April 16, 2021

acage

Outstanding health & fitness

7-day healthy eating meal plans for men and women proven by science

A weekly meal plan can help someone maintain a healthful diet and manage their health and weight. It can also save time and be cost-effective.

This article provides a 7-day weekly meal plan for adults based on recommended calorie intakes.

It includes foods that research suggests are beneficial to health.

A 7-day meal plan can help someone maintain a healthful diet.

The advantage is that people can plan their shopping, preparation, and cooking, and avoid buying and eating unhealthful foods on impulse.

A person can also batch cook meals and freeze them to save time.

Additionally, it may be more cost-effective to buy ingredients in bulk and use them for meals throughout the week.

The following meal plans draw upon scientific research that suggests that certain dietary approaches are beneficial to health. These include:

  • plant-based diets, or including more plant-based foods
  • foods that support the gut microbiome, such as fermented foods and those containing prebiotic fiber, such as asparagus, bananas, and onions
  • the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in whole grains, fruit, vegetables, unsaturated fats, and lean proteins like oily fish and poultry
  • the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020

The meal plans provide the recommended average daily caloric intake of 2,000 calories per day for adult females and 2,500 calories per day for adult males. Calories for the meals specified are approximately these amounts.

However, as recommended intakes vary according to age, sex, and activity levels, the meal plans are flexible, allowing people to adapt them to suit their dietary needs.

These meal plans contain a range of ingredients, some of which are cupboard staples, and some of which may be more expensive to purchase or more specialist depending on where a person lives and the outlets available to them.

Some of the recipes involve preparing or cooking food in advance, but most can be made in batches and stored in the freezer for a reasonable time.

Many people may find the batch-cooking recipes included more helpful if planning meals for a family or group.

People can substitute many of the ingredients in these recipes for easier to find or cheaper ingredients with a similar macronutrient profile — for example, quinoa for brown rice or edamame for garden peas.

See here for a 7-day meal plan on a budget.

The meals in this plan derive from a combination of the four diets mentioned above, and so not every meal will be suitable for everyone who may adhere to one specific diet.

Day 1

Breakfast

Smoked salmon and egg on a whole grain bagel with a portion of watercress, a medium low fat mocha drink.

Morning Snack

A portion of hummus and raw vegetables for dipping, two oatcakes.

Lunch

A bowl of bean and vegetable soup drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, 1 slice of whole grain seeded bread, a portion of raw, fa side lightly steamed vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, or garden peas, and a portion of fruit.

Afternoon snack

Chocolate n’ice cream.

Dinner

Greek mac and cheese casserole, a portion of steamed broccoli, asparagus, or another green vegetable. Greek yogurt with berries and nuts for dessert.

Day 2

Breakfast

Berry smoothie with protein powder.

Morning Snack

Two rice cakes spread with 2 tablespoons (tbsp) peanut butter and topped with apple slices.

Lunch

Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread, a small bag of root vegetable chips, sliced crudités, such as carrots or bell peppers, and a banana.

Afternoon snack

Raspberry frozen yogurt pop.

Dinner

Salmon with pineapple-avocado salsa and a portion of leafy greens. Cocoa chia seed pudding, a handful of strawberries, and an oat milk hot drink before bed.

Day 3

Breakfast

Oatmeal with banana, pumpkin seeds, and a drizzle of maple syrup, coffee with low fat milk.

Morning Snack

Chocolate peanut butter cup, apple slices.

Lunch

Mashed avocado, roast turkey, and chopped tomatoes on two slices of whole grain toast, topped with extra virgin olive oil, shelled hemp seeds, and cayenne pepper, a handful of blueberries.

Afternoon snack

A portion of hummus with raw vegetables for dipping and two oatcakes.

Dinner

Chicken and vegetable stir fry served with 1 cup of steamed brown rice, two squares of dark chocolate, and a handful of walnuts.

Day 4

Breakfast

Apple and peanut butter on a wholewheat English muffin, 1 cup of low fat milk.

Morning Snack

Carrot Cake Energy Bar.

Lunch

One medium baked potato with 100 grams (g) beef chili and 28 g creme fraiche, a side serving of green beans or peas.

Afternoon snack

A boiled egg, two oatcakes, and a portion of arugula.

Dinner

Veggie Korean bibimbap, kombucha drink.

Day 5

Breakfast

40 g granola, 100 g unsweetened Greek yogurt, 100 g blueberries, 3 tbsp flax seeds, coffee with low fat milk.

Morning Snack

Tofu “egg” salad stuffed tomato.

Lunch

Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread with plenty of salad vegetables, such as cucumbers, peppers, diced tomatoes, and lettuce, a banana, a handful of nuts, one sliced orange, a cup of lemon and ginger herbal tea.

Afternoon snack

Vegan oat chocolate chip cookie, apple slices.

