All you need for the vegan Winter 2023 Healthy Diet Plan

Everything you need to follow the vegan winter 2023 Healthy Diet Plan. Find the menu chart, all the recipes for the week, handy shopping lists and more.

Healthy diet plan 2023 in association with Nutracheck

Welcome to BBC Good Food’s Healthy Diet Plan for winter 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 meat eater’s menu or try our vegetarian plan.

Our new budget-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, plant-based proteins and slow-release carbs, our vegan diet plan is all about enjoying good-for-you food.

The food we eat not only affects our physical health and how we look, it also impacts how we feel as well as our mood and outlook. Providing your body with the right nourishment through a healthy, balanced diet can improve mood, support energy levels and help you think more clearly.

Cutting meat and dairy from your diet, however, can mean you miss out on some essential vitamins and minerals. Our vegan diet plan helps you optimise your intake of these nutrients. We’ve done this by including some handy kitchen hacks, like mixing rice and beans to offer the full spectrum of essential amino acids, using rapeseed oil to support omega-3 fatty acid levels, and choosing fortified dairy alternatives to boost your nutrients.

If eating like this is new to you, add a couple of the recipes to your diet the week before you start the plan to help your system adjust to the new foods and the additional fibre. Click here for more information on following a healthy, balanced vegan diet.

We’ve focused our vegan diet plan on wholegrains, vegetables, fruits and nuts and seeds, and with good reason. These foods have been associated with a number of positive health benefits, including better digestive health, 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.

The secret to success is preparation and planning, which is why we suggest using the Saturday before you start the plan to shop for ingredients and do a little food prep. What’s more, to help free you up during a busy week, we’ve cut down on time spent in the kitchen by ensuring leftovers for some meals.

For this plan, we’ve highlighted recipes that are especially good to enjoy post-exercise. For resistance training, 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 timeframe 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 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.

Download the printable shopping list.

Your menu chart for the week

The recipes

Our plan covers breakfast, lunch and dinner and serves two people for seven days (often using leftovers for another day), although the recipes can be easily scaled up or down.

Get the meat eater’s Healthy Diet Plan recipes.

Get the vegetarian Healthy Diet Plan recipes.

Breakfasts

Vegan mushroom & potato hash with oaty thins

Folate, fibre, vit c, iron

Make this mushroom and potato hash for a healthier breakfast. Mushrooms are a great addition in a vegan diet, as they’re one of the few plant-based sources of vitamin D.

Crunchy peanut butter & banana pots

Dairy-free, fibre

Try our winning combo of peanut butter and banana for breakfast with these healthy vegan breakfast pots, made with porridge oats, soya yogurt and cinnamon.

Budget porridge

1 of 5-a-day, dairy-free, fibre

Start your day with a bowl of warming porridge topped with grated apple, raisins, walnuts and cinnamon – a nutritious and filling breakfast that doesn’t call for costly ingredients.

Lunches

Chunky peanut soup

Gluten-free, low-cal, low-fat, fibre

Make this easy peanut soup for lunch. Nutrient-dense, peanuts are a great source of good-for-you fats, protein and fibre, as well as stress-busting B vitamins.

One-pot vegan rice and beans

Gluten-free, low-fat, low-sugar, fibre

Gluten free and low in fat, this vibrant vegan rice dish is packed with kidney beans, green olives and peppers.

Roast squash & hummus winter salad

Vit c

Salads aren’t just for summer – this gorgeous winter salad is loaded with beta-carotene and vitamin C to help support immune defences.

Sweet potato toasts with curried chickpeas

Low-cal, low-sugar, fibre

Make this healthier – and maybe even tastier – version of beans on toast to achieve four of your five-a-day.

Penne with cabbage & walnuts

Low-cal, low-sugar, fibre

Combine magnesium-rich walnuts with cabbage for a filling, healthy pasta dish. Cabbage is rich in inulin, which helps boost magnesium absorption.

Dinners

Layered tofu pasta bake

Low-cal, low-sugar, fibre

Add tofu to this healthy vegan pasta bake to enjoy a valuable source of plant protein. It’s also packed with spinach, carrots, celery and olives.

Spicy red lentil chilli with guacamole & rice

Low-fat, low-sugar, fibre

Serve vegan chilli made with red lentils and plenty of veg – enjoy it with homemade guacamole and brown rice for a filling and healthy dinner.

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.

About the Healthy Diet Plan

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. Our plan aims to provide between 1200 and 1500 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 dessert

Healthy apple crunch

Low-sugar, fibre

Serve up our sugar-free twist on apple crumble for dessert – the soya yogurt base is topped with stewed apples and crunchy cinnamon-oat clusters.

A note on fat

Fat is in a variety of the foods we eat, including nuts, seeds and grains as well as dairy alternatives. Obtaining fat from whole foods is a healthier way of getting this essential macronutrient. We need fat for healthy skin, to boost our mood and improve concentration and to support a well-functioning immune system. Our recipes include healthy fats – nuts, seeds, olive and rapeseed 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. We’ve also included sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, such as flax and chia seeds.

A note on dairy alternatives

We recommend choosing fortified versions of your favourite dairy-free milk and yogurts. This is a good way to include nutrients such as calcium, B12, iodine and vitamin D, which can often be challenging to achieve on a vegan diet.

chia blueberry pots compressed

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.

A note on vegan diets

Following a vegan diet can make it harder to obtain some essential nutrients; these include vitamins B12 and D, iodine and omega-3 fatty acids as well as calcium, iron and selenium. Fortified foods, such as fortified plant milks, help contribute some hard-to-get nutrients, but, depending on your circumstances, you may wish to complement a varied, balanced vegan diet with a suitable supplement. Click here for more information.

Our winter Healthy Diet Plan is brought to you in association with Nutracheck, a trusted calorie and nutrient tracking app that supports you in achieving your health and weight loss goals. Nutracheck enables you to monitor the food and drink you consume by logging it on smartphone or tablet. To find out more, visit bbcgoodfood.com/introducing-nutracheck

Please email any questions about the recipes to goodfoodwebsite@immediate.co.uk 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.