Hi friends! Hope you’re having a wonderful morning. I’m grabbing sipping on my detox drink before the girls are up, and we’ll start the usual morning routine. I’m excited to teach barre later today and sneak in my own little workout during naptime. It’s also girls’ night tonight, so a day that ends with rosé shouldn’t be too terrible.

This morning, I’m popping in to chat about meal staples! These are the go-tos when I’m in a pinch, and you’ll often find me rotating through so many of these favorites. I can always count on these to taste good (<— critical factor), satisfy the hunger beast, and I know I can make them quickly, which is clutch on busy weekdays. I’ve found that since I’m usually running around with the girls, I don’t have time to make snacks for myself like I used to. Instead, I’ve focused on having 3 more filling meals lately, with smaller snacks mixed in when I need it. (Usually something easy and portable, like a bar, some Lorissa’s Kitchen protein snacks, or whole fruit.)

Here are my top 5 favorite healthy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast:

1. Giant egg patty, salad and toast. For my giant egg patties, I’ll use 1 egg and 2-3 egg whites cooked in butter. When it’s firm on one side, I flip the entire thing over (using this enormous flipper the Pilot put in my Christmas stocking). It’s like a huge over-medium egg. I’ll put the egg on top of a spinach and chopped veggie salad, and cover it with hot sauce or Primal Kitchen dressing (ordered from Thrive Market). On the side, I’ll either have oats or a slice of toasted sourdough. <— I freeze it and then heat it up in the toaster. Note: if I’m going to be working out, I’ll either have my breakfast after cardio – most of the time I do cardio on an empty stomach – or skip the toast/oats until after I lift weights. (I go for protein before my workout, protein + carbs after.)

2. A filling smoothie. This is one of my favorite breakfasts because I can drink it in the car while I’m doing preschool drop-off or racing to teach a class. The combos are always different, but I’ll either use a Daily Harvest container (adding collagen and protein) or the Fab Four formula.

One of my favorite combos is:

1 1/2 cups almond milk

1 scoop Garden of Life vanilla protein (from Thrive Market)

1 scoop Vital Proteins collagen

a little frozen cauliflower

a giant handful of spinach

a teaspoon of Moon Juice dust

Cinnamon

a heaping tablespoon of almond butter

a tablespoon of cocoa powder

Just blend it up, pour and go!

3. Breakfast cookie or another type of overnight oats. The breakfast cookie has been a staple in my breakfast routine since the early blog days (2008!). It tastes like dessert and you can easily customize it to suit your tastes and preferences. This one had a little cocoa powder mixed in, collagen and a drizzle of peanut butter on top.

For overnight oats, I’ll usually combine 1/2 cup of oats with a tablespoon of chia seeds, cinnamon, almond butter and almond milk. I’ll let it set in the fridge overnight and add protein powder and berries in the morning. When I’m in a time pinch – usually when it’s midnight and I want to go to bed instead of prepping breakfast – I still love the Quaker overnight oats (the oatmeal raisin is the best!), and have also tried a few from Thrive Market.

4. Protein egg-y oatmeal. Lately, I’ve been soaking my oats in the fridge overnight in water. It’s supposed to reduce the amount of lectins which can decrease the inflammatory response and make them easier to digest. It also gives oats an AWESOME super fluffy texture. I’ll rinse the soaked oats and add them to a pot with water to cook. When they’re about 80% cooked, I’ll stir in 2-3 egg whites and some almond milk. I’ll stir continuously as the eggs cook – nothing like biting into a chunk of eggs – and add cinnamon, maybe a little protein powder. When everything is cooked, I’ll remove it from the heat, and add some berries, a spoonful of almond butter, and a splash of maple syrup (just to make sure they’re no egg taste to it).

5. Banana-egg-oatmeal pancakes. I make these pancakes at least twice a week. The best part is that they’re the girls’ absolute favorite breakfast (and they have no idea they’re just eating egg, banana and oats). I’ll do a double batch and freeze any leftovers so I can quickly reheat them in the morning. The girls love them with berries and maple syrup. I’ve made buttermilk pancakes a handful of times, and they always eat these pancakes so much better and ask for seconds.

Lunch:

1. Daily Harvest grain bowl with leftover protein from the night before or scrambled eggs. I recently tried the grain bowls and I LOVE THEM. The only downfall is that they’re kind of high in sodium – I have to watch my salt intake post-surgery or I still swell quite a bit – so I’ll have half a container at a time. I’ll stir in some quick protein (either tuna, black beans cooked in the Instant Pot, or leftover chicken) and boom: lunch is done. They have a lot of savory flavor combos, and it’s been fun to switch up the lunch routine.

2. Coconut wrap with tuna salad, tempeh bacon and veg, or chicken. I get these turmeric coconut wraps from Thrive Market, and the coconut flavor is really mild. I’ll usually fill them with a mix of toppings depending on how I’m feelin’.

3. Egg scramble with veggies and avocado. The classic never dies. Eggs are my #1 favorite food so I’ll usually have them at least once during the day. I’ll roast a large batch of veggies for the week and use these for egg scrambles, wrap fillings and salad toppings. For some extra healthy fats, I’ll either slice up half an avocado or drink some tea with MCT oil.

