This new 7 day meal plan follows the Mediterranean Diet principles & food pyramid. I see many people confuse the ‘Mediterranean diet’ with ‘Mediterranean flavors’ … following the pyramid & principles doesn’t mean you have to eat Greek or Mediterranean food. This meal plan includes a range of cuisines & flavors, from Chili to Taco Bowls to Spicy Black Bean Burgers.
Click Here to skip down to the Meal Plan!
This week’s meal plan from a bird’s eye view:
- 5 minute breakfasts that are meatless (& egg-free too).
- Nuts every day & olive oil six out of seven days. Yay for healthy fats!
- Lunches are meatless & full of veggies. Yay for plants!
- Three (out of six) dinners are plant based proteins with beans or legumes. Yay for even more plants!
- Only one recipe with red meat: the Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas for Sunday dinner made with the super lean Flank Steak. Yay for iron!
- Small appliances needed: none! Everything is stove top or oven or no-bake.
Now let’s look at some details …
I just love all of the color! This is a pretty photogenic meal plan. If you’re ready to dive right in, skip down to the Meal Plan. If you’re wondering why you should meal plan & how I choose the recipes for these plans I share, continue reading below.
Why Meal Plan?
If you have never meal planned before, there’s no better time to start! It may seem daunting at first, but I promise, it is so worth it. By meal planning on a regular basis I’ve been able to …
- decrease our family’s food waste
- stick to a food budget of my choice
- incorporate a large variety of flavors & cuisines
- increase my cooking skills & confidence
- create a balanced lifestyle
Meal plans are rarely a ‘one size fits all’ kind of deal but a pre-set plan is a good starting point for you to jump from. Pay close attention to the serving sizes & cook times so you can adjust the meal plan to best fit your family’s needs & your weekly schedule. Always cross-reference a meal plan with your calendar to make sure it works well for whatever you have planned.
How To Choose Recipes
Some recipes on this meal plan are from This & That, but not all. Since I am still building the recipe index on the site, I am taking this opportunity to share some of my favorite food bloggers with you. The original recipes are all linked in the meal plan doc below, so you can save them to your favorite digital cookbook.
To create a balanced week-long meal plan, I use 2 main principles for choosing recipes: The Plate Method & The Mediterranean Diet.
The Plate Method
… is pictured above. You want to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables and fruit. One quarter of your plate is for carbs, in the form of grains or a starchy vegetable. The last quarter of your plate is for a lean protein. You can also include a thumb sized portion of healthy fat & a small amount of dairy to cover all the food groups.
Setting your meals up this way ensures you get plenty of fruit & veggies, without overdoing the carbs or protein. If this is a new way of eating for you, it may leave you feeling hungry between meals at first, but give your body time to adjust to the portions. If you are consistently hungry between meals, consider increasing your fat or protein portions to keep you feeling full longer. Try to refrain from snacking between meals.
The Mediterranean Diet
…focuses on having fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, beans, nuts, herbs & spices everyday. Fish & seafood are eaten often, at least twice a week. Chicken, eggs, cheese & yogurt are eaten frequently in moderate portions. Red meats and sweet treats are rarely eaten.
I use the above pyramid as a guide for the meal plans … it is a great visual reminder of how to balance our diets without depriving ourselves. I am a firm believer that you should never eliminate entire food groups from your diet, but instead you should find the healthy balance to incorporate ‘indulgences’ without sacrificing nutrition. (This is assuming no underlying health conditions that require a specific diet, like celiac or allergies.)
“Eating the Mediterranean Way” doesn’t mean you have to eat Greek or Mediterranean foods or cuisine. It means paying attention to your portions & your overall habits. It means choosing more ‘whole’ & less ‘processed’ food.
How many people does this plan feed?
My meal plans & grocery lists are designed to provide breakfast and lunch for one person only. Dinners will feed a family of four … if the recipe makes more than 4 servings, I call it out & help plan for it.
Final Tips for Using This Meal Plan
First – always double check the grocery list against what you already have in your pantry. And double check your calendar to make sure these meals will fit your schedule.
Click the buttons below to open the documents to save or print as needed. Please read the notes at the bottom of the meal plan before grocery shopping; the grocery list will make more sense this way.
The grocery list includes the day or meal the ingredient is for so that you can easily shop for a few days at a time or remove certain recipes you don’t like or need. If an item is used in multiple recipes, it is considered a ‘staple’ item & I will not include the day or meal. Spices & olive oil, for example, are usually ‘staple’ items.
If you try this meal plan or any recipes on it, please comment below & tell me all about it! If you have any questions or notice any mistakes, don’t hesitate to contact me however you prefer … message on Instagram or Facebook or comment below.
Stay safe & eat well! Happy cooking!
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