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#startTODAY with Jenna: This 7-day family-friendly diet is packed with superfoods

Like so many of us, Jenna is a working mom who’s constantly on the go! Whether she's broadcasting live from Studio 1A, jumping on an airplane for her next work assignment, spending time with her husband, or racing to her daughter's ballet classes, Jenna is busy, busy, busy and has virtually no time to prioritize herself. And while she ensures that her girls are always fueled with healthy, balanced meals, Jenna puts little-to-no thought into her own nutrient needs and typically grabs whatever is convenient (i.e., cheese, pastries, pretzels, etc). Jenna admits that it has taken a toll—she’s spent a good portion of 2016 feeling rundown, sick and exhausted.

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This January, Jenna enters nutrition boot camp! She will be eating superfoods to boost her immune system, she’ll learn to make quick, delicious meals the whole family can enjoy, and she’ll spend some extra time on weekends prepping healthy options for the coming week. She’ll also double (and triple) up on recipes to create a stash of home-cooked meals in her freezer.

Jenna's week at a glance

Angeliki Jackson / TODAY

If you relate to Jenna's story, here's everything you need to know!

  • Don’t skip meals. Each night, review the next day’s schedule and preplan your menu so you’re armed with a realistic guide.
  • Stay hydrated. Fill up a water bottle in the morning and start sipping. Aim to refill (and finish) it a few times during the day. If you’d like a specific amount to consume, divide your weight in half and that’s the approximate amount of fluid ounces you should drink in a day. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds aim for 70 ounces each day.
  • Organize family dinners by appointing a “theme” to each night. For example: Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, "Breakfast for Dinner” Wednesdays, Burger Thursdays , "Pizza, Please!" Fridays, Stir-Fry Saturdays and Slow Cooker Sundays
  • Embrace your slow cooker and use it twice each week for family meals.
  • Create a stash of home-cooked meals in your freezer. Over the weekend, cook at least 1 recipe that can be doubled or tripled, and then portion leftovers into containers and freeze for future meals.
  • Keep emergency snacks in your bag at all times.
  • Enjoy unlimited amounts of non-starchy vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, peppers, celery, cucumbers, etc.) at any point in the day.
  • Date night: Plan and enjoy one meal per week alone with your husband. No electronics allowed.
  • Eat immune-boosting foods. Include at least one of the following immune boosters every day: bell peppers, citrus fruits, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, sweet potato, carrots, spinach and kale, beans (all varieties).
  • Limit alcohol to 3 drinks per week.
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Make this black bean chili loaded with superfoods in your slow cooker

Play Video - 2:16

Make this black bean chili loaded with superfoods in your slow cooker

Play Video - 2:16

Jenna's Plan

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Angeliki Jackson / TODAY
One week on Jenna's diet plan

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Breakfast

Casey Barber
  • Mug Scrambled Eggs

Make scrambled eggs using the recipe found here. Serve with 1 slice of whole grain toast and 1 tablespoon whipped butter, jam or 1 piece of fruit.

  • Yogurt-Granola Parfait

Make yogurt-granola parfait using the recipe found here.

  • Sweet Potato Toast with Peanut Butter and Banana

Make sweet potato toast with peanut butter and banana using the recipe found here.

  • Greens-in-a-Glass Smoothie + Eggs

Make smoothie using the recipe found here. Serve with 1 hard-boiled egg or 4 egg whites.

  • Oatmeal with Fruit and Nuts

Prepare 1/2 cup dry oats with water. Top with 1/2 cup chopped fruit and 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts. Add an optional sprinkle of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup, honey or sugar.

  • Joy's Protein Pancakes

Prepare Joy's protein pancakes using the recipe found here. Serve with 1 optional teaspoon of maple syrup or 1 dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt.

  • Breakfast Pizza with Fruit

Make breakfast pizza using the recipe found here. Serve with 1/2 pink grapefruit or 1 orange.

Lunch

Casey Barber
  • Chicken or Fish with Veggies

For this restaurant option, order 1 house salad appetizer with 1 tablespoon vinaigrette (or substitute for shrimp cocktail, grilled calamari, or a cup of soup.) Order fish or skinless chicken prepared grilled, roasted, broiled or poached for a main dish. Add a side of steamed, grilled or roasted veggies.

