All you need for the vegetarian Winter 2022 Healthy Diet Plan
Everything you need to follow the vegetarian winter 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 winter 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 kefir and 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.
Start the day off with a low-GI option that will keep you sustained and energised through the morning. This yeast-free wholemeal loaf requires no kneading or proving. Instead, the bicarbonate of soda reacts with the lemon juice to make the bread rise. We’ve used oat milk, but feel free to use the non-dairy milk of your choosing. This meal also offers a good source of carbs, which is great after exercise.
1 of 5-a-day, vitamin C, calcium, low fat, fibre, gluten-free
High in protein and gluten-free, millet is a grain that, once cooked, has a nutty texture almost like chopped almonds. We used fortified almond milk for this recipe, but feel free to use your preferred non-dairy milk.
3 of 5-a-day, low fat, low calorie, fibre, vitamin C, iron
Although traditionally made with anchovies, the flavour of this pasta dish works well without. We have also snuck in an extra portion of veg in the form of the courgettes – they disappear into the sauce so you hardly know they’re there.
4 of 5-a-day, gluten-free, low calorie, calcium, folate, fibre, vitamin C, iron
This is a twist on chilli con carne combining beans and warming spices with paneer, served up on quinoa instead of rice to add extra protein. We’ve used kidney beans, but for a chunkier texture, use half kidney beans and half butter beans.
5 of 5-a-day, calcium, iron, folate, vitamin C, fibre
Made from fermented soya beans, tempeh is a nutrient-rich plan protein. Choosing fermented soya products like tempeh, provides numerous benefits. It’s simpler to digest, too, making nutrients like calcium and magnesium easier for us to absorb.
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.
Although usually served for breakfast, these mini oat pots with a topping of yogurt and berries make a great little snack.
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.