All you need for the meat eater’s Summer 2021 Healthy Diet Plan

Everything you need to follow the meat eater’s Summer 2021 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 2021! 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 brand new 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 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.

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 vegan Healthy Diet Plan recipes.

Get the vegetarian Healthy Diet Plan recipes.

Breakfasts

An egg wrap filled with mushrooms

Breakfast egg wraps

Healthy, folate, fibre, iron, 2 of 5-a-day

Quick to make and filling too, these wraps are perfect little packages of protein. Eggs contain carotenoids and selenium which are beneficial for skin health, while their choline content supports your memory.

A bowl of fruit-topped porridge

Healthy porridge bowl 

Healthy, calcium, folate, fibre, vit c, iron, 2 of 5-a-day

Start your day right with this quick-to-prepare and filling bowl of cholesterol-lowering oats. Chia seeds are one of the richest plant sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats you can get. It’s so speedy to prepare, you can make it fresh each morning. It’s also a good source of carbs which is great after exercise.

A glass full of bircher muesli topped with blueberries

Orange & blueberry bircher

Vegetarian, low fat, calcium, folate, fibre, vit c, 2 of 5-a-day

Want to look and feel radiant? Citrus fruits such as oranges are rich in collagen-supportive vitamin C, and are great for promoting skin health and elasticity, while oats are a good source of silica for strong, lustrous hair. Soaking oats and seeds overnight makes them easier to digest. This, combined with fruit, adds up to a fabulously nutritious start to the day with all the right kinds of fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

This makes enough for two mornings so keep it in the fridge, then enjoy another day. If you prefer to go dairy-free, substitute coconut yogurt in this.

Lunches

A bowl of veg soup with parmesan on top

Summer bean and bulgur soup 

5 of 5-a-day, low cal, low fat, vegetarian, healthy, folate, vit c, fibre

Here’s a serving of 5 of your 5-a-day in one delicious and speedy soup. If you make this ahead the bulgur soaks up quite a lot of the liquid, so add a drop of water to loosen a little, if you like, or just eat as a summery stew

An orange box of tuna pasta salad

Pasta salad with tuna mayo  

2 of 5-a-day, low cal, low fat, healthy, folate, vit C, fibre

This is quick to throw together and perfect as a lunchbox feast whether you’re on a picnic or at your desk. As the carbs in the wholewheat pasta will aid muscle recovery after high-intensity exercise, this is a great post-workout option. This makes enough for two days.

Chicken enchilada wraps 

3 of 5 a-day, healthy, vit C, fibre

We avoid using ready-made bread products in our diet plans because they’re often high in salt, so homemade wholemeal flatbreads feature here instead of bought tortillas – perfect for wrapping up our lean spicy chicken with its three of your 5-a-day.

Dinners

A tray of fishcakes with crushed peas on the side

Cod & tarragon fishcakes with minty peas

3 of 5-a-day, healthy, iron, folate, vit C, fibre

These jumbo fishcakes are packed with high-protein white fish and served on top of a tasty mix of minty peas and leeks. Alliums such as leeks, onions, and chives provide gut-friendly fibres, too. This dish offers a good source of carbs which is great after exercise. Makes one supper and one lunch.

A chicken traybake served in a blue bowl

Cajun chicken traybake with sweet potato wedges & chive dip

3 of 5-a-day, healthy, calcium, vit C, gluten-free, fibre

Sweet potatoes are never as crispy as regular potatoes, but they do add to your 5-a-day. We’ve used kefir in this recipe for its rich contribution of beneficial gut bacteria. Kefir is a fermented milk, similar in consistency to a thin yogurt, with a lovely tangy flavour, but you can use normal bio or almond yogurt if you prefer. This makes two suppers.

Salmon served with vegetables and quinoa

Coriander salmon with curried quinoa & pomegranate

4 of 5-a-day, healthy, omega 3, gluten-free, iron, folate, vit C, fibre

Make sure you eat oily fish at least once a week as their beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, which support heart health, can’t be made by your body. We like to use sustainable wild salmon in the plan as it is leaner than farmed salmon and contains less saturated fat.

Macaroni with ratatouille on top

Ratatouille & ricotta macaroni

3 of 5-a-day, low cal, low fat, healthy, calcium, vit c, fibre

This is a deconstructed twist on macaroni cheese with a layer of Mediterranean veg using Italian ricotta, so you don’t have to make a traditional sauce. Aubergine skin is rich in protective anthocyanins – the same beneficial compounds found in blueberries – while the skins of courgettes are a useful source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote eye health. Offers a good source of carbs which is great after exercise. Makes one dinner and one lunch.

Meatballs with feta and fresh mint on a blue plate

Pork meatballs with bulgur salad, feta & mint

3 of 5-a-day, low cal, low fat, healthy, vit c, fibre

Meatballs with a low-fat content can often be dry, but adding grated carrot and onion not only moistens them but adds taste and texture. A good source of carbs, this is ideal after exercise. This quantity will give you two suppers on different nights.

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. 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.

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 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.