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Weight Loss & Diet

7-Day Meal Plan for Healthy Weight Loss

Chicken Noodle Casserole with Butternut Squash
Author
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

In this article:

  • It can be hard to find easy, healthy meals for weight loss. But it is possible.
  • This meal plan has 7 days’ worth of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. They total about 1,200 calories. You can add snacks if you need more calories.
  • Be sure to ask your doctor before using any new meal plan.
  • Lark weight loss coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone with more tips for healthy weight loss.

Healthy eating for weight loss can be simple. And it can taste good. Here is a 7-day meal plan to try. Most of the meals take only a few minutes to put together. There are a few delicious recipes you can try if you like.

Each day shows about 1,200 calories. The menus get about 30 to 35% of their calories from carbohydrates. If you need to, you can add snacks from this Snack List. You can also consider using swaps from our Healthy Swaps List.

Here are some more tips for success.

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Aim for at least 64 ounces.
  • Each meal has about 30 grams of nutritious carbohydrates. That is a moderately low amount. It can help with weight loss and health.
  • Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new meal plan. And ask what might be the best approach for your own needs.
  • Include some physical activity, as long as your healthcare provider supports it. A good goal for most people is at least 150 minutes per week.
Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Monday
Parfait with 6 oz (1 container) of plain nonfat yogurt, ⅓ cup oats (can toast ahead of time if you like), and ¾ cup of blueberries or strawberries. (Make it portable by layering your ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid)
Chili

Have ⅛ of the recipe below.
3 ounces of skinless chicken breast baked in foil with 1 cup of green beans, ½ medium sweet potato in slices, and 2 teaspoons of olive oil

2 tangerines
Tuesday
½ cup of non-fat cottage cheese mixed with ½ cup of shredded wheat, ½ cup of pineapple (or other fruit), and 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds
Chicken pesto sandwich with 2 slices of whole-wheat bread, 1 tablespoon of pesto sauce, 3 ounces of cooked skinless chicken breast, and (optional) lettuce and sliced tomato

1 red bell pepper cut in strips
1 medium (5 ounces) baked sweet potato topped with ½ cup of chili (made on the weekend) or 3 ounces of lean ground turkey cooked with chili seasoning, plus ¼ cup of fat-free plain yogurt

1 cup of steamed broccoli with ½ ounce of melted cheese
Wednesday
Breakfast Hash

2 teaspoons of olive oil, ¼ cup chopped onion, ½ chopped red pepper, ½ cup of leftover cooked sweet potato in cubes, dash of cumin, paprika, and garlic powder, ½ cup of low-sodium black beans, and 1 egg
Nicoise Salad

Romaine lettuce topped with 1 sliced hard-boiled egg, cherry tomatoes in halves, ½ cup of leftover cooked sweet potato in cubes, ½ can of canned tuna, ½ cup of cooked green beans, and dressing with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, dijon mustard, and pepper

½ whole-grain English muffin, toasted
Stewed Chicken

Have ¼ recipe using: 1 tablespoon of olive oil used to cook 1 sliced onion, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 12 ounces of cubed skinless chicken breast or leg, 1 eggplant in cubes, 1 can of stewed tomatoes with Italian seasoning, ¼ cup of peanuts or cashew halves or pieces, 3 cups of fresh spinach leaves, and pepper, basil, and oregano to taste.

Serve over ⅓ cup of cooked brown rice.
Thursday
Banana Bread Oatmeal

Pour ⅔ cup of nearly boiling skim milk over ¼ cup of steel cut or ⅓ cup of rolled oats, ½ of a ripe banana, coarsely mashed, 2 tablespoons of pecan or walnut halves, and optional cinnamon and stevia or monk fruit to taste
Chicken Rice Salad

⅓ cup of cooked brown rice tossed with 3 ounces of cooked and diced chicken, ½ cup of chopped tomatoes, thinly sliced onion, chopped spinach, ½ cup of berries or cut apple, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard
Fish in Foil Packets

3 ounces of tilapia, trout, or other fish, baked or grilled in a foil packet with ½ cup of corn kernels, ½ cup of black beans, 1 red bell pepper cut into strips, and 2 teaspoons of olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, and chili powder
Friday
Apple Cheddar Open-Faced Bagel Melts

2 whole-wheat mini bagel halves with 2 ounces of low-fat sliced or shredded cheddar cheese and apple slices, toasted until the cheese melts
Savory cottage cheese bowl

A bed of lettuce, ½ cup of nonfat cottage cheese, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumber, 1 tablespoon of diced chive, ½ cup of low-sodium canned or cooked garbanzo or other beans

1 slice of whole-grain toast or ½ whole-grain English muffin with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
Herbed Spaghetti and Shrimp

½ cup of cooked whole-grain spaghetti tossed with fresh basil and 3 ounces of shrimp cooked with garlic in 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Top with 1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese.

