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Easy, healthy meal ideas for the week ahead: Turkey meatballs, chicken and waffle sandwich

Keep the foods you love (like burgers, pizza and spaghetti!) on the menu by making them at home with better-for-you ingredients.

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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 healthy eating.

This week’s menu is full of heart-smart, comfort-food meals. Yes, you heard us right. We're keeping foods you love like burgers, pizza and chicken and waffles on the menu by making them at home with better-for-you ingredients. Those who cook more meals at home are more likely to eat less saturated fat, sugar and salt–substances that contribute to your heart disease risk. Eating at home more frequently also boosts your intake of protective ingredients like vegetables, fruits and whole grains. So let's get cooking!

What to Eat This Week, November 6, 2023

Start TODAY Meal Plan November 6, 2023

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  • Breakfast: Broiled Grapefruit with Yogurt, Nuts and Honey
  • Lunch: Healthy Chicken & Waffle Sandwich
  • Dinner: Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with sautéed shrimp and salad
  • Snack of choice



Both breakfasts contain heart-healthy foods, such as nuts, seeds, fruit and oats. Oats stand out for beta glucan–a type of soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels. Make a big batch of oatmeal to eat throughout the week and add the toppings right before breakfast. The broiled grapefruit is tastiest when served warm, but it comes together quickly.

Oatmeal with Pear and Almonds

Serve with plain Greek yogurt on top or on the side.

Broiled Grapefruit with Yogurt, Nuts and Honey

Section ½ grapefruit, sprinkle with cinnamon, and drizzle with honey. Broil until the topping bubbles and the grapefruit begins to caramelize. Then top your grapefruit with plain or lower-sugar Greek yogurt and nuts or seeds (such as pumpkin or hemp seeds).


Say goodbye to your sad sandwich. Replacing processed lunch meat with a veggie burger or oven baked chicken are easy steps you can take to reduce your risk of heart disease. Sodium and protein levels vary with veggie burgers, so choose one with no more than 500 mg of sodium and at least 10 grams of protein.

Don't have time to make them from scratch? Cook a frozen veggie burger according to package directions. Serve on a whole-grain bun or English muffin stacked with lettuce, tomato, onion, and avocado. Have it with baby carrots.

Healthy Chicken & Waffle Sandwich

Chicken and waffles might not sound like a healthy lunch, but this one is lightened up and has some nutritious upgrades. For one, we subbed whole grain waffles for typical waffles, providing more fiber and nutrients. And instead of using deep-fried chicken, we used oven-baked chicken tenders. A typical portion of fried chicken has nearly 400 calories, 28 grams of fat, and 6.5 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat. Two chicken tenders save you more than 200 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 5.5 grams of saturated fat.

To make: Toast 2 frozen, whole-grain waffles according to package directions. Meanwhile, make 2 frozen chicken tenders, such as Just Bare Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Strips, according to package directions. When the chicken and waffles are prepped, spread waffles with honey Dijon mustard and layer with arugula, thickly sliced tomatoes, and chicken tenders.


This week’s dinner lineup includes two seafood meals, a pattern that aligns with the American Heart Association’s recommendation. We’ve also included crowd pleasers like spaghetti and a veggie-rich flatbread that are sure to make it to your recipe collection. To make dishes heart-healthier, we’ve suggested swaps, like using a whole-grain pita or naan to make the flatbread.

Between the herbed goat cheese and the hot honey drizzle, this veggie-packed flatbread is bursting with flavor. Although the recipe gives instructions for roasting your veggies during dinner prep, prepping them in advance will make this a lightning-fast meal. To make a heart-healthier flatbread, use a whole-grain pita or naan for the base, and serve it with a chickpea salad. To make the salad, toss canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed, with chopped tomatoes, cucumber and a bottled vinaigrette.

Valerie Bertinelli's Roasted Cod with Cashew-Coconut Topping

An easy, coconut-infused spice topping transforms mild, flaky cod into a flavorful and impressive dish. Serve it with sautéed spinach and brown rice (microwavable or frozen if you’d like).

Chicken piccata is typically cooked in 4 to 6 tablespoons of butter. This version slashes the butter to just one tablespoon, and it replaces white flour with almond meal–a nutrient-rich, grain-free alternative. Enjoy it with roasted broccoli and baby potatoes.

Pasta is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, which is often noted as the healthiest diet. Here we’re serving it as they do in the Mediterranean region–as a side dish. While you’re cooking the pasta, sauté shrimp in olive oil to eat as your main dish. Serve with an easy salad or any veggie you like.


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:

  • Baby carrots and roasted chickpeas.
  • ½ grapefruit with nuts.
  • Grape tomatoes with cucumber.
  • 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.
  • Frozen blueberries (thawed) with ricotta cheese.