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Eating well often works best when you do one thing: Plan ahead.

Eating well often works best when you do one thing: Plan ahead.

And if that plan includes affordable ingredients, a smart prep routine, and easy recipes that taste good — and are good for you? That’s even better.

unnamed (1)Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

Since finding that combo is usually the toughest part, we wanted to do the work for you. So we put together a full week’s worth of healthy breakfasts + lunches + dinners that you can make at home.

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Five things to know about the meals:

  • They’re made with whole, real foods. That means unprocessed or minimally processed stuff that you can feel good about.
  • They contain no added sugar. Not to be confused with naturally occurring sugars, like the ones in fruits. (Though for certain items, like bread or pasta, added sugar can depend on the type and/or brand. There are a ton of different names for sugar, so when in doubt, double-check ingredient labels to make sure none of these are listed.)
  • They aim for a trio of protein + fat + carbs. The plan is packed with colorful, nutrient-dense fruits and veggies; healthy fats; a mix of plant-based and animal-based proteins; and complex carbs.
  • They’re built with saving time and money in mind. Time-wise, that means a full meal-prep plan you can tackle in advance, so during the busy workweek, you’ll cut down on both cooking and cleanup. Budget-wise, the plan is loaded with inexpensive (but good for you!) staples — like eggs, beans, and grains.
  • They’re completely customizable. There’s a full seven-day plan below, but you can use these meals in whatever way makes sense. Maybe that means making just one meal per day — like breakfast — better. Or, if you’re used to having meat with every dinner, picking a few nights a week to try a plant-based protein instead.

Here’s what you’ll need for the week’s worth of meals:

Our total at the local Trader Joe’s for seven days of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners: $74.20,or about $3.50 per meal. (But that’s also with us shopping in NYC at a grocery store that doesn’t take coupons. Meaning: You could probably do this for cheaper!)

Here’s the full grocery list in printable PDF form.

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Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

(*Also, a note on buying organic: To keep costs down, we opted out of organics if TJ’s had conventional options available. But if your budget allows, feel free to splurge.)

We’re also assuming you have these four pantry staples already.

unnamed (5)Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

The day before you start the plan, we’ll walk through a step-by-step meal-prep routine. You’ll make five simple things ahead of time, which will set you up for an even easier week ahead.

unnamed (6)Taylor Miller / Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

Find the complete make-ahead meal-prep routine here.
Then you’ll move onto the meals! Here’s the week’s menu:

Day One:

unnamed (7)Taylor Miller / Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

The lineup: strawberry balsamic breakfast toast; a veggie-loaded frittata; and a Thai-inspired rice bowl.

Find complete recipes for Day One here.

Day Two:

unnamed (8)Taylor Miller / Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

The lineup: oatmeal with fruit and peanut butter; a hearty vegetarian pita; and spiced turkey tossed with fresh greens, crunchy carrots, and brown rice.
Find complete recipes for Day Two here.

Day Three:

unnamed (9)Taylor Miller / Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

The lineup: peanut butter and banana toast; leftover veggie frittata; and black bean tacos stuffed with roasted sweet potatoes, pico de gallo, and Greek yogurt crema.
Find complete recipes for Day Three here.

Day Four:

unnamed (10)Taylor Miller / Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

The lineup: fried egg breakfast tacos; veggie-loaded pita with homemade tzatziki sauce; and a colorful banh mi bowl.
Find complete recipes for Day Four here.

Day Five:

unnamed (11)Taylor Miller / Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

The lineup: breakfast quinoa bowl; power salad with fiber-rich sweet potatoes, spinach, and balsamic; and whole wheat pasta with lemon kale chicken.
Find complete recipes for Day Five here.

Day Six:

unnamed (12)Taylor Miller / Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

The lineup: fried egg breakfast tacos; Southwestern quinoa bowl with homemade pico de gallo; and one-pan chicken and kale hash.
Find complete recipes for Day Six here.

Day Seven:

unnamed (13)Taylor Miller / Andrew Richard / BuzzFeed

The lineup: almond milk oatmeal with fruit; leftover chicken and kale hash; and chilled Thai-style noodles.
Find complete recipes for Day Seven here.
Also: This plan is focused on meal recipes — because that’s what our readers have asked for more of. But if you’re looking for delicious, no-added-sugar snack ideas to mix ‘n’ match in between, we’ve got plenty of ideas here:

unnamed (14)Taylor Miller/Andrew Richard/BuzzFeed

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Taylor Miller/Andrew Richard/BuzzFeed

unnamed (16)In order to get the most out of the week, we suggest grocery shopping and doing the prep work on a Saturday or Sunday. Then the following day, start Day One of meals.

unnamed (17)BuzzFeed

That doesn’t work for your schedule? No problem. Feel free to pick and choose a few recipes, or just browse through for inspiration.
Before getting started, we also turned to an expert for guidance on taking on a meal plan if you’re a first-timer.

Sent with Love

Margaret

Margaret Hirsch
Margaret Hirsch
Hirsch COO runs South Africa’s top independence appliance company that specialises in all appliances, electronics, furniture and bedding. They give the best deals and the best prices and everything is guaranteed.