Looking for a healthy weekly meal plan? Here’s a 28 day healthy meal plan with recipes for healthy meals throughout the week.
Are you overwhelmed by what healthy food to cook but don’t know where to start? Alex and I were there when we first got married! But over the last 10 plus years, we’ve invested a huge amount of time and energy into a system of eating healthy meals that actually works. Since then, we’ve become authors of the cookbook Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018 and best vegetarian cookbooks. We’ve cooked everywhere from our home kitchen to the TODAY Show with the message that healthy eating can be “pretty simple.”
Healthy eating is more than just making a recipe here and there: it’s finding a sustainable practice of healthy meals in the long term. The goal of this healthy weekly meal plan is to help you find a handful of favorite healthy recipes that you can make again and again! If you’d like, subscribe to our newsletter for new weekly recipes.
Want all our meal plans? Go to Meal Planning Ideas.
Is this healthy meal plan right for you?
This healthy meal plan is right for you if you eat a variety of foods, but want to eat healthier and eat more vegetables! This meal plan includes fish, shellfish, vegetarian, and vegan recipes.
This 28 Day Healthy Meal Plan is our main meal plan. If you eat exclusively vegetarian and vegan, choose from one of the following meal plan options:
If you have a very specific diet or health condition, consult a medical professional to understand whether these recipes are right for you.
The problem with meal planning calendars
For Alex and me, the problem with meal planning calendars and healthy weekly meal plans is that they offer no flexibility. Most meal plans we’ve found call for cooking something new every day of the week. They’re overwhelming with the amount of food prep that they call for! They also don’t account for your schedule: what if Monday nights I have a weekly meeting where I eat dinner? Or this Friday night I’m going out with friends?
Here’s what makes our healthy meal plan different:
- Spotlight dinner ideas. For us, dinner is our main meal where we cook and get the majority of our nutrients for the day. Our approach is to go big on dinner, and then do super simple things for breakfast and lunch. That’s what works for us! At the bottom of the meal plan you’ll find lists of healthy breakfast ideas, snack ideas, and lunch ideas. You can use these, or find others that fit your tastes.
- Pick 3. Each week, we offer 3 healthy meals for dinner. You can make them on any day that week! This encourages you to customize the ideas based on your schedule and particular tastes. It also encourages eating up leftovers.
- Repeats. Since we only offer 3 dinner ideas, this also encourages you to make dinner ideas you liked from previous weeks.
What if this meal plan doesn’t work for me?
It’s possible this healthy weekly meal plan might not work for you–and that’s ok! This meal plan might provide too much flexibility for you and not motivate you to make the recipes. Or, you might not like the style of these recipes. (If you eat a vegetarian or vegan diet, you’ll want to use our 28 Day Vegetarian Meal Plan and 28 Day Vegan Meal Plan). We know healthy meal plans are not for everyone, but this is an outline of how Alex and I cook on a weekly basis.
Run out of dinner recipes? We’ve got hundreds! Here are some places to browse:
Related: Looking for workout plans too? Try our 28 Day Home Workout Plan.
Download: Healthy meal plan spreadsheet
To make our Healthy Meal Plan tangible, we’ve created a downloadable meal planning calendar for you! It’s our Healthy Meal Plan spreadsheet, where you can copy in your meal planning ideas for each week. Simply download the spreadsheet and then copy in the links to the recipes for each week below. Here’s the download!
Healthy Meal Plan
Before you start: here’s how to use our Healthy Meal Plan!
- Pick at least 3 dinner ideas. Confession: Alex and I don’t cook every night! We make enough for leftovers and eat them throughout the week too, sometimes re-purposing them in new ways. For this meal plan, pick 3 days that you want to cook dinners. Fill in the other days with eating leftovers, doing “clean out the fridge” meals without recipes, and allow for meals out. If you end up needing more healthy meals for that week, skip ahead to the next week and try one. (Or, pick one of our other Dinner Recipes!)
- Fill in breakfast, lunch, and snacks ideas. We focus on dinner as the main daily meal, so we keep breakfast, lunches, and snacks SUPER simple. If possible, we love things that don’t use recipes (like English muffins with peanut butter, yogurt with fruit). That way, we save our cooking energy for dinner.
- Copy the links into your Healthy Meal Plan spreadsheet. Using a spreadsheet makes things much more tangible than just using a list! Once you’ve taken stock of what your week holds and what nights you’ll have time to cook, fill in your dinner ideas accordingly. We suggest filling out the meal plan on the weekend (Sundays seem to be good for many people).
- Read the meal prep planning notes. Below each week of healthy dinner ideas, we’ve included some meal prep planning notes to help with ways to make ahead or prep in advance.
Healthy Dinner Ideas Week 1
*Pick at least 3 dinners to cook at home and copy them into your Healthy Meal Plan spreadsheet on the days for Week 1! On days you’re not cooking, use up leftovers or do “clean out the fridge” meals, and allow for meals out.
