In this healthy 1,200-calorie meal plan, the principles of an anti-inflammatory diet come together for a week of delicious, wholesome meals and snacks, plus meal-prep tips to set you up for a successful week ahead.

The buzz surrounding inflammation and its connection to chronic diseases and health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, obesity, gut issues and heart disease may leave you wondering "What is an anti-inflammatory diet?" and "Should I be following it?" An anti-inflammatory diet is all about eating more of the foods that help to squash inflammation in the body, while limiting the foods that tend to increase inflammation, thus helping to combat inflammatory conditions. The diet emphasizes lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, high-fiber legumes and whole grains, healthy fats (like those found in salmon, nuts and olive oil) and antioxidant-rich herbs, spices and tea, while limiting processed foods made with unhealthy trans fats, refined carbohydrates (like white flour and added sugar) and too much sodium. In this healthy 1,200-calorie meal plan, we pull together the principles of anti-inflammatory eating to deliver a week of delicious, wholesome meals and snacks, plus meal-prep tips to set you up for a successful week ahead.

Related: The Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Is It Right for You?

Because inflammation can be caused by plenty of other factors besides food, like low activity levels, stress and lack of sleep, incorporating healthy lifestyle habits into your daily routine can also help prevent inflammation. To get the most anti-inflammatory benefits, pair this healthy meal plan with regular physical activity (aim for 2 1/2 hours of moderate activity per week), stress-relieving practices (like yoga, meditation or whatever works best for you), and a good night's sleep every night (at least 7 hours per night). Whether you're working to actively decrease inflammation or are simply looking for a wholesome eating plan, this 7-day anti-inflammatory meal plan can help.

Don't Miss: Anti-Inflammatory Diet Recipes

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How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals:

A little meal prep at the beginning of the week will set you up for healthy-eating success.

  1. Prep the Vegan Superfood Buddha Bowls to have for lunch on Days 2, 3, 4 and 5. Refrigerate bowls and dressing separately for up to 4 days. Wait to add avocado until ready to eat to prevent browning.
  2. Make the Turmeric-Ginger Tahini Dip to have with snacks throughout the week.

Day 1

Anti-Inflammatory Bonus: Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines and albacore tuna, have been shown to decrease inflammation levels. Aim to include at least two 3-ounce servings of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids each week.

Related: Why Omega-6 Fats Aren't as Bad as We Once Thought

Breakfast (287 calories)

A.M. Snack (31 calories)

  • 1/2 cup blackberries

Lunch (325 calories)

P.M. Snack (117 calories)

Related: Why Turmeric Is So Good For You

Dinner (442 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,202 calories, 57 g protein, 131 g carbohydrate, 30 g fiber, 54 g fat, 1,520 mg sodium

Day 2

Anti-Inflammatory Bonus: Vitamin C, an antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory benefits because it helps decrease harmful free radical cells that may trigger inflammation. Studies show that people who have diets high in vitamin C have lower levels of the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein as well as lower risk of inflammatory disease, like gout and heart disease. Today's Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie provides 45 percent of the recommended daily value for Vitamin C!

Breakfast (249 calories)

A.M. Snack (28 calories)

  • 1/3 cup blueberries

Lunch (381 calories)

P.M. Snack (9 calories)

  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber seasoned with a pinch each of salt & pepper.

Dinner (393 calories)

Top salad with tuna.

Evening Snack (156 calories)

  • 1 ounce dark chocolate

Daily Totals: 1,215 calories, 70 g protein, 143 g carbohydrate, 35 g fiber, 47 g fat, 1,054 mg sodium

Day 3

Anti-Inflammatory Bonus: Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidant compounds found in dark blue, red and purple fruits and vegetables, as well as red wine. Research shows that anthocyanins play a role in decreasing inflammation markers, which can reduce risk of cancer and heart disease. Keep frozen berries on hand for an anti-inflammatory boost to your morning smoothies or oatmeal so you can get the benefits even when they are not in season.

Breakfast (263 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup green tea

Top yogurt with walnuts and blueberries.

A.M. Snack (42 calories)

  • 2/3 cup raspberries

Lunch (381 calories)

P.M. Snack (117 calories)

Dinner (409 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,212 calories 77 g protein, 97 g carbohydrate, 28 g fiber, 63 g fat, 813 mg sodium

Day 4

Anti-Inflammatory Bonus: Eating dark chocolate and cocoa in moderation may reduce inflammation markers and improve heart health. Cocoa is rich in the flavonol quercetin, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects our cells and the reason dark chocolate is an important component in the anti-inflammatory diet. Incorporate one 1-ounce square a day of the darkest chocolate you can find to maximize benefits.

Breakfast (222 calories)

A.M. Snack (109 calories)

  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

Lunch (381 calories)

P.M. Snack (9 calories)

  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Dinner (472 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,191 calories, 56 g protein, 168 g carbohydrate, 49 g fiber, 39 g fat, 1,100 mg sodium

Day 5

Anti-Inflammatory Bonus: Probiotics, like those found in kimchi, yogurt, kefir and kombucha, help support a healthy gut. Research shows a healthy gut improves our immune systems, helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces inflammation. Also, be sure to also include prebiotics, which are indigestible plant fibers found in foods like garlic, onions and whole grains that help provide fuel to good bacteria to optimize our gut health.

Breakfast (249 calories)

A.M. Snack (2 calories)

  • 1 cup green tea

Lunch (381 calories)

P.M. Snack (58 calories)

Dinner (414 calories)

Evening Snack (120 calories)

  • 5 ounces red wine

Daily Totals: 1,224 calories, 57 g protein, 112 g carbohydrate, 28 g fiber, 53 g fat, 1,067 mg sodium

Day 6

Anti-Inflammatory Bonus: More than 20 percent of U.S. adults are affected by some form of arthritis, which is an inflammatory disease of the joints, which is often treated with a combination of an anti-inflammatory diet and prescription medication. The best anti-inflammatory diet for arthritis includes plenty of magnesium-research shows that it decreases inflammation and helps maintain joint cartilage . Most Americans do not get enough magnesium, so be sure to include plenty of legumes, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and seeds to ensure adequate intake.

Breakfast (249 calories)

A.M. Snack (157 calories)

  • 12 walnut halves

Lunch (325 calories)

P.M. Snack (78 calories)

  • 1/2 ounce dark chocolate

Dinner (401 calories)

Meal-Prep Tip: Cook and reserve extra chicken to have with lunch tomorrow. You'll need 2 cups chopped cooked chicken.

Daily Totals: 1,209 calories, 73 g protein, 94 g carbohydrate, 28 g fiber, 63 g fat, 1,245 mg sodium

Day 7

Anti-Inflammatory Bonus: A diet high in fiber will have a lower glycemic index, which is a measure of how foods impact our blood sugars. Fiber is digested slowly, which keeps us full and improves blood sugar control. An added bonus-eating foods lower on the glycemic index may help reduce levels of C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation. This healthy anti-inflammatory plan provides at least 28 grams of fiber every day.

Breakfast (292 calories)

A.M. Snack (42 calories)

  • 1/2 cup blueberries

Lunch (350 calories)

P.M. Snack (116 calories)

  • 15 unsalted almonds

Dinner (448 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,209 calories, 62 g protein, 128 g carbohydrate, 32 g fiber, 55 g fat, 1,362 mg sodium

Watch: How to Make a Vegan Turmeric Latte

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