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Easy, healthy meal ideas for the week ahead: Avocado toast, sheet-pan garlic chicken and more

New week, new healthy recipe ideas!

Welcome to Start TODAY. Sign up for our free Start TODAY newsletter to receive daily inspiration sent to your inbox. Then, join us on the Start TODAY Facebook group for tips and motivation, to connect with others following the plan — and to get real-time advice from trainer Stephanie Mansour!

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 a new year — all while learning the building blocks of healthy eating.

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 beginning of a new year is 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 getting together with family and friends.

What to Eat This Week, February 13, 2023

We’ve stacked this week’s menu with several seafood options since 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.

Start TODAY meal plan for the week of February 13
Start TODAY meal plan for the week of February 13

>>Download this week's meal plan.


This week’s rotation includes two top heart-healthy ingredients: avocados and salmon. Salmon is a fantastic source of heart-protective omega-3 fatty acids, and smoked salmon is a convenient way to consume fish. Additionally, 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. So, go ahead and eat these meals on repeat.

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

Smoked Salmon Stack

Top a whole grain English muffin or slice of toast with plain Greek yogurt, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and smoked salmon. Sprinkle with bagel seasoning if you’d like.

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.


This week’s lunch menu shows you can put together heart-healthy meals in minutes. While packaged soup can be a convenient way to get your veggies sometimes, it can be high in sodium and may not be appropriate for people on a sodium-restricted diet.

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.

Butternut Squash Soup (boxed or canned)

Heat soup according to package directions and top with toasted pumpkin seeds and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt.

Need a recipe? Try this one:

Butternut Squash Soup


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 sauteed 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 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