4. A filling smoothie. This is the same recipe from above. If I don’t have one for breakfast, I’ll usually have one for lunch.

5. Protein, lots of veggies, and Primal Kitchen dressing. (<— sometimes I’ll add rice in here, too.) Salads and grain bowls are always so satisfying – so many flavors and textures – and they’re fun to personalize with whatever we have in the fridge. I’ll usually fill up my bowl with half rice and the rest veggies, then top with protein and dressing.

Dinner:

1. Cobb Salad. This is one of our “classic” dinners and something we make fairly often. The girls love theirs deconstructed, so I’ll make little piles of each topping for them, and it’s an easy way to eat like a PRO (lots of PROtein and PROduce). Here’s our favorite recipe!

2. Poke bowl. This one is quickly edging up to the Cobb salad for most frequent dinner in our house. It requires minimal prep, so I can make it quickly during a busy weeknight (clutch), and everyone loves it. I’ll either use frozen tuna tataki (you can find at at Whole Foods in the freezer by the sushi), smoked or baked salmon. We fill our bowls with sushi rice (cooked in the Instant Pot, then seasoned with rice vinegar and sesame and seeds), cucumber, nori, avocado, seaweed salad, and salmon/tuna. Top it with some soy sauce (or coconut aminos!) and sriracha: best dinner ever.

3. Big pot of soup, roasted veggies + homemade sourdough. My standard Instant Pot soup recipe is here! I’ll usually make a batch to have on hand for easy lunches for the girls, or as a heartwarming dinner. I’ll use lots of veggies (zucchini, onion, carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, sweet potato), fresh herbs, chicken, garlic and chicken broth. Each time it turns out a little differently, but it’s always delicious. As far as the homemade sourdough goes, it’s ruined us all for store-bought bread. There’s nothing like it! Making the starter was intimidating until I just decided to go for it. This recipe is pretty foolproof.

4. BBQ salmon, sweet potato, and salad. I’ll pan-sear the salmon (seasoned with salt and pepper) and then baste it with BBQ sauce before baking (about 10-12 minutes at 375). Usually I’ll try to bake a batch of sweet potatoes each week, so i’ll heat these up, top with cinnamon and butter, and serve everything with a simple salad.

5. Chicken stir fry with rice and cashews. This is what I do when we have a lot of produce on hand. I’ll stir fry onion, garlic, ginger, veggies (carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, etc.) and add chicken, seasoned with salt, pepper, coconut aminos, a little maple syrup, and cayenne. When everything is cooked through, I’ll add chopped fresh herbs, cashews, and serve with rice cooked in the Instant Pot. This one always takes less than 20-30 minutes from start to finish.

So there ya go! My top 5 quick and healthy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What meals are in your constant rotation? I’d love to hear some of your faves and get some new ideas! Please don’t hesitate to share super simple ones; these are often the easiest to remember!

xoxo

Gina

The 30-Day Shape Up Your Plate Challenge for Easy, Healthy Meal Planning

Eating right, prepping meals, avoiding all the processed stuff you know you should save for special occasions, and oh yeah, staying committed to a healthy diet can be difficult—duh. But it can be even more daunting right after the holidays when you’ve spent the last four or five weeks eating more rich, creamy, heavy, belly-clogging foods than you normally would. All those splurge foods and holiday treats should be enjoyed (I mean, we’re all about balance here at Shape), but not at the expense of your health, fitness, or frankly, mood. (BTW, save this three-step strategy to feel better faster after you eat a little too much…)

So in the spirit of starting fresh with a new year (but if you’re reading this and it’s, oh, say, July…who cares? Start this healthy monthly meal plan now!), we wanted to make things easier on you with an entire month of healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner options planned out for you. That’s right—the Shape Up Your Plate Challenge requires no guesswork, no research. Just recipes, tips, and yep, even treats to get you back to yourself in no time. (Related: 10 Meal Planning Staples You Should Always Have In Your Kitchen)

If you’re asking, “Will this healthy monthly meal plan help me lose weight?” or “Will eating these healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners give me more energy to get to the gym?” the answer to both is likely yes, but that’s not why we worked with Dawn Jackson Blatner, R.D., registered dietitian and author of The Superfood Swap, to create this healthy monthly meal plan. “Shaping up your plate can be easy and taste great, so I wanted to prove that,” Jackson Blatner says. “This challenge spends time on food prep only once a day, and I’m not a gourmet chef, so I made sure the dinners are things you can do, even if you’re new in the kitchen or tight on time.” And before you roll your eyes thinking that a nutritionist created a bunch of bland yet healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas filled with “diet food,” think again. This month you’ll enjoy things like fried rice, meatballs, lemon chicken, and stuffed sweet potatoes. You’ll never go hungry either: Each day, you’ll have three balanced meals plus healthy snacks and sweets. See? Doable and enjoyable! (We’re not leaving you hanging when it comes to fitness goals this year either. In fact, we have an ab-solutely amazing plank challenge to try alongside this healthy monthly meal plan.)