Side salad with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber, plus 1 tablespoon of vinaigrette
Saturday
Scrambled Egg Breakfast Bowl

½ cup sliced mushrooms cooked in cooking spray, then beat 1 egg and 2 egg whites (or 4 egg whites) together with 1 tablespoon of milk and cook everything together. Serve with ⅓ cup of cooked brown rice and 1 ounce of Swiss cheese melted on top.
English Muffin Pizza

1 whole-grain English muffin with tomato sauce, 2 ounces of shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese, and vegetables of your choice

1 cup of cut cantaloupe
Chicken Noodle Casserole

¼ of recipe, below
Sunday
Breakfast Burrito

1 soft taco-sized whole-wheat tortilla spread with 2 tablespoons mashed ripe avocado, lettuce or spinach, sliced tomato, 1 cooked egg, and 1 ounce of low-fat shredded cheddar cheese
Tuna Melt

2 slices of whole-grain bread topped with a mixture of 3 ounces of tuna mashed with plain yogurt, diced celery and onion, and dijon mustard, topped with 1 ounce of low-fat cheese and toasted.
Chicken with Rice

3 ounces of cooked chicken, tossed with ⅓ cup of cooked brown rice, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, and 1 cup of cooked chopped non-starchy vegetables, such as cabbage, bell pepper, carrots, cauliflower, or mushrooms

1 piece of fruit or 1 cup of berries

Recipes

Chili


Chili

Forget about fatty chili that is like a heart attack in a bowl. This chili is made with beans and vegetables. And guess what: it still tastes fantastic! It tastes complete as it is, but if you need a meaty element, you can add lean ground turkey or vegetable protein. 

The chili is easy to make. It tastes better the next day and it freezes well, so it makes sense to make a batch on the weekend or whenever you have a bit of time to prepare food. It can be a stand-alone meal, or you can serve it with a piece of toast, a small baked potato, or some fruit.

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 red or green bell peppers
  • 2 cans of stewed tomatoes (with Mexican or chili seasoning if desired)
  • 3 low-sodium cans of beans of your choice (such as garbanzo, pinto, black, or navy)
  • Peeled and seeded diced jalapeno (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

  1. Cook the garlic and fresh vegetables in a large pot with the olive oil. Add the canned tomatoes, beans, and spices. 
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer for half an hour. 
  3. Serve with 1 ounce of low-fat shredded jack or cheddar cheese per person.

Chicken Noodle Casserole with Butternut Squash


Chicken Noodle Casserole with Butternut Squash

This recipe is great for using leftovers. Leftover cooked chicken, spaghetti, cooked broccoli, and cooked butternut squash can all be used. If you do not have leftovers, it is easy to cook what you need before assembling the ingredients.

Pureed butternut squash adds creaminess without many calories. And it is lower in fat and higher in nutrients than a standard ingredient such as cream of mushroom soup. 

This recipe is versatile. You can use tuna, cooked fish or turkey, or tofu instead of chicken, and any type of cooked vegetable is fine instead of broccoli. Any whole-wheat pasta, such as rotini or penne, works, or you can use a different whole grain if you already have one cooked. Brown rice and quinoa are both gluten-free choices.

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 cup of low-sodium broth
  • 1 teaspoon of dried sage
  • ½ teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 2 cups of butternut squash, cooked, peeled, and pureed
  • 1 ½ cups of cooked whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 12 ounces of skinless rotisserie chicken or cooked skinless chicken breast or leg, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups of cooked chopped broccoli florets
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) of shredded parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and cook.
  3. Add the broth, sage, thyme, and butternut squash. Stir to combine, and heat.
  4. Stir in the chicken, spaghetti, and broccoli. Heat, then turn off the heat.
  5. Pour the mixture into a baking dish. Distribute the parmesan cheese on top.
  6. Cook for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Cool and then serve.