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10 Types of Healthy Meal Plans You Need To Try

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

Healthy meal plans include lots of fruits and vegetables along with foods that are high in fiber. Read all about it here in this guide on planning healthy meals

We know deciding on meals after a long day is a hard sell. In fact, we also know just how tempting it can be to ditch the tentative dinner plans and just order in. The question of what to eat doesn't need to leave you feeling frustrated and bored. In fact, when you have all the right information, crafting a great meal plan is a fun and gratifying process. You get to enjoy good food without the hassle and feel good about your body, heart, and mind. But what goes into making a meal plan, let alone a healthy meal plan? What kind of information do you need to know? Let's dive into that and more with this handy guide to cooking healthy meals. The Key to Great Meal Planning Let's be honest, making decisions on the go rarely works out well, especially with healthy food. There will be the odd occasion where you come up with something truly innovative, but most of the time, you'll end up getting something delivered, right? That's where planning helps. It takes the guesswork out of healthy eating and ensures you have everything you need whenever you need it. By planning in advance, even by a couple of days, you can buy all the right ingredients and keep your pantry stocked with nutritious and tasty ingredients. Budget-Friendly Foods We're not explicitly talking about named or unnamed brands here. What we're referring more specifically to is spending your hard-earned money where it matters. Next time you go to the shops, make a list and do not deviate from it. This will help you stick to a budget and keep you on track. With choosing between two items, check their ingredients and labels. We're looking for nutritious, organic products that will fuel us for the whole day. Sometimes this means splashing out a little extra, but you'd be surprised what you can get when you look hard enough. Think About Prep Time You can make some meals in under five minutes. Seem too quick? It doesn't have to be. If you know that a meal is quick to cook but involves a lot of prep time, then consider doing the cutting and chopping in advance. And when you're planning your meals for the day, week, or even month, make sure you're giving yourself enough time to prep AND cook. Building a Healthy Meal Plate Speaking of nutritional needs, let's talk about what needs to go into your meal plan. For this, you need to consider what a healthy plate looks like. We're sure you know you need a good balance of vegetables, protein, and grains, but how clued up are you about all the little details? There are tons of food options out there and you need to eat a variety of food types, all in moderation, of course, to achieve a good balance. Let's look at how to balance this. Grains Everyone benefits from B and E vitamins, minerals like zinc, iron, and magnesium, and inulin, which is a kind of dietary fiber. Unfortunately, many of these are removed during the refinement process. This means that grains like white rice and bread are typically not as nutrient-rich as whole grain alternatives. Wherever possible, opt for rich, healthy whole grains and avoid overly processed products. Research says you should eat around six servings of grains per day, with at least half of them being whole-grains. Options include:

  • Brown rice

  • Barley

  • Bulgur

  • Millet

  • Buckwheat

  • Oatmeal

  • Whole-wheat bread or pasta

Fruits and Vegetables Fruits and vegetables enrich your diet with color, flavor, and texture while also being naturally low in fat and high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Mix and match your fruit and veggie choices to get the most benefit. And, while you're at it, remember to choose whole fruits over juices and try not to overcook your vegetables, as this can lead to nutritional loss. Fruits and vegetables benefit not only our stomachs but our immune systems too. Every fruit or vegetable differs in what it can offer, but some of our favorites are:

  • Avocados

  • Prunes

  • Carrots

  • Berries

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Oranges

  • Spinach

  • Bananas

  • Mushrooms

  • Olives

Protein Since it makes up a significant amount of the body's weight, protein is a crucial component of our diet. Protein makes up the building blocks of our skin, muscles, and internal organs (especially the heart and brain), but also affects our eyes, nails, and hair. It's also necessary for our immune system, as it helps produce antibodies that combat infections. Though plant-based diets don't rely on animal products to get this protein, it doesn't mean we're not getting what we need for our bodies. Here are some great proteins to include in your healthy meal plans:

  • Quinoa

  • Chickpeas

  • Lentils

  • Tofu

  • Tempeh

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Chia seeds

  • Buckwheat

  • Vegetables like kale and broccoli

Plans for Every Meal No matter the time of day, you don't want to be dealing with hunger or confusion. Make sure you plan your meals for a full day, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And don't forget to throw in a couple of snacks. The first few suggestions we have are breakfast meals but you can mix and match these meals to suit your particular lifestyle. 1. Avo Toast Okay, we know what you're thinking, avo toast? Really? But let's spice it up. Mix your avocado in with garbanzo beans and tomato and top with your favorite medley of fresh herbs. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and you'll have a super tasty meal to keep you going till lunch. Prep your mix and add your fresh avo in each morning. 2. Potato Pancakes Grate your potatoes and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can before combining it with an onion, egg replacement, and spices. Fry them up and serve them hot with something tasty like apple sauce or soy-based sour cream. These will keep well for a few days in the fridge, so you can enjoy them again and again. 3. Tofu Scramble Simply break apart some firm tofu and set it aside, heating your pan to saute some onion, mushrooms, and bell pepper. Add a bit of water to tenderize your vegetables then add your tofu, some nutritional yeast, and your favorite spices to turn this eggless wonder into a morning hit. If you have all the ingredients for this (which you should if you've meal planned) then this is a great, quick breakfast to try. 4. Strawberry and Almond Kale Salad This one has a gorgeous, fresh citrusy vinaigrette to go with it, which brightens all the flavors and gives you an extra boost of vitamin C. Simply prepare your kale and almonds a day or two in advance and slice a few fresh strawberries in when you serve. You don't want them going soggy. 5. Black Bean Veggie Burger Pre-prepare a handful of veggie burgers and keep them in the fridge until you're ready to cook them up. If you plan on keeping them longer than a few days, then be sure to freeze them. But, if you have these on hand you'll never be short a delicious lunch meal. Simply process some onion, cooked rice, black beans, and spices until combined. Serve with any toppings of your choice and enjoy! 6. Spicy Kale Soup Blend all your ingredients, including fresh ginger, kale, some mashed avo, apple juice, and spices, and mix till ultra-creamy. Once you've put them in your bowl, garnish with fresh pepper and cilantro before serving. This meal is ideal because it's raw, meaning it keep fairly well. However, you can also cook it up if you need to defrost a batch. 7. Tofu Ricotta Spinach Lasagna Prepare this as you would any lasagna, blending hard and soft tofu together with a bit of soy milk, garlic powder, lemon juice, and salt. Layer it up with spinach and lasagna and top with your favorite tomato sauce. Finish with fresh basil for a bright flavor. This is ideal as a dinner meal plan because it stores well and you can cook a whole batch and serve it for lunch the next day. 8. Italian Vegetable Stew While this may involve more prep than any of the others, it's a mix that freezes well so you can prepare a batch and simply defrost as needed. Cook up a good portion of your favorite vegetables, think eggplant, carrots, celery, onion, peppers, zucchini, and potato, and mix with traditional Italian herbs and spices. Serve in bread bowls for something extra delightful. 9. Vegan Sushi You'll need around 2 cups of cooked short-grain rice for this, as well as some sliced mushrooms, spinach, seaweed sheets, pickled radish, cooked tofu, and cucumber. Place your seaweed on a bamboo mat and spread your rice evenly over, leaving about an inch on each side. Stack your fillings and roll tightly. Using a sharp knife, cut into bite-sized pieces. This is a great recipe if you're having friends over, plus it has a longer shelf life than traditional sushi. If you make too much, eat it up the next day. 10. Tempeh Taco Sliders Slice up some tempeh, onion, cabbage, and pepper and let them marinate in a bowl with a bit of tequila, and dried Mexican spices. Add your tempeh mix to your tacos and serve with fresh tomato, cabbage, and vegan sour cream. Marinate your mix in advance for a really quick dinner! Start Planning Healthy Vegan Meals Today Crafting gorgeous meal plans doesn't have to be a lot of work. And it certainly doesn't have to be overwhelming. Eat what you enjoy and be sure to treat yourself now and then. Keeping yourself healthy should never feel like a burden, so don't let it become one. If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out the rest of our healthy eating blog!

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