- Quick Garlicky Shrimp Couscous (15 minutes)
- 15 Minute Gnocchi with Romesco (15 minutes) + green salad with Super Simple Salad Dressing
- Chipotle Black Bean Tortilla Soup (35 minutes)
- Veggie Burrito Bowl with Cauliflower Rice (40 minutes*)
- Leftovers from above*
*Meal Prep Plan Notes
- The Shrimp Couscous doesn’t require any advanced prep: it’s super quick!
- For the Gnocchi, the Romesco sauce can be prepared in advance. You also may want to serve with a green salad; the vinaigrette is perfect to mix up in advance. Make sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.
- The Tortilla Soup takes about 20 minutes of hands on time. If desired, you can make the tortilla strips in advance or use crushed tortilla chips (just find chips that are minimally processed, with a few ingredients like corn, oil and salt). You can make the entire soup in advance and refrigerate: the flavor gets better over time!
- The Veggie Burrito bowl has a few components that are easy to make ahead: the peppers and onions can be sliced and cooked in advance. For the sweet potatoes, you could also bake in advance and reheat. If you can’t find cauliflower rice frozen, you can make it from raw cauliflower: you could also cook that in advance and reheat. The eggs are best to make the day of. While it takes a while to prepare the components, this meal is SO delicious and great for leftovers!
Healthy Dinner Ideas Week 2
*Pick at least 3 dinners to cook at home and copy them into your Healthy Meal Plan spreadsheet on the days for Week 2! On days you’re not cooking, use up leftovers or do “clean out the fridge” meals, and allow for meals out.
- Loaded Quinoa Tacos (30 minutes)
- Baked Salmon with Chimichurri Sauce (40 minutes*)
- Tuscan Soup with White Beans (30 minutes) + green salad with Super Simple Salad Dressing or Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- Make again! 1 or 2 favorite dinner ideas from Week 1
- Leftovers from above*
Meal Plan Prep Notes
- For the Tacos, you can make the quinoa filling in advance, and then just reheat the filling and assemble when serving, which would make it a 15 minute meal! If you’re serving with pickled red onions, mix those up in advance too: they take 5 minutes to make and you can store in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
- The Salmon is very simple to prepare and bakes in just 10 minutes! If you’re serving with the chimichurri sauce, it can easily be made in advance and refrigerated until serving. If you’d like to serve with the roasted potato rounds, they can be made ahead and reheated in the oven with the salmon.
- For the Soup, you can slice the fennel and chard in advance and refrigerate until making the soup; in this case we’d make the soup within a day or two of cutting the vegetables. While the soup simmers, you can whisk up the dressing for the salad. We like using boxed salad greens for easy prep.
Healthy Dinner Ideas Week 3
*Pick at least 3 dinners to cook at home and copy them into your Healthy Meal Plan spreadsheet on the days for Week 3! On days you’re not cooking, use up leftovers or do “clean out the fridge” meals, and allow for meals out.
- Chickpea Curry with Rice (20 minutes) + rice or quinoa
- Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta (30 minutes) + leftover rice or quinoa, couscous from Week 1, or bread
- Thai Sweet Potatoes with Peanut Drizzle (35 minutes)
- Make again! 1 or 2 favorite dinner ideas from Week 1 or 2
- Leftovers from above*
Meal Plan Prep Notes
- For the Curry, you can make the chickpeas in advance (though they’re seriously fast to make). If serving with rice, you can make the basmati rice in advance (or in an Instant Pot) and reheat. Tip: To reheat the rice: place the rice in a saucepan with a splash of water and use a fork to break up any clumps. Heat over low heat until warmed through and moist.
- For the Shrimp, if desired you could mince and dice the onion and garlic prior to serving and refrigerate. Serve with rice or quinoa (see above); you could use leftovers if you have them. Or make the Quick Couscous from Week 1, or serve with pita bread.
- from Week 1.
- For the Thai Sweet Potatoes, you can make the peanut sauce in advance. You could also slice the veggies for the slaw in advance and then mix it with the lime and seasoning prior to serving. If desired you can cook the sweet potatoes in advance and reheat: you can bake them or use an Instant Pot and the cook time is around 35 minutes.
Healthy Dinner Ideas Week 4
*Pick at least 3 dinners to cook at home and copy them into your Healthy Meal Plan spreadsheet on the days for Week 4! On days you’re not cooking, use up leftovers or do “clean out the fridge” meals, and allow for meals out.
- Greek Quesadillas (15 minutes)
- Salmon en Papillote with Roasted Potatoes (40 minutes)
- Cauliflower and Tomato Coconut Curry (35 minutes, plus rice)
- Make again! 1 or 2 favorite dinner ideas from Week 1, 2 or 3
- Leftovers from above*
Meal Plan Prep Notes
- The Quesadillas require no advanced prep at all!
