Everybody likes getting more for less! How about getting more meals from less recipes? With some strategic meal planning and prepping, you can create several days’ worth of meals with just a few recipes and one trip to the grocery store. You can even prepare all of the recipes at once and store meals in single serve containers in the fridge for grab-and-go meals all week.
Do you have a resolution to eat healthier this new year? Cooking more meals at home is a great way to start, but it can be challenging to plan, shop, and prepare meals every week. To help, we’ve come up with a clean and simple meal plan of recipes featuring natural, healthy, whole foods. This meal plan is low in sodium, has no added sugar, and provides balanced meals loaded with vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.
You can fit these recipes into your weekly meal plan in whatever way works best for you. Use the interactive Meal Planner on Diabetes Food Hub to plan out your week. Once you have created your free account, you can save recipes, then drag-and-drop them into your meal plan.
Click here for more tips on how to use Diabetes Food Hub
Make this dinner early in the week and make extra chicken for leftovers (you can easily double the recipe). You could also add a whole grain to this meal, like brown rice or Cilantro Lime Quinoa.
The sweet potatoes and the fish pouches cook at the same temperature, so you can bake everything at once. Start by preparing the Sweet Potato Masala; you can prepare and bake the fish and vegetable pouches while the sweet potatoes are roasting.
This “stir-fry” is cooked in a sheet pan for an even easier “hands-off” dinner. This calls for zucchini and red pepper, but you could use any nonstarchy vegetables, fresh or frozen.
To make this bowl, you can use leftover chicken, quinoa, and vegetables from any of the dinner meals. Bring it all together with greens and a drizzle of homemade Fruit-Sweetened BBQ Sauce.
This filling salad is a meal all on its own! If you have more chicken left over, you could add it to this salad for more protein (or instead of the hard-boiled egg).
Instead of store-bought yogurt containers that are loaded with added sugar, try this homemade parfait! Plain yogurt is sweetened with a fruit-based jam and fresh or frozen peach slices. You can prepare the jars ahead of time, but add the Homemade Fruit-Sweetened Granola just before eating.
This recipe boasts whole grains, healthy fats, and protein that will keep you full until lunch. You can poach the eggs in the microwave for a simple, yet perfectly cooked egg, or top the toast with a sliced hard-boiled egg that was made ahead of time.
Snack: BBQ Popcorn
Instead of piling on salt and butter, this popcorn is flavored with Fruit-Sweetened BBQ Sauce and smoked paprika. If you don’t have avocado or sunflower oil, you could use canola oil. Or, if you have an air popper, you can pop the corn without any oil.
Dessert: Peppermint Chocolate "Nice Cream"
Frozen bananas provide a creamy texture and sweet flavor in this dairy-free “nice cream.” Cacao nibs add a nice crunch, but it you can’t find them in the store, you could use chocolate chips, or just leave them out.
Like these recipes? Find more clean and simple recipes in our new cookbook, The Clean & Simple Diabetes Cookbook by Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN. Designed with simplicity in mind, each recipe in this book uses no more than 7 ingredients and needs only 15 minutes or less of prep time.
Check your pantry before you go to the grocery to see what you already have on hand, particularly the “pantry items” section. The grocery list includes the quantity you need of each item, so you can tell if you have enough or need to buy more.
You’ll need about 3–4 lbs total of nonstarchy vegetables for the Seasonal Baked Whitefish Pouch and Leftover BBQ Bowl. You can use whatever is in season or on sale, or your favorite non-startchy vegetables. Frozen vegetables are also an option.
Meal Prep Tips
To make things easier during mealtime, there are several things in this meal plan that you can make and do ahead of time:
Make the Fruit-Sweetened BBQ Sauce: This sauce takes just 5 minutes to prepare and is a healthier option than store-bought sauce. Prepare it ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to one week. You’ll use this sauce on the Leftover BBQ Bowl and the BBQ Popcorn.
Make the Homemade Granola: You’ll use this granola in the Peachy Yogurt & Granola Jars. Store in an airtight container in your cabinet for up to one week.
Make the Cilantro Lime Quinoa: If you have time over the weekend, go ahead and prepare the cilantro lime quinoa. Simply reheat in the microwave to serve with the Sheet Pan Stir Fry. Use leftover quinoa for the Leftovers BBQ Bowl. You could also make a double batch and serve this quinoa with the Herbs de Provence Chicken.
Prepare the Powerhouse Salad: You can easily prepare this salad ahead of time, just store the dressing separately. Combine the vinegar, oil, capers, oregano, and salt in a small sealed container. Shake vigorously and drizzle over the salad just before eating. This recipe makes one serving, but you could easily prepare more than one—just make sure you buy enough greens!
Make hard-boiled eggs: The Powerhouse Salad calls for 1 hard-boiled egg. Make more if you plan to make more than one salad for the week, or make extra for a quick, protein-packed snack. You could also use hard-boiled eggs instead of poached eggs in the Egg & Avocado Toasts for an even quicker breakfast.
Prepare Peachy Yogurt & Granola Jars: The recipe makes two jars, but you could prepare as many as you want ahead of time for a grab-and-go breakfast. If you’re preparing ahead of time, don’t add the granola; store it separately and add just before eating so it stays crunchy.