Eating healthy isn’t nearly as confusing or restrictive as many diets make it seem. To consume a well-balanced diet, Berkeley Wellness recommends eating foods derived from plants, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, and limiting those that are highly processed. While the concept sounds simple, sometimes determining what to make for meals is easier said than done, which is why we’ve compiled recipes that take the guesswork out of healthy eating. Here’s a collection of nutritionist-approved recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert; when in doubt, take a page from their book and prepare one of these dishes.
1. Popcorn Figgy Muffins
Filled with fiber-rich ingredients like wheat flour, popcorn, and figs, registered dietitian Keri Glassman’s popcorn figgy muffins are a healthy snack the whole family will love. This recipe also uses applesauce, soy milk, and safflower oil to replace unhealthy fats, such as butter and oil, typically found in baked goods.
- 3½ cups air-popped popcorn
- 1 cup whole-grain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 egg
- ½ cup low-fat or light soy milk
- 3 tablespoons safflower oil
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup honey
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 8 dried mission figs (about ½ cup chopped)
Head to Nutritious Life for the full recipe.
2. Breakfast Smoothie
Hectic weekday mornings require quick breakfasts you can eat on the go. Registered dietician Joan Salge Blake, M.S., fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Business Insider she starts her day with a protein-packed breakfast smoothie, which will keep you feeling full all morning. The cocoa contains heart-healthy flavanols, while the strawberries add fiber and antioxidants. For a nice, crunchy finish, top your smoothie with some whole-grain cereal.
- Plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon cocoa
- ½ cup frozen strawberries
Directions: Add all ingredients to blender and mix well.
3. Chicken Blackberry Salad
Fulfill your nutritional needs with culinary nutritionist Amie Valpone’s recipe featured on Shape. Ingredients like ground flax seeds and flax oil are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, making this salad a heart-healthy lunch. Planning on bringing this dish to work? Pack it in a salad jar, layering the dressing and heavier ingredients on the bottom; when you’re ready to eat, toss well and you’ll have a fresh-tasting meal that contains 339 calories, 11 grams of fat, 40 grams of protein, and 7 grams of fiber.
- 1 chicken breast (6 ounces)
- 1 teaspoon flax oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- ½ cup blackberries
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 2 cups mixed greens
Head to Shape for the full recipe.
4. Broccoli-Cheddar Burgers
Joy Bauer, M.S., registered dietician, certified dietician nutritionist, and a health expert for NBC’s Today show, adds frozen chopped broccoli to these burgers for a nutritious dinner dish that contains antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The recipe yields 6 servings; each has 244 calories, 11 grams of fat, and 27 grams of protein.
- 1.25 pounds ground turkey, at least 90% lean
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen broccoli, thawed and well-drained
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 6 slices reduced-fat cheddar cheese
- 6 (100% whole wheat) hamburger buns or sandwich thins, optional
- Lettuce, optional
- Tomato slices, optional
- Onion slices, optional
Head to Joy Bauer for the full recipe.
5. Carrot Soup with Yogurt
For a simple weeknight dinner, prepare carrot soup with yogurt, which is great for anyone trying to eat clean, registered dietician Diane Welland, M.S., tells Cooking Light. The recipe yields 8 servings. Livestrong notes one medium carrot contains 204% of your daily recommended value of vitamin A and is also a good source of vitamins C and K, fiber, and potassium.
- 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
- ⅓ cup sliced shallots
- 1 pound baby carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- ½ cup 2% Greek-style plain yogurt
- 8 fresh mint sprigs
Head to MyRecipes for the full recipe from Cooking Light.
6. Dark Chocolate Pudding
Dessert doesn’t have to be unhealthy. You can satisfy your sweet tooth with The Skinny on Low Cal’s dark chocolate pudding, which is packed with antioxidants thanks to this recipe’s cocoa powder. One serving has 200 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 5 grams of protein. The Skinny on Low Cal is a healthy living site brought to you by the Calorie Control Council, an association that focuses on the importance of sensible dieting.
- 2 cups 2% milk, divided
- 3 tablespoons stevia or the equivalent of your favorite sweetener
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa power
- Pinch of salt
- 4 ounces bittersweet (70%) chocolate
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Head to The Skinny on Low Cal for the full recipe.