Failing to plan is planning to fail.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of the biggest keys to success in healthy eating is planning ahead.
I thought it might be kinda fun to create a sample 7 day meal plan made up of some of the things that I normally eat. Yes, I am a dietitian, BUT I’m not claiming that my diet is 100% perfect. But I do like to think I have a pretty good, healthy balance in my diet. I eat a wide variety of fruits, veggies, grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins, and I even include some yummy snacks and treats too. It’s all about balance and moderation! I will admit, I don’t eat every fruit and veggie under the sun; just like most of you, I usually stick to my favorites, but I do try to branch out and try new things often.
You’ll also find that most of these meals don’t require a ton of effort, which is another thing that often holds people back from eating healthy – they think it’s too much work. Sure, most of these meals take longer than zapping a frozen dinner in the microwave for 2 minutes, but trust me – it’ll be worth it when you take the first bite. And the second, and the third. 🙂
If you follow me on Instagram you’ve probably had a preview of the majority of these meals. But now I’m pairing them up and providing more details in case you do want to try this out for a few days.
I have provided 7 sample breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal ideas, as well as some of the snacks/desserts that I like to munch on. Of course you can mix and match these meals as you please; for example, you could have the Monday lunch meal on Wednesday, and/or repeat certain meals as much as you wish! (I do that all the time, especially with breakfast.) Also, don’t forget that breakfast for dinner never disappoints! 😉 Good luck!
Monday – Day 1:
What’s on my plate: 3-minute Quaker Steel-Cut Oats with cinnamon, a splash of vanilla extract, topped with frozen blueberries.
Anything else? I have my steel-cut oats almost every morning, alongside some egg whites with sautéed spinach. It’s a great balanced breakfast that keeps me full throughout the morning.
What’s on my plate: a big salad piled high with veggies will make you feel full and satisfied without dragging you down throughout the rest of your afternoon. Bulk it up with some grilled chicken and hard boiled eggs to give you an extra boost of protein.
On the side: add a piece of fruit like a granny smith apple with some PB2 to add some some fiber and complex carbs to the mix!
What’s on my plate: I’ve raved about these multiple times, but the Fusia Asian stir-fry dishes from Aldi are EVERYTHING. They come frozen in a bag, so all you do is dump the goods into a big skillet, add the sauce, stir and let it cook for a few minutes, and you have a delicious dinner ready to go in no time. Perfect for busy nights or after long days at work, and it can feed multiple people or makes great leftovers for lunch the next day! I added some rotisserie chicken to it for some protein that required no extra work.
What’s on my plate: As you will soon find out (if you didn’t realize this already), Greek yogurt is one of my go-to snacks. It’s sweet, filling, satisfying and so easy. I like to add some cereal as “granola” or nuts for some extra crunch and flavor.
What’s in my cup: This “Milk Magic” milk flavoring is probably the best thing since sliced bread. It’s zero calories and you can just squirt it into your milk to immediately turn it into dessert. I don’t know about you, but late at night/right before bed is when I am feeling extra munchy and want to snack on anything and everything. Having a glass of some yummy cookies & cream flavored milk satisfies my sweet tooth and usually keeps me from binging on the Reese’s Pieces we have stashed in the pantry.
Tuesday – Day 2:
What’s on my plate: Egg whites with sautéed spinach topped with salsa, sandwiched between a 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thin makes for a delicious breakfast. Use spicy salsa if you’re feelin’ sassy & need an extra push to get through the work day. ; )
What’s on my plate: My healthy chicken salad (recipe in WFTW Cook Book) plus some vanilla Greek yogurt with apple slices and heart healthy trail mix (dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, almonds). You can have the chicken salad as a sandwich on whole wheat bread or eat it with Wheat Thins to add some fiber + complex carbs.
What’s on my plate: TACO TUESDAY! Duh. On Tuesday’s we eat tacos… and for good reason. These crockpot chicken tacos are so tasty and satisfying, and extremely easy. You can put the ingredients in the crockpot before you leave for the day and come home to dinner already made. (Recipe also on my blog – search for it in the search bar!) Eat the chicken as a taco salad using lettuce, tomatoes, low-fat cheese and salsa, or make soft tacos using low-carb whole wheat tortillas!
What’s on my plate: [on the left] sliced banana + PB2 is my all-time favorite snack, even more so than Greek yogurt. I like to have this as a mid-morning snack between breakfast and lunch. [on the right] Cookies & Cream Quest Bar with strawberries. Quest bars are my not-so-guilty pleasure. Although they are around 200 calories, they also have ~20 g protein, and I usually have them as a post-workout snack or a bedtime snack when I’m craving something sweet. One bar satisfies me and keeps me from going overboard on a bunch of random snacks at bedtime.
Wednesday – Day 3:
What’s on my plate: 100% whole wheat Bagel Thin with 1 tbsp PB2 on one half, and 1 tbsp of reduced-sugar strawberry jelly on the other. Can’t forget the scrambled Egg Beaters with chopped red & green peppers to kick off the day with some protein and yummy veggies!
What’s on my plate: spiralized “Margarita” pasta. This is spiralized squash with a wedge of garlic & herb laughing cow cheese + cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. I also throw in some grilled chicken because… why wouldn’t you? ; )
What’s on my plate: Morning Star Garden Veggie Patty on whole wheat bun topped with half a wedge of Garlic & Herb Laughing Cow Cheese and lettuce. I had my veggie burger with steamed cauliflower, but you could substitute any of your favorite veggies as a side. Also had some corn on the cob as my starchy veggie – so good!
What’s on my plate: I love to snack on mixed nuts at any time of the day. I have at least a handful every single day. Nuts are a great source of heart-healthy fats and they keep you full!
