If your commitment to eating healthy for 2013 is starting to weaken, we've got your back. Try this stay-on-track meal plan created exclusively for FitSugar by Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, author of the New York Times bestselling book S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim. The meals are rich in flavor and full of nutritious whole grains, vegetables, and lean proteins, along with fruit and nuts. Cynthia even provides vegan substitutions, too. Be sure to follow her on Twitter @CynthiaSass. You can find a printable version of the meal plan here.
Directions: Mix and match these meal options to build a healthy eating plan for the entire week. If needed, add a smoothie as a healthy snack.
Pineapple Ginger Macadamia Nut Parfait
Fold fresh grated ginger into organic nonfat Greek yogurt (or a plant-based alternative like almond or coconut milk yogurt, etc.). Layer parfait-style with sliced fresh pineapple chunks, rolled oats, and chopped macadamia nuts.
Pear Cardamom Hot Cereal
Prepare multigrain hot cereal with organic skim milk (or a plant-based alternative, like hemp, almond, etc.) and season with ground cardamom. Mince a fresh pear, sauté in coconut oil until tender, and serve over hot cereal.
Cherry Pistachio Oatmeal
Warm frozen pitted cherries in a saucepan with a pinch of ground cloves to heat through. Top cooked oats with cherries and sprinkle with unsalted, shelled pistachios. Serve with a cold or steamed mug of organic skim milk (or a plant-based alternative, like hemp, almond, etc.).
Crack a large organic egg into a bowl and whisk in minced garlic. Sprinkle in cooked quinoa and cook with fresh basil, parsley, and sage. Top with sliced avocado and serve with a side of seedless grapes.
Vegan option: swap egg for mashed chickpeas.
Ginger Apple Wedges
Fold fresh grated ginger and barley flakes into almond butter. Slather onto fresh apple wedges and serve with a cold or steamed mug of organic skim milk (or a plant-based alternative, like hemp, almond, etc.).
Check out the lunch and dinner options after the break.
Chicken Basil Pasta Salad
Whisk together extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, and minced roasted garlic. Toss dressing with cooked, chilled gluten-free whole-grain pasta, fresh sliced basil, sliced grape tomatoes, minced red onion, and cubes of cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast.
Vegan option: swap chicken with cannellini beans.
Hummus, Quinoa, and Spinach Salad
Lightly toss a generous portion of fresh spinach with hummus to coat leaves. Sprinkle with diced tomatoes, red onion, and cooked and chilled black quinoa.
Avocado Egg Salad
Mash ripe avocado and season with fresh cilantro, lime juice, cracked black pepper, and minced jalapeño. Chop an organic hard-boiled egg and gently fold into avocado mixture. Sprinkle outer romaine leaves with cooked, chilled wild rice, top with egg salad, and serve.
Vegan option: swap egg with pinto beans.
Lemon Pepper Tuna Salad
Place a generous portion of torn romaine in a salad bowl. Whisk together extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon juice, and black pepper. Toss with drained chunk light tuna (canned in water). Top the romaine with seasoned tuna and sprinkle with cooked, chilled wheat berries.
Vegan option: swap tuna with lima beans.
Lentil and Roasted Corn Salad
Oven roast a small ear of corn and slice off the kernels. Toss a generous portion of field greens with extra virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, fresh squeezed lemon, and cracked black pepper. Top with a small scoop of lentils and sprinkle with roasted corn.
Brush sliced eggplant, baby brussels sprouts, and chickpeas with extra virgin olive oil and roast until tender. Serve over a bed of cooked bulgur with wedges of fresh lemon.
Broccoli Chicken and Walnut Pasta
Sauté garlic, minced onions, and broccoli florets in brewed green tea. Toss with cubes of cooked boneless, skinless chicken breast and a small scoop of gluten-free, whole-grain pasta. Garnish with chopped walnuts.
Vegan option: swap chicken with fava beans.
Salmon Spaghetti Squash
Toss cooked spaghetti squash with basil pesto. Sprinkle with cooked black quinoa and top with grilled salmon.
Vegan option: swap salmon with lentils.
Coconut Shrimp Stir Fry
Sauté deveined shrimp in coconut oil until cooked through. Whisk together fresh squeezed orange juice, brown rice vinegar, and fresh grated ginger. Sauté onions, cabbage, snow peas, and red bell pepper in ginger sauce until slightly tender. Serve veggies over wild rice and top with cooked shrimp.
Vegan option: swap shrimp with adzuki beans.
Roasted Vegetable and Kale Salad
Mist sliced onion, asparagus, carrots, and corn kernels with extra virgin olive oil. Chop fresh kale and top with roasted vegetables, a scoop of cannellini beans, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, each day, whip up a refreshing smoothie snack: blend frozen fruit of your choice (berries, cherries, mango, pineapple, etc.) with organic skim milk or a plant-based alternative (like hemp, almond, etc.), your favorite nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut, etc.), and an herb or spice of your choice (like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla bean, mint, etc.).
Looking for more meal ideas or how to choose the right portions for your body's needs? Check out Cynthia's book S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim.