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Easy, healthy meal ideas for the week ahead: Slow-cooker soup, lasagna and more

New week, new meal plan!

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, January 9, 2023

Let’s be real: Even though the holidays are over, life doesn’t slow down. Whether you’re putting away the decorations or getting back into your routine, easy meal prep will help free you up for the things at the top of your to-do list. For breakfast, you’ll batch cook wholesome sweet potatoes and add a variety of toppings to keep things interesting. For lunch, you’ll alternate between a make-ahead slow cooker soup and some throw-together options. Dinner includes some cozy yet healthy meals, with options ranging from tacos to stew to an easy lasagna.



The recipe makes four sweet potatoes, so cook them in advance and make ¼ of the topping the morning of.

Breakfast Snack Plate

Have two boiled eggs, fruit, and nuts or seeds (such as pumpkin seeds).


Slow-Cooker Farro Soup

Prep the soup before you go to bed, and let it cook through the night. Have a slice of whole grain toast topped with mashed avocado.

Edamame Brown Rice Bowl

Warm frozen edamame and frozen brown rice according to package instructions. Toss edamame with pre-shredded matchstick carrots and diced red peppers. (Pro tip: Cut extra red pepper strips to snack on this week.) Season the mixture with soy sauce or coconut aminos and sriracha to taste. Serve over brown rice.

Pesto Salmon Salad Pita

Mix canned or pouched salmon with pesto. Stuff the mixture into a split whole grain pita filled with salad greens. Have with raw vegetables on the side.


We’ve lined up low-prep dinners to make this week. If you have a busy week or just want to spend less time cooking, double up on one (or more) of the recipes to serve as leftovers later this week. You can also take a look at previous weeks and swap in any recipes that catch your eye. Be sure to also include the suggested side dish to keep your meal nutritiously balanced.

Baked Broken Lasagna Pasta with Spinach

This broken lasagna dish is a lot less maintenance than traditional layered lasagna. Since it’s a little light in vegetables and you’ll have the spinach out, serve it with an easy spinach salad. To make, drizzle extra virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon over baby spinach. Sprinkle with parmesan and toss to serve.

A rainbow of plant foods dominate the plate in these fish tacos that are topped with sauteed veggies and slaw. You can speed up prep time by buying pre-shredded coleslaw. Meanwhile, grab an extra red pepper to make a simple black bean and red pepper salad. To make, dice red pepper and red onion and toss with rinsed and drained canned black beans and freshly squeezed lime.

This sweet and spicy meal takes just 10 minutes to prep, and the results are more nutritious than typical Chinese takeout. If you’re not in the mood for chicken, the fuss-free marinade is also a good match for pork tenderloin. This recipe calls for stir-fried kale, but this dish would also be delicious with snap peas or bok choy. No matter which way you go, serve this meal over brown rice.

January calls for a nourishing stew, and this one fits the bill. Green eggs and ham get a plant slant and healthful upgrade when paired with leafy greens and white beans. Serve with a whole wheat pita or another whole grain bread.

Store-bought pesto is the key to this flavorful, effortless dinner. It’s a Hota Kotb family favorite dish, and we have a feeling it’ll be popular in your house, too. Serve with whole grain or bean-based pasta with pesto and a 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:

  • Baby carrots dipped in protein-boosted mashed avocado. To make the dip, mash chickpeas or white beans into avocado.
  • Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with tahini
  • Frozen blueberries (thawed) with ricotta cheese
  • Red pepper strips with goat cheese
  • Unsweetened dried fruit and nuts or roasted chickpeas