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Your (Realistic) Flat-Belly Meal Plan for a Healthy Week

Your excuses about not being able to eat healthy stop here.

Your (Realistic) Flat-Belly Meal Plan for a Healthy Week

Your excuses about not being able to eat healthy stop here.

How many times have you made it your goal to have a healthy week of eating right? And how many times did that goal fly out the window by Wednesday? We get it. One of the hardest hurdles to jump over when it comes to eating well is preparation and a plan. And most of us just don’t have the time! That’s why we’ve come up with a realistic flat-belly meal plan for a healthy week. After all, study after study shows that healthy home cooking is the fastest way to weight loss success. You’ll learn to cook simple, time-saving recipes that we bet you’ll add to your weekly rotation.

Below you’ll find some of our favorite recipes to get you through the week. Each day (complete with three meals) comes out to under 1,300 calories, which you can add to with any of our flat-belly approved snacks. Every recipe incorporates ingredients that help you burn fat, boost your metabolism, heal your gut, reduce weight-inducing inflammation, and keep you fuller longer—so you won’t be reaching for that 3 p.m. diet soda. (And by the way, the ingredients listed are for one person, and can easily be doubled or quadrupled if you’re cooking for a crowd.)

And as a little extra bonus, we’ve reduced your added sugar intake to essentially 0 grams per day. With some clever tricks (like adding bananas to sweeten your oatmeal) and by completely eschewing ultra-processed foods (which provide the average American with 90 percent of the added sugar you’d consume in a day), cooking at home not only helps you lower your calorie intake, but also helps you to cut that inflammation-inducing added sugar. So grab a pen and paper, get to the grocery store, and start cooking! You’ll start feeling slimmer, less bloated, and have more energy in no time.

1

Sunday

Meal Plan sunday

Breakfast: Yogurt Parfait with Mixed Berries and Granola

Whether you’re sleeping in or up before the sun, a yogurt parfait is the perfect way to start your Sunday. Packed with protein and slow-digesting fiber, this perfectly-portioned parfait will certainly tide you over until your late lunch or brunch—providing you with long-lasting energy that will help prevent the spikes in blood sugar your typical sugary bowl of cereal would give you. That’s why this is one of our favorite healthy breakfast ideas.

HOW TO MAKE IT: Add a spoonful of a cup of 2% Greek yogurt (if you haven’t purchased it in bulk, this is also equivalent to a single container) to the bottom of a dish. Microwave a half a cup of frozen mixed berries with a teaspoon of lemon juice until lightly defrosted. Layer on top a quarter cup of mixed berries, and half of a third of a cup of granola. Add the second half of your yogurt, then the berries, and then finish with granola.

NUTRITION: 283 calories / 10 g fat / 41 g carbs / 10 g fiber / 20 g sugar / 23 g protein

Lunch: Avocado Toast With Tomato and Fried Egg

This toast hits every part of the perfect fuel combination: lean protein from eggs, heart-healthy fat from avocado, and satiating, gut-healthy fiber from the bread and tomato. This magic trio will be a welcome substitution to that fat-laden breakfast of champions that only makes you feel sluggish and surprisingly hungry.

HOW TO MAKE IT: While bread is toasting, fry two eggs sunny-side up or over easy (either way, experts recommend you keep the yolk runny, as the egg can contain up to 50 percent more nutrients than a cooked yolk) in a nonstick pan. Mash half an avocado directly on the toast, and sprinkle with paprika, salt, and pepper. Layer on two slices of tomato and top with your eggs.

NUTRITION: 338 calories / 21 g fat / 22 g carbs / 8 g fiber / 0.5 g sugar / 18 g protein

Hummus

Snack: Hummus with Carrots and Cucumbers

This crunchy and creamy pair will be a perfect low-calorie snack to tide you over between meals today and throughout the week. Thanks to their high water content, carrots and cucumbers are two of the most satiating and hydrating low-cal veggies out there. And pairing them with protein- and fiber-rich hummus makes for a near-perfect weight loss snack. With just a single can of chickpeas, this recipe makes enough for a week’s worth of snacks!

HOW TO MAKE IT: Watch our instruction video here! Drain and rinse a 15-ounce can of chickpeas (but be sure to save the liquid!), and throw them into a blender. Add a clove of garlic, 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, the 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon, ¾ teaspoon salt, and then add back 2 tablespoons of the drained liquid or 2 tablespoons of tahini. While it’s blending, slowly drizzle in a ¼ cup of olive oil until smooth and creamy. Top with a sprinkle of paprika before serving!