How it works: You’ll begin the healthy monthly meal plan with a seven-day detox—and by “detox” we do not mean anything resembling a juice cleanse or watery soup three times a day. This first week is designed to prime your body for the coming weeks. The healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners will jumpstart your metabolism, digestion, and diet overall to get it over the hump from dense holiday meals more quickly. You can start your days with one of three drinks: hot lemon water, matcha green tea (made with water), or a simple green juice (kale, water, lemon squeeze, ice). Breakfasts include quick eats such as oatmeal or avocado toast. Lunch will always be a re-imagined version of leftovers from the night before. (So easy, we know.) And dinner this week includes seven original recipes created by Jackson Blatner just for Shape readers. And guess what? They are so good and so simple.

The three weeks after that are grouped by category: healthy gut, vegetarian, and superfoods. You’ll find breakfasts, lunches, and dinners planned out for you again, so there’s no wondering “What’s for dinner?” or “What can I pack for lunch tomorrow?”

To make things even easier for you (because eating healthy should be easy, and dare we say, fun), we created a healthy grocery list for you. You’ll have everything you need on hand for every week of the healthy monthly meal plan, which will make meal prep Sundays a breeze and hopefully keep you from making extra trips to the store.

30-Day Shape Up Your Plate Healthy Eating Challenge

Day 1

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Photo: Avery Powell

Day 1: 7-Day Detox

Breakfast

Almond Butter Oatmeal with Berries
Stir 1 1/2 tablespoons almond butter into 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal (prepared with water). Top with 1 cup berries and sprinkle of cinnamon.

Lunch

Green Base
Place leftovers from dinner the night before on bed of salad greens. Chinese leftovers, chopped up pizza—anything.

Dinner

Hummus Chicken with Zucchini and Potato Wedges

Day 2

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Photo: Avery Powell

Day 2: 7-Day Detox

Egg and Greens Breakfast Bowl
In a bowl, top 1/2 cup sautéed kale with 1/2 cup cooked brown rice, 1 scrambled egg, 1/4 avocado, and sea salt. Serve with 1/2 grapefruit.

Hummus Chicken and Kale Bowl
In a bowl, toss 2 cups chopped kale, 2 tablespoons hummus, and 2 tablespoon lemon juice. Slice 4 ounces cooked chicken breast (left over from dinner) and place on top of kale mixture along with 1/2 cup shredded carrots, 1/4 cup finely chopped apple, and 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds.

Chopped Sesame Salad with Salmon and Quinoa

Day 3

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Photo: Avery Powell

Day 3: 7-Day Detox

Sunflower and Avocado Toast
Smash 1/2 avocado on 1 slice sprouted whole-grain toast and top with 1/4 cup watercress or arugula, 1 slice tomato, and 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds. Serve with 1/2 grapefruit. (Related: 30 Awesome Avocado Toast Recipes to Fuel You Through This Healthy Monthly Meal Plan—and All Year Long)

Greek Salmon Bowl
Put 3 cups chopped romaine lettuce in a bowl. Chop 4 ounces cooked salmon (left over from dinner) and place on top of lettuce along with 1/2 cup diced cucumber, 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese. Top with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon dried dill.

Meatballs with Spaghetti Squash Pasta

Day 4

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Photo: Avery Powell

Day 4: 7-Day Detox

Chia Berry Yogurt Parfait
Mash 1 cup berries (of your choice) with 2 tablespoons chia seeds. Top 6 ounces plain 2% Greek yogurt with the berry-chia mixture and 1 tablespoon toasted unsweetened coconut flakes.

Veggie Soup with Meatballs
Warm 1 1/2 cups low-sodium canned veggie soup with 4 ounces meatballs (left over from dinner). Top with 1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese.

Lemon Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables

Day 5

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Photo: Avery Powell

Day 5: 7-Day Detox

Sweet Greens Breakfast Smoothie
In a blender, combine 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, 1 cup kale leaves, 1 banana, 2 tablespoons rolled oats, 1 tablespoon almond butter, 1 teaspoon honey, and 1/4 cup ice. Blend until smooth. (For this healthy monthly meal plan and beyond, here’s our formula to build the best smoothie.)

Lemon Chicken Caprese Salad
Toss 2 cups watercress or arugula, 1 cup chopped tomato, 1 ounce chopped fresh mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Slice 4 ounces of lemon chicken (left over from dinner) and serve on top of salad.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans and Avocado

Day 6

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Photo: Avery Powell

Day 6: 7-Day Detox

Apple and Almond Butter Toast
Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons almond butter (or your favorite nut butter) on 1 slice sprouted whole-grain toast and top with 1 small sliced green apple and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Black Bean Taco Salad
In a bowl, add 3 cups of chopped romaine lettuce. Top with 1 cup warmed black bean mixture (left over from dinner), 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1 chopped green onion, 1/4 avocado mashed, 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese, and 2 tablespoons cilantro.

