This 7-day meal plan incorporates anti-inflammatory foods like avocado, salmon and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables to decrease inflammation while improving your skin from the inside out.

Emily Lachtrupp, M.S., R.D., C.D.

When it comes to improving our skin, most of us think of lotions, creams and serums. However, how our skin looks on the outside is, in part, due to what's happening to our body on the inside. In this 7-day healthy skin plan, we look at what we're eating and how increasing intake of anti-inflammatory foods can play a part in promoting healthy skin. Inflammation is a hot topic lately because more and more research is showing the link between inflammation and chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. Increased levels of inflammation can also negatively impact our skin's health, especially for conditions like eczema, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Learn More: 10 Ways to Reduce Inflammation

In this meal plan, we maximize anti-inflammatory foods like vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, healthful unsaturated fats, and legumes, while limiting pro-inflammatory foods like trans fats and simple sugars. Whether you're looking specifically to improve your skin, or simply looking for a healthy eating plan to improve your general health, this 1,800-calorie meal plan can help.

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

How to Meal Prep Your Week of Meals:

Day 1

Healthy Skin Bonus: Salmon is full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which research shows decrease inflammatory markers. Be sure to aim for two 3-ounce servings per week of omega-3-rich fish like salmon, albacore tuna, herring and sardines. Nervous to cook salmon at home? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Cooking Salmon for tips and recipes to help you integrate salmon into your weekly menu.

Breakfast

420 calories

• 1 serving Really Green Smoothie

• 1 hard-boiled egg

Snack

179 calories

  • 1/4 cup walnut halves
  • 1/4 cup fresh raspberries

Lunch

430 calories

• 1 serving Mason Jar Power Salad with Chickpeas & Tuna

Snack

235 calories

  • 1 small apple
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

Dinner

529 calories

• 1 serving Roasted Pistachio-Crusted Salmon with Broccoli

• 1 serving Basic Quinoa

Daily Totals: 1,793 calories, 88 g protein, 148 g carbohydrate, 36 g fiber, 99 g fat, 1,482 mg sodium

Day 2

Healthy Skin Bonus: Drinking plenty of water has many health benefits, but did you know it can also improve your skin? One study found that people who drank 9 1/2 cups of water daily for 4 weeks had improved skin thickness. Adequate hydration can also improve elasticity and decrease dryness.

Breakfast

363 calories

Spread mashed avocado over toast and sprinkle with a pinch of salt & pepper.

Snack

64 calories

• 1 cup fresh raspberries

Lunch

498 calories

• 1 serving Mediterranean Lettuce Wraps

Snack

206 calories

• 1/4 cup unsalted almonds

Dinner

644 calories

• 1 serving Thai Yellow Chicken Thigh Curry

Meal-Prep Tip: Prepare Berry Chia Pudding tonight to have for breakfast tomorrow.

Daily Totals: 1,775 calories, 72 g protein, 141 g carbohydrate, 33 g fiber, 105 g fat, 2,146 mg sodium

Day 3

Healthy Skin Bonus: To reduce inflammation, don't overlook the benefits of exercise. Studies show that people who exercise regularly have lower levels of inflammation. Aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, to reap the benefits. Try to get outside if you can. Spending more time in nature has been shown to decrease stress while improving mood and concentration.

Breakfast

343 calories

• 1 serving Berry Chia Pudding

Snack

241 calories

• 2 servings Peanut Butter-Oat Energy Balls

• 1 medium apple

Lunch

498 calories

• 1 serving Mediterranean Lettuce Wraps

Snack

61 calories

• 2 plums

Dinner

643 calories

• 1 serving Shrimp Poke

• 1 serving Citrus-Arugula Salad

Daily Totals: 1,786 calories, 66 g protein, 198 g carbohydrate, 49 g fiber, 87 g fat, 1,744 mg sodium

Day 4

Healthy Skin Bonus: We often see vitamin C as an ingredient in skin products, so it makes sense that eating enough of this anti-inflammatory nutrient could also improve skin health. Vitamin C plays a role in skin healing by repairing wounds and promoting healing. Plus, it's a powerful antioxidant that decreases free radicals and inflammation markers.