- The Salmon en Papillote bakes for just about 10 minutes; the potatoes are what increase the prep time. You could roast the potatoes in advance and reheat in the oven prior to serving with the salmon.
- For the Curry, you could chop the vegetables in advance and refrigerate until serving: in that case make the curry within about a day or two. Follow the rice and quinoa prep instructions from Week 3.
Healthy Breakfast Ideas Weeks 1-4
Alex and I do really, really simple breakfasts that don’t require a recipe so we don’t have to think too hard in the morning. This frees us up to spend most of our creative energy on dinner. Pick any of these to eat throughout the week and copy them into your Healthy Meal Plan spreadsheet (or if you prefer, don’t use the spreadsheet at all). We’ve offered a variety of healthy meals to account for your breakfast tastes and style. Do repeats as much as you’d like!
- PB toast: Peanut butter (unsweetened) or Homemade Nut Butter on multigrain toast or English muffin
- Oatmeal: Best Oatmeal with PB&J or DIY Instant Oatmeal
- Yogurt: Plain yogurt (with a splash of maple syrup) with granola or berries
- Muesli or granola: Cinnamon Pecan Muesli or Healthy Granola
- Avocado toast: Avocado Toast with Egg (sunny side up egg is quicker)
- Muffins: Apple Oatmeal Muffins, Banana Oatmeal Muffins, or Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins (made in advance)
- Mini Frittatas: Veggie Mini Frittatas (made ahead & refrigerated or frozen)
- Sandwiches: 5-Minute Pesto Breakfast Sandwich
- Smoothies: Strawberry Smoothie, Banana Smoothie, Berry Smoothie, Green Smoothie, Blueberry Smoothie, or Honeydew Smoothie
Healthy Snack Ideas Weeks 1-4
Pick any of these ideas eat throughout the week and copy them into your Healthy Weekly Meal Plan spreadsheet (or if you prefer, don’t use the spreadsheet at all for snacks).
- https://www.acouplecooks.com/homemade-crackers/Fruit & dip: Dark Chocolate Hummus, Cinnamon Yogurt Fruit Dip
- Veggies & dip: Hummus, Glowing Green Hummus, or Healthy Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip
- Crackers & dip: Green Pea Dip, Classic Tuna Salad, Homemade Crackers
- Muffins: Healthy Banana Bread Muffins
- Yogurt: Healthy Chocolate Snack, Plain yogurt (with a splash of maple syrup) with granola or berries
- Crispy chickpeas or beans: Crispy Roasted Chickpeas, Crispy Roasted Black Beans
- Kale chips: Kale Chips
- Nuts & fruit: A handful of almonds and dried cherries
- Popcorn: Homemade or purchased without flavoring
- See also: Vegan Snacks, Healthy Snack Recipes
Healthy Lunch Ideas Weeks 1-4
Lunches can be hard, especially if you’re eating at your desk! Again, Alex and my philosophy for lunches are to keep them super, super simple, without a recipe if possible. Pick any of these to eat throughout the week and copy them into your Healthy Meal Plan spreadsheet (or if you prefer, don’t use the spreadsheet at all for lunches).
- Leftovers from any of the dinners!
- PB toast: Peanut butter (unsweetened) on multigrain toast or English muffin
- Salads: Simple Chickpea Salad, Mexican Quinoa, Black Bean Salad, Vegan Italian Pasta Salad, Lentil Salad
- Beans: Easy Cannellini Beans
- Fruit & dip: Peanut Butter Dip with green apples
- Mini frittatas: Veggie Mini Frittatas (made ahead & refrigerated or frozen)
- Veggies & dip: Hummus, Green Hummus, or White Bean Dip, veggies and crackers, cheese
- Sandwiches: Basil Egg Salad, Chickpea Salad Sandwich, Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich, Classic Tuna Salad, Tuna Salad with Egg, Avocado Tuna Salad
- Toasts: Ricotta & White Bean Toasts, Avocado Toast
- Rollups: Hummus and Veggie Roll Ups, Mexican Pinwheels
- Sides: Easy Stuffed Dates, Perfect Boiled Eggs
- Crackers & dip: Famous Tomato Dip,
- Lentils: Seasoned Brown Lentils with Greek yogurt or cashew cream and pita wedges
- Soups: Creamy Vegan Tomato Soup
- Any of the Snacks above
Did you like this healthy meal plan?
We’d love to hear your feedback on healthy meal plans: let us know in the comments below (or click the heart below). And let us know if you have any questions!
If you enjoyed the recipes in this healthy weekly meal plan, you might enjoy our healthy cookbook Pretty Simple Cooking! And remember, if you’ve used this one a few times, we have a few others where you can find recipe favorites:
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.