Golden Chicken with Coconut Rice and Broccoli

Day 7

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Photo: Avery Powell

Day 7: 7-Day Detox

Breakfast

Open-Face Breakfast Sandwich
Top 1 slice sprouted whole-grain toast with 1/4 cup spinach, 1 over-medium egg, 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese, and a sprinkle of black pepper. Serve with 1/2 cup cubed cantaloupe. (Related: Healthy Breakfast Sandwich Recipes For Hearty Morning Meals)

Golden Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Chop 4 ounces golden chicken (left over from dinner) with 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper, 1/2 cup shredded carrot, and 1/4 cup chopped cashews. Split mixture to fill 2 whole romaine lettuce leaves and top with fresh lime juice

Cauliflower Fried Rice Bowl

Photo: Avery Powell

7-Day Detox Snacks For This Healthy Monthly Meal Plan

Healthy Monthly Meal Plan Snacks

(about 150 calories each)

Photo: Avery Powell

7-Day Detox Treats

Healthy Monthly Meal Plan Treats

(about 100 calories each)

  • Peppermint tea and dark chocolate chips (1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • Golden spice latte: 1 cup warm unsweetened almond milk + 1 teaspoon honey + 1/2 teaspoon turmeric + 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon + pinch of sea salt and pepper (BTW, this Iced Golden Milk Latte will have you bypassing the coffee shop.)
  • Berries (1/2 cup) with honey-ginger dip: 1/4 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt + 1/2 teaspoon honey + 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Healthy Monthly Meal Plan Week 2: Healthy Gut

Monday: Cinnamon Spice Smoothie with Almond Butter
Tuesday: Oatmeal Griddle Cakes with Whipped Ricotta
Wednesday: Greek Yogurt Berry Bowl
Thursday: Green Power Smoothie
Friday: Whole-Grain Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
Saturday: Cottage Cheese and Pineapple
Sunday: Chia Seed Oatmeal

Monday: Quick Quinoa Tabbouleh
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Salad with Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette
Wednesday: Salmon Yogurt Wrap
Thursday: Cuban Plate
Friday: Quick and Easy Chicken Wrap
Saturday: Kimchi Bowl with Red Curry Almond Sauce
Sunday: Tuna Pita Sandwich

Monday: Pecan-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Yogurt Dill Dip
Tuesday: Zucchini Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Crema
Wednesday: Orange-Fennel Shrimp and Millet
Thursday: Yellowfin Tuna Burger
Friday: Roasted Moroccan Chicken with Spinach Salad
Saturday: Lentil Sloppy Joes with Sweet Potato Fries
Sunday: Fish Tacos with Wasabi Hummus Coleslaw

Healthy Monthly Meal Plan Week 3: Vegetarian

Monday: Almond Butter and Banana Sandwich
Tuesday: Pinto Bean Tofu Breakfast Rancheros
Wednesday: Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie Bowl
Thursday: Scrambled Silken Tofu
Friday: Overnight Oatmeal with Raisins and Coconut
Saturday: Berry Almond Bliss Smoothie
Sunday: Coconut Quinoa with Cherry Compote and Almonds

Monday: Vegetarian Mediterranean Wrap
Tuesday: Roasted Vegetable Sandwich
Wednesday: Veggie Tahini Wrap
Thursday: Slow Cooker Chickpea and Lentil Chili
Friday: Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
Saturday: Crunchy Hummus Wrap
Sunday: Chickpea Veggie Burger

Monday: Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili
Tuesday: Lentil Bolognese
Wednesday: Eggplant Manicotti
Thursday: Sweet and Spicy Tofu Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce
Friday: Mexican Black Bean Salad Tostada
Saturday: Vegan Tofu Stir-Fry
Sunday: Creamy Fettuccine Basil-Fredo

Healthy Monthly Meal Plan Week 4: Superfoods

Monday: Baby Spinach Frittata with Sweet Potato Hash Crust
Tuesday: Carrot Cake Baked Oatmeal Cups
Wednesday: Chocolate Nut Butter Spinach Smoothie
Thursday: Green Granola
Friday: Blueberry Cacao Smoothie Bowl
Saturday: Savory Breakfast Quinoa
Sunday: Pink Breakfast Bowl

Monday: Marinated Kale and Chicken Salad
Tuesday: Sesame Salmon Lettuce Wraps
Wednesday: Mexican Quinoa
Thursday: Swiss Chard Veggie Wraps
Friday: Open-Faced Garden Tuna Sandwich
Saturday: Kale Chicken Caesar Salad with Yogurt Dressing
Sunday: Cauliflower Pomegranate Salad

Monday: Greek Lemon Quinoa Soup
Tuesday: Clean Vegan Pad Thai
Wednesday: Chicken with Brussels Sprouts and Potatoes
Thursday: Kale Minestrone Soup
Friday: Salmon Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Saturday: Farro and White Bean Veggie Burger
Sunday: Chili Shrimp with Herbed Garbanzo Beans

#MyPersonal Best

Personal Best: The tools and inspo you need to crush your goals (whatever they are!) all year long. Join our Personal Best Facebook Group for 24/7 squad support and share your wins—big and small—on social using #mypersonalbest.

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23 of the BEST Meal Prep Recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner with a few dessert recipes snuck in there!

23 of the BEST Meal Prep Recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner with a few dessert recipes snuck in there! Easy healthy recipes to prepare for the week that are guaranteed to keep you on track.

Guys, the past couple of weeks have been a crash course again at having a newborn. I got through the first child, and remember the first 6 months being brutal. But then after those 6 months, you finally feel like your head is coming out of the water and you’re back to yourself again. Well, I’m definitely going through that right now.

