Healthy Diet Plan January 2018 - recipes

    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.

    BBC Good Food's Healthy Diet Plan logo

    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...

    BBC Good Food's Healthy Diet Plan menu chart for January 2018

    The recipes

    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.


    A healthy herb omelette in a frying pan with some fried tomatoes

    Herb omelette with fried tomatoes

    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.

    A bowl of healthy chocolate porridge topped with yogurt and a chopped banana

    Warming chocolate & banana porridge

    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.

    A bowl of walnut & almond muesli with grated apple

    Walnut & almond muesli with grated apple

    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.

    A bowl of butternut and cinnamon oats topped with yogurt and chopped nuts

    Butternut & cinnamon oats

    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.


    A loaf of bread cut into wedges to be served as thins

    Triangular bread thins

    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.

    Three bread thins topped with avocado, red onion, wild salmon and dill

    Wild salmon & avocado triangles

    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.

    Three bread thins topped with goat's cheese, cucumber, tomatoes, olives and rocket leaves

    Goat's cheese, tomato & olive triangles

    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.

    A bowl filled with mushroom and potato soup, topped with yogurt and nuts

    Mushroom & potato soup

    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.

    A tupperware container filled with green bean and penne pasta salad with a healthy tomato and olive dressing

    Green bean & penne salad with a tomato & olive dressing

    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.

    A bowl filled with brown rice tabbouleh and topped with boiled eggs

    Brown rice tabbouleh with eggs & parsley

    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.

    Two dishes filled with spinach, cod fillets, goat's cheese and tomatoes

    Baked cod with goat's cheese & thyme

    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.


    A plate filled with steak, goulash sauce, wilted spinach and sweet potato fries

    Steaks with goulash sauce & sweet potato fries

    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.

    A pie dish filled with a spicy chicken and peanut filling and topped with a potato and bean mash

    Chilli chicken & peanut pies

    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.

    Two plates filled with a healthy spicy rice and lamb dish and topped with mint

    Lamb & squash biryani with cucumber raita

    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.

    A plate filled with a spicy tomato and vegetable pasta and topped with fresh avocado

    Mexican penne with avocado

    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.

    A plate filled with a healthy beetroot and halloumi salad

    Beetroot & halloumi salad with pomegranate & dill

    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.

    Still hungry?

    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 bowl of almond, raisin and popcorn trail mix

    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. 

    Two glass tumblers filled with yogurt, raspberries, blueberries and mint

    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 plate with date and walnut cinnamon bites

    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 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.

    Comments, questions and tips

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    16th Feb, 2018
    Supernaut below mentions the low cal count. I've eaten less than specified and still haven't lost weight. Depressing. Still, I liked most of the recipes - despite the large amount of indegestion-causing onions! - and will probably go ahead with last year's plan but swapping some of the recipes ie lunch for dinner. (We eat Dinner at midday for better digestion purposes) as some of the dinner dishes don't appeal.
    26th Jan, 2018
    Overall love the plan. Minor personal issue with the banana & choc breakfast is there a suitable alternative. Alex
    22nd Jan, 2018
    We hate squash and pumpkin - We understood this was the meat lovers diet - several of the meals are vegetarian (not inc breakfast) one meal ingredients were given as enough for two pies - We don't want the same thing twice but need enough food not to be hungry and snacking - saying that there should be a daily snack included as we are humans - regarding the steak comment we use pork fillet cut very thin at £6-£7 kilo it is a great alternative and very lean
    21st Jan, 2018
    Lamb biryani on a diet??!? Thank you!
    19th Jan, 2018
    Yeah. Great. After 40 years in the workplace I find myself on benefits and could not afford your ridiculous shopping list even at Aldi. I think you need to pull your head out of the clouds and realise that people on low incomes and benefits also want to eat healthily, but to be honest fillet steak aint on my shopping list when I have 20-25 quid a week to eat.
    7th Jan, 2018
    Why is there such a shortage of recipes for two?
    19th Jan, 2018
    Or one?
    3rd Jan, 2018
    Too much spice for me. 5 out of 7 main meals that I wouldn't eat. Of course you have to accommodate all tastes but I feel that alternatives could be given. Also not enough veg for me and too many carbs. Not for me.
    3rd Jan, 2018
    This plan is misleading in that it says it provides 1500kcal a day, the whole 7 day menu doesn't even average out to 1000 calories a day. I am aware that you have made the statement "...based our daily menu plans on no more than 1,500 calories..." but you haven't even reached 1500 calories on any of the day to day menus you have provided. Sun - 1228 kcal Mon - 1036 kcal Tues - 1097 kcal Wed - 1013 kcal Thurs - 1109 kcal Fri - 1063 kcal Sat - 881 kcal average - 909 kcal a day Looking at those numbers you can add 1 or 2 whole extra meals in to each day and only just hit the 1500. People will lose weight following your diet plan, that's definite, but only because they are eating far too little for a healthy weight loss. It is not your responsibility to look after people's nutrition, but it might behove you to actually provide a 1500 cal a day meal plan when you advertise one.
    30th Dec, 2017
    This looks interesting and I am going to give it a try. would be good if you could offer alternatives for certain foods i.e. i HATE bananas !!


    22nd Feb, 2018
    Is there an alternative to avocado. and goats cheese, neither of which I can stand?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    28th Feb, 2018
    Thanks for your question. We would suggest substituting with a preferred ingredient. For example you could add a bit of shredded spinach or lettuce, cream cheese or feta depending on the recipe. This will of course alter the nutritional properties.
    5th Feb, 2018
    I like the bit about no waste (I already am in the "no waist" bracket!) But why is the shopping list so ornate and definitely on the "waste" of ink list?!
    goodfoodteam's picture
    6th Feb, 2018
    Thanks for your question. That's a good point. We'll feed this back into discussions for future shopping lists.
    25th Jan, 2018
    Is there an alternative to the mushroom and potato soup. I cannot eat mushrooms?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    29th Jan, 2018
    Thanks for your question. We'd suggest choosing an alternative from our healthy soup recipe collection:
    21st Jan, 2018
    The sweet potatoes in our supermarkets are rather thin and tough. Is there a substitute you can recommend?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    22nd Jan, 2018
    Sorry to hear you have a disappointing crop! The sweet potatoes should be fine once cooked.
    18th Jan, 2018
    As I cannot eat eggs - as in boiled, scrammbled etc. What can I use as a substitute please?
    goodfoodteam's picture
    22nd Jan, 2018
    Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we can't offer alternatives as part of this plan. We would recommend omitting where appropriate or substituting for another dish from the plan.


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