Regardless of your nutritional goal, this free weekly meal planner can help you achieve it. In addition, it will be the eating compass for your personal nutritional journey. Your weekly plan will also help you adopt and maintain healthy eating habits that can make you feel good and live longer.
The science that supports the core recommendations provided in this article is based on the research from the Nutrition Source of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Click the button below to download the Healthy eating Compass. It is currently available in English and in Italian. For more context and information, please make sure you also read the detailed instructions that follow.
Note: new versions will be available soon, make sure you come back and visit this page again.
How this free weekly meal planner can help you achieve your eating goals
Your weekly meal plan will be your “eating compass” and will help you find and stay in your route, and return back to it every time it’s needed.
There is no favorable wind for the sailor who doesn’t know where to goSeneca
Eating is a journey, and you need a compass to navigate it. I prefer to call it a eating “compass” rather than a “plan”, because it’s not something you must follow strictly, it’s a helpful tool that points you in the right direction.
“Diets” do not work because they make you a prisoner. Healthy eating habits, instead, work because you are free to eat whatever you want as far as you are going in the right direction. And if you go off track, your compass will help you find your route again. That’s why you really need a compass if you are embarking in a healthy eating journey.
The foundational elements of foods selection for your weekly meal planner
Foods are made of a large variety of substances and it is always reductive to look at foods trying to reduce them into strict categories. However, on a very broad level and as a starting point, it may be useful to understand that every food typically contain a combination of at least the following nutritive substances:
It is very helpful to develop some knowledge about the foods you eat to understand which of these substance they contains, even if just at a high level. In the following of this article I will assume that you have enough understanding of what the above eight terms mean and in which foods these are typically contained. This blog is in development and soon will provide more information to help you build this understanding. In the meantime, Google is your friend.
Foods, however, come into “packages” that include several substances combined together, so a more pragmatic way to look at foods categories for the purpose of using our free weekly meal planners is the following.
Before reading further, however, please remember that the following recommendations are based on the latest research from the Nutrition Source of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
If you follow a specific diet, for example vegan, paleo, low carbs, etc. then most likely you will tend to disagree with at least some of the recommendations below. Once again, what you can find below is not based on any specific ethic or personal food preferences or philosophy, but only on what the most credible and recent nutrition science recommends in order to maximize health. This means a way of eating that maximize the chances to live a longer and disease-free life.
Type of foods that can be eaten every day
According to well established and clear scientific evidence, the following foods can be eaten every day or very often, so it is a good idea to include them in your eating compass every day:
- Whole grains and pseudo-grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Fermented foods and drinks
Type of foods that is best to eat a few times per week
The following foods can be eaten every week, but probably it’s a good idea not to eat them every day. Having said that, please note that this recommendation is mostly based on my own experience and on plenty of research I have made from several credible scientific sources. In other words, it may be well possible that eating certain foods from the list below every day may be healthy too, depending on what else you use to eat. In any case, my recommendation is to look at the following list as foods that you can, or actually should, eat at least once or a few times every week.
- White meat
- Soy products
Types of food that is best to avoid or eat sporadically
Despite cultural and emotional attachment, personal preference, marketing and business interests, the following small list includes the few foods that is actually best to avoid or eat sporadically.
Follow the links below to find the scientific evidence.
Regarding alcohol consumption, there is certainly an abundance of communication with media that amplify messages depending on what most capture the attention of the audience of their readers. My approach is to do my best to understand what science has to say about it.
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has published this interesting analysis titled Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits. I strongly suggest you take a look at it if you want to make your own idea about this topic.
Another interesting study was published on The Lancet, one of the most important and credible scientific journals in the world, in 2018. The article is Alcohol use and burden for 195 countries and territories. The findings of this study indicate that alcohol consumption is harmful for health also in small quantities.
In summary, if you want to drink alcohol, science suggests that it’s best to do it in moderation.
Composition of individual meals for your weekly meal planner
The Healthy Eating Plate was developed by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health based on the latest science to help people plan meals that maximize health.
This is a great tool to make sure that most of our meals include whole grains, healthy proteins, vegetables and fruits, more or less in portions that are proportional to their visual sizes in the picture above.
My personal opinion, and please note that this is just my opinion based on my personal preferences, experience, and research from other credible nutrition experts, is that 1-2 servings per day of milk or dairy products is too much. This is the only point of the Healthy Eating Plate that does not fully resonates with me. In fact, I believe that it’s best to have 2-3 servings of dairy product per week. This is, in fact, what I will recommend in the following of this article.
My choices, however, are not what I am trying to push with this article. You should make your own mind based on science, and decide yourself how often you think is right for you to eat any given type of food.
Just make sure that you do have an eating compass. The free weekly meal planner below will be very helpful to build it.
Build your meals plan with this free weekly meal planner
My weekly meal planner is completely free and it does not require you to give your email of any personal data.
I have decided to keep it very simple. It is a PDF that I designed for you to print and fill out it by handwriting on it with a pen. Handwriting may sound a bit old fashioned, but it’s simple and it works very well.
The PDF also includes instructions on hot to fill it out.
So, just download the PDF, follow the instructions and enjoy your eating Compass!
NOTE: I am working on new alternative versions of the eating Compass, make sure you come back on this page 🙂