Happy New Year! It’s time to celebrate… but not with champagne, or sugar cookies, or elaborate cheese platters. While we don’t really believe in resolutions (because let’s face it, most set us up with unrealistic expectations) we do believe in starting the year off strong, and one of the best ways to do that is by assessing our eating habits. The good news? There’s no need to give up all those delicious dishes we crave, or do away with fun cooking techniques. Healthy eating is about consuming foods that nourish our cells to boost energy, improve focus, increase mood and support immune health (here’s to no more winter colds!) – and who doesn’t want that? Follow this realistic meal plan as a simple starting point.
What to keep in mind for every meal:
Morning meals should contain a healthy amount of protein and fat. This helps keep blood sugar levels stable to sustain energy throughout the day (and can aid in preventing diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer). Think: eggs and avocado, nuts, seeds, nut/seed butters, chia puddings and overnight oats.
Salad and grain bowls make for the best lunches, because you can often re-purpose dinner leftovers to make them. Aim for a myriad of colour (phytonutrients provide veggies and fruit with their bright hues and health-giving benefits) and texture (like crunchy nuts and seeds paired with creamy dairy-free dressings) in every dish.
Dinners can be more involved than lunches, but if you’re short on time, prep ahead: chop veggies the night before, or make the recipe a few days ahead and freeze it (like these freezer-friendly recipes). Another tip: try to finish eating about three hours before bedtime so your body is able to fully digest the food before you hit the sheets.
Healthy Meal Plan: Day 1
Breakfast: Super Simple Morning Egg Sauté
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, butter or avocado oil
1 cup kale or spinach, roughly chopped
½ zucchini, sliced into half discs
¼ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
1 heaping Tbsp creamy tahini
¼ lemon, squeezed
¼ cup pecans, toasted
¼ avocado, sliced
Crack of pepper
1. Heat a wide saucepan over medium, add the oil, and when it gets slippery and starts sliding freely around the pan, add the kale and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper. Toss around until veggies begin wilting.
2. Push the veggies to the side. If you feel the pan needs a bit more oil, splash a small glug in and crack the eggs in the empty space. Season with salt and pepper. After about 2-3 minutes, flip the eggs.
3. Grab a bowl and put the veggies on the bottom, place the runny eggs over the veg, then drizzle with tahini and lemon. Top with toasted pecans, avocado and pepper. Voila!
Lunch: Asian Noodle Salad with Ginger Dressing
A medley of veggies that are probably already in your fridge with a sweet and tangy immune-boosting dressing. Get the recipe.
Dinner: Lentil and Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie
A vegan, veggie-packed warming dinner with loads of fibre to keep you full and feed the good bacteria in the gut. Get the recipe.
Healthy Meal Plan: Day 2
Breakfast: Morning Chia Pudding
The mighty chia seed delivers omega 3’s, fibre, protein and calcium to boost your energy levels. Trust us when we say it’s one of the best ways to start the day. Get the recipe.
Lunch: Clean Bean and Green Stew
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 sweet potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 carrots, sliced into ½ inch circles
2 celery stalks, sliced
½ dried green or brown lentils
1 cup chickpeas (from can or previously cooked)
2 ½ cups veggie broth
1 cup kale or swiss chard, roughly chopped
Small handful of parsley or cilantro, roughly chopped
Sea salt and pepper
1. Place a large pot on the stove, turn to medium heat, add the oil. Swirl the oil around the pan, then drop in the onions. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes until translucent and slightly browned.
2. Add the garlic. Toss for about 1 minute, then add the remainder of veggies and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Let the veggies cook for 5-8 minutes until they begin to soften, then toss in the lentils and chickpeas, season with a pinch of salt and pepper again and mix so everything gets combined.
4. Pour in the veggie broth, season one more time, bring to a boil and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
5. Once simmer time is over, add in the kale so it brightens and gets slightly cooked. You can also make a big batch of this stew in advance, because it freezes super well.
Dinner: Sesame-Crusted Salmon with Asian Greens and Tamari Dressing
Salmon is rich in healthy fats (i.e. omega 3’s), and when paired with calcium-rich sesame seeds, fibre-rich brown rice and phytonutrient-rich bok choy, you’re eating a meal that will nourish, replenish and detoxify. Get the recipe.
Healthy Meal Plan: Day 3
Breakfast: Veggie-Packed Breakfast Frittata
Eggs and veggies in the morning are the perfect combo for delivering nutrients and keeping blood sugar stable. Get the recipe.
Lunch: Healthy Buddha Bowl
Vibrant veggies topped with a gut-loving fermented miso sauce that’s also rich in good fats and calcium. Get the recipe.
Dinner: Easy Tamari Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
1 ½ pounds chicken thighs, sliced into pieces
3 tsp tamari
2 crowns broccoli, sliced into florets
1 Tbsp avocado or coconut oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar or rice vinegar
2 Tbsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp tamari
1 Tbsp maple syrup
¼ cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2-3 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1. Slice the chicken into pieces, place in a bowl and pour tamari over top.
2. Place broccoli florets in a large pot with hot water. Steam them until they turn bright green and are still a bit crunchy in texture. Drain and set to the side.
3. Heat avocado or coconut oil over medium in a large pot or saucepan, then add the chicken. Stop yourself from constantly tossing the chicken around. You want it to cook on one side for 3-5 minutes, then flip and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Don’t worry if some pieces are not fully cooked through yet.
4. Take the chicken out of the pan, set to the side and add the onion, garlic and ginger all at once. Let them sauté for about 3 minutes, then add the chicken and broccoli back in.
5. Pour the liquids (i.e. vinegar, tamari, etc.) in a bowl, give a quick stir to mix, then pour into the pot. You could pour them individually into the pot but, we like the idea of them being fully combined first.
6. Toss everything around to coat in the delicious juicy liquids, then simmer until the juices begin to thicken and disappear, about 10-12 minutes.
7. You can serve with brown rice, brown rice noodles or as is. Whatever you decide, top with fresh cilantro, sesame seeds and green onions.
Looking for more inspiration to start the year off with a healthy bang? Here’s how a nutritionist meal prep every Sunday, plus 15 bad eating habits experts say to ditch this year and 10 things healthy people eat for breakfast.