February 20, 2024

In this seven-day plan, we map out a week of meals and snacks aimed to reduce inflammation while providing plenty of protein. Chronic inflammation in your body can lead to the development of serious conditions like diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. While most people reach the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommended daily protein goal of between 46 and 56 grams, depending on age and sex, we know that there are some benefits associated with increased protein intake.


According to a 2020 study in the Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome, the benefits of a high-protein diet include reduced body weight and sustained weight loss, increased satiety and decreased body fat. This high-protein plan includes at least 85 grams of protein per day, distributed throughout each meal, to keep hunger at bay. Because many people follow meal plans for weight loss, we set this plan at 1,500 calories per day. If you have different calorie needs, we also included modifications for 1,200 and 2,000 calories per day.



What Is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

The anti-inflammatory diet is essentially the Mediterranean diet but with more of an emphasis on foods thought to quell inflammation. Both diets incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and lean proteins while limiting processed foods and added sugars. The two diets are so closely connected that a 2019 study in Nutrients indicated the Mediterranean diet is effective at reducing inflammation. One minor difference is that the anti-inflammatory diet places an even greater emphasis on healthy fats and antioxidant-rich foods, so aim to include plenty of nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil and plenty of fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, as well as berries, cherries and dark leafy greens.



Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Focus On

  • Nuts and seeds, including natural nut butters. Opt for nut butters containing just two ingredients: nuts and salt
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado
  • Fish, especially fatty fish like salmon or tuna
  • Vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, beets, broccoli, cauliflower and more
  • Fermented dairy (plain kefir or yogurt)
  • Whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, wheat, bulgur)
  • Herbs and spices
  • Legumes (beans, lentils)



How to Meal-Prep Your Week of Meals

  1. Make Spinach & Strawberry Meal-Prep Salad to have for lunch on days 2 through 5.



Day 1

Breakfast (401 calories)



A.M. Snack (131 calories)



Lunch (430 calories)



P.M. Snack (156 calories)

  • ¾ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup raspberries


Dinner (400 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,518 calories, 71g fat, 94g protein, 137g carbohydrate, 32g fiber, 1,714mg sodium


To make it 1,200 calories: Change A.M. snack to 1/2 cup sliced cucumber, change lunch to 1 serving White Bean & Veggie Salad, plus omit yogurt at P.M. snack.


To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack and add 1/4 cup chopped walnuts to P.M. snack.



Day 2

Photographer: Brie Goldman Food Stylist: Annie Probst Prop Stylist: Gabe Greco

Breakfast (410 calories)



A.M. Snack (181 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup blackberries


Lunch (374 calories)



P.M. Snack (100 calories)



Dinner (454 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,519 calories, 75g fat, 88g protein, 134g carbohydrate, 30g fiber, 1,432mg sodium


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


To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1/4 cup chopped walnuts to A.M. snack, add 1 medium apple to lunch, and increase to 1 1/2 cups edamame, in pods, at P.M. snack.



Day 3

Breakfast (410 calories)



A.M. Snack (110 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain kefir


Lunch (374 calories)



P.M. Snack (112 calories)

  • 1 large hard-boiled egg
  • ⅔ cup blackberries


Dinner (514 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,520 calories, 78g fat, 92g protein, 126g carbohydrate, 28g fiber, 1,576mg sodium


To make it 1,200 calories: Change breakfast to 1 serving Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie, change A.M. snack to 1/2 cup sliced cucumber, and omit hard-boiled egg at P.M. snack.


To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 serving Everything Bagel Avocado Toast to breakfast, add 1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack, and add 1 clementine to lunch.



Day 4

Breakfast (341 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup blueberries


A.M. Snack (131 calories)



Lunch (374 calories)



P.M. Snack (216 calories)

  • 20 unsalted dry-roasted almonds
  • 1 cup blackberries


Dinner (442 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,504 calories, 82g fat, 90g protein, 115g carbohydrate, 31g fiber, 1,003mg sodium


To make it 1,200 calories: Change A.M. snack to 1/2 cup sliced bell pepper and change P.M. snack to 1/2 cup blackberries.


To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 1/2 cups edamame, in pods, to A.M. snack, add 1 medium apple to lunch, and increase to 1/3 cup almonds at P.M. snack.



Day 5

Breakfast (410 calories)



A.M. Snack (87 calories)

  • ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup raspberries


Lunch (374 calories)



P.M. Snack (154 calories)

  • 20 unsalted dry-roasted almonds


Dinner (463 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,488 calories, 82g fat, 90g protein, 113g carbohydrate, 30g fiber, 1,442mg sodium


To make it 1,200 calories: Change breakfast to 1 serving Raspberry-Kefir Power Smoothie and change P.M. snack to 1 clementine.


To make it 2,000 calories: Add 3 Tbsp. chopped walnuts to A.M. snack, increase to 1/3 cup almonds at P.M. snack, and add 1 serving Guacamole Chopped Salad to dinner.



Day 6

Photographer: Jen Causey, Food Stylist: Margret Monroe Dickey, Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

Breakfast (341 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup blueberries


A.M. Snack (200 calories)

  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter


Lunch (