NUTRITION: 110 calories / 6 g fat / 18 g carbs / 5 g fiber / 1 g sugar / 3 g protein (per 2 tbsp hummus + ½ cup each celery and cucumber sticks)

Dinner: Roasted Chicken, Veggies, and Quinoa

Welcome to meal prep Sunday! We’re pulling out all the tips and tricks to make this flat-belly meal plan meal-prep-ready. Tonight, you’ll be preparing dinner for two nights and three days worth of breakfast.

For your dinner tonight—as well as for lunch and dinner for the next couple days—you’ll be making a super simple roasted chicken breast with roasted veggies and quinoa. Chicken is a versatile, lean protein that’s rich in selenium—a mineral that keeps your skin glowing and your metabolism running properly. Quinoa is an ancient grain that’s touted for its micronutrients, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, and antioxidants, like fat-burning quercetin. And, of course, we’re getting in a rainbow of veggies to reap the unique properties of each.

HOW TO MAKE IT: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put two skin-on chicken breasts (about 1 pound) on a baking sheet, coating with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried rosemary, to taste. Next, chop up a sweet onion, half a pound of red pepper(s), a pound of carrots, and half a pound of brussels sprouts. Toss to coat in 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 cloves of garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Throw everything on one tray and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Meanwhile, you can cook your quinoa according to package instructions.

NUTRITION (makes 4 servings): 514 calories / 14 g fat / 52 g carbs / 10 g fiber / 11 g sugar / 47 g protein

Total Nutrition for the Day: 1,245 calories / 51 g fat / 133 g carbs / 33 g fiber / 32 g sugar (0 g added sugar) / 91 g protein


Meal Prep for Tomorrow: Steel-Cut Overnight Oats

Before hitting the hay, prepare breakfast for half of the week tonight! This recipe makes enough for 4 breakfasts, of which we’re only using 3 servings this week, so you can finish the last serving next Sunday (just throw a portion in the freezer tomorrow to keep it fresh)! We’re using the overnight oats method to cut down on time since we’ve chosen to use one of the longer-cooking oats, steel-cut. They might take longer to prepare, but steel-cut oats are one of the best cuts out there. They’re lower on the glycemic index than rolled or instant oats, meaning they’ll keep you fuller, longer. These oats are also loaded with vitamins B1 (thiamine) and B2 (riboflavin), which are so important, the government usually enriches your cereal with them!

HOW TO MAKE IT: Boil 4 cups of water in a pot. Add one cup of steel-cut oats and simmer for 1 minute. Cover the pot, allow it to cool, and then store in the pot overnight in the refrigerator. Yes, it’s that easy.

Meal Prep for Later This Week: Turkey Meatballs and Turkey Burger

These ground turkey meatballs and burger are so easy to make, and they’re packed with flavor. By flavor, we mean iron-rich spinach and prebiotic-providing onions. In fact, both spinach and onions are a source of prebiotics, a food source for your gut bugs. When your belly bacteria are fed well, they can help you shed those extra few pounds and even improve your mood! Tonight, you’ll be making meatballs for a spaghetti squash dish and a turkey patty for a turkey burger.

HOW TO MAKE IT: Cook down ½ large onion, 1 garlic clove, 1 package of chopped spinach in a tablespoon of olive oil until onions are tender. In a separate bowl, combine three-quarters of a pound of lean ground turkey with a third of a cup of breadcrumbs, 1 egg, and then the cooled onion and spinach. Season with salt, pepper, dried thyme and oregano, and a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. Combine with hands, and use two-thirds of the mixture to form 12 small meatballs.

The last third of the mixture (about ¼ pound) you can form into a patty—to be used as a turkey burger on Saturday! Place the meatballs and patty on a tray for about 25 minutes, or until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Once cooled to touch, place both in freezer-safe containers to be used later this week.

2

Monday

Meal Plan oats

Breakfast: Steel-Cut Overnight Oats with Cinnamon, Banana, and Walnuts

We love this recipe because there’s no health-harming added sugar! The sweetness of the ripe bananas and warmth of the cinnamon is enough to boost the flavor of the earthy oats. What’s more, the blood-sugar balancing effect of the cinnamon will elongate the staying power of these oats. Happy Monday, indeed!

HOW TO MAKE IT: Take the oats out of the pot and pour into a resealable container. For this morning, combine a cup of oats, a teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (includes nutmeg, cloves, and ginger), half a banana (sliced), about 5 chopped walnuts, and a quarter cup of almond milk, or your milk of choice. Place in the microwave for a minute, stir, and enjoy!

