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Easy, healthy meal ideas for week ahead: Sheet-pan shakshuka, skillet ravioli and more

Take the stress out of the holidays with this easy meal plan.
Sheet-pan shakshuka is the perfect easy button breakfast for hectic pre-holiday mornings.
Sheet-pan shakshuka is the perfect easy button breakfast for hectic pre-holiday mornings. Kristen Little

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 the holidays — all while learning the building blocks of healthy eating. After all, all that walking works up an appetite!

Meal planning isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Spend just 10 or 15 minutes mapping out your meals, jot down what you need and head to the store. That’s it. And since the holidays are busy enough, we’ve also got suggestions for streamlining meal prep — and, best of all, you can even take the weekends off if you're dining out or celebrating with family.

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With the holidays nearing, this week’s theme is save time. To accomplish this goal, we mainly recommend throw-together breakfasts and lunches. Lunches utilize our formula for easy meal prep–making a grain, veggies, and simple protein ahead of time to mix-and-match during the week. For dinner, we’ve rounded up several sheet pan meals because what saves more time than limiting cleanup to one pan? More time-savers include jarred sauce and seasonings and freezer staples like frozen veggies. Plus, we’ve suggested numerous hacks to make the prep time quicker and easier.

December 19, 2022: What to eat this week

Breakfast

Keep mornings hassle-free with these throw-together options and leftovers.

Whole Grain Toaster Waffle

Spread with ricotta or cottage cheese and top with pear slices and cinnamon.

Serve with avocado slices.

Banana Blueberry Smoothies

Use unsweetened almond milk (or your milk of choice) and have a container of lower-sugar Greek yogurt on the side.

Lunch

Start off the week by batch-roasting veggies and cooking a whole grain and protein. You’ll use these in your grain bowls. You can save time by using frozen veggies and whole grains, which we recommend for easy meal prep. Hassle-free protein options include store-bought rotisserie chicken and pre-seasoned tofu.

Healthy 1-Minute Chicken Soup

Use rotisserie chicken and mirepoix mix to reduce prep and save time. To make this heartier, add cooked microwavable or frozen brown rice–basic ingredients we recommend having on hand–to the finished soup.

Grain Bowl

Add cooked veggies, protein, and your whole grain of choice to a bowl. Season with an easy seasoning, such as pesto or lower-sodium soy sauce.

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Have on a whole grain English muffin or bread with lettuce and tomato and serve with veggies on the side. Feel free to swap another protein (such as leftover chicken or mashed chickpeas) for the tuna.

Try this idea:

Dinner

Sheet pan dinners are one of the ways we’re saving you time this week. You can make all five easy meals or make enough of one dish to serve as leftovers and save time on another night. (Note: To keep things healthy, we recommend having steak no more than twice per week.) If you loved recipes from our previous weeks, feel free to swap those in, including any suggested side dishes.

We appreciate a meal that’s just as good for dinner as it is for breakfast. Making shakshuka on a sheet pan instead of the traditional cast iron skillet means you can have enough for breakfast (or another meal) later in the week. Serve with whole grain avocado toast sprinkled with hemp seeds.

This meal is a multi-tasking hero! You’ll cook the protein, carbs, and veggies on a sheet pan to make quick work of prep and cleanup. Plus, it’s full of flavor thanks to one of our favorite fast seasonings: pesto.

Here’s another one-pan wonder. Everything you need for a healthy dinner is arranged on a sheet pan, allowing for just ten minutes of prep time and speedy clean up. And the easy-to-make teriyaki seasoning has nearly half the added sugar as the bottled variety.

Here’s a healthy way to enjoy steak: Choose a lean cut, like flank steak, and serve it with roasted vegetables and baby potatoes (also known as creamer potatoes). Most grocery stores sell pre-prepped baby potatoes, which can streamline prep time on busy nights.

Speedy Skillet Ravioli Lasagna

The name says it all, and we think you’ll appreciate a speedy meal any day of the week, but especially during the holiday season. You can save even more time by using jarred marinara instead of making your own sauce. Try adding baby spinach to the mixture to boost the veggie content and serve with a mixed green salad on the side.

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:

  • Cucumber slices with leftover tuna salad
  • Banana split and toped with cottage cheese and cinnamon
  • Frozen cherries (thawed) with Greek yogurt
  • Red pepper strips and hummus
  • Celery spread with nut or nutless butter and topped with raisins