  • Dinner Leftovers

Eat leftovers from dinner on day one.

  • Kitchen Sink Salad

Top mixed greens with 5 ounces of protein (chicken, turkey, salmon, shrimp or tofu). Add 1/2 cup beans and unlimited non-starchy vegetables. Dress with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette.

  • Chicken and Veggie Wrap

Wrap 4 ounces grilled chicken breast, spinach leaves and preferred veggies in a whole grain tortilla. Serve with a side of red pepper sticks or other crunchy, plain veggies.

  • Japanese Sushi Lunch

Order or make 5 pieces of maki roll or 4 pieces of sushi (bonus points for brown rice). Serve with a side of miso soup and 1 cup edamame.

  • Open-Faced Turkey and Swiss Sandwich

Make an open faced sandwich using the recipe found here. Serve with unlimited veggies.

  • Lentil Soup and Salad

Enjoy 2 cups lentil soup. On the side, serve a salad with unlimited veggies and 2 tablespoons vinaigrette.

Snacks

Casey Barber
  • Apple and Peanut Butter

Serve apple with 1 tablespoon peanut butter.

  • Sunflower seeds

Enjoy 1/4 cup sunflower seeds.

  • String Cheese and Pear

Enjoy 1 stick of string cheese and 1 pear.

  • DIY Trail Mix

Combine 1/2 cup whole grain cereal, 2 tablespoons almonds or peanuts and 1 tablespoon raisins or dried cranberries.

  • Skim Latte and Banana

Order or make 1 skim latte and enjoy a banana on the side.

  • Hummus and Veggies

Serve 1/4 cup hummus with veggies.

  • Celery Sticks with Peanut Butter

Serve celery sticks with 2 tablespoons peanut butter.

  • Greek Yogurt

Enjoy 1 single container of low-fat plain or flavored Greek yogurt.

  • Banana and Almonds

Enjoy a banana with 10 almonds.

  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Serve 1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds.

  • Light Popcorn

Enjoy 4 cups light popcorn or 150 calories worth of any light brand.

  • Nuts

Serve 1/4 cup or 1 handful of nuts.

  • Rice Cakes

Top 2 rice cakes, each topped with 1/2 ounce slice reduced fat cheese and sliced tomato.

  • Turkey-Bell Pepper Roll Ups

Roll 5 slices of turkey with unlimited red bell pepper sticks.

Dinner

Casey Barber
  • Pesto Pasta and Salad

Serve 1 portion of pesto pasta using the recipe found here. You can increase the portion size to 2 servings of the same recipe if you substitute zucchini noodles for traditional pasta. On the side, enjoy a salad with unlimited non-starchy veggies dressed with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette.

  • Turkey Tacos

Make 2 tacos using the recipe found here.

  • Slow Cooker Oatmeal and Side of Scrambled Eggs

Make 1 serving of slow cooker oatmeal using the recipe found here. Top with 1/2 chopped apple, 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. On the side enjoy 1 scrambled egg and 3 egg whites combined with preferred veggies and 2 tablespoons shredded cheese.

  • Turkey Black-Bean Burgers and Sweet Potato Fries

Make turkey burgers using the recipe found here. Serve on a whole grain bun with 1 tablespoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon optional mayo, lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles. Serve sweet potato fries on the side using the recipe found here.

  • Thin-Crust Veggie Pizza

Enjoy 2 slices of any thin-crust veggie pizza (frozen, restaurant or homemade). For a homemade version with a sweet potato crust use the recipe found here or this version with a cauliflower crust. On the side, serve a salad with non-starchy vegetables and 2 tablespoons vinaigrette.

  • Chinese Takeout

Order chicken and broccoli with 1/2 cup brown rice. For an extra healthy option, order steamed chicken and broccoli with sauce on the side. Use just 1 to 2 tablespoons of sauce and a few dashes of reduced-sodium soy sauce.

  • Slow Cooker Chicken and Black Bean Chili

Make 1 serving of chili using the recipe found here. Serve with an optional dollop of Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese. On the side, enjoy 1/2 cup brown rice. If you're looking to add a little extra spice, you can also try Joy's Slow Cooker Chicken and Vegetable Curry recipe which can be found here.

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