Enjoy the best flavors of the season while reducing inflammation with this anti-inflammatory meal plan for winter.
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Sicilian-Style Chicken Thighs

Warm up with a bowl of hearty soup and cozy seasonal meals while reducing inflammation with this 7-day plan for winter. Growing research links chronic inflammation to tons of health conditions, like heart disease, arthritis and even diabetes. Upping our intake of anti-inflammatory foods and focusing on wellness by exercising regularly, prioritizing adequate sleep and reducing stress all play a role in improving our health and fending off chronic diseases. Though winter is often viewed as the season of indulgence (holiday parties! cookies! comfort food!), it's also prime time to maximize anti-inflammatory nutrients through soups, stews and cozy winter meals. Plus, come January, most of us are craving some more vegetables in our diets. This full week of delicious recipes will help you get your fill of healthy anti-inflammatory ingredients.

If you're following this plan for weight loss, we set each day at 1,500 calories, which is a level where most people will lose weight. If you have other goals, we included modifications for 1,200 and 2,000 calories per day.

What Is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

The anti-inflammatory diet is essentially a Mediterranean diet with a focus on specific foods and nutrients shown to reduce chronic inflammation. Both diets include plenty of fruits and vegetables, fish, healthy fats, whole grains and legumes while limiting processed foods, excess meat and added sugars. In addition to Mediterranean foods, the anti-inflammatory diet emphasizes foods high in antioxidants (like berries and dark leafy greens) and plenty of healthy fats from fish, avocado, nuts and seeds.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Focus on for Winter:

  • Pomegranate
  • Citrus fruits (grapefruit, oranges, clementines)
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Frozen fruit (especially cherries and berries)
  • Nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds, flax, hemp, chia and more)
  • Nut and seed butters (look for natural nut butters without hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils)
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Salmon, tuna and fish
  • Legumes (beans, lentils)
  • Beets
  • Dark leafy greens (like kale, chard and spinach)
  • Winter squash (butternut, delicata, spaghetti squash)
  • Potato
  • Cruciferous veggies (cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage)
  • Whole grains (such as oats, quinoa, bulgur, brown rice and whole wheat)
  • Fermented dairy (yogurt and kefir)

How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals:

  1. Prepare Four-Bean & Pumpkin Chili to have for lunch on Days 2 through 5.

Day 1

Salmon Caesar Salad

Breakfast (344 calories)

A.M. Snack (179 calories)

  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1/4 cup hummus

Lunch (464 calories)

P.M. Snack (131 calories)

  • 1 large pear

Dinner (387 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,506 calories, 89g protein, 71g fat, 136g carbohydrate, 31g fiber, 2,106mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit hummus at the A.M. snack, change lunch to 1 serving White Bean & Veggie Salad, and change the P.M. snack to 1/2 cup sliced cucumber.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 serving Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie to breakfast and add 30 unsalted dry-roasted almonds to the P.M. snack.

Day 2

Cauliflower Chicken Curry
Credit: Brie Passano

Breakfast (410 calories)

A.M. Snack (206 calories)

  • 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds

Lunch (370 calories)

P.M. Snack (82 calories)

  • 6 ounces low-fat plain kefir

Dinner (439 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,508 calories, 67g protein, 74g fat, 158g carbohydrate, 42g fiber, 1,513mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Change breakfast to 1 serving Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie, plus change the A.M. snack to 1 medium orange.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 1/2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to the apple at lunch, plus add 1 avocado, sliced, to the salad at dinner.

Day 3

Chicken with Tomato-Balsamic Pan Sauce

Breakfast (410 calories)

A.M. Snack (268 calories)

  • 3/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

Lunch (370 calories)

P.M. Snack (42 calories)

  • 1 kiwi

Dinner (405 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,495 calories, 82g protein, 60g fat, 170g carbohydrate, 39g fiber, 1,112mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Change breakfast to 1 serving Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie, plus omit the walnuts at the A.M. snack.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to the apple at lunch, add 18 unsalted dry-roasted almonds to the P.M. snack, and add 1 serving Roasted Broccoli with Lemon-Garlic Vinaigrette to dinner.

Day 4

Greek Stuffed Eggplant

Breakfast (325 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

A.M. Snack (206 calories)

  • 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds

Lunch (370 calories)

P.M. Snack (155 calories)

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • Pinch of salt & pepper

Dinner (463 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,521 calories, 70g protein, 85g fat, 133g carbohydrate, 40g fiber, 1,663mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Change the A.M. snack to 1/4 cup sliced cucumber and omit the apple at lunch.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 medium pear to the A.M. snack, add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to the apple at lunch, and add 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to the P.M. snack.

Day 5

vegan-med-lentil-soup.jpeg

Breakfast (325 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

A.M. Snack (235 calories)

  • 18 walnut halves

Lunch (370 calories)

P.M. Snack (62 calories)

  • 1 medium orange

Dinner (517 calories)

Meal-Prep Tip: Reserve 2 servings Vegan Lentil Soup to have for lunch on Days 6 and 7.

Daily Totals: 1,510 calories, 63g protein, 74g fat, 166g carbohydrate, 48g fiber, 1,296mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Change the A.M. snack to 1 clementine and omit the apple at lunch.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to the apple at lunch, plus add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to the P.M. snack.

Day 6

Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potato & Black Beans
Credit: Jacob Fox

Breakfast (410 calories)

A.M. Snack (110 calories)

  • 8 ounces low-fat plain kefir

Lunch (403 calories)

P.M. Snack (5 calories)

  • 1/3 cup sliced cucumber

Dinner (588 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,517 calories, 62g protein, 60g fat, 201g carbohydrate, 41g fiber, 1,458mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Change breakfast to 1 serving Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie and omit the pear at lunch.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 medium apple to breakfast, add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to the A.M. snack, and add 1/4 cup hummus to the P.M. snack.

Day 7

Sicilian-Style Chicken Thighs

Breakfast (344 calories)

A.M. Snack (140 calories)

  • 3/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup raspberries

Lunch (403 calories)

P.M. Snack (95 calories)

  • 1 medium apple

Dinner (511 calories)

Daily Totals: 1,494 calories, 78g protein, 66g fat, 155g carbohydrate, 31g fiber, 1,692mg sodium

To make it 1,200 calories: Omit the yogurt at the A.M. snack, omit the pear at lunch, and change the P.M. snack to 1 medium orange.

To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 serving Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie to breakfast, add 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts to the A.M. snack, and add 2 Tbsp. natural peanut butter to the P.M. snack.