NUTRITION: 408 calories / 10 g fat / 75 g carbs / 3 g fiber / 8 g sugar / 6 g protein

Lunch: Leftover Chicken, Roasted Veggies, and Quinoa

Combine ½ a chicken breast, a cup and a half of veggies, and a ½ cup quinoa.

NUTRITION: 313 calories / 5 g fat / 37 g carbs / 10 g fiber / 32 g protein

Dinner: Lemon, Paprika Salmon with Roasted Asparagus and Brown Rice

Don’t fret about having to cook tonight, this sheet-pan supper is super simple. You’ll be making a piece of sockeye salmon (or wild salmon of your choice, just not farmed Atlantic) with roasted asparagus and brown rice. An important part of the flat-belly diet is getting in those anti-inflammatory, brain-protecting omega-3s that will help you lose weight and improve your health, and salmon is teeming with them. Plus, you’ll get in a serving of prebiotics via the asparagus to start healing your gut and decrease the inflammation that’s causing weight gain.

HOW TO MAKE IT: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay two 5-oz servings of salmon (skin side down) on a lightly oiled tray alongside a small bunch of asparagus. Season salmon with salt, pepper, and paprika, and the asparagus with salt and pepper. Drizzle over 2 tablespoons of garlic-infused olive oil and the juice from half a lemon. Place in oven and cook until fish flakes easily with a fork, about 16-18 minutes. In the meantime, cook up 3 servings of brown rice — one you’ll use tonight, and two you’ll use later on in the week. Save two-thirds of the asparagus and the second salmon fillet for leftovers.

NUTRITION: 438 calories / 12 g fat / 43 g carbs / 6 g fiber / 35 g protein

Total Nutrition for the Day: 1,160 calories / 27 g fat / 155 g carbs / 19 g fiber / 8 g sugar (0 g added sugar) / 73 g protein


3

Tuesday

Meal Plan salmon salad

Breakfast: Mixed Frozen Berry Smoothie

Keeping a bag of frozen fruit in your freezer makes it so easy to whip up this portable smoothie. Besides the convenience, frozen fruit can also be healthier than fresh fruit in the off-season because frozen fruit is picked at its peak and is full of free-radical-fighting antioxidants. What’s more, the act of freezing the fruit may also help release some of those antioxidants as the ice crystals can burst open the cells in which they’re stored! We like putting yogurt in our smoothies to add a little fat and protein and spinach to add fiber. And either a tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia seeds for their anti-inflammatory omega-3s. All three will help to blunt any spike in blood sugar from the fruit (which also have their own source of fiber).

HOW TO MAKE IT: Combine ¾ cup of mixed berries, half a frozen or fresh banana, a handful of spinach, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, ¼ cup Greek yogurt, and a cup of unsweetened almond milk, or milk of your choice. Blend until it reaches your desired consistency, adding water to thin if necessary. Feel free to mix up the flavor combination next week with any one of these 20 Best Yogurt Smoothies for Weight Loss—just be sure to keep your fruit to a single serving per smoothie.

NUTRITION: 238 calories / 7 g fat / 32 g carbs / 9 g fiber / 17 g sugar / 9 g protein

Lunch: Avocado, Tomato, Corn, and Salmon Salad with Cilantro-Lime Dressing

Remember that second piece of salmon? That’ll be your protein for lunch! To complement the spicy paprika on the salmon, we’ve chosen to do a take on a fajita salad. Our favorite part is the simple cilantro-lime salad dressing. Making your own dressing at home can save you 12 grams of added sugar. Don’t believe us? Check out these surprising foods with added sugar.

HOW TO MAKE IT: Combine piece of salmon, ¼ avocado, half a tomato, and a handful of frozen corn (which will thaw by lunchtime) with 2 cups of lettuce of your choice (we like romaine). Adding a handful of cheddar cheese or crushed tortilla chips is optional. To make the dressing, combine a cup of cilantro, a clove of garlic, the juice of 1 lime, a generous pinch of salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Save half of the dressing for a salad later this week.

