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Easy, healthy meal ideas for the week ahead: Sweet potato parfaits, one-pot chili and more

Embrace fall — and its nutritious bounty — with these comforting, seasonal recipes.
Sweet Potato Parfait
Joy Bauer

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Here’s a dietitian-designed meal plan that will help you learn the building blocks of healthy eating, while giving you the flexibility to enjoy comfort-food favorites.

This week’s meals center around vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats, like extra virgin olive oil. But the theme is convenience, showing you how to nourish your body without spending endless hours in the kitchen.

You’ll find many easy staples, like eggs, tuna, canned beans, rotisserie chicken and low-sugar barbecue sauce. From a Greek Egg Scramble to a Barbecue Chicken Quinoa Salad to Sheet Pan Flounder and Turkey Bolognese, you’ll enjoy healthy meals that take little effort. Dinners are mainly sheet pan and one-pot meals, and most take less than 20 minutes of work. Enjoy!

What to Eat This Week, September 18, 2023

Start TODAY Weekly Meal Plan, September 18, 2023

>>Download this week’s meal plan







Many people wonder if eggs are okay on a heart-healthy diet. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), they are. Most people can safely eat a whole egg per day or seven per week, though it also helps to include them in a plant-forward diet that limits saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. We featured an easy two-egg scramble on this week’s menu, so you can eat it up to three times and stay within the AHA’s limits.

No need to fuss with an omelet when you get get the same flavor from a scramble. The recipe makes two servings, but you can scale it to eat multiple times over the week. It’ll keep in the fridge for a few days. Serve your scramble with a cup or piece of fruit.

Rather than choosing processed carbs, like a bagel, sugary cereal or a piece of white toast, at breakfast, give sweet potato a try. It’s a better choice for taming hunger and giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive. Meal prep the sweet potato puree in advance and then assemble the rest of the parfait the morning of.


Two minimal meal prep options save you time and money this week. Quinoa — like other whole grains — will keep in the fridge for several days and freezes well, so consider making a big batch to use throughout the week and to freeze for later.

Tuna is one of our favorite pantry staples because it’s a quick and budget-friendly source of protein and heart-healthy omega-3 fish fats. Here it’s mixed with another ingredient superstar – chickpeas – to boost the fiber and nutritiousness. The combo makes a versatile salad, so stuff it in a whole-grain pita with a side of baby carrots one day and serve it over arugula another. If you batch-cooked some quinoa, a spoonful would add a hearty, grainy element to the chickpea-tuna-arugula salad.

Barbecue Chicken Quinoa Salad

Barbecue chicken and quinoa are prepped in advance and then tossed with a few ingredients to create a tasty and filling lunch. If you don’t feel like making the chicken, use a store-bought rotisserie chicken instead. And choose a barbecue sauce with no more than 6 grams of added sugar per serving. You can also swap in unsalted canned or frozen corn for the corn on the cob to streamline the recipe further.


This week’s dinner lineup features meals that are full of flavor but light on hands-on time. Whether you’re in the mood for a cozy casserole or a fish dish that will wow your diners, there’s something for everyone.

Spend 15 minutes chopping and combining ingredients in your slow cooker in the morning, and come home to a comforting casserole later that day. Though the recipe says any type of milk will work, we recommend low- or fat-free milk to keep the saturated fat low. Serve with sautéed green beans.

One-Pot Vegetarian Chili

Loads of beans make this chili heart-healthier than a meaty version, but it’s just as hearty, flavorful and satisfying as a traditional version. Keep the sides simple and serve it with a basic green salad.

Just 10 minutes of prep and your work is done. Every night should be this easy! Serve your chicken and veggies with a side of the quinoa you batch-cooked to make the Barbecue Chicken Quinoa Salad lunch.

Sheet Pan Flounder with Roasted Tomatoes and Black Olives

The rich combo of roasted tomatoes and black olives are the perfect flavor match for mild, flaky flounder. Though it’s an easy meal to put together, the results are impressive. And the best part is it dirties just one pan. Serve it with an arugula salad and some crusty whole-grain bread to soak up the juicy tomatoes.

Weeknight Turkey Bolognese

This pasta dish gets some healthy upgrades, such as swapping lean ground white meat turkey for ground beef and adding grated zucchini to the sauce. Serve it over pasta (ideally whole grain or bean-based) with roasted broccoli or another veggie of your choosing.


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:

  • Apple slices with nutty dip. To make the dip, mix plain Greek yogurt with nut or nutless butter.
  • Ricotta cheese topped with grape tomatoes.
  • Red peppers with goat cheese-pesto dip. To make the dip, mix store-bought pesto with goat cheese. Thin with olive oil if needed.
  • Frozen spiced bananas with tahini. To make, sprinkle cinnamon and cacao powder over banana slices and freeze until firm. Drizzle with tahini.
  • Baby carrots with hummus.