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Easy, healthy meal ideas for the week ahead: White chicken chili, spaghetti 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 6, 2023

This week’s menu is full of heart-smart meals in honor of American Heart Month. But here’s some good news: You’ve already got a head start against heart disease by cooking most meals at home. 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.

>>Download and print the plan.

The meals throughout this week feature heart-protective foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and seafood. With meals ranging from cod with a coconut-cashew topping to a roasted veggie flatbread to spaghetti, your heart, and belly will be content.


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).


Replacing processed lunch meat with a veggie burger or rotisserie 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.

Veggie Burger

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.

Want to make your own?

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Mix ½ cup rotisserie chicken meat with 1 ½ teaspoons mayonnaise, 1 ½ teaspoons Greek yogurt, and hot sauce to taste. Scoop mixture over chopped romaine lettuce and diced cucumbers. Serve with whole grain crackers (such as Triscuits).


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 chili 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.

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 sauteed spinach and brown rice (microwavable or frozen if you’d like).

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.

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, saute shrimp in olive oil to eat as your main dish. Serve with an easy salad or any veggie you like.

What could be more comforting than walking in the door to the fragrant smell of a pot of chili? Just toss the ingredients in your slow cooker before you leave the house and 8 hours later, you’ll have a flavorful chili to greet you. Top it with plain Greek yogurt and enjoy it with a tomato-avocado salad. To make the salad, toss grape tomatoes, halved, with ⅓ to ½ avocado, diced, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

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


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
  • Frozen cherries warmed in the microwave and topped with ricotta cheese
  • Pear slices sprinkled with cardamom and drizzled with tahini