Which means every chance I get to “feel normal” I try to take advantage of. Things like cleaning up around the house, or making a batch of brownies with my son, doing homework, playing a game of SORRY or making a meal. OR TAKING A SHOWER AND BLOW DRYING MY HAIR. Things that seem hard to set time aside for, but once I do them I feel like myself again.

These Meal Prep Recipes are a great way to help you prepare for the week, to keep things healthy and leave you with delicious meals to devour. But most of all they are going to help you feel better about yourself, the things you are putting in your body and that you’re staying on track. Bon Appetit friends! I hope you enjoy!

BREAKFAST

Simple No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls packed with protein to keep you full longer and taste like a Peanut Butter Cookie! Yes please!

Fresh Almond Oat Raspberry Bars with a delicious crumble topping! These Raspberry Bars are sweet, tart, totally satisfying and guilt free at 129 calories a bar! {gluten free, dairy free, and vegan}

These Instant Pot hard boiled eggs turn out amazing every time!

4 Easy Smoothie Packs Recipes that can be made ahead and frozen for quick use! Each smoothie is loaded with nutrients, protein and fiber. Plus are kid approved.

These easy Snickerdoodle Energy Balls are made in a blender and then rolled in a cinnamon coconut sugar crust. They taste just like snickerdoodle cookies and are the perfect breakfast, post-workout snack or late night treat.

DINNER

Gluten Free Roasted Veggie Balsamic Chicken Grain Bowls – an easy meal prep recipe or weeknight dinner for the week. Loads of veggies, light, flavorful, easy to make with 28 grams of protein and less than 350 calories a serving!

Have you been wanting to learn how to meal prep your lunches, but are a bit overwhelmed at figuring out what ingredients go together? This Mix and Match Meal Prepping is an easy formula for getting lunch made quickly and deliciously.

1 Hour Roasted Chicken slathered in a garlic herb butter that will make you swoon. This easy roasted chicken recipe is guaranteed to be a new family favorite, prep over the weekend and enjoy all week long!

Healthy Chicken Shawarma Quinoa Bowls with a super easy hack for creating make-ahead lunches for work or school. The flavors are out of this world!!

Ditch the boring sandwiches and make yourself something seriously delicious for lunch with these Chickpea Gyro Lunch Boxes! In under 30 minutes, you’ll have lunch ready for the week.

Roasted garlic and kale spaghetti squash with sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts makes for a comforting, low-carb meal requiring only 5 main ingredients! Plus the recipe is simple to prepare!

Taco Cones are the perfect way to transform your family-favorite taco night into a quick, portable, grab-and-go meal! Our DIY Ta-Cones can even be prepped ahead – an easy make-ahead dinner recipe that you can rewarm all week long, whenever your family is ready to eat.

This healthy, gluten free chicken burrito bowl recipe can be made ahead of time, so it’s ready to go for busy days. It’s a dairy-free delicious desk lunch option!

Easy SWEET POTATO BLACK BEAN QUINOA BOWLS topped with a zesty Cilantro Dressing you’ll want to pour all over. Make all the veggies ahead of time and prep these bowls to enjoy throughout the week!

Easy Thai Chicken Grain Bowl drizzled with a Creamy Peanut Dressing. These Grain Bowls are filled with veggies, thai flavors, 17 grams of protein and come together in 15 minutes.

These mason jar zucchini lasagna are the perfect, portable healthy meal! They’re low carb, gluten free, packed with protein and perfect to prep ahead to grab and go!

Roasted Vegetable Grain Bowls – a gluten free grain bowl filled with spiced roasted vegetables then covered in a creamy Tzatziki Sauce. A meal your family will love and perfect for meatless Monday!

Easy Lunch Prep Protein Boxes with Three Bridges Tortellini ~ these energy packed protein bistro boxes made with mini tortellini skewers will set you up for healthy lunches and snacking!

This quinoa bowl recipe is perfect for meal prep days – you’ll love lunching on this all week! The roasted tomatoes are more flavorful than you’d believe!

Copycat Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowls are the perfect low-carb, grain-free, dairy-free, and Whole30 compliant make ahead meal!

DESSERT

Vegan Chickpea Cookie Dough made in a blender. A healthy eggless no bake cookie dough recipe to satisfy that sweet tooth! {gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free}

SKINNY CHEESECAKE for two made with greek yogurt and topped with fresh strawberries slightly sweetened with honey. The perfect healthy sweet dessert for those late night cravings!

5 Minute Lemon Raspberry Frozen Yogurt using only 4 ingredients – it’s healthy, sweet, delicious and so easy to make!

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What You Should Eat for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner If You Want to Lose Weight

Slimming down is hard. Nutrition labels are confusing, cooking is time-consuming, and your best friend keeps giving you unsolicited nutrition advice. You’re just trying to lose weight — 10 pounds, maybe 15. But you don’t know where to start.

There are a lot of options on those grocery store shelves. Here’s what you should eat throughout your day to promote weight loss, feel more energized, and stop falling for all the diet tricks that never work.

