All you need for the vegetarian Summer 2022 Healthy Diet Plan
Everything you need to follow the vegetarian Summer 2022 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 2022! 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 vegan plan.
Our new 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 summer 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, like 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.
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 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.
4 of 5-a-day, low cal, calcium, iron, vit C and fibre
Eggs with antioxidant-rich tomatoes make this a healthy and tasty choice for breakfast. It would make a great supper too. Eggs are a good source of leucine, an amino acid that helps energy production so this will keep you energised right up until lunchtime. This dish also offers a good source of protein and carbs for those following an exercise plan.
1 of 5-a-day, calcium, iron folate, vit C and fibre
Make these pancakes fresh each morning for the best results. We’ve used soy milk and yogurt here but go for one that is fortified with nutrients like calcium. While it can be nice to try different foods regardless of diet, feel free to use regular milk if you’d prefer.
These delicious yogurt bowls have a secret layer of creamy cholesterol-busting oats cooked in soya milk to make them more substantial. Citrus fruits like oranges are rich in collagen-supportive vitamin C, so are great for skin health and elasticity.
A couple of these little nuggets, made with protein-rich quinoa and peanut butter, make a tasty snack as well as a great summer meal. We have used gut-friendly bio yogurt in the slaw which is much healthier than traditional mayo.
2 of 5-a-day, low cal, gluten-free, calcium, iron, folate, vit C and fibre
Quinoa is a seed rather than a grain and is a very good source of protein, containing all nine of the essential amino acids, as well as B vitamins and magnesium and manganese, which help to promote bone health.
3 of 5-a-day, low cal, low fat, gluten-free, folate, vit C and fibre
Being one of the few food sources of vitamin D, eggs make a valuable contribution to a balanced diet. They’re also rich in the mineral phosphorus which, along with vitamin D, helps ensure strong, healthy bones and teeth. This dish also offers a good source of protein and carbs for those following an exercise plan.
4 of 5-a-day, gluten-free, iron, folate, vit C, and fibre
This is a bit like fried rice, without the rice! We’ve whizzed up super-healthy broccoli to use instead which is rich in anti-oxidants while ginger is thought to be good for the heart and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. To ensure you enjoy all the health benefits of veggies at their peak, make this fresh each time, as fresh vegetables start to lose their vitamin C content if prepared too far ahead.
Gnocchi is more usually made with potatoes, but sadly they don’t count towards your five-a-day. Sweet potatoes, however do, as their name suggests they are high in natural sugars, which is why we have combined the two for the perfect healthy combo. This dish also offers a good source of protein and carbs for those following an exercise plan.
Our tasty and substantial pasta bake has a slight nod to the Greek favourite. However, budget-friendly lentils replace the meat and we have added a little balsamic vinegar to add a layer of flavour instead of using wine. This dish also offers a good source of protein and carbs for those following an exercise plan.
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
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.
3 of 5-a-day, low cal, low fat, gluten-free, fibre
Not everyone likes or can eat tahini, the sesame paste, so here is a hummus without it. We’ve added veggie sticks as dippers, but you could spread it on unsalted oat or rice cakes and top with tomatoes instead.
If you like a treat at the weekend this is so much healthier than a bag of crisps. The sesame oil contributes to the flavour and helps the flavourings stick, but you could use olive or rapeseed oil instead.
A note on fat
Fat is in most of the foods we eat – 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 healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, yogurt, olive and rapeseed 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.
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 terms and conditions for more information.