Easy, healthy meal ideas for the week ahead: Chicken fajita stuffed peppers, tuna macaroni salad and more

Welcome to Start TODAY. Sign up for our Start TODAY newsletter to join the 31-day challenge and receive daily inspiration sent to your inbox.

You asked, we answered! Hundreds of Start TODAY members told us they wanted more healthy, balanced meal ideas to help them reach their health goals. This dietitian-designed meal plan gives you the flexibility to enjoy summer while learning the building blocks of healthy eating.

These days, we’re all too busy. Easy meal prep will help free you up for the things at the top of your to-do list. Meal planning isn’t as daunting as it sounds. Spend just 10 or 15 minutes mapping out your meals, jot down what you need and head to the store. That’s it. Since you’re busy enough this season and don’t need another thing on your to-do list, we’ve also got suggestions for streamlining meal prep — and, best of all, you can even take the weekends off if you’re dining out or getting together with family and friends.

What to Eat This Week, November 27, 2023

Start TODAY meal plan November 27, 2023
Start TODAY meal plan November 27, 2023

>>Download and print the meal plan

>>Get a 31-day cross-training workout for walkers

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Breakfast

Cook once, eat four times with this versatile breakfast recipe. You’ll batch cook wholesome sweet potatoes and add a variety of toppings to keep things interesting. Then throw together a quick snack plate on Friday morning.

Slow-Cooker Breakfast Sweet Potatoes by Casey Barber

The recipe makes four sweet potatoes, so cook them in advance and make ¼ of the topping the morning of.

Breakfast Snack Plate

Have two boiled eggs, fruit and nuts or seeds (such as pumpkin seeds).

Lunch

Talk about low-maintenance: You can throw together these recipe-free lunch options in minutes.

Edamame Brown Rice Bowl

Warm frozen edamame and frozen brown rice according to package instructions. Toss edamame with pre-shredded matchstick carrots and diced red peppers. (Pro tip: Cut extra red pepper strips to snack on this week.) Season the mixture with soy sauce or coconut aminos and sriracha to taste. Serve over brown rice.

Cottage Cheese Toast With Tomato

Protein-packed cottage cheese is having a moment. Here, it’s used on top of toast to make a filling and nutritious, easy lunch. Toast 1-2 slices of whole grain bread and spread cottage cheese over each piece. Top each with thickly sliced tomatoes or sliced cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Serve with a cup of lower-sodium canned or boxed vegetable soup.

Pesto Salmon Salad Pita

Mix canned or pouched salmon with pesto. Stuff the mixture into a split whole-grain pita filled with salad greens. Have with raw vegetables on the side.

Dinner

We’ve lined up low-prep dinners to make this week. If you have a busy week or just want to spend less time cooking, double up on one (or more) of the recipes to serve as leftovers later this week. Be sure to also include the suggested side dish to keep your meal nutritiously balanced.

Tuna Macaroni Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette by Carrie Parente

Pasta is the perfect delivery vehicle for veggies, and this dish serves them up with a Mediterranean flair. The best part: prep is only 20 minutes. If you want to make this meal heartier, double up on the tuna, veggies and dressing.

Fish Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Cabbage Slaw by Daphne Oz

A rainbow of plant foods dominate the plate in these fish tacos that are topped with sautéed veggies and slaw. You can speed up prep time by buying pre-shredded coleslaw. Meanwhile, grab an extra red pepper to make a simple black bean and red pepper salad. To make, dice red pepper and red onion and toss with rinsed and drained canned black beans and freshly squeezed lime.

Honey-Hoisin Chicken Thighs with Stir-Fried Kale by Ching-He Huang

This sweet and spicy meal takes just 10 minutes to prep, and the results are more nutritious than typical Chinese takeout. If you’re not in the mood for chicken, the fuss-free marinade is also a good match for pork tenderloin. This recipe calls for stir-fried kale, but this dish would also be delicious with snap peas or bok choy. No matter which way you go, serve this meal over brown rice

Chicken Fajita Stuffed Peppers by Anna Painter

Adding black beans to the chicken in these stuffed peppers helps you eat more plant foods and boost your fiber and antioxidant intake while reducing your meat consumption. That’s a win-win.  Serve this meal over brown rice from frozen or batch cooked earlier in the week to save time. Once you cut into the cooked pepper, everything will come together to form a delicious, balanced meal.

Snacks

Snacks that contain whole food sources of protein and fiber offer a winning formula that keeps you full for hours. Here are a few ideas:

  • Baby carrots dipped in protein-boosted mashed avocado. To make the dip, mash chickpeas or white beans into avocado.

  • Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with tahini.

  • Frozen blueberries (thawed) with ricotta cheese.

  • Red pepper strips with goat cheese.

  • Unsweetened dried fruit and nuts or roasted chickpeas.

This article was originally published on TODAY.com