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Easy, healthy meal ideas for the week ahead: Peaches and cream overnight oats, chicken meatballs and more

Nutrient-rich recipes that will make you — and your tastebuds — happy.
These Nutty Peaches and Cream Overnight Oats contain brain-boosting omega-3 fats.
These Nutty Peaches and Cream Overnight Oats contain brain-boosting omega-3 fats.Casey Barber

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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. This dietitian-designed meal plan gives you the flexibility to enjoy summer while learning the building blocks of healthy eating.

What to Eat This Week, July 24, 2023

Think your diet doesn’t have much to do with your mental health? Think again. As previously reported by TODAY, research shows that fruit and veggie intake is linked to happiness levels. Including omega-3 fats and magnesium-rich foods and limiting red meat and added sugars has also been shown to improve mental health markers like stress levels, mood and energy.

So, this week’s focus is on a nutritious, plant-filled diet that includes healthy sources of fat (such as seeds, nuts, avocados, and extra virgin olive oil), plus a few servings of seafood per week. We’ve also got creative ways to cut back on meat (hello, magnesium-rich lentils!) and added sugars.

Start TODAY Meal Plan July 24, 2023

>>Download and print the meal plan

>>Get a 31-day walking and upper body strength workout







Coffee Chia Parfait

Make mornings easier by spending five to 10 minutes prepping the night before. Come breakfast time, you’ll be happy you did.Using leftover coffee, make the coffee-chia topping before you head to bed. Then assemble the rest of the parfait in the morning.

Take advantage of juicy, in-season peaches to make overnight oats that you can grab-and-go in the morning. Serve with Greek yogurt on top or on the side for an added protein boost.

Serve tots with hard boiled eggs and a cup or piece of fruit.


These lunch selections incorporate several smart strategies for eating to support your mental health. For instance, smoked salmon is a convenient way to score omega-3 fats. We dressed up the meal like a bagel, but made it healthier by using a whole-grain English muffin and Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese. If you’re not fond of smoked salmon, you can try canned or pouched salmon or tuna. In addition, the quinoa salad is loaded with antioxidant-rich produce to protect your brain and support your mood and energy levels.

Leftovers or Takeout

Need inspiration? Choose one of the healthiest things to eat at Starbucks.

Chicken Quinoa Salad

To make, toss ½ cup shredded rotisserie chicken with ½ cup quinoa, ½ chopped apple, and 1 to 2 tablespoons of bottled vinaigrette. Spoon mixture over pre-washed salad greens and add 1 tablespoon of shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top.

Open-Faced Smoked Salmon Sandwich

Toast a whole-grain English muffin and spread with Greek yogurt. Top each half with capers, red onions, lettuce, tomato slices, and smoked salmon. Serve with cucumber slices.


Dinners include multiple healthy swaps, like ground chicken and lentils in place of ground beef and whole grains instead of refined grains. But the best part about this week’s dinner lineup is that you’ll be too tuned into the flavor to think about how wholesome the meals are.

Marinating chicken breasts in yogurt is as simple as it gets, but it transforms dry chicken breasts into the most tender meal. Serve with quinoa (microwavable or frozen if you want to save time) and roasted vegetables.

Simple Roasted Vegetables
Cashew Chicken and Asparagus

Chinese takeout dish could have 77% more sodium than what’s recommended in a day. We’re not saying this dish is low in sodium, but making a Chinese-style dish at home will save you tons of salt and sugar. You’ll also get more veggie goodness when cooking yourself since restaurants tend to serve skimpy portions. To get an even bigger veggie boost, double up on the red pepper and asparagus, and make more sauce if needed. Serve your stir-fry with brown rice.

Lentil Tacos

Eating a meatless meal at least once a week helps you boost your intake of plant foods and lentils are packed with magnesium, a nutrient that is involved in regulating your stress response. We chose tacos for this menu because they’re an easy way to dip your toe into meatless meals. This version calls for making guacamole, but if you don’t have time, you can swap it with a store-bought variety and garnish with cubed mango for a special touch. While you have the kale out, saute some extra to serve with your tacos.

Making meatballs with ground chicken instead of ground beef reduces saturated fat — the kind that can raise your risk of harmful LDL cholesterol. And you won’t miss the beef in this insanely tasty meal. Feel free to swap broccoli for the broccolini, and serve your meatballs over whole grain, chickpea, or lentil pasta with a lower-sugar jarred pasta sauce.

4-Ingredient Air Fryer Salmon

Salmon is loaded with omega-3 fats, and this easy marinade makes it the perfect thing to cook when you don’t want to fuss in the kitchen. The recipe calls for soy sauce, but we’d suggest swapping that with lower-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos — a milder, less salty alternative. Serve your salmon with broccoli and brown rice (frozen or microwavable to save time).


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:

  • Grape tomatoes with creamy taco dip. To make the dip, add some taco seasoning to Greek yogurt and mix.
  • Red pepper strips with egg salad.
  • Cucumber slices and edamame.
  • Freeze-dried apple or strawberry chips with nuts.
  • ½ grapefruit with Greek yogurt.