Breakfast: Pack on the protein

Why skip breakfast when it can be so nourishing and delicious? | iStock.com/Yulia Davidovich

Start your day off with a serving of whole grains, a few ounces of protein, and a serving or two of fruit. You can knock this out with a single bowl of oatmeal topped with nuts and berries. But eggs, toast, and half an avocado can accomplish the same goal. Avoid sugar-sweetened breakfast cereals, fruit juice, and sweet traps, such as syrups and sneaky spreads (sorry, Nutella enthusiasts).

Midmorning snack: Fiber is your friend

A handful of nuts can prevent an afternoon slump. | iStock.com/HandmadePictures

If you need a quick snack to help you power through till lunch, choose something packed with fiber, protein, and healthy fat. A handful of nuts, though high in calories per serving, can act as the filling you need to get through your morning. Health suggests choosing nuts that come in small portions, such as 100-calorie packs. Not feeling nutty? Snack on fresh fruit, vegetable chips, or veggies with hummus dip.

Lunch: Veggies as an entree

Piling your lunch sandwich with veggies is an easy way to load up on fiber. | iStock.com/Lauraag

Lunch is the perfect time of day to pile on the vegetables. It takes some creativity to incorporate these protein-packed plants into a quick and easy meal, but you’ll be glad you did. Order or create a sandwich bursting with spinach, onions, bell peppers, and a healthy veggie or legume spread. You can also add these and more high-protein veggies to a colorful salad. Alternative options are a bean and vegetable soup, veggie flatbread, or vegetable “pasta” and homemade sauce.

Early afternoon snack: Curb cravings with carbs

It tastes like dessert, but it’s good for your gut. | iStock.com/Laura Laporta

Your brain might need an energy boost to get you through the afternoon stretch, but a candy bar or bag of chips won’t help you lose weight. Instead, go for something that packs carbs, protein, and fat into a small, simple serving. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese fit into this category perfectly. If you’re dairy-free, consider making a few of these healthy snacks to fill up your afternoon.

Dinner: Go for variety, not quantity

Healthy dinners don’t have to be boring. | iStock.com/OksanaKiian

Your last full meal of the day doesn’t have to be complicated. To pack in the most nutrition possible for the least amount of calories, include a lean protein source, a serving of whole grains, and another serving or two of vegetables. Grilled chicken or fish, brown rice or quinoa, and a starchy vegetable, such as a sweet potato, can help diminish your dessert cravings.

Evening snack: Dessert can be healthy, too

Don’t turn down dessert just yet. | iStock.com/FSerega

Now’s the time to squeeze in the last of your fruit servings for the day if you’re not quite there yet. Even a handful of strawberries paired with an ounce or two of dark chocolate is OK, as long as you’re limiting your portions of both. Don’t want to fill up on fruit alone? Try snacking on these tasty treats between dinner and bedtime if you’re tempted to reach for a more traditional (read: probably unhealthy) dessert.

Healthy foods to add to your grocery shopping list

Your grocery list needs a major upgrade. | iStock.com/Hin255

  • Eggs: They’re extremely versatile, and Mayo Clinic promises they won’t destroy your cholesterol.
  • Spinach: It’s a low-calorie, high-protein vegetable you can pair with almost anything.
  • White tuna: One serving of tuna provides protein and fat without sugar, says Livestrong.com.
  • Whole grains: According to Health, whole grains promote weight loss and prevent weight gain.
  • Seeds: Chia, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds make smoothies, salads, and breakfast bowls healthier.

Try these grocery shopping tricks to eat healthier and lose weight faster.

Processed foods to eat and avoid to lose weight

Frozen dinners might be easy to make, but they can be loaded with sodium. | iStock.com/Joe Belanger

Removing processed foods from your diet is a great way to lose weight. It’s not easy to make that kind of major shift in your eating habits though. Thankfully, there are some processed foods that aren’t terrible for your health — and they might even help you lose weight.

Hummus, Greek yogurt, and nut butters often face shame for their calorie and fat content. However, these foods are much healthier than other alternatives you might know and adore, such as frozen dinners, hot dogs, bacon, and packaged trail mix.

Mind your portions

Don’t let huge portions ruin your weight loss journey. | iStock.com/Golubovy

Many dieters determined to lose weight focus too heavily on eating healthy foods and forget to eat less. Research shows people tend to eat more when there’s more food in front of them. If you’re in control of what goes on your plate, you’re in control of how much you’re eating. Reference this portion size guide from Women’s Health to make sure your servings aren’t too generous.

Don’t forget about exercise

With a healthy diet and lifestyle, what can go wrong? | iStock.com/Jacoblund

As you begin replacing less healthy foods with healthier options, keep in mind that diet and exercise are both essential if you want to lose weight. Focusing on one or the other might initially help you burn belly fat and take inches off your waist. But eating healthy and working out in tandem help build muscle and might also help you shed those last 10 (or 15) pounds.

Eat This Nutritionist’s Go-To Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner to Start 2018 Right

You’ve committed to eating healthy in 2018, which is awesome. Now the hard part comes: having tasty, good-for-you meal ideas on hand you can easily turn to—especially when cravings for gooey mac and cheese set in or you’re too tired to do anything but go on Seamless.

