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Looking for An Easy Eye-Healthy Meal Plan?

I know that when I first started being more aware of how food affected my eye health, I felt overwhelmed. It made me think that if I struggled with it at first, some of our MacularDegeneration.net community members may be struggling with it as well.

Grocery lists by meal to get you started

In an attempt to help with this, I recently wrote an article that included lists of nutrients specific to eye health (found in the AREDS formula) and common foods for each nutrient. Today, I want to take things one step further and give an example of my grocery list for a work week's worth of meals.

You don't need to only eat salad

I want to show anyone struggling to add eye-healthy foods into their diet, that it doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Also, to eat for eye health, we don’t have to just eat salad all day long in order to get the nutrients we’re seeking.

Meal planning and prepping

Quick Tip: Saturdays are my grocery shopping days and Sundays are my meal prep days. I spend a good two hours in the kitchen cleaning and chopping veggies, hard boiling eggs, counting out serving sizes, and preparing snacks and meals for the week so that things are ready to just grab and go on busy workday mornings. I’ve really come to enjoy this weekend ritual, as I feel it is one very special way to take care of myself and my family.

I like to prepare a large breakfast and a large lunch or dinner on Sundays. This gives us leftovers for breakfast and lunch for Monday, making my Monday mornings that much easier! Who doesn’t need a little bit of THAT in their life?

Sunday

Breakfast casserole

  • Lean meat of your choice, I choose turkey sausage (must be precooked before baking the casserole).
  • 1 carton of eggs
  • Milk (about one cup per carton of eggs)
  • Veggies of choice, chopped (I love onions, bell peppers - remember red, yellow, and orange are powerhouses for eye health), and cherry tomatoes
  • Cheese
  • Salt and pepper to desired flavor

Quick Tip: Besides providing so many nutrients for my eyes, this is a great dish because almost everyone I feed it to loves it! Plus, I can prepare it the night before and just pop it in the oven to bake when I’m ready (it takes a little over an hour to bake until the center isn’t ‘jiggly’).

You can find the full recipe here.

Sweet potato mediterranean chili

  • Sweet potatoes, diced
  • Onion, diced
  • 2 bright red and plump beefsteak tomatoes, diced
    • For an easier option, use a can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of chili starter
  • 1 can of premade chili beans (For a healthier option, boil homemade chili beans)
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Quick Tip: Chili is a go to for me because it’s quick and easy. To make this chili healthier I forego the meat and substitute with sweet potatoes. It’s delicious and nutritious! Sweet potatoes are much harder to cut than white potatoes. Chop with care. Using a lid while sauteing vegetables will help soften them with steam, lowering cooking time and preventing them from sticking and burning to the bottom of the skillet.

You can find the full recipe here.

Monday

Breakfast: Leftover casserole
Lunch: Leftover chili
Boom. Easy. Done.

Tuesday through Friday breakfast

Breakfast parfait on-the-go

  • Yogurt
  • Granola
  • Fresh fruit of choice (blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are my favorite and keep well overnight!)

Quick Tip: I like a good parfait because I can make it the night before and just grab and go for a healthy and quick breakfast. I usually go with a plain or vanilla yogurt since I add my own flavor with berries. These flavors of yogurt tend to be healthier as well. All you have to do is wash and chop the fruit the night before and stir it all in! The juices from the fruit make the yogurt taste delicious!

Be careful about your yogurt and granola choices as they tend to be packed full of sugar. Greek yogurts are much healthier! Definitely check the labels on these items for the right choice for you. I measure the granola out to serving size the night before (to keep the sugar ‘in check’) and dump it on top right before eating so it stays crunchy!

Breakfast toast to-go

Strawberry banana toast:

  • Strawberries, sliced
  • Banana
  • Whole wheat bread to toast
  • Peanut butter (Can substitute with almond butter, honey, fruit spread, or yogurt)

Egg and spinach toast:

  • 1 fried egg
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Whole wheat bread to toast
  • Slice of your favorite cheese

Quick Tip: Toast is quick, easy, filling, and healthy. Plus I can change it up to be either sweet or savory, whatever I feel a taste for that morning. Even toast can be filled with eye-healthy nutrients.

You can find more toast recipes here.

Tuesday through Friday lunches

Lunch wraps (cold or warmed in microwave)

  • Whole wheat tortillas
  • Spinach
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Lean protein such as chicken or turkey
  • Shredded cheese
  • Black beans or kidney beans (rinsed and drained)

Quick Tip: You can skip the tortillas altogether (though I like the carbs, as they tend to help me feel fuller longer and I count whole grains as a nutrient for the day). Lettuce wraps are amazingly delicious as well with cold lean protein or even cooked like a burrito!

Premade salads

  • Dark green leafy vegetable of choice
  • Chopped veggies of choice
  • Lean protein (hard boiled egg or grilled chicken)
  • Low sugar dressing (easy to make homemade too!)

Quick Tip: Salads are great because they can be premade to simply grab and go. They can also be changed up each week so you don’t get tired of the same old thing over and over!

Tuesday through Friday dinners

Y’all, you only have to cook on Tuesday and Thursday...leftovers on Wednesday and Friday! Easy peasy!

Spaghetti dinner

  • Whole wheat spaghetti noodles
  • Low sugar sauce
  • Fresh tomatoes, diced
  • Onion, diced
  • Lean protein: Ground turkey sausage or turkey meatballs

Quick Tip: Homemade spaghetti sauce is not always the easiest or quickest thing to make. Try canning your own when tomatoes are in season so you can just open the jar and pour it on when making this meal. Even when I use a low sugar jar of sauce from the store, I always add some chopped fresh tomatoes for taste and a health boost. Remember, whole wheat noodles and colored rice are much healthier than sugar enriched white pasta and rice.

Stir-fry dinner

  • Chopped veggies of choice (lots and lots of choices here, add as many as you can!)
  • Lean protein of choice (chicken is my go-to)
  • Low sugar sauce of choice
  • Colorful rice

You can find a kid-friendly stir-fry recipe here.

Grilled fish

  • White fish fillets
  • Fresh herbs (parsley and oregano are my favorites)
  • Lemon
  • Seasoning of choice

If you take these lists with you to the grocery store, along with the list of nutrients I provided in my previous article, you’ll easily be able to find foods to prepare for an entire week of delicious and eye-healthy meals!

Happy cooking,

Andrea Junge

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