offer a winning formula that keeps you full for hours. Here are a few ideas:
● Banana with nuts or seeds (like pumpkin seeds).
● Grape tomatoes with a boiled egg.
● Grapes with cottage cheese.
● Cucumber slices with goat cheese.
● Baby carrots with nut or nutless butter dip. To make dip: mix almond butter with coconut aminos or lower-sodium soy sauce and sriracha to taste. Use water to thin the mixture to desired consistency.