Find all the nutritious recipes for our 7-day Healthy Diet Plan, January 2018. Plus, an at-a-glance chart so you can see what's on the menu for each day.
Whether you're aiming to lose weight, increase your energy levels or just glow with health, our brand-new Healthy Diet Plan is here to help. Discover seven days of brand-new recipes that have all been triple-tested and rigorously nutritionally analysed to ensure that you're getting all the nutrients you need to look and feel fantastic.
At BBC Good Food we believe that the healthiest way of eating is focused around whole, natural foods, and our diet plans are no different. All the recipes are packed with healthy fats, lean protein and slow-release carbs, as well as minimising processed products. We've also included a variety of meaty, vegetarian and vegan recipes throughout the week.
The results? You can expect to cut down on added sugar, increase your energy levels, improve your digestion, lose excess weight and support your immune system.
How to use the plan
Use the chart below to see your weekly menu at a glance. To get the most from the plan, we recommend eating the breakfasts, lunches and dinners in the order set out in the chart. This means that each day will deliver a balance of protein, fat and carbs, helping to manage hormonal and blood sugar levels, as well as optimal nutrient levels each day. You'll also achieve all five of your five-a-day and keep within the recommended Reference Intakes (RI) for fats, protein, sugar, salt and kcals while following the latest guidance on your intake of 'free' sugars.
For those who want to lose weight, the daily calorie count of 1,500 kcals is likely to create a moderate shortfall, allowing for steady and controlled weight loss. While we recommend following the plan in order, if you want to swap or repeat days, you'll still reap all the benefits of eating whole, nourishing foods.
If this is a new way of eating for you, our nutritional therapist, Kerry Torrens, suggests you begin by introducing some of the recipes a day or two before starting the full seven days. This will allow your digestive system time to adapt to the more fibre-rich foods we’ve included. To help you supercharge your results, read Kerry's six tips to make the most of the plan.
What to eat when...
Our plan covers breakfast, lunch and dinner and serves two people for seven days (sometimes with leftovers for another day on the plan) — although the recipes can be easily scaled up or down to suit your family. If you're vegetarian or would rather eat less meat, we have a vegetarian plan just for you.
Get the vegetarian Healthy Diet Plan recipes.
To help you get organised, we've designed a handy shopping list so you can buy everything you need in one shop — just remember to check the packets for sell-by dates to make sure they'll last until the end of the week.
Download the printable shopping list.
Healthy, high-protein, 1 of 5-a-day, low-cal, folate-rich, gluten-free
This is a perfect weekend breakfast. The protein-rich eggs will help to keep you full and satisfied, which is especially useful if you're hoping to curb cravings later on. Cooking tomatoes and eating them with a source of fat, such as whole eggs, promotes your absorption of skin-friendly carotenoids such as lycopene – a beneficial phytonutrient that makes tomatoes ruby red.
Healthy, low-fat, 1 of 5-a-day
This breakfast tastes so indulgent, you won't believe that it's healthy. We've used our favourite method of preparing oats – soaking them overnight. Pre-soaking creates an incredible creamy texture while making the oats easier to digest, allowing you to optimise their nutritional benefits. If you want to make this porridge even healthier, you could try swapping the cocoa powder for antioxidant-rich cacao powder – just use a little less because the flavours will be more intense. This recipe makes enough for two mornings.
1 of 5-a-day, low sat fat
Unlike most shop-bought versions, our homemade muesli is both nutrient-dense and naturally sweetened. Nuts and seeds are rich in mono-unsaturated fats – a diet rich in these is associated with a healthier heart and may actually help you manage your weight. We've opted for full-fat milk to serve, which contains 4% fat and is richer in essential vitamins A, D, E and K, but you can choose a dairy-free alternative if you're vegan. This recipe is quick and easy, and makes enough for two mornings.
Healthy, 1 of 5-a-day, low-fat, calcium-rich
Pre-soaking the oats not only saves time in the morning but makes your breakfast rich in a type of carb called 'resistant starch'. This keeps you fuller for longer, improves weight control by regulating insulin and promotes good gut health. Butternut for breakfast may sound odd, but it's naturally sweet while supplying the phytonutrient carotene, which is invaluable for improving the appearance of your skin and hair. It also tastes a bit like pumpkin pie in a bowl! This recipe makes enough for two mornings.
These bread thins are quick to make and perfect to turn into open sandwiches. Make them on Sunday and top with salmon, then you'll have three bread thins left over for our goat's cheese topping as a speedy, easy lunch.
Rich in omega-3, high-protein, 1 of 5-a-day
We've used wild salmon for this delicious, high-protein lunch. Wild salmon has a better fat composition than farmed, and it's also lower in calories and a rich source of protein. During the dark winter months, oily fish makes a useful contribution to your vitamin D intake, so if you eat fish, it's a good idea to include at least one portion of the oily variety each week. If you're eating as part of the plan, you can poach the salmon while the bread thins are baking. We used frozen wild salmon fillets as they're very handy to keep in the freezer and the perfect portion size for this dish.
3 of 5-a-day, low-cal, low-fat, source of vitamin C and folate
These are really quick to put together, and can be popped into separate Tupperware containers and assembled 'al desko' if you're taking them to work. Take your time to check the labels when buying the goat's cheese if you're looking to keep the fat and salt levels down – we used one that was just 12g fat per 100g.
