Eating healthy is actually a lot easier than you think. All it takes is a good meal plan. However, we understand that meal planning can feel like a tedious task—especially when you have all kinds of New Year’s resolutions you would rather focus on. This is why we decided to do that tedious task for you and throw together your very own 2021 meal plan! All you have to do is save this meal plan and you’ll have a plethora of healthy recipes you can turn to as 2021 continues.
In order to determine the absolute best meals to pick for this 2021 meal plan, we combed through our recipe archive and asked Maggie Michalczyk, RDN, founder of Once Upon A Pumpkin, and recent cookbook author, to help us choose which recipes would be best for you to turn to in 2021. Here’s the list we put together, and for more healthy recipes in the new year, be sure to check out our list of 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make.
“Pancakes for breakfast are always a good idea, but unfortunately not always the most filling option,” says Michalczyk. “This recipe that adds filling protein in the pancake batter will ensure that you are satisfied and fueled up for your morning. Top pancakes with fresh fruit, and nut butter for more good nutrition.”
Get our recipe for Protein Pancakes.
“Oats are a good idea for breakfast because they contain fiber which is needed for healthy digestion and satiety,” says Michalczyk. “The best part is there are so many different ways to enjoy them. Add fun flavors, fruits, nuts, seeds, and nut butter on top for more flavor and enjoyment!”
Get our recipe for Cinnamon Roll Overnight Oats.
“Eating veggies at breakfast is hard, but frittatas make it easier,” says Michalczyk. “This breakfast option is a great combination of protein from the eggs and fiber from the veggies that will help to keep you full. I also love adding a frittata into your meal rotation because it’s a great way to use up leftover veggies and help prevent food waste!”
Get our recipe for Loaded Vegetable Frittata.
“Chia seeds are a great source of plant-based protein, healthy fat, and fiber for satiety and digestion,” says Michalczyk. “Sprinkle them on top of oatmeal, and yogurt and enjoy them like this in overnight chia pudding that tastes like a treat for breakfast that’s packed with good nutrition!”
This chia pudding recipe is perfect for prepping for your 2021 meal plan, and is the perfect light breakfast when topped with nuts and fruit!
Get our recipe for Overnight Chia Pudding.
For a healthy weekend brunch, this shakshuka is the perfect mixture of garlicky vegetables, saucy tomatoes, and eggs baked into a perfect small casserole. Enjoy on its own or with a side of toasted whole-wheat pita bread for dipping.
Get our recipe for Shakshuka.
Skip the fattening bacon, egg, and cheese from the restaurant and make your own healthier version with lean pastrami and an English muffin! This egg sandwich is perfect for whipping up before tackling a busy day.
Get our recipe for an Egg Sandwich with Pastrami and Swiss.
“This flavorful recipe is packed with a high-quality protein found in eggs along with healthy fat, B vitamins, and vitamin D that are found in the egg yolk,” says Michalczyk.
Enjoy this egg salad recipe scooped into a toasted whole-wheat pita, or on top of a bed of lettuce for a low-carb approach.
Get our recipe for Curried Egg Salad.
“Burgers are typically thought of as unhealthy but they totally don’t have to be,” says Michalczyk. “This chicken burger recipe makes for a balanced meal that will keep you full until dinnertime. I like that you can also put these on a whole-wheat bun, or go bunless and add to a bed of greens.”
Get our recipe for Chicken Burgers with Sundried Tomato Aioli.
Grill up a few chicken fillets and a red onion for easy sandwiches all week long! This low-calorie sandwich idea is the perfect fat-burning alternative to the spicy crispy chicken sandwich you would usually snag in a drive-thru.
Get our recipe for Buffalo Chicken Blue Cheese Sandwich.
This flavorful fig prosciutto salad turns your usual boring desk salad into something exquisite. Full of sweet and savory flavors, this salad is easy to prep for the entire week—all tossed together with no-cook ingredients.
Get our recipe for Fig Prosciutto Salad.
Instead of tossing together a tuna melt on your stove every day, prep these mini tuna melt cups for easy lunches! Made with flavorful cranberry and mustard, it’s the perfect healthy lunch to have with a side salad during your mid-day break.
Get our recipe for Cranberry Mustard Mini Tuna Melts.
Quiches are an easy and tasty way to prep lunch for the entire week—especially when paired with a huge side salad with one of our homemade dressing recipes.
Get our recipe for Artichoke Feta Quiche.
“Current recommendations encourage eating seafood at least twice a week to benefit from good nutrition and protein from fish,” says Michalczyk. “This recipe is a simple and delicious weeknight meal that can help you eat more fish.”
Get our recipe for Crispy Cod with Sweet Potato Fries.
Pumpkin doesn’t just go in a pie, you know! This savory pumpkin pad thai is a great way to use up that leftover can of pumpkin in the fridge, giving your meal a boost of all kinds of nutritional benefits. Adding pumpkin recipes in your 2021 meal plan is a great way to ensure that flat belly status by summer!
Get our recipe for Pumpkin Pad Thai.
For slow cooker fans, this Basque chicken is a classy dinner that looks like it should take a lot more effort than it actually does! It’s the perfect warm dinner to serve with a side of brown rice or roasted potatoes for dinner.