NUTRITION: 462 calories / 33 g fat / 16 g carbs / 6 g fiber / 4 g sugar (0 g added sugar) / 30 g protein

Dinner: Leftover Chicken with Quinoa, Asparagus

NUTRITION: 459 calories / 10 g fat / 52 g carbs / 10 g fiber / 11 g sugar / 47 g protein

Total Nutrition for the Day: 1,160 calories / 50 g fat / 100 g carbs / 25 g fiber / 32 g sugar (0 g added sugar) / 86 g protein


4

Wednesday

Meal Plan pork tenderloin

Breakfast: Steel-Cut Overnight Oats with Cinnamon, Banana, and Walnuts

NUTRITION: 408 calories / 10 g fat / 75 g carbs / 3 g fiber / 8 g sugar / 6 g protein

Lunch: Quinoa Bowl with Roasted Veggies, Leftover Chicken, and Lettuce

NUTRITION: 473 calories / 5 g fat / 37 g carbs / 10 g fiber / 32 g protein

Dinner: Soy-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Leftover Asparagus and Potato Wedges

The last protein you’ll be cooking this week is another lean meat, pork tenderloin. Congratulations! You made it through the week without red meat! The average American eats about 3.3 oz of red meat per day. Eating too much red meat has been linked to chronic, inflammation, heart problems, cancer, and an unhealthy gut, so our flat-belly plan eschews the stuff. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it, though! Experts recommend having only 3 servings of red meat a week—but make sure it’s grass-fed beef, not grain-fed. This source is teeming with heart-healthy omega-3s and fat-burning conjugated linoleic fatty acids. It’s also lower in inflammatory saturated fats.

HOW TO MAKE IT: Marinate a pound of pork tenderloin in ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of honey, 3 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger, 3 minced garlic cloves, a tablespoon of red pepper flakes, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and a tablespoon of canola oil. Allow to sit in the fridge, chilled for 30 minutes up to 2 hours, and then allow to come to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Peel a half a pound of russet potatoes (about 2 small), and cut them in half lengthwise. Then, cut each half into 6 wedges. In a large bowl, combine the potato wedges, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 clove of minced garlic, and 1 tsp dried thyme and rosemary. Toss to coat. Spread the fries in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake for about 30 minutes.

Brown tenderloin on all sides in a cast-iron skillet for 3 minutes, then transfer to a baking sheet, cooking for 12-15 minutes or until the meat reaches 155 degrees F. Allow to rest under foil about 10 minutes before cutting. Tonight, you’ll have ¼ of the pork, half of the potatoes, and the rest of the asparagus. Save leftovers for tomorrow.

NUTRITION: 400 calories / 4 g fat / 53 g carbs / 9 g fiber / 11 g sugar / 39 g protein (makes 4 servings of pork and 2 servings of potatoes)

Total Nutrition for the Day: 1,281 calories / 19 g fat / 165 g carbs / 22 g fiber / 19 g sugar (6 g from added sugar) / 77 g protein


5

Thursday

Meal Plan spaghetti and meatballs

Breakfast: Mixed Berry Yogurt Parfait with Granola

NUTRITION: 283 calories / 10 g fat / 41 g carbs / 10 g fiber / 20 g sugar / 23 g protein

Lunch: Thai Pork Tenderloin Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce and Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Who knew leftovers could taste this good? Lean pork tenderloin is the perfect protein for this Thai-inspired salad. We like to top it off with two dressings that play off each other. The first is the leftover cilantro-lime vinaigrette, and the second is a spicy peanut sauce to add some healthy polyunsaturated fats to your plate. If you don’t already have some peanut butter, be sure to check out our PB guide, The 36 Top Peanut Butters—Ranked!, before you head to the store.

HOW TO MAKE IT: Using leftover pork from yesterday, throw together a Thai pork salad. Combine a quarter pound of pork (a third of the leftovers), 2 cups romaine lettuce, ¼ red bell pepper, ½ cup cilantro leaves, and 1 shredded carrot. Top with the rest of the cilantro-lime dressing. We like the two-dressing combo with some peanut sauce. To make, combine ½ tablespoon of peanut butter, a squirt of Sriracha, a teaspoon of soy sauce, a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger, and enough water to thin it out.

NUTRITION: 356 calories / 20 g fat / 15 g carbs / 4 g fiber / 6 g sugar / 33 g protein

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meatballs

We know pasta is a weeknight staple, which is why we had to include it in our meal plan. But instead of using refined, inflammation-inducing white-flour pasta, we’re using a spaghetti squash. It’s just one of our favorite pasta tips to stay skinny because not only is its glycemic index lower than spaghetti, it’s also higher in micronutrients like vitamin A, folic acid, and potassium.

HOW TO MAKE IT: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a 1 pound, small spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place in an oven-safe baking dish, flesh-side up, and pour about 2 tablespoons of water into each half. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until tender. In the meantime, pour a serving of marinara sauce into a small saucepan along with 6 of the mini meatballs to begin to heat up and defrost. Cover. Once the squash is done, pour out the water and use a fork to scrape long, spaghetti-like strands from the flesh onto your plate. Save the other half of the squash for lunch tomorrow.