What’s on my plate: sliced granny Smith apple sprinkled with cinnamon, Splenda and spray butter, microwaved for 1:30-2 minutes. Perfect, healthy dessert.
Thursday – Day 4:
What’s in my cup: you just can’t go wrong with a smoothie for breakfast. This one is 1 frozen banana + 1/3 cup vanilla Greek yogurt + 1 scoop protein powder + 1 tbsp PB2 + 1 cup almond milk + 2/3 cup ice topped with 1 tbsp hemp hearts. SO YUMMY! Try to be unlike me and make it last longer than 7 minutes. ; )
What’s on my plate: another Aldi stir-fry dish. This is a great vegetarian option or good for a meatless meal every once in a while! This one is teriyaki with all veggies, no noodles, so I like to add some whole grains to bulk it up. I used a Minute rice multi-grain medley cup which includes brown rice, quinoa, barley, oats, wheat and rye. Such a good, hearty mix-in!
What’s on my plate: [side salad]: spring mix salad with sliced strawberries, a few crushed up Wheat Thins, a small handful of dry-roasted edamame, with balsamic vinaigrette. (Dip, don’t pour, to control the amount of calories you get from dressing!) [main event]: parmesan crusted tilapia (found at Sam’s Club – or any grocery store) and steamed cauliflower. Clearly, I love cauliflower, but again, any vegetable could be substituted here! Broccoli, green beans, roasted carrots, mixed veggies, etc.
What’s on my plate: baby carrots & 2 tbsp roasted red pepper hummus is a great snack in-between meals. I personally prefer this as an afternoon snack.
Friday – Day 5:
What’s on my plate: Morning Star Veggie Patty with scrambled egg whites and spinach, topped with a little bit of reduced-fat Sargento Mexican cheese. This is an awesome protein-packed breakfast, and tastes really good with salsa too!
What’s on my plate: a simple turkey sandwich for lunch never killed anybody. I actually prefer something quick and easy like this, and it always satisfies me. Again, I use 45 calorie Sara Lee 100% whole wheat bread – you don’t have to get 45 calorie bread of course, but no matter what, go for whole grain! [Look for “whole wheat flour” as the first ingredient and the yellow Whole Grain stamp on the package!] You could have a lot of things as a side with your sandwich. Greek yogurt with fruit, veggies & hummus, steamed vegetables, or a little side salad!
What’s on my plate: chicken kebabs [taken off the kebab] are such a tasty meal to cook on the grill. Bite-sized chicken pieces and tons of grilled veggies like bell peppers, red onions, mushrooms, and even throw in some sweet pineapple! Top left: whole grain medley, and last but definitely not least, baked tomato slices topped with a little bit of low-fat mozzarella cheese, black pepper, garlic powder, & oregano. Colorful meals are the best! 🙂
What’s on my plate: Again, Quest bars heated up with Greek yogurt as a bedtime snack. I usually try to have only 1-2 a week and snack on “real food” instead, but hey – sometimes you can’t help what you crave. Right!? ; )
Saturday – Day 6:
What’s on my plate: Quaker 3-minute steel cuts oats with 1 sliced banana and 2 tbsp of PB2. Simple, and SO GOOD.
What’s on my plate: Morning Star Spicy Black Bean Burger on a whole wheat bun with some spring mix, alongside a baked sweet potato (cooked in the microwave for 4-5 minutes) topped with spray butter and cinnamon. And yes, I love ketchup. On my burger AND my sweet potato. Not the healthiest condiment, but just don’t go crazy. : )
What’s on my plate: another crockpot meal. Momma is responsible for this one. The most tender, amazing pot roast + potatoes + carrots in the crockpot = such a great dinner to come home to. We steam even more veggies to eat on the side. (You are supposed to fill half your plates with fruits/veggies, so I try to do that as much as possible!) PS: if you want the recipe for this meal, let me know!
What’s on my plate: 1 cup frozen strawberries + 1/3 cup almond milk. Blend up in a blender for this healthy “ice cream” – add liquid slowly until you reach desired consistency.
Sunday – Day 7:
What’s on my plate: PROTEIN PANCAKES 🙂 My favorite! The recipe for these is in the WFTW Cook Book. On Sundays, you deserve to go crazy with a tall stack of pancakes. Call it brunch. Whatever. These pancakes are delicious and actually filled with good-for-you ingredients. Top them with some fruit, PB2, applesauce, or reduced-sugar jelly instead of syrup to cut down on the sugar/calorie content.
What’s on my plate: zoodles! I spiralized and sautéed a zucchini, then topped it with some marinara sauce and added a baked salmon fillet that I seasoned with garlic powder and Garlic & Herb Mrs. Dash. (I usually bake my salmon @ 425 F for ~12-15 minutes or until it reaches a minimum of 145 F.)
What’s on my plate: one of my favorite, easy dinners – chicken and veggies on the grill. We have a basket that we can toss our veggies in to stick on the grill while the chicken cooks too. Fill up your plate with lots of veggies, as always, and balance it out with your protein and brown rice or quinoa.
What’s on my plate: my favorite dessert – banana PB2 “ice cream”. This is made up of 1 frozen banana + 1.5 Tbsp PB2 + ~1/3 cup almond milk, topped with a few mini chocolate chips! Blend it up in a blender and again, add liquid slowly until you reach desired consistency.
If you need some structure in your life in order to eat healthy, try to sit down and create a meal plan for yourself, or follow one like this! It might be just what you need to be able to stick with your diet for the week. It will probably help you incorporate some new foods into your diet, too.
The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.
You can do this!
Have a great week, everyone. Happy October!
eat well. live well. be happy.