Week 3 Meal Plan

Welcome to week 3 of the 2017 Winter Shape Up, which begins on Monday, February 13, 2017!

(Looking for the home base Winter Shape Up page? Click here – it has answers to any questions you might have about the challenge and links to all the weekly content!)

winter shape up 2017

As you know, my friend Gina and I have partnered up to bring you this fun healthy living 4 week challenge to inspire you to kick off the year on the right foot in terms of fitness and nutrition. Gina is a personal trainer, so on her site, you’ll find the weekly workouts for the challenge, including videos (which I’m also in this year – we filmed them together in beautiful San Diego). Here on mine, I’ll be sharing the weekly nutrition-focused content, which will feature regular, gluten free, and vegan meal plans – as well as quick snack ideas and some make-ahead snack recipes.

We’d love to hear how you guys are doing with this challenge! If you share updates or photos on social media, please include #WinterShapeUp and, if you have space, tag both myself (@fANNEtasticfood – follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!) and Gina (@fitnessista) so we can see! :)


Before I get into the plan, please remember that everyone’s nutrition needs are different and will vary based on activity level, age, gender, height/weight, and more. I am a Registered Dietitian, but this meal plan is not meant to be a substitute for personalized nutrition plans or nutrition counseling (like I provide in my AnneTheRD private practice). Above all, use this as a guide, not a concrete plan, and change it as you see fit based on your own hunger levels, preferences, and dietary needs. I’m not including specific quantities/portion sizes because of this – try to eat intuitively and listen to your body. This guide may be too much food for some of you and too little for others. If you’re getting full, save the rest for later. If the meal or snack wasn’t enough, don’t second guess yourself – listen to your body and have something else. If you’re really hungry and try to deny it, it will only lead to overdoing it later or feeling like crap. Honor your hunger, my friends. And same with the other end of the spectrum – stay mindful during your meals, and stop as soon as you start to get full. If you’re distracted, it’s a lot easier to overeat. Your body knows what to do if you just listen to it! Sound good?

A note on drinks: I didn’t include drinks in this guide, but aim to limit sugar-sweetened beverages. If you’re currently having a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages (soda, sweet tea, sweet flavored water, etc.), try to cut back by 1 or 2 drinks per week until it becomes an occasional treat vs. a daily habit. Focus on drinking lots of water (carbonated water with fruit in it is a nice sweet, fizzy alternative to soda – as is kombucha), some unsweetened tea/coffee (if you’re into it), and the occasional wine or beer, if you like.

Regarding dessert, it’s not included in the plan for simplicity’s sake, but indulgence in moderation is certainly part of a healthy relationship with food. The key is to view dessert as an occasional treat vs. letting it become an everyday habit. If you really want something, by all means allow yourself to have it and really savor it. There’s no point in feeling guilty – eating perfectly 100% of the time isn’t realistic or healthy. Just make sure that when you do indulge, it’s worth it. Choose the real thing, not a diet imitation; stay mindful and stop when you are satisfied.

WSU 2017 - meals

To download the week 3 meal plan, please click here.

If you have any problems downloading the meal plan or see any errors, please let me know! It also includes grocery lists (including vegan and gluten free variations).

For snacks, choose a variety each day based on hunger levels. Some days you might need a snack or even two or three, while other days you might not need one at all. Focus on how you feel. Hunger levels change daily based on activity and a host of other factors, so don’t expect to feel the same every day. For snacks, just like meals, focus on a good mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fat to keep you satisfied.

To download the simple snack ideas PDF, click here. Here are some make-ahead recipes to try out this week too:

winter shape up 2017 sponsor collage_updated

This week’s featured sponsor is Passion for Pasta! I was really excited when they came on board as a sponsor this year because it helps to drive home the fact that healthy eating is all about balance and not depriving yourself of the foods you love (like pasta!), because that’s not sustainable!

You’ll see two great Passion for Pasta recipes featured in this week’s meal plan, and here are fun YouTube recipe videos of how to make them, if you’re interested: Campanelle with Lentils and Porcini Mushrooms and Mostaccioli with Shrimp & Cannellini Beans.

passion for pasta logo

A lot of my private AnneTheRD clients come to me feeling guilty or bad about eating pasta (and other carbs), which makes me sad because carbs are not only necessary for energy but also delicious – and you shouldn’t feel guilty about eating something delicious, my friends! Also – if you try to skimp on carbs it will just come back at you later in the form of sugar cravings. (See also: How to Get Rid of Sugar Cravings.)

