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Easy, healthy meal ideas for the week ahead: Steak salad, avocado caprese toast, and more

Celebrate the start of summer by getting creative with greens and embracing seafood.
Lucky Greens and Steak Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing
Heart-healthy superstars in this steak salad include lentils, leafy greens, pear, pomegranate and pecans.Jet Tila

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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 ease into spring and summer — all while learning the building blocks of healthy eating.

It's officially summer, so we’re lightening up the menu by getting creative with leafy greens. Think: as a pizza topper, sprinkled on sheet-pan chicken and blended into pasta sauce.

We're also doubling down on seafood options. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of non-fried fish per week to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. While red meat should be eaten less often than other types of meat, you don’t have to eliminate it if you like it. When eating red meat, choose a lean cut and trim it of any visible fat. And instead of making meat the featured ingredient, include it with plant-based foods. The steak salad on this week’s dinner menu is an excellent example of this strategy.

What to Eat This Week, June 26, 2023

Start TODAY Meal Plan June 26, 2023

>>Download this week’s meal plan

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Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Breakfast

This week, basic toast gets a tasty upgrade with elevated toppings. The first version is a spin on a caprese salad, spread with creamy, heart-healthy avocado. A large study found that higher avocado intake is associated with a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease and a 16% lower risk of cardiovascular disease in general. The second is the perfect combo of crunchy and creamy with just a dash of sweetness.

Make it with whole-grain toast and serve with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese on the side.

Make it with whole-grain toast. You can also swap in cottage cheese or Greek yogurt if you have those on hand.

Yogurt with Fruit and Nuts or Seeds

Choose plain or lower-sugar Greek yogurt with one piece or one cup of fruit and up to ¼ cup of nuts or seeds.

Lunch

This week’s lunch menu shows you how easy it can be to put together heart-healthy meals in minutes. We're talking no-recipe-required easy!

Smoked Salmon Poke Bowl

Top ½ to 1 cup cooked brown rice with ½ cucumber and ⅓ avocado, diced, 1 piece roasted seaweed, crumbled, 2 ounces smoked salmon and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Drizzle with reduced-sodium soy sauce to taste.

Pizza Toast

Top each half of a toasted whole grain English muffin with pesto, warm, lower-sugar marinara sauce, tomato slices and cottage cheese. Serve with snap peas on the side.

Dinner

This week’s rotation includes heart-healthy spins on pasta, pizza and steak. If you want to streamline meal prep, choose the recipes that catch your eye and double (or triple) them to serve later in the week. You can also serve leftovers for lunch.

Dylan's Green Noodles

This spin on pesto uses baby spinach instead of basil. We recommend using chickpea pasta so you’ll get enough protein to make it a balanced meal. Fix yourself a side salad for an easy veggie boost.

This sheet-pan dish is as easy to make as it is to clean up. Most markets sell pre-washed and prepped green beans if you want to simplify it further. Serve it with roasted new potatoes, which you can cook on a separate sheet pan.

Made with store-bought, whole grain lavash, this pizza will be on the table faster than takeout. It’s heavy on the veggies and light on the cheese — a ratio that’s better for your heart than a typical slice. Since this meal lacks protein, serve it with rotisserie chicken or sautéed shrimp.

Heart-healthy superstars in this steak salad include lentils, leafy greens, pear, pomegranate and pecans. Balancing red meat with nutritious plant foods is a good way to incorporate it into a healthy menu.

Chicken with Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt

Chicken and potatoes are seasoned with cumin and harissa and drizzled with a yogurt sauce in this sheet-pan dish. A sprinkling of arugula is used to add a pop of color to this dish, so we recommend making a separate side salad.

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:

  • Berries with ricotta cheese.
  • Trail mix made with no added sugar dried fruit, popcorn, and pumpkin seeds.
  • Snap peas with avocado dip. To make the dip, mash ⅓ avocado with ¼ cup defrosted frozen peas. Add a squirt of fresh lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Celery spread with cottage cheese.
  • Baby carrots and edamame.