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You asked, we answered! Hundreds of Start TODAY members have told us they want healthier, more balanced meal ideas to help them reach their health goals. This dietitian-designed meal plan will help you learn the basics of healthy eating and give you the flexibility you need to tackle spring and summer.
When it comes to sticking to a healthy diet, meal prep is key. After all, who has hours to spend in the kitchen? That’s why this week’s lunches and dinners use time-saving meal prep tricks, like one-pot meals and pre-made ingredients (hello, roast chicken!).
You will see that breakfasts involve pre-prepared meals and options in the morning. Lunches include leftovers and easy-to-assemble ideas. We’ve offered four different dinner options, and we’ll save you the hassle of cooking one night by making enough for the night before’s leftovers.
What to eat this week, April 24
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Starting your day with a protein-rich option keeps you full longer and tames cravings later. Here are some quick and easy ways to get protein into your morning meal.
Protein Enriched Avocado Toast
Mash the white beans or chickpeas into the avocado. Spread on whole-grain toast and top with an egg, cooked to your liking.
Frances Largeman Roth
Serve with low sugar Greek yogurt mixed in or on the side.
Scrambled eggs in the microwave
Top with salsa, black beans and sliced avocado.
Roast chicken is the versatile ingredient of the week. Remove the skin and pull the meat off the bone to use in sandwiches and salads. A typical roast chicken yields 3-4 cups of meat.
If you’re a vegetarian or trying to reduce your meat intake, use rinsed and drained canned beans instead (as we do on Friday). When making your grocery list, be sure to add plenty of vegetables to serve in salads and sandwiches.
Roasted chicken sandwich
Spread whole grain bread with mayonnaise and grain mustard and pile with roast chicken, lettuce and tomatoes. Serve with vegetables on the side. For a vegetarian option, use mashed chickpeas.
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Roasted chicken salad
Toss roasted chicken, chopped celery and golden raisins with mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Pour the mixture over the salad leaves and add the vegetables of your choice. Sprinkle with seeds (such as sunflower seeds) or crushed walnuts.
Don’t want to buy a roast chicken? Make your own:
Mash rinsed and drained canned chickpeas in store-bought hummus. Spread the mixture on 2 slices of toasted wholemeal bread. Spread the pot roasted red peppers and baby spinach between the two slices of bread and fold them into a sandwich. Serve with a few baby carrots.
This week’s dinner menu features nutritious meals that are anything but boring. From tangy pineapple chicken to salted flounder and creamy pasta, there’s something for everyone. If you like variety, make one a night. If you prefer to cook less, double (or triple) a recipe to serve later in the week. You can also revisit recipes from our previous weeks to add a different dish to your menu. Be sure to take note of all the suggested sides to keep your meals balanced.
American bar / American bar
Get loads of veggies — and the spectrum of nutrients they provide — in this hearty main course salad. There are plenty of shortcuts you can take to streamline working time, like using roast chicken and pre-shredded cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. Prepare additional dressing and serve with cold brown rice noodles.
This colorful meal is a feast for your belly and your eyes. To do this faster, chop the red peppers ahead of time and make extra for snacks during the week. Also buy pre-cut pineapples. Serve over brown rice (quick options include frozen and microwaveable brown rice) or a mixture of brown rice and riced cauliflower.
Gentl + Hyers / “Small Victories” by Julia Turshen
Salted and salted olives and roasted tomatoes give this dish a Mediterranean vibe. Serve with roasted baby potatoes — also called creamy potatoes — which you can find ready-to-bake at most grocery stores.
Avocado brings creaminess to this dairy-free pasta dish. Since this meal is low in protein, we recommend using chickpea or lentil pasta to make it more hearty and balanced.
Snacks that contain whole food sources of protein and fiber provide a winning formula that keeps you full for hours. Here are some ideas:
- Baby carrots dipped in protein-enriched mashed avocado. To make the dip, mash the chickpeas or white beans into the avocado.
- Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with tahini.
- Frozen blueberries (thawed) with ricotta cheese.
- Red pepper strips with goat cheese.
- Unsweetened dried fruits and nuts or roasted chickpeas.