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You've taken the first step: You're ready to start changing your life by making new healthy habits. Way to go! Now is the time to create a plan to help you accomplish your goals. Though trying to create a healthy meal plan from scratch can seem daunting... Luckily you don't have to worry about that — TODAY nutritionist Joy Bauer is here to help!
Her "Drop 10 TODAY" plan has seven recipe options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can mix and match all week long, just keep a few things in mind: Breakfast should be 300 calories; lunch should be 400 calories; and dinner should be 500 calories. Plus, you can enjoy one to two Joy-approved snacks each day and unlimited non-starchy veggies.
Once you've picked your meals for the week, review the Drop 10 TODAY grocery shopping list so you can make sure you cross off unnecessary items before you head to the store. Enjoy!
Each of these breakfast options provides no more than 300 calories, incorporates health-boosting produce and follows a “10/4” winning combination, meaning these meals consist of at least 10 grams of satiating protein and at least 4 grams of filling fiber to help jump start your day and keep you energized until lunchtime.
1. Avocado ‘n egg toast
One slice of whole grain toast topped with ¼ smashed avocado + 1 poached, hard-boiled or scrambled egg, with a sprinkling of preferred herbs and ground black pepper. Enjoy with ½ grapefruit or 1 orange on the side.
2. Egg-vegetable scramble
1 whole egg and 3 egg whites scrambled with any veggie combination (chopped tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, green beans, etc.) and 1 slice of whole grain toast OR 1 orange or half of a grapefruit.
You can substitute apple with ½ cup any fruit of choice.
Or try this recipe for chocolate banana overnight oatmeal.
The power of this colorful parfait lies in its energizing combo of protein-rich yogurt and fiber-rich berries. Add your choice of berries — fresh or frozen!
Whip up this delicious, protein-packed breakfast smoothie for your kids or yourself. Not only is it a snap to prepare, but it will keep you energized until lunchtime. Start sipping!
7. Peanut butter and strawberry banana sushi
1 banana rolled in 2 tablespoons of smooth peanut butter, cut into thick “sushi-like” slices and topped with a thin strawberry slice (or finely chopped strawberries, like sprinkles). Use either 2 level tablespoons of any natural peanut butter brand, or for extra protein, mix 6 tablespoons of dry peanut butter powder (plus water as directed).
Each of these lunch options contains no more than 400 calories. Before starting your meal, drink 16 ounces (2 cups) of water, and have as much additional water as you’d like during your meal. Frontloading with water can take the edge off your hunger.
1. Drop 10 salad
Mixed greens topped with 5 ounces of protein (chicken, turkey, salmon, shrimp or tofu), ½ cup beans and unlimited non-starchy veggies. Dress with 1 teaspoon olive oil + unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice (alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons low-calorie vinaigrette).
2. Open-faced turkey & Swiss sandwich
One slice whole-grain bread layered with 4 ounces turkey, 1 slice of Swiss cheese, 1 tablespoon mustard or hummus and preferred vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc.) and 2 cups of baby carrots on the side. *If preferred, nix the cheese and enjoy your sandwich on 2 slices of bread.
3. Soup and salad
Two cups of lentil, black bean or hearty-vegetable soup and salad layered with non-starchy veggies and dressed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice (alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons of low-calorie vinaigrette).
4. Cantaloupe and cottage cheese
Half of a cantaloupe with 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese topped with 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds or pistachios and 2 cups non-starchy vegetables on the side (for example, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers or bell pepper sticks).
On a bed of baby spinach leaves + ½ whole grain pita.
With 1 cup non-starchy vegetables on the side.
7. Restaurant fare: chicken or fish with veggies
Five ounces cooked fish or skinless chicken (grilled, baked or broiled) + lots of steamed, grilled or roasted veggies on the side.
Each of these dinners contains no more than 500 calories. Before starting your meal, drink 16 ounces (2 cups) of water, and have as much additional water as you’d like during your meal. Front loading with water can take the edge off your hunger.
Eat with 2 cups of steamed green beans or sugar snap peas.
2. Turkey burger and veggies
Turkey burger on ½ bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and squirt of ketchup, with 2 cups steamed or roasted vegetables or a salad dressed with 1 teaspoon olive oil and unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice (alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons of low-calorie vinaigrette). Try making a Turkey Black Bean Burger or a Turkey-Spinach Burger to add a twist to this dinner option.
Enjoy 1-2 servings of cauliflower fried rice and 4 ounces cooked protein of your choice such as shrimp, fish, chicken, tofu, pork tenderloin, lean steak or poultry sausage — or 3/4 cup cooked black beans.
4. Baked fish with broccoli and sweet potato
Five ounces of grilled, roasted or baked fish (cooked with 1 teaspoon olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper and preferred seasonings) and 2 cups of steamed broccoli and 1/2 baked sweet potato.
Enjoy up to 2 servings!
6. Slow cooker comfort food
Chicken Curry and Vegetables or Slow Cooker Chicken and Black Bean Chili. For the Slow Cooker Chicken and Black Bean Chili, enjoy 1 serving with 1 dollop low-fat Greek yogurt + ¼ cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese + ½ cup cooked brown rice or quinoa (OR 1/2 baked potato)
7. Pork tenderloin, baked potato and carrots
5 ounces of roast pork tenderloin with 2 cups cooked carrots and 1/2 baked potato topped with 2 tablespoons of low-fat Greek yogurt or light sour cream and/or 2 tablespoons salsa.
Enjoy one to two snacks each day — and add your favorites to this list!
Plus, you can enjoy any of your favorite veggies from the unlimited non-starchy vegetable list:
Any health-related information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, or before embarking on any diet, exercise, or wellness program.