Breakfast

363 calories

Spread mashed avocado over toast and sprinkle with a pinch of salt & pepper.

Snack

222 calories

  • 1/4 cup walnut halves
  • 1 medium peach

Lunch

498 calories

• 1 serving Mediterranean Lettuce Wraps

Snack

147 calories

• 2 servings Peanut Butter-Oat Energy Balls

Dinner

583 calories

• 1 serving Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes, Beans & Almond Pesto

• 1 serving Massaged Kale Salad

Daily Totals: 1,813 calories, 62 g protein, 149 g carbohydrate, 36 g fiber, 115 g fat, 2,199 mg sodium

Day 5

Healthy Skin Bonus: Most of us know that fiber plays an important role in gut health, but did you know that it can also improve our skin and reduce inflammation? A high-fiber diet helps control blood sugars. Keeping blood sugars stable helps promote skin healing, decrease wound healing time and reduce inflammation. This 7-day plan includes at least 33 grams of fiber daily (it's recommended that women get at least 25 grams of fiber daily; men should aim for 38 grams).

Breakfast

371 calories

  • 1 cup whole-milk plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

Top yogurt with almonds and blueberries.

Snack

235 calories

  • 1 small apple
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

Lunch

498 calories

• 1 serving Mediterranean Lettuce Wraps

Snack

128 calories

  • 2 medium carrots
  • 3 Tbsp. hummus

Dinner

585 calories

• 1 serving Guacamole Chicken

• 1 serving No-Cook Black Bean Salad

Daily Totals: 1,817 calories, 89 g protein, 152 g carbohydrate, 40 g fiber, 99 g fat, 1,834 mg sodium

Day 6

Healthy Skin Bonus: Although it's easier said than done, managing stress can help improve our skin, especially for conditions like psoriatic arthritis, psoriasis and eczema. When we are stressed, our bodies go into overdrive, which results in our skin cell releasing more neurotransmitters that can interrupt blood flow and increase inflammation. Regular exercise, sleep, yoga or just getting outside may be able to reduce stress.

Learn more: 3 Ways to Ease Your Stress

Breakfast

420 calories

• 1 serving Really Green Smoothie

• 1 hard-boiled egg

Snack

265 calories

  • 1/4 cup unsalted almonds
  • 1 medium peach

Lunch

491 calories

• 1 serving West Coast Avocado Toast

• 1 medium orange

Snack

147 calories

• 2 servings Peanut Butter-Oat Energy Balls

Dinner

472 calories

• 1 serving Stuffed Sweet Potato with Hummus Dressing

Meal-Prep Tip: Prepare Berry Chia Pudding tonight to have for breakfast tomorrow.

Daily Totals: 1,795 calories, 63 g protein, 244 g carbohydrate, 61 g fiber, 73 g fat, 1,337 mg sodium

Day 7

Healthy Skin Bonus: Magnesium is a particularly important anti-inflammatory nutrient for people with arthritis because it plays a critical role in maintaining joint cartilage. Unfortunately, about 60 percent of us don't get enough of this important nutrient. The best foods for arthritis are rich in magnesium, so be sure to include plenty of nuts, seeds, legumes and dark leafy greens to up your intake.

Breakfast

343 calories

• 1 serving Berry Chia Pudding

Snack

223 calories

  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter

Lunch

494 calories

• 1 serving Mason Jar Power Salad with Chickpeas & Tuna

• 1 cup fresh raspberries

Snack

237 calories

  • 1/4 cup unsalted almonds
  • 1 plum

Dinner

507 calories

• 1 serving Hummus-Crusted Chicken

• 1 serving Cauliflower Risotto

Daily Totals: 1,803 calories, 103 g protein, 127 g carbohydrate, 46 g fiber, 99 g fat, 1,547 mg sodium

WATCH: How to Make Guacamole Chicken

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