Healthy, 3 of 5-a-day, low-cal, low-fat, fibre-rich, gluten-free
Mushrooms are a valuable plant-source of the 'sunshine vitamin', vitamin D. Our levels of this important vitamin tend to be low during the winter months, so including good food sources in your diet is a good idea. We need vitamin D for a number of reasons including healthy bones and teeth, mood regulation and supporting the natural function of the immune system. This soup uses both fresh chestnut mushrooms and the dried porcini variety, giving it a real umami flavour boost. This soup makes enough for two days, so save half in the fridge for another day.
Healthy, 3 of 5-a-day, low-cal, low-fat, fibre-rich
The wholemeal pasta that we've used in this salad makes it a light yet filling lunch option. We've mixed it with a clever, zingy tomato and basil dressing that uses apple cider vinegar – said to slow gastric emptying, keeping you fuller for longer. If you want to get ahead, this lunch can be prepped and chilled in Tupperware up to one day ahead, so you can grab and go in the morning.
Healthy, 2 of 5-a-day, low-cal, low-fat, fibre-rich, source of vitamin C and folate, gluten-free
Supplying energising, slow-release carbs from wholegrain rice, high-quality protein and beneficial fats from the eggs and a variety of vegetables makes this recipe a perfectly balanced lunch. We've cooked the rice with thyme and celery and studded with juicy pomegranate seeds to add plenty of flavour in every bite.
Healthy, high-protein, 2 of 5-a-day, low-cal, low-fat, fibre-rich, source of vitamin C and folate, gluten-free
This quick lunch is a simple way to add lean, high-protein cod to your diet. White fish is an excellent source of energising B12 and stress-busting B6 and takes next to no time to cook. We've paired it with spinach, an important source of vitamin K that helps to maintain bone health.
Healthy, 5 of 5-a-day, low-cal, low-fat, iron-rich, fibre-rich, source of folate and vitamin C
Treat yourself to a delicious steak and nourish yourself into the bargain – this recipe contains an incredible five of your five-a-day! As well as supplying protein, lean cuts of meat contribute valuable micronutrients such as energising iron and immune-supportive zinc. We've included vitamin-C-rich vegetables, such as peppers, in our goulash to help optimise your uptake of iron. Sweet potatoes count towards your five-a-day and by baking them on a wire rack you can crisp them up in the oven.
Healthy, 5 of 5-a-day, source of vitamin C and folate, iron-rich, fibre-rich, low-fat, gluten-free
Nutrient-dense and full of flavour, this clever pie recipe contains an impressive five of your five-a-day. Peanut butter adds a delicious creaminess to the filling while supporting vitamin B intake, including biotin, which is needed for an efficient metabolism. We've topped these pies with a bean and potato mash, which adds to your five-a-day. This recipe makes two pies – bake one on the first night and chill the other to bake the next day, adding an extra 15 mins to the cooking time.
Healthy, low-cal, low-fat, iron-rich, fibre-rich, 3 of 5-a-day
This low-calorie curry is sure to become a firm favourite. Including lean cuts of meat as part of a balanced diet is especially useful for women of reproductive age, who have a greater need for iron. Throughout our diet plan we've included bio-yogurt, rich in probiotics that can feed the good bacteria in the gut. This can, in turn, help to promote a diverse microbiome and a healthy digestive tract.
Healthy, 5 of 5-a-day, low-cal, low-fat, fibre-rich, source of vitamin C, iron-rich
This spicy pasta dish contains all of your five-a-day and is full of flavour. Including healthy fats, such as the monounsaturated fats in avocado and rapeseed oil, along with colourful veg may help to improve skin elasticity and promote the healthy appearance of skin.
3 of 5-a-day, calcium, fibre-rich, source of vitamin C and folate, gluten-free
A beautifully colourful salad is one that is packed with goodness. Beetroot supplies heart-healthy folate and a compound called nitrate, which may help manage blood pressure. Pomegranate seeds are a useful source of fibre and supply skin-supportive vitamins A and C as well as protective antioxidants.
The calories you need on a daily basis vary depending on your age, height, weight, sex and activity levels. There are numerous calculators you can use online to determine your optimum calorie intake but we’ve based our daily menu plans on no more than 1,500 calories. For the average female, who is moderately active, this should generate a shortfall allowing for steady and controlled weight-loss. For those who find they need more energy and are happy with their weight, supplement our daily menu plans with our suggested healthy snacks.
A note on fat
Fat is in most of the foods we eat – meat, fish, nuts, seeds and grains as well as dairy and eggs. Obtaining fat from these whole foods is a healthier way of getting this essential macronutrient. We need fat for healthy skin, to boost our mood and improve concentration, as well as for a well-functioning immune system. Our recipes include full-fat rather than processed low-fat ingredients, like yogurt, and extra virgin cold-pressed oils rather than refined ones. That’s because all fats are not equal; we should avoid processed, refined fats and oils and limit (but not exclude) our intake of the saturated variety.
A note on dairy
We've used full-fat milk and whole bio-yogurt in our recipes. These contain around 4% fat and because of this, are richer in essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. If you prefer the taste of semi-skimmed milk and reduced-fat yogurt or you've been advised to reduce your sat fat intake, you can swap for these. You'll still reap the benefit from the calcium and protein that dairy contains, but be aware that the fat-soluble vitamins will be reduced.
A note on sugar
We’ve used naturally sweet ingredients like fruit, dried fruit and sweeter-tasting veg, like beetroot, so we can slash the amount of added ‘free’ sugars in our recipes.
Please email any questions about the recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to help.
All health content from BBC Good Food is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Any healthy diet plan featured by BBC Good Food is provided as a suggestion of a general balanced diet and should not be relied upon to meet specific dietary requirements. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider.