All you need for the Summer 2023 Healthy Diet Plan
Everything you need to follow the meat and fish Summer 2023 Healthy Diet Plan. Find the menu chart, all the recipes for the week, handy shopping lists and more.
Welcome to BBC Good Food’s Healthy Diet Plan for summer 2023! This page contains everything you need for the whole week. Scroll down or click the links below to get started. Looking for a different plan? Discover our vegetarian menu or try our nourishing vegan plan.
Our new gut-friendly Healthy Diet Plan has been exclusively developed by food writer Sara Buenfeld, with analysis and expert advice from registered nutritionist Kerry Torrens. With colourful fruit and vegetables, minimally processed foods and recipes loaded with healthy fats, fibre, lean protein and slow-release carbs, you can start this year looking and feeling your best.
The food we eat not only affects how we look, but also how we feel. Providing your body with the right nutrition through a healthy, balanced diet can help to improve mood, support energy levels and help you think more clearly. Our plan focuses on vibrant plants, fermented foods and wholegrains. Fermented foods, such as live yogurt, as well as wholegrains, fruits and vegetables supply lots of fibre, and have been associated with several positive health effects including better digestion, stronger immunity and improved mood. As a result, by following our plan, you can expect to feel more energised, improve your digestion and feel brighter and sharper.
These recipes are great to enjoy pre or post-exercise. For resistance training, for example, protein is key for muscle repair, and for cardio and endurance training, you’ll need some energising carbs to replenish glycogen stores, as well as protein. Muscles are most receptive in the 30-minute window following exercise, so eat in this time frame if you can. Remember to drink plenty of hydrating fluids and, if necessary, include a small amount of sodium to replace any lost through perspiration.
How to use the plan
Use the chart below to see your weekly menu at a glance. Eaten in this order, each day will deliver a balance of protein, fat and carbs, helping you 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 (or more) and keep within the recommended Reference Intakes (RI) for fats, protein, sugar, salt and calories, while following the latest guidance on your intake of ‘free’ sugars. As with any lifestyle or diet change, if you have any concerns or health issues, we would encourage you to check with your GP before embarking on our plans.
If this is a new way of eating for you, we suggest that 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 our six tips to make the most of the plan.
Your shopping list for the week
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.
Your menu chart for the week
Fibre, dairy-free, low sugar
Shop-bought granola can have a lot of added sugar, but our crunchy version is sweetened with prunes. Studies suggest that eating prunes regularly preserves bone density, and because they are full of fibre, it supports gut health, too.
3 of 5-a-day, gluten-free, low fat, iron, folate, fibre, low sugar
Kick-start your morning with a healthy, filling breakfast of potatoes fried with vitamin C-packed pepper and iron-rich spinach. Top with a poached egg for a protein hit.
1 of 5-a-day, calcium, fibre, dairy-free, low GI
Soaking oats overnight isn’t just convenient for a speedy breakfast, it makes them easier to digest too. We’ve combined them with anti-oxidant rich chia seeds and apricots, which are both thought to benefit heart health.
4 of 5-a-day, low cal, gluten-free, folate, vit c, fibre, low sugar, high protein
Asparagus, new potatoes and plenty of basil makes this a lovely fragrant summer soup, while providing 4 of your 5-a-day. We’ve topped it with gluten-free dumplings made with cottage cheese – an excellent source of calcium.
5 of 5-a-day, gluten-free, iron, vit c, fibre, low sugar, high protein
Using lean turkey mince instead of beef keeps this chilli light, satisfying and high in protein. You’ll get a whopping 5 of your 5-a-day, thanks to the beans and extra veg, plus plenty of gut-friendly herbs and spices.
3 of 5-a-day, low cal, gluten-free, vit c, folate, fibre, low sugar, high protein
Traditionally, niçoise is made with canned tuna, but we’ve used wild salmon instead to up the omega-3 fatty acids. It’s essential to get this from food because the body can’t make it, and it may help maintain a healthy heart and brain.
3 of 5-a-day, iron, vit c, fibre, low-sugar
Tomatoes are at their best during summer, so enjoy them in this wholemeal pasta and aubergine dish. It’s flavoured with garlic, basil and capers, and is a good source of vitamin C. You’ll also get good fats from the walnuts.
3 of 5-a-day, low cal, gluten-free, iron, folate, vit c, fibre, low sugar, high protein
This salad combines soya beans and quinoa for a good protein boost. Protein is critical for energy levels and carries oxygen around the body in the blood. It also helps make the antibodies that fight infections.
4 of 5-a-day, iron, folate, vit c, fibre, low sugar, high protein, dairy-free
Light and tasty, these easy koftas make a lovely summer supper. The tahini used in the hummus is a ground paste made from sesame seeds, and studies suggest that sesamol, found in these little seeds and their oil, have anti-inflammatory properties.
2 of 5-a-day, low fat, iron, folate, vit c, fibre, low sugar, high protein, dairy-free
If you love a korma, you will know that it’s normally loaded with high-calorie almonds and cream. This has the same thick, creamy texture, but our secret ingredients are courgette and coconut yogurt, along with some almonds, to make this a low-fat version using cod.
How to customise the plan
Everyone has different needs and lifestyle requirements, which is why our plans are easy to adapt. If you find you’re hungry or would like to increase the daily calories, try adding our healthier snacks and sweet treat suggestions. These recipes are all based around whole foods and keep the processed ingredients to a minimum.
If you want to mix up the menu so you can follow the plan in the longer term, or you don’t like a particular dish on the menu, you can swap it for one of our extra Healthy Diet Plan dishes that all follow the same nutritional guidelines as the recipes in this plan. Please bear in mind that adding snacks or swapping recipes will alter the overall calories and recommended daily intakes for the day.
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. Our plan aims to provide between 1,200 and 1,500 kcals per day. For the average female who is moderately active, this should generate a shortfall, allowing for steady and controlled weight loss. For those who are hungry on the plan, require a higher calorie intake or are happy with their weight, take a look at our healthier snacks and sweet treat ideas, or try our brand-new snacks below. As with any lifestyle or diet change, if you have any concerns or health issues, we would encourage you to check with your GP before embarking on our plans.
Try our healthy snack
1 of 5-a-day, high protein, low sugar, low carb, low GI, dairy-free
High in protein and low in carbs, this is a great snack for two. It only takes minutes to make and could easily be packed to go. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you could swap the chicken for extra firm tofu.
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 high-performing immune system. Our recipes include healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, yogurt and olive oil 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
Whole milk and yogurt are great sources of essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. With that said, 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 benefits from the calcium and protein that dairy contains. If you would rather go dairy-free, we recommend choosing fortified versions of your favourite dairy-free milk and yogurt.
A note on sugar
We’ve used naturally sweet ingredients where possible like fruit, dried fruit and certain vegetables to 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 on bbcgoodfood.com 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 healthcare 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 healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.