All you need for the vegetarian Winter 2021 Healthy Diet Plan

Everything you need to follow the vegetarian Winter 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 winter 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 meat eater’s menu or try our brand new vegan plan.

This year we wanted to highlight the vital role that diet plays in how you feel, which is why we’ve made an extra effort to ensure that this year’s plan includes plenty of foods that will not only support you in feeling your best physically, but mentally too.

We’ve designed your menus to include some of your favourite comforting foods such as warming oats, pasta and even pancakes – using recipes that just so happen to be super-healthy too. In fact, this year, we’re also bringing you two brand-new mood-loving desserts (details below) to show you that even a little sweet indulgence can have its benefits.

So, whether you’re aiming to lose weight, increase your energy levels or support your mental well-being, our winter 2021 Healthy Diet Plan is here to help. Discover seven days of tasty recipes that have all been triple-tested and nutritionally analysed to ensure you’ll get the nutrients you need to look and feel fantastic.

At BBC Good Food, we believe that the healthiest way of eating is to focus on whole, natural foods, and our diet plans are no different. All of the recipes are packed with healthy fats, lean proteins and slow-release carbs, plus we’ve avoided using processed products where possible.

The results? You can expect to cut down on added sugar, increase your energy levels, improve your digestion, lose excess weight, support your immune system and your mood.

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.

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 (in most cases, using leftovers for lunch the next day), although the recipes can be easily scaled up or down.

Get the meat eaters’ Healthy Diet Plan recipes.

Get the vegan Healthy Diet Plan recipes.

Breakfasts

Baked banana porridge

Baked banana porridge

Vegetarian, vegan, healthy, fibre, 1 of 5-a-day

Start the day right with this healthy baked banana porridge containing walnuts, banana and cinnamon. Bananas are a good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which the body needs to make the feel-good hormone serotonin. When eaten with a carb source such as oats, the brain can absorb the tryptophan easily.

Poached eggs with broccoli, tomatoes and wholemeal flatbread

Good source of carbs and protein for muscle recovery after exercise

Vegetarian, healthy, folate, vitamin C, fibre, 2 of 5-a-day

Protein-packed eggs with antioxidant-rich broccoli make this a healthy and satisfying breakfast choice. Sprinkled with mixed seeds and olive oil for a dose of healthy fats, this can be served with wholemeal flatbread, pitta or your favourite gluten-free bread, as required.

Banana oat pancakes

Good source of carbs and protein for muscle recovery after exercise

Vegetarian, healthy, low-calorie

Make our healthier pancakes using rolled oats and banana for natural sweetness. Serve with a dollop of creamy yogurt (or your favourite dairy-free alternative) and fresh fruit for added antioxidants and calcium. You can also make these gluten-free by using certified gluten-free oats.

Lunches

Linguine with avocado and tomato

Linguine with avocado, tomato & lime

Good source of carbs and protein for muscle recovery after exercise

Vegan, healthy, low-calorie, fibre, vitamin C, 3-of-5 a day

Use guacamole ingredients to make this low-calorie vegan linguine that delivers on flavour while still being low in calories. This dish is great when served cold as a pasta salad too!

Dinners

Goat style vegetable curry

Goan-style vegetable curry with kitchari

Vegan, healthy, low fat, folate, fibre, iron, vitamin C, 5 of 5-a-day, gluten-free

Eat all of your 5-a-day in one delicious curry, served with brown rice and lentils. It’s healthy, vegan, gluten-free and provides vitamin C and iron, too. Enjoy for dinner and reheat leftovers for lunch the next day!

Lentil lasagne

Good source of carbs and protein for muscle recovery after exercise

Vegan, healthy, low fat, fibre, 3 of 5-a-day

Vegan cooking made easy – this Italian bake uses cauliflower and soya milk for a white sauce and canned lentils as filling. Enjoy for dinner and reheat leftovers for lunch the next day!

Roast cauliflower & hazelnut pilaf

Good source of carbs and protein for muscle recovery after exercise

Vegan, healthy, fibre, 1 of 5-a-day, gluten-free

This simple basmati rice pot is flavoured with coriander, garam masala and ginger for a healthy and satisfying meal. Enjoy for dinner and reheat leftovers for lunch the next day!

Moroccan freekeh traybake

Vegetarian, healthy, fibre, 3 of 5-a-day

Combine chickpeas and freekeh with cherry tomatoes, olives and apricots to make this easy one-pan supper. It’s tasty and healthy, serving up three of your 5-a-day.

Vegetarian enchiladas

Vegetarian, healthy, calcium, fibre, vitamin C, iron, 4-of-5 a day

Pack flavour into your meal with these easy vegetarian enchiladas filled with nutritious ingredients. This comforting, cheesy dish is the perfect satisfying dinner. Enjoy for dinner and reheat leftovers for lunch the next day!

Wilted spinach with nutmeg & garlic

Vegan, healthy, low-fat, folate, 1-of-5 a day, gluten-free

Boost your enchiladas with a side of garlicky spiced spinach. Green veggies are a nutritional powerhouse, full of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin K, folate (folic acid) and iron.

Parsnip gnocchi

Vegan, healthy, folate, fibre, 1-of-5 a day

Take parsnips to another level by turning them into gnocchi with a crunchy walnut crumb. Take parsnips to another level by turning them into gnocchi with a crunchy walnut crumb. This moreish dish is vegan, healthy and delicious, while the walnuts offer a source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids.

Spicy ‘vedgeree’

Vegetarian, healthy, folate, fibre, 2-of-5 a day, gluten-free, dairy-free

Try our veggie twist on kedgeree for a healthy supper. Like the traditional version, it’s served with boiled eggs and has a lovely mild curry flavour. Enjoy for dinner and reheat leftovers for lunch the next day!

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.

Finally, if you find yourself craving a little sweet indulgence while on the plan, you can try one of our brand-new dessert recipes: vegan nut butter cups or stewed apples – and reap the additional nutritional benefits.

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 but we’ve based our daily menu plans on no more than 1,500 calories. 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.

Desserts

Craving something sweet? Try one of our healthier dessert options with added nutritional benefits…

Vegan nut butter cups

Dairy-free, gluten-free, freezable

Keep these bite-sized vegan nut butter cups in the freezer. Made with medjool dates, they’re perfect for when you crave a sweet treat. Walnuts are source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, while dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants.

Stewed apple

Gluten-free, low-fat, low-calorie

Combine apples, raisins and cinnamon to make this quick, light and comforting dessert. Apples contain pectin – a type of prebiotic fibre.

rosemary, garlic & chilli popcorn

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 well-functioning 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 terms and conditions for more information.