Dinner

Rotisserie chicken tacos with pineapple salsa, a small baked sweet potato, a portion of arugula, two squares of dark chocolate with a handful of walnuts.

Day 6

Breakfast

Two quinoa edamame egg muffins, a portion of grilled tomatoes and mushrooms drizzled with olive oil, a glass of almond milk.

Morning Snack

Two rice cakes spread with 2 tbsp peanut butter and sliced banana.

Lunch

Slow cooker black bean soup, a portion of watercress, roasted squash with paprika and rosemary.

Afternoon snack

Lemon, pistachio & berry frozen yogurt bark.

Dinner

One medium baked potato, 100 g chili, 28 g creme fraiche, a portion of leafy greens, three squares of dark chocolate with a handful of walnuts.

Day 7

Breakfast

Sardines on two slices of whole grain toast with spread, a portion of fresh spinach, medium low fat mocha drink

Morning Snack

One quarter cup Brazil nuts and a banana

Lunch

A grilled chicken fillet with 1 cup cooked broccoli, half a cup of cooked carrots, one corn on the cob, and an orange.

Afternoon snack

A slice of spinach & tomato frittata and one serving of green olives, kombucha drink.

Dinner

Slow cooker sweet potato curry served with one cup of cauliflower rice, one wheat paratha, a satsuma.

Day 1

Breakfast

30 g granola, 100 g unsweetened Greek yogurt, 100 g blueberries, coffee with low fat milk.

Morning Snack

Tofu “egg” salad stuffed tomato.

Lunch

Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread, an apple, and a handful of walnuts.

Afternoon snack

Lemon, pistachio & berry frozen yogurt bark.

Dinner

Veggie Korean bibimbap, kombucha drink, a portion of banana and Greek yogurt.

Day 2

Breakfast

Smoked salmon and egg bagel, a portion of spinach, a medium low fat mocha drink.

Morning Snack

One-quarter cup Brazil nuts, pear slices, a glass of kombucha.

Lunch

Sardines in tomato sauce on two slices of whole grain toast.

Afternoon snack

Raspberry cheesecake jar.

Dinner

Sautéed shrimp with mango salsa & coconut cauliflower rice, a banana, and a few walnuts.

Day 3

Breakfast

Blueberry-Avocado Smoothie, a slice of whole grain toast with almond butter.

Morning Snack

Red Lentil-Beet Hummus with oatcakes.

Lunch

A portion of slow cooker black bean soup, roasted beets with almond cream cheese, grated carrot, and watercress.

Afternoon snack

28 g peanuts, an orange.

Dinner

Chicken and vegetable stir fry served with 1 cup of steamed brown rice, two squares of dark chocolate with a handful of walnuts.

Day 4

Breakfast

Apple and peanut butter on a whole wheat English muffin, one cup of low fat milk.

Morning Snack

Carrot Cake Energy Bar.

Lunch

A medium baked potato, 100 g chili, 28 g creme fraiche, side of green beans.

Afternoon snack

Chocolate-avocado pop.

Dinner

Slow cooker sweet potato curry served with 1 cup of steamed cauliflower rice, one wheat paratha, a satsuma, a kombucha drink.

Day 5

Breakfast

Berry smoothie with protein powder.

Morning Snack

Spanish oat omelet.

Lunch

Sardines drizzled with olive oil on two slices of whole-grain toast with spread, leafy side salad.

Afternoon snack

One vegan blueberry truffle.

Dinner

Slow cooker peanut chicken with broccoli, a baked sweet potato drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, a portion of steamed kale.

Day 6

Breakfast

Two quinoa edamame egg muffins, a portion of grilled tomatoes and mushrooms drizzled with olive oil, a glass of almond milk.

Morning Snack

Chocolate peanut butter cup, apple slices.

Lunch

Seared sesame tuna bowl with julienned carrots, snow peas, pak choi, and bamboo shoots.

Afternoon snack

Lemon, pistachio & berry frozen yogurt bark.

Dinner

One medium baked potato, 100 g chili, 28 g creme fraiche, a portion of steamed broccoli.

Day 7

Breakfast

30 g granola, 100 g unsweetened Greek yogurt, 100 g blueberries, coffee with low fat milk.

Morning Snack

Tofu “egg” salad stuffed tomato.

Lunch

Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread, sliced bell peppers, sugar snap peas, a pear, 28 g walnuts.

Afternoon snack

A boiled egg, two oatcakes, and a portion of arugula.

Dinner

Rotisserie chicken tacos with pineapple salsa, a portion of watercress, two squares of dark chocolate with some Brazil nuts.

Using a meal plan can help someone to eat a healthful diet.

A person can calculate how many calories they need each day and adjust recipes and meals accordingly.

A person must eat a variety of different foods, so someone could rotate two or more weekly plans.