A healthy make-ahead, mix-and-match meal plan for the new year

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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. If eating better is one of your 2024 health goals, this dietitian-designed meal plan gives you the flexibility to ease into healthy eating.

Here’s a blueprint for easy meal prep for the new year. You’ll see that breakfasts are a mix of some make-ahead meals and some morning-of options. Lunches also utilize the mix-and-match strategy using store bought items like rotisserie chicken or simple roasted chickpeas and vegetables. While we’ve offered different dinner options, you can streamline the menu by making enough for leftovers. From easy egg bites to a better-for-you version of a Chinese takeout favorite, we’ve got you covered this week.

What to Eat This Week, January 8, 2023

A healthy meal plan for the week of January 8, 2023 (TODAY.com)

A healthy meal plan for the week of January 8, 2023 (TODAY.com)

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Monday

Breakfast: Easy Egg Bite Muffins with Fruit

Lunch: Green Salad with Roasted Chickpeas and Veggies

Dinner: Eggplant with Tomato, Broccolini and Mozzarella

Snack of choice

Tuesday

Breakfast: Energizing Kale Smoothie

Lunch: Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich

Dinner: Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito

Snack of choice

Wednesday

Breakfast: Easy Egg Bite Muffins with Fruit

Lunch: Roasted Chickpea Veggie Bowl

Dinner: Lemon Tarragon Chicken with Brown Rice and Veggies

Snack of choice

Thursday

Breakfast: Energizing Kale Smoothie

Lunch: Rotisserie Chicken and Roasted Veggie Bowl

Dinner: Leftovers or takeout

Snack of choice

Friday

Breakfast: Frozen Waffle with Greek Yogurt and Fruit

Lunch: Green Salad with Roasted Chickpeas and Veggies

Dinner: No-Sugar Ginger Beef and Broccoli with Rice

Snack of choice

Breakfast

Make breakfast a no brainer. Create a simple list of go-to options or make-ahead meals that make mornings easier or simply mix-and-match these recipe ideas:

Easy Egg Bites by Brittany Williams

If you have time, making a double batch of these simple egg cups is ideal for a quick protein-packed breakfast or snack when you’re on-the-go. Serve some for breakfast and freeze the rest for busy mornings.

Energizing Kale Smoothie by

This smoothie contains protein, vegetables, fruit and heart-healthy fats, making it a simple and balanced meal. If you’re not fond of kale, don’t worry. The sweetness from blueberries and a banana will offset its taste. Or you can sub baby spinach, a milder-tasting green, instead. If you want to make this vegan, use silken tofu or an unsweetened vegan protein powder in place of the yogurt.

Whole Grain Waffles with Fruit

Toast a frozen whole grain waffle and spread with ricotta cheese or Greek yogurt — you can have fruit on top or on the side.

Lunch

Roasting a batch of your favorite vegetables is the key to easy lunchtime meal prep. Then, buy a rotisserie chicken (or roast your own!) and roast up some chickpeas to mix and match for quick salads and bowls all week. Make these dishes your own by leaning into easy seasonings like everything but the bagel seasoning, Italian and Greek seasoning, dried herbs and spices, lemon, pesto, low-sugar marinara sauce, tahini, and coconut aminos or lower-sodium soy sauce.

Perfect Roast Vegetables by Katie Stilo and Anthony Contrino

Roasted Chicken by Laura Vitale

Spiced Roasted Chickpeas by Checka Ciammaichelli

  • Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich: Serve on whole-grain bread with your favorite fixings and vegetables on the side.

  • Rotisserie Chicken and Roasted Veggie Bowl: Use any roasted veggies and whole grains you like and flavor with any easy seasoning.

  • Green Salad With Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas: Use any veggies (such as arugula and roasted veggies) and flavor with any easy seasoning.

  • Roasted Chickpea Veggie Bowl: Use any roasted veggies and whole grains (think brown rice, farro or quinoa) you like and flavor with any easy seasoning.

Dinner

Below, we’ve put together some simple healthy recipes 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.

Eggplant with Tomato, Broccolini and Mozzarella by Yasmin Fahr

This sheet-pan dinner is a great way to eat a ton of vegetables — serve with whole wheat or bean-based pasta and jarred marinara sauce.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burrito by Al Roker

Packed with protein. If you have any leftover filling, freeze or refrigerate it and consider turning it into a salad topping for lunch the next day. Serve with a side salad for an added veggie boost.

Lemon Tarragon Chicken by Kevin Curry

The dish uses lemon zest, a little olive oil and a handful of fresh tarragon — it’s a simple 3-ingredient mixture that wows the tastebuds. It warms the soul, awakens the senses and, perhaps most importantly, can be made in 20 minutes. Serve it with brown rice and vegetables.

No-Sugar Ginger Beef and Broccoli by Kevin Curry

You’ll get all the flavor of your favorite takeout with less salt — and no added sugar! Serve with this dish with microwavable brown rice, cauliflower rice, or a blend of each.

Snacks

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:

  • Sliced cucumbers with olive tapenade.

  • Baby carrots with hummus or guacamole.

  • Sliced apple with a slice of cheese.

  • Sliced pears with nut or seed butter.

  • Plain or lower-sugar Greek yogurt with berries or grapes.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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