Get our recipe for Basque Chicken.
Skip the fatty beef in your lasagna and make it with lean chicken sausage instead! This saucy lasagna is full of all kinds of flavors you love, while still slashing the calorie—and fat—content significantly. You’ll definitely want to keep this chicken sausage lasagna on your 2021 meal plan rotation.
Get our recipe for Chicken Sausage Lasagna.
Skip the chicken tacos and try making this easy slow cooker pork carnitas recipe instead! It makes for numerous servings, meaning it’s a great recipe to meal prep and enjoy all week long. Plus, if you’re sick of tacos, you can also enjoy this in a homemade burrito or quesadilla with a whole-wheat tortilla, or throw it on top of chips for easy baked nachos!
Get our recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas.
Don’t know what to cook with chicken anymore? Don’t settle for sodium-packed Chinese takeout, but make your own version instead! This healthier orange chicken will give you all the flavors you love in a healthier, low-sodium dish.
Get our recipe for Orange Chicken.
Another great way to cook chicken is by throwing it on skewers and making kebabs! This flavorful tandoori chicken topped with spicy cucumber raita is the perfect recipe to grill up during those summer months. Throw it on a whole-wheat pita or on a bed of salad greens!
Get our recipe for Tandoori Chicken Skewers with Spicy Cucumber Raita.
Craving a bowl of pasta? We got you! This loaded alfredo pasta is made with lean chicken and lots of delicious vegetables—giving you that alfredo taste you love but packed with all kinds of good-for-you nutrients. This loaded alfredo pasta is one of those recipes we definitely will be putting in our regular 2021 meal plan rotation.
Get our recipe for Loaded Alfredo Pasta with Chicken and Vegetables.
“Enjoy Asian flavors at home with this recipe that’s healthier than take-out,” says Michalczyk. “A stir-fry is a great way to use up veggies in your fridge and this recipe is soy-free, swapping coconut aminos for soy sauce.”
Get our recipe for Thai Beef Stir-Fry.
Another easy slow cooker recipe for you, but this time, we’re getting comfortable! This classic beef goulash is the pinnacle comfort food dish for cold, wintery nights—while still only racking in 378 calories per serving.
Get our recipe for Slow Cooker Beef Goulash.
“Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A needed for eye health and immunity,” says Michalczyk. “If you find yourself constantly craving french fries, making baked sweet potato fries at home is a more nutrient-dense option instead.”
Get our recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Fries.
What if we told you we can make you that same, delicious fried coconut shrimp you order at the restaurant but for only a mere portion of the calories? This air-fried coconut shrimp recipe completely takes out the unnecessary fat content of its fried counterpart while still giving you that same great taste.
Get our recipe for Air-Fryer Coconut Shrimp.
If you’re in the market for a low carb snack for your fat-blasting 2021 meal plan, these smoked salmon bites are flavorful and filling while still keeping the carb count low. You can even serve it with a lemon-avocado sauce to give them even more flavor!
Get our recipe for Smoked Salmon Bites.
This Honey Pecan Cherry Granola is great for snacking on its own, but our personal favorite way to enjoy this granola is sprinkled on top of Greek yogurt! It’s the perfect sweet treat to satisfy your afternoon craving without totally going overboard on the calories for such a small snack.
Get our recipe for Honey Pecan Cherry Granola.
Skip the fatty artichoke dip from the restaurant and make your own healthier version when you’re in need of a salty, savory snack in the afternoon! You can either enjoy this healthier spinach-artichoke dip with a side of toasted pita chips, or skip the extra carbohydrates and serve the dip with fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, or bell pepper slices.
Get our recipe for Spinach Artichoke Dip.
“Pumpkin adds more flavor and good nutrition like vitamin A, C, E, and fiber to each bite of these brownies,” says Michalczyk.
Plus, these fudgy brownie bites only total at 54 calories per bite! Talk about a healthy dessert option to prep for the week.
Get our recipe for Pumpkin Fudgy Brownie Bites.
For a healthy treat on a hot summer day, freeze up this strawberry rhubarb ice at only 151 calories a serving. It’s made with fresh vegetables and fruit, and pairs perfectly with a basil garnish on top.
Get our recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Ice.
Satisfy your chocolate craving with these dark-chocolate dipped banana pops! Sprinkle any toppings you desire on the melty chocolate and let them sit in the freezer before devouring. It gives your dessert a healthier twist without totally overdoing your added sugar count for the day.
Get our recipe for Dark Chocolate Dipped Bananas.
There’s nothing like a warm apple, cranberry crisp on a crisp fall day—especially when paired with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. This crisp reigns in the usual sugar content you would find in crisp, and logs in at only 210 calories per serving. It’s the perfect dessert to prep or even bake when you have a small gathering later this year.
Get our recipe for Apple Cranberry Crisp.
“An individual dessert like this is a great way to enjoy something sweet without going overboard on the portion,” says Michalczyk. “Perfect when you’re looking for just a little something sweet after a meal, and lower in sugar and calories than a whole piece of cheesecake.”
Get our recipe for Individual Key Lime Cheesecakes.