NUTRITION: 400 calories / 14 g fat / 32 g carbs / 6 g fiber / 13 g sugar (0 g added) / 28 g protein

Total Nutrition for the Day: 1,040 calories / 44 g fat / 88 g carbs / 20 g fiber / 39 g sugar (6 added) / 84 g protein


6

Friday

Meal Plan pork fried rice

Breakfast: Steel-Cut Overnight Oats with Cinnamon, Banana, and Walnuts

NUTRITION: 408 calories / 10 g fat / 75 g carbs / 3 g fiber / 8 g sugar / 6 g protein

Lunch: Leftover Spaghetti Squash and Meatballs

NUTRITION: 400 calories / 14 g fat / 32 g carbs / 6 g fiber / 13 g sugar (0 g added) / 28 g protein

Dinner: Pork Fried Rice

This fried rice recipe is the most underrated weight-loss food out there because it utilizes two cooking methods that boost nutrients. For starters, it uses cold brown rice, which changes the starches into resistant starches through a process called retrogradation (adding to the resistant starches found in the corn and peas). Resistant starches pass through your gut undigested, where they feed your good gut bacteria who then release anti-inflammatory compounds. It’s also fried up with oil, a fat that acts as a barrier against rapid digestion.

HOW TO MAKE IT: Cut up two 4-oz portions of pork into cubes along with 1/2 cup diced onion. Heat a tablespoon of canola oil in a pan over medium-high head. Add pork and onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add a 1 cup of frozen peas and carrots, and 1/4 cup frozen corn. Move veggies to the side, and crack two eggs on the other side, whisking to scramble. Add in 1 cup rice, 1 tbsp soy sauce, a splash of sesame oil if you have it, and fry together for another minute. Makes 2 servings.

NUTRITION: 415 calories / 14 g fat / 37 g carbs / 4.5 g fiber / 4 g sugar / 33 g protein

Total Nutrition for the Day: 1,223 calories / 38 g fat / 144 g carbs / 14 g fiber / 25 g sugar (0 g added) / 67 g protein


7

Saturday

Meal Plan turkey burger

Breakfast: Onion, Peppers, and Cheese Omelet with Hash Browns

Finally—the weekend! If you actually have time to cook this morning, you’ll love this southwestern-style omelet with leftover hash browns. Eggs are one of our favorite superfoods because they’re loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and micronutrients. Don’t just whip up the whites, though; the yolks boast a fat-fighting, brainpower-boosting nutrient called choline, so opting for whole eggs can actually help you trim down. That’s not all, find out what else eggs can do to support your health with these 12 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Eat Eggs.

HOW TO MAKE IT: Cut up a half a cup of onions and peppers, and saute in EVOO or a tablespoon of grass-fed butter. Add 2 whisked eggs and top with a quarter cup of cheese, season with salt and pepper, and put a lid on to help cook. Meanwhile, heat up leftover potato wedges in a cast iron skillet.

NUTRITION: 386 calories / 25 g fat / 23 g carbs / 4 g fiber / 3 g sugar / 18 g protein

Lunch: Leftover Pork Fried Rice

NUTRITION: 415 calories / 14 g fat / 37 g carbs / 4.5 g fiber / 4 g sugar / 33 g protein

Dinner: Turkey Burger with Side Salad

A burger done right isn’t a terrible nutritional choice—even if you’re trying to lose weight. Topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, a little avocado and cheese, some dijon mustard and sandwiched between a reasonably-sized bun, a burger can be a high-protein treat that won’t completely throw your diet off track—unlike many of these burgers

HOW TO MAKE IT: Reheat burger patty in a flat iron skillet on medium-high. On the other side of the pan, drop a tablespoon of grass-fed butter onto the skillet and warm up an English muffin until brown. Remove bun. After about 3 minutes, top turkey burger with a handful of cheddar cheese, pour a tablespoon of water onto the pan, and cover the pan with a lid. Once the cheese has melted, remove, place on top of the bun, and layer on a slice of tomato, avocado, and top off with some dijon mustard. Serve with a side salad of arugula (or lettuce of your choice) with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

NUTRITION: 500 calories / 21 g fat / 43 g carbs / 8 g fiber / 5 g sugar / 36 g protein

Total Nutrition for the Day: 1,308 calories / 60 g fat / 103 g carbs / 16 g fiber / 12 g sugar (0 g added) / 87 g protein