To help you ID the healthiest and easiest meals to keep your goals on track, we asked Megan Roosevelt, RDN, nutritionist and founder of HealthyGroceryGirl.com, to share her go-to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These versatile options pack plenty of nutrients without skimping on flavor, and they’ll help you start your year off on a nutritious note.

RELATED: 3 Healthy Meals a Nutritionist Recommends at Chipotle

Breakfast: sip a superfood smoothie

A green juice might sound like the ultimate health food, but smoothies tend to provide more fiber and nutrients, since they’re blended from whole fruits and vegetables as opposed to just their juices. Research also suggests that the thicker the smoothie, the more full it’ll leave you, even if the beverage isn’t high in calories.

Roosevelt particularly loves smoothies because they provide fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and protein first thing in the morning. “My go-to smoothie consists of a plant-based protein powder, berries, greens such as kale, ground flaxseeds, unsweetened coconut milk and sometimes a nut or seed butter or rolled oats for an additional protein boost and fiber to keep me full longer,” she tells Health. Not a fan of these superfoods? Swap in similar ingredients, like baby spinach, hemp seeds, and almond milk, then drink up.

RELATED: 8 Smoothie Bowl Recipes You’ll Love

Lunch: wrap it up

Eating clean can be complicated if recipes ask you to bust out the zoodle machine or make your own pesto from scratch. To stress less, you want to keep your midday meal as straightforward as possible, suggests Roosevelt.

“I keep lunch simple by eating leftovers or making a veggie wrap using a brown rice tortilla, avocado, veggies, and hemp seeds,” she says. “Avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fats that help me feel full and satisfied. In addition to a wrap, I’ll typically add a bowl of bean and veggie soup for more protein and fiber.”

RELATED: 14 Protein-Packed Grain Bowl Recipes

Dinner: pick high-protein pasta

Thanks to new varieties made from protein-rich foods like edamame, lentils, and chickpeas, pasta doesn’t have to be a carb bomb. Take it from Roosevelt: “I love legume-based pastas, which can provide 25 grams of protein per serving!” That’s about the same protein amount as six eggs.

Roosevelt gives pasta marinara a nutritious makeover by topping lentil spaghetti with low-sugar tomato sauce, plus a big salad on the side. “This quick, healthy dinner is a staple in our house,” she says. Pass the pasta, please.

Ideal Balanced Diet: What Should You Really Eat?

A balanced diet is an ideal mix of major nutrients that is required by our body

When it comes to your diet, the most current advice is perhaps the kind that begins with ‘eat less’ or ‘restrict fat’. I’ve never been convinced and I’m not alone. Most of us may feel overwhelmed with conflicting nutrition and diet opinions but I’ve learnt that deprivation is not the solution, creating a balance is. It is essential to get the right type and amount of foods to support a healthy lifestyle. What is a balanced diet? A diet that focuses on providing all the nutrients that your body needs. It comprises of macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates and fat along with micronutrients which include vitamins and minerals. Each of them has a different role to play in maintaining various body functions.

These nutrients are derived through a combination of the five major food groups – fruits and vegetables, cereals and pulses, meat and dairy products and fats and oils. The rules for a balanced diet seem simple but that’s not the whole story – how much do you need daily, when is the best time to eat proteins or carbs and what should the portion size be?

What Is A Balanced Diet?

Carbohydrates: The truth about carbs may be hard to digest but nutritionists say they’re an important part of a healthy balanced diet. Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. In India, 70-80% of total dietary calories are derived from carbohydrates present in plant foods such as cereals, millets and pulses. “Half of your total calories of the day should come from carbs. The problem is that we emphasize more on refined carbs in the form of breads, biscuits, white rice and wheat flour. We forget that carbs come from other healthier sources like whole grains which include brown rice, millets and oats that have a higher nutritive value. These are also great sources of fiber,” explains Dr. Mukta Vasishta, Chief Dietician at Gangaram Hospital in New Delhi.

Your meal would be incomplete without fiber – both soluble and insoluble. It helps with digestion but few people are getting enough. Eat, don’t drink your fruits and vegetables. Most fruits and vegetables (besides potatoes and corn) and whole grains are also foods with a low glycemic index which means that they don’t cause sudden spikes in blood sugar levels and help maintain them. The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) suggests 30 grams of cereals and millets along with 100 grams of starchy vegetables.

Balanced diet: Your meal would be incomplete without fiber – both soluble and insoluble

(5 Fiber-Rich Foods You Should be Eating Everyday)

“Your breakfast should definitely have cereal or bananas or some form of good carbs that keeps you fuelled until lunch,” she suggests. Don’t curfew carbs, it’s all about quality and quantity. Simple carbohydrates like glucose and fructose are found in fruits, vegetables and honey, sucrose in sugar

and lactose in milk, while the complex polysaccharides are starches in cereals, millets, pulses and root vegetables and glycogen in animal foods.

Balanced Diet Chart

Recommended dietary allowance-

Men: 2320 Kcal/day

Female: 1900 Kcal/day

Balanced Diet: Don’t curfew carbs, it’s all about quality and quantity

Proteins: Wellness and Nutrition expert, Dr Shikha Sharma tells me, “About 30 to 35% of your diet should consist of protein. This could be in the form of pulses, milk, leafy greens, eggs, white meat or sprouts.” I’d agree since protein is the main component of all of your body’s cells, as well as your hair, skin and soft tissues. Moreover, we burn more calories in digesting proteins than carbs. Since men tend to be muscular and usually weigh more than women, they require more protein.

