Healthy Meal Plans
In an ideal world, we’d all eat flavorful, whole foods all the time. Start the day with a satisfying breakfast that holds us over until our yummy lunch, and finishing the day with a balanced and delicious dinner. It’s that easy, right?
Between busy schedules, stressful days, and the ever-rising costs of fresh fruit and vegetables, it’s more difficult than ever to prepare food that tastes and feels good. We’ve all been there, and it may be overwhelming to change your default routine. To search for and find a healthy meal plan that cuts costs and time seems like an impossible task, but we’re here to help you with the first steps.
Read on to find:
- Information on what a healthy meal plan is and why it can benefit you;
- Steps on how to build your own healthy meal plan;
- A 5-day sample meal plan for any schedule;
- A shopping list so you can go straight from this article to the store;
- Pantry basics to keep on hand for your future meal planning;
- Our solution is to make fresh and local produce accessible and a seamless part of your routine (in words? Gardyn).
What is a Healthy Meal Plan?
While your reasoning for starting a healthy meal plan could be anything, from weight loss to finding a routine in a busy schedule, there are some elements that every meal plan needs. It should have:
- Enough calories to give you energy throughout the day;
- A healthy mix of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates;
- Sufficient fiber to satisfy you and keep your gut healthy;
- Room for treats and special occasions that might not be included in your plan;
- Flavor and variety keep the joy in healthy eating.
Most importantly, your healthy meal plan should add to your life, not take away from it. No more grabbing a protein bar and calling that lunch, or sipping an iced coffee for breakfast. A healthy meal plan should leave you feeling full and energized throughout your day.
Remember that if your goal is to lose weight, you have to have a daily calorie intake that’s less than what you’re expending. Make sure that you have enough calories to support your daily exercise and activities.
How to Build a Healthy Meal Plan
There’s a lot of advice out there about how to build a healthy meal plan, and there are a lot of ideas about what are and aren’t healthy foods. Start with the basics:
- Take stock of what you already have in your pantry and your diet: Consider what kinds of foods you already gravitate toward and start there.
- Plan ahead of time: We often turn to quick and easy fixes when we’re stressed or in a rush, which can be avoided if you have a meal planned ahead of time.
- Focus on fresh foods: Fresh food tastes and feels better, and naturally introduces more flavor and nutrition in your meals.
- Don’t leave your leftovers: They should be just as exciting to you as the day you prepared them. Don’t let them go to waste!
The meal plan we’ve designed for you is inspired by one of our favorite diets ⎯ the Mediterranean diet. It incorporates lots of fresh veggies, whole grains, lean proteins like fish, and healthy fats like olive oil.
Think the Spanish coast, Italian rivieras, and Greek Islands…What’s not to love? And, just to clarify, the word diet here doesn’t mean restrictive. This is a balanced and healthy meal plan that incorporates all food groups in an accessible and delicious way.
The Mediterranean diet relies on simple and stripped-back healthy recipes. This means you can put your own spin on any dish, and swap out the suggested ingredients for what you love or what you already have in your fridge. So, while our meal plan is loosely inspired by the Mediterranean diet, you can also still make your meal plan your own! But feel free to start with ours.
The 5-Day Meal Plan
With Gardyn, we’ve concocted a 5-day meal plan that will inspire you to get out your utensils and savor every bite.
- Breakfast: Soft-boiled eggs with hummus and fresh arugula.
- Lunch: Quinoa salad with arugula and garbanzo beans.
- Dinner: Lemon chicken with roasted bell peppers and kale.
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt with walnuts and strawberries.
- Lunch: Veggie sandwich with hummus, tomato, and cucumber.
- Dinner: Leftover chicken and veggies (yay for less cooking!).
- Breakfast:Eggs with strawberries and almond butter toast.
- Lunch: Leftover quinoa salad with arugula and garbanzo beans.
- Dinner: Salmon with roasted eggplant.
- Breakfast: Omelet with leftover salmon and eggplant.
- Lunch: Pita wrap with tomato, cucumber, avocado and leftover chicken.
- Dinner: Lentils with tofu and Swiss Chard.
- Breakfast: Yogurt with almond butter swirl and strawberries.
- Lunch: Veggie avocado wrap with Greek yogurt dip.
- Dinner: Leftover lentils.
And a little something extra!
The best part of any meal plan is the snacks and treats you find along the way! Use and reuse what you already have in your pantry. Add some pita chips to your hummus or dip your strawberries in chocolate. The possibilities are endless, and you always deserve a treat.
The Shop ‘Til You Drop List – Without the Drop!
So you’re reading this on your phone in the Whole Foods parking lot? Fair — we’ve been there too. Here’s your shopping list:
- Greek yogurt;
- Almond Butter;
- Swiss Chard;
- Bell peppers;
- Fresh herbs like basil, dill, and oregano.
With the Gardyn Home Kit, some of these ingredients could already be in your kitchen. Gardyn allows you to grow fresh produce in your home. For a staple ingredient like kale, you can grow it from seed in a Gardyn yCube and harvest what you need. Not only are you making healthy changes to your meals, but to the very ingredients you’re eating day-to-day.
Welcome to My Pantry
No matter what approach you take to your healthy meal plan, we can definitely recommend some staples to have on hand that will make quick and healthy meals taste and feel better.
- Fresh herbs – some favorites are dill, mint, and thyme;
- Extra virgin olive oil;
- Carbohydrates like pasta or quinoa;
- Dried vegetables such as chickpeas or lentils;
- Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits;
- Tomatoes, either fresh or canned;
- Vitamin-rich greens like kale and Swiss chard;
- Lean protein sources like salmon and yogurt.
Plus, we have a secret weapon…Microgreens are small but mighty. As a superfood, they have a high concentration of vitamins and minerals that will load your dishes up with flavor and nutrients. Since they’re small, you can add them to almost anything that needs a little more punch. On a Gardyn indoor gardening system, you can choose from several varieties of microgreens and harvest them in as little as a week.
Your New Meal Plan – Cut Costs, Not Flavor
The internet contains endless recipes and ideas for how to make a healthy meal plan – but you need to find one that works for you. Incorporating greens and produce as a regular part of your diet is no easy feat. That’s why Gardyn is such a key solution ⎯ not only does it contribute to the planet by conserving water and energy, its innovative indoor gardening systems allow you to have budget-friendly access to fresh produce. Simplify your new healthy meal plan and skip the extra steps with Gardyn:
- Let the AI-powered system monitor your plants – no green thumb needed;
- Choose from 80+ varieties of produce to find what you love;
- Use the savings calculator to see just how much you can save with a Home Kit;
- Use your free monthly compostable yCubes to add plants that fit into your plans;
- Benefit from Gardyn’s network of recipes and members that have similar goals as you when it comes to nutritious and fresh food.
Following healthy meal plans help you work toward a lot of different goals ⎯ more nutrition and more flavor with less cost and less stress. Those are the same goals you achieve with an indoor gardening system from Gardyn.
Better for the environment, better for your home, better for you, and your family’s health. It’s hard to believe everything will also taste better! And now that you’ve started with your healthy meal plan, why not go the extra mile? Just one more step – learn more about how Gardyn works and start eating fresher in a matter of weeks.