Planning menus for optimum health involves eating whole foods for the wide variety of vitamins and minerals, and eating all three macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) in appropriate portions for steady blood sugar. We refer to the main meal components as protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
We have provided some menus, but also want to give you the tools to plan your own. In this section you will find guidelines including specific ideas for meals and snacks. Use the links for more information about these components, specific food choices and preparation methods for foods used less commonly.
That you understand enough about the food categories so you can easily make substitutions to fit your preferences (i.e. we may list broccoli in a suggested meal, but you might choose to substitute cauliflower or green beans).
That you get a sense of what a balanced plate looks like at each meal. Lunch without a vegetable? Something's missing. No fruit today? Add it after dinner. The HSPH Healthy Eating Plate is also a good guideline for what foods you should be putting on your plate.
Here are some meal ideas, for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. We've also included suggestions of foods you can use to alternate, to satisfy your personal preferences.
Scrambled egg, whole wheat toast, orange
Omelette with cheese, whole wheat toast, strawberries
Rolled oats (cooked in soy milk), topped with raisins and 1/4 cup of nuts
Cottage cheese, fresh blueberries, 1/4 cup of granola
Grilled chicken sandwich, made with whole wheat bread, tomato, lettuce and onion with a side of greens.
Hummus, whole wheat pita bread, tomato, red pepper, salad greens
Tuna with celery, salad greens, whole wheat pita
Pita pizza (use whole wheat pita as crust, top with marinara sauce, mozzarella) topped with red, yellow & green peppers
Black beans and salsa on a corn tortilla, broccoli
Chicken or fish curry, brown rice and side salad
Egg salad sandwich on whole grain bread, carrots
Cheese & whole crackers
Peanut butter & apple
Almonds & pear
Cottage cheese & whole grain crackers with pineapple
Hummus & pita chips or carrots
Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup of granola
Banana and almond butter
Pistachios & orange
Tofu stir-fry (chicken, carrots, snow peas, broccoli) and brown rice
Vegetable lasagna, made with tempeh, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onions, tomato sauce and cheese
Pizza (whole wheat crust, fresh or sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, chicken pieces), mixed greens salad
Dinner salad: mixed greens, tomatoes, broccoli, tuna, chickpeas, cheese, balsamic vinegar and oil for dressing
Black bean burger, whole wheat roll, cheese, tomato, mixed greens, avocado
Whole wheat pasta with chicken, garlic, fresh tomato, chopped spinach
Tortilla with beans, cheese, salsa, pepper, red onion, avocado
Salmon, baked sweet potato, steamed asparagus
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