What’s key is eating carbs (like pasta) the right way. As a guide, I like to take a page out of the Italians’ book. Pasta is a fundamental component of a traditional Mediterranean diet – an eating pattern that is considered by nutrition experts to be one of the world’s healthiest ways to eat. In fact, recent research even showed that eating pasta regularly was associated with better adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet. What’s critical is that in Italy, pasta is eaten healthfully and in reasonable portions, paired with other nutrient-rich foods like vegetables, beans, lean proteins, olive oil and herbs.

Often the problem in the U.S. is that many people eat carbs without adding protein and fat, and then find themselves hungry an hour later and feel like they can’t stop eating. So, the key is to balance your carbs (like pasta) with some great veggie volume, protein, and fat, so it’s satisfying. Even better, traditional semolina pasta is unique in that it contains proteins and complex carbohydrates and has a low glycemic index, which means the body breaks it down more slowly than most other refined grains, providing steady energy for hours after you’ve eaten. So if you usually have a big plain bowl of pasta, try dishing up one serving of pasta (about the size of a baseball) with veggies and add some protein, like beans, chicken, or shrimp. You’ll be eating the same volume of food but it will be more satisfying and nutrient packed. :)

A couple other things you might find interesting:

  • Pasta cooked “al dente” (still slightly chewy) also has a lower glycemic index (GI) when compared to fully cooked or overcooked pasta – interesting!
  • Pasta is made from durum wheat, which is a variety of wheat that has a higher protein content than regular wheat.

**Passion for Pasta has generously offered to send one lucky winner a gorgeous colander (for your pasta-cooking passion, of course!) filled with a variety of pasta and pasta sauces.

Comment below up to once per day (starting on Monday) with how things are going for you during the challenge/what meals and snacks you’ve been loving and each comment will count as an entry! I’ll randomly select the winner after the week is over (Monday morning) and notify them directly by email. Good luck! And don’t forget to check in over on Gina’s blog with your fitness updates – she’ll be sharing a giveaway from a different sponsor!


  1. 1

    Thanks for another week

  2. 2

    Forgot to mention last week that I made the “cheesy” quinoa. It was a hit. What a gr8 idea to use nutritional yeast.

    As for tonight, I will be using the dry pasta that I have on hand to make the pasta & mushroom dish. I really love dried mushrooms, and I know I will like the taste of this recipe.

  3. 3

    we made slow cooker enchilada chicken last night with quinoa so now I have leftovers for lunch the next couple days!

  4. 4
    Lindsay Haney says:

    So excited to try the Moroccan Slow Cooker Chicken! I’ve been wanting to make it ever since you posted it a few weeks ago. Yum!

  5. 5

    We tried the creamy chicken chili and mushroom walnut enchiladas this week. Both were pretty good. Thanks for the new ideas!

  6. 6

    I made your Butternut Squash Turkey Chili tonight and it was delish! I needed to eat food that I already had so I looked for recipes on your site with the ingredients I had. It was a big hit! I also went crazy in the kitchen and made your No Bake 5-minute peanut butter granola bars and your Banana Spelt Muffins. My husband lifts weights and runs and needed some preworkout snacks. I need to go easy on those snacks. I love the granola bars for a preworkout or pre run snack.

  7. 8
    Amber Schumann says:

    Two rounds of workout 1 and one round of workout 4. Unfortunately tweaked my lower back when I lost focus of my form during the last round of deadlifts :( Icing and hopefully rest will have me feeling better tomorrow!

  8. 10

    Oh, how I loved the pasta dinner last night. Cooked perfectly al dente. Soooo good!

    Going to make some Energy Bites later today.

  9. 12

    Thankful for healthy food because we’ve had a bug so workouts aren’t happening right now

  10. 14

    Meal prepped during the snowstorm Sunday – ready for this week!

  11. 15

    I had hospital food all weekend because I gave birth to a lovely little girl! I made healthy choices though = )

  12. 17

    Tough time for me lately so I’ll admit I’m doing some stress eating. Everything clean, just too much of it. Yesterday went better for me, and today is off to a good start, too.