Dr. Rupali Dutta, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Fortis-Escorts Hospital highlights the issue of protein deficiency in our country and recommends that we should have one helping of protein with every meal, be it in any form like whole dals, cottage cheese or gram flour or 30 grams of pulses as per NIN. A recent survey conducted by the Indian Market Research Bureau revealed that 9 out of 10 people of the sample consumed inadequate amount of protein. This could be due to the increasing consumption of convenience foods that are high in carbs and sugars and low in protein.

Recommended dietary allowance –

Men: 60 grams/day

Female: 55 grams/day

Fats: Fats provide energy, store vitamins and synthesize hormones. According to NIN, about 1/5th of your diet or 20% should be devoted to fats all three kinds -polyunsaturated, monosaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. Vegetable oil used in day to day cooking is a major source of visible fat in our diet. To ensure optimal fat quality the use of a combination of vegetable oils is important. The thumb rule – don’t fear trying different oils. It is suggested to have a good blend of various types of oils for a balanced diet. You could juggle between butter, ghee, olive oil, mustard oil, soyabean, sesame or even groundnut oil for different meals, suggests Dr. Shikha Sharma. Depend more on unrefined (Kachi Ghani) or cold pressed oils versus refined oils, goes without saying but that always seems to be a struggle.

Vitamins and Minerals: These micronutrients support metabolism, nerve and muscle function, bone maintenance and cell production. Minerals are inorganic and so minerals from plants, meat and fish easily find their way into body. Vitamins are fragile compounds and it’s difficult to shuttle them as they may be destroyed during cooking or storing. They can be derived from nuts, oilseeds, fruits and green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A, E, B12and D are vital and so is calcium and iron. The National Institute of Nutrition recommends the consumption of 100 grams of greens and 100 grams of fruits each day.

In India, iron deficiency or anaemia affects about 50% of the population, more women than men. “Since women go through several hormonal changes from pregnancy to menstrual and menopause, they need to maintain a steady dose of calcium, Vitamin D, folic acid, iron and biotin,” says Dr. Shikha Sharma. Another crucial aspect that Dr. Shikha throws the spotlight on is the need to drink adequate water. Lack of it can lead to acidity and water retention. Anywhere between six to eight glasses of water is needed to keep your body hydrated.

(Headaches, Mood Swings & Fatigue: What Happens When You Don’t Drink Enough Water?)

Recommended Dietary Allowance of Calcium –

(100 grams milk and milk products)

Men: 600 mg/day

Female: 600 mg/day

Recommended Dietary Allowance of Iron –

Men: 17 mg/day

Female: 21mg/day

*All figures have been recommended by the National Institute of Nutrition

Source: National Institute of Nutrition

Choose wisely

To keep your body running smoothly, you require three main meals coupled with healthy snacking to curb cravings. Ideally, breakfast should be the heaviest meal of the day but with our busy schedules all we manage to do is chug a glass of milk and grab a toast. When your day starts on a light note followed by a hurried lunch, you end up eating much more for dinner than needed. While dinner should be the lightest, in a common Indian household, it is an elaborate family meal. Time to change. The components of the balanced diet remain the same, the difference lies in how they’re served at every meal. Dr. Gargi Sharma guides us to create an ideal routine.

Breakfast: A good morning meal should comprise of three things. These are dietary fiber or carbohydrates (whole-grain bread, oatmeal, white oats, wheat flakes), proteins (eggs and egg whites, yoghurt, milk and sprouts) and nuts (almonds, walnuts, apricots and figs). This way you’ll eat fewer calories the rest of the day.

Lunch: Make it a mix of high-fibre whole grains like brown rice, barley or jowar, starchy carbs and some good source of proteins like cottage cheese, pulses, chicken or fish. Include some probiotics like yoghurt or buttermilk and fibre from fresh salads to complete your meal.

(Health Tip: Food Combinations For a Balanced Diet)

Dinner: To maintain a healthy balanced diet, pick foods with a high satiety value that keep you full for longer and curb midnight bingeing. Fill your plate with greens to load up on vitamins and minerals. Limit carbs but don’t cut them off. Combine them with some healthy fats like fish, nuts and seed oils. Your body can use these for regeneration and repair overnight.

Don’t give up on snacking. It supplies the quick ‘pick-me-up’ you need. Trade the junk for fresh fruits, crudités with hung curd dip, nuts or a salad. Eating small yet frequent meals is the ideal way. This doesn’t mean you eat more but spread your daily requirements throughout the day.

(The Three Secrets to Snack Smart)

Fuel up at the right time

When you eat is as important as what you eat. The key to smooth digestion lies in the timing of the meals. Dr. Shikha Sharma pinpoints the optimum time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. “The first meal of the day should be taken about one and a half hours after waking up. Further, there should at least be a three-hour gap between breakfast and lunch and the same between lunch and teatime. Dinner is best enjoyed two hours before your sleep time to allow the body to wrap up the digestion process,” she recommends.

Healthy breakfast lunch and dinner

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