Free Weekly Meal Planner: The Best Tool For Healthy Eating

No matter what your nutritional goal may be, this free weekly meal planner is designed to help you achieve it. Hence, you can consider it your personal “compass” for your unique nutritional journey.

Indeed your weekly meal plan will 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: your personal free weekly meal planner for healthy eating.

For more context and information, make sure you keep reading.

How This Free Weekly Meal Planner Can Help You Achieve Your Eating Goals

There is no favorable wind for the sailor who doesn’t know where to go

Seneca

Your weekly meal plan is the Healthy Eating Compass that will help you find and stay in your route, and return back to it every time it’s needed.

This free weekly meal planner will be your "eating compass"

Eating, in fact, is a journey, that’s why you need a compass to navigate it.

I prefer to call it a Healthy Eating Compass rather than a “plan”, because it’s not something you must follow strictly.

Conversely, 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. Hence, a compass is the best tool to bring with you you when embarking in a healthy eating journey. Even if you go off track, your Healthy Eating Compass will help you find the right route again.

The Foundational Elements Of Food Selection For Your Free 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 is useful to consider that every food typically contain a combination of at least some of the following nutritive substances:

  1. Carbs
  2. Proteins
  3. Fat
  4. Fiber
  5. Vitamins
  6. Minerals
  7. Phytonutrients
  8. Probiotics

Therefore, it’s essential to have a basic understanding of the nutritional components of the foods you eat.

Moving forward, I’ll assume that you have a basic understanding of what the above eight terms mean and in which foods these are typically contained.

Learn more about these 8 foundational building blocks:

Just A Reminder: This Free Weekly Meal Planner Is Rooted In Science

Before reading further, 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, such as vegan, paleo, low carb, high protein, low fat, etc. then you may tend to disagree with at least some of the recommendations below.

While there are many different dietary philosophies, the recommendations in this article are based on the latest scientific evidence for maximizing health and well-being. 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

We have introduced the 8 foundational nutritional blocks. However, foods normally come into complex “packages” that include several of these blocks combined together. Therefore, we cluster foods in a more pragmatic way in the free weekly meal planner.

The following foods can be eaten daily or very often, so it is a good idea to include them in your Healthy Eating Compass every day:

  • Whole grains and pseudo-grains 
  • Vegetables  
  • Fruits
  • Nuts and seeds 
  • Probiotic foods and drinks

Type Of Foods That Is Best To Eat A Few Times Per Week

You can eat the following foods weekly, but it’s probably a good idea not to eat them every single day.

This recommendation is based on plenty of research I have made from several credible scientific sources and on my own experience. However, it is not to be taken as an unquestionable prescription. In fact, it may be possible that eating certain foods from the list below every day may be healthy for you, depending on what else you eat as part of your entire eating routine.

Nevertheless, my recommendation is to consider the following list as foods that you can, or actually should, eat at least once or a few times every week.

  • White meat
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Legumes
  • Soy products
  • Mushrooms

Types Of Food That Is Best To Avoid Or Eat Sporadically

Despite cultural and emotional attachment, personal preferences, marketing pressures and business interests, the following specific foods should be avoided or eaten sparingly.

Follow the links below to find the scientific evidence.

Regarding alcohol consumption, there is an abundance of communication from media that aims at amplifying messages that best capture the attention of their audiences. On the contrary, my approach is to understand what science has to say about any given subject.

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has published this interesting analysis titled Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits. I recommend you take a look at it if you want to make your own idea about this topic.

Another interesting study was published in 2018 on The Lancet, one of the most important and credible scientific journals in the world: 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 Free 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.

Healthy Eating Plate, Copyright © 2011, Harvard University. For more information about The Healthy Eating Plate, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, www.thenutritionsource.org, and Harvard Health Publications, www.health.harvard.edu.
Copyright © 2011, Harvard University. For more information about The Healthy Eating Plate, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, www.thenutritionsource.org, and Harvard Health Publications, www.health.harvard.edu.

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 opinion, based on my personal preferences, experience, and research from several 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. I believe that it’s best to have 2-5 servings of dairy products per week.

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 create your own Healthy Eating Compass. The free weekly meal planner can help you with this task.

Create Your Own Meal Plan With This Free Weekly Meal Planner

This 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 how to fill it out.

So, just download the PDF, follow the instructions and create your Healthy Eating Compass!

An Additional Resource: The Healthy Grocery Shopping List For Joyful Eating

Maximise your Healthy Eating Compass with my Healthy Grocery Shopping list, designed to guide you towards better choices:

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Build your eating Compass to guide you in your healthy eating journey (image generated by me with Midjourney AI)