  13. 19

    big fruit and veggie smoothie this morning

  14. 20

    OMG Rave reviews for the Moroccan Slow Cooker bonanza! I’m having it again for lunch and will definitely be making it again. Tonight for dinner is the shrimp pasta… I feel like it’s kind of Valentiney, right? We don’t really do V-Day at all but hey, maybe I’ll make the shrimp into little heart shapes in the bowl. :)

  15. 22

    For our Valentines Dinner my family ate spaghetti and meatballs while I had leftover Butternut Squash Turkey Chili. I didn’t feel deprived since I don’t get exited about pasta. I eat gluten free and I don’t care for the gluten free pasta options. I made chocolate covered strawberries for dessert. That was my indulgence.

  16. 24

    I tried the El Salvadorian food called papusas yesterday. One had loroco flower in it. I’m not sure they were healthy, but it was fun to try something new.

  17. 26

    I don’t have a slow cooker.

    Going to make nut-crusted tilapia for tonight. I think it’s from either week 1 or week 2, and it’s calling out to me. It was terrific.

  18. 28

    Thankful for carbonated water to help with soda cravings

  19. 29

    another banana spinach smoothie for breakfast and leftover crockpot chicken for lunch today

  20. 30

    Had the banana spinach smoothie with some add ins for my post workout/lunch today. I have tons of leftovers to choose from tonight for dinner.

  21. 31

    Thank you for the plan! I haven’t cooked much because of delivering baby girl Saturday! I am so blessed by family and friends bringing food. I am looking forward to things normalizing and making recipes again.

  22. 34

    I made overnight oats for the first time in years and forgot how easy and delicious they are!

  23. 35

    Back to a blueberry recipe’

  24. 36

    Everyone loved my dinner last night.

    And pancakes for breakfast…. Can’t think of a better start to my Thursday. (So gr8 that they are high-protein to boot!)

  25. 37

    spaghetti squash with chicken for lunch, chia seed pudding for breakfast

  26. 38

    Got a little off track today. Went to a luncheon that didn’t have great options. I managed though and just kept my portions under control. There was flan for dessert so I had a small slice.

  27. 39

    My sister made a huge batch of chicken cacciatore that I’ve been taking for lunches. It’s so good!

  28. 40

    Eats are going well this week! Made a yummy cauliflower/pea/tomato curry for dinner last night over brown rice. Enjoyed the rest of the cauliflower this morning sauteed with mushroom and spinach, topped with 2 fried eggs and a bit of crumbled feta. I eat better all day long if I am able to pack in the veggies at breakfast :)

  29. 41

    Eating well other than our valentines treat!

  30. 42

    My meal choices and snacks have been decent choices this week! I’m really trying to pump up the veggies. I’m looking trying to eat when I’m hungry and not because the sugary treat is sitting there.

  31. 43

    Gotta say that the avocado toast works for me on soooo many levels.

    I love the creamy avocado texture against the crunch of the toast, the taste absolutely rocks and, along with the egg, it’s just a fantastic (fannetastic) breakfast or wholesome snack. It truly feels indulgent!

  32. 44
    Amber Schumann says:

    Been down for the count since Monday afternoon with severe inflammation in my lower vertebrae. Finally felt 95% today so I went out in the rain for an easy 1.8mi run (I was desperate!). Felt amaaaaaazing!

  33. 46

    Out to lunch for mexican today, enjoyed some chips and salsa but ordered a salmon salad!

  34. 47

    So far my choices have been pretty good today. I had a few chips earlier but I’m okay with that. I didn’t have half the bag just a few to satisfy the salty craving. I worked out twice today so I’m a bit more hungry than usual. I’m getting ready to have the last of the Turkey Butternut Squash Chili.

  35. 48

    I had the Moroccan Chicken Stew last night (minus the olives) – it was really good! My boyfriend said “this is yummy!”

  36. 50

    Tonight is Mexican Lasagna night. I’ve made that recipe before, and it is a keeper for sure.

    Oh and I have some chia seed pudding waiting in the refrigerator for a snack after my second walk outside today.

    (Today’s menu is shaping up as yet another feel-good food day.)

  37. 51

    Leaving soon to meet friends for a local brunch. It’s always nice to patronize my community’s local restaurants. I much prefer them to the larger chains.

    Wishing everyone a wonderful brunch.

  38. 52

    going out to brunch today after church, hoping some place with vegan eats in san diego

  39. 53

    Had some delicious salad and coal-fired pizza for dinner tonight out with my husband. Filled up on salad first to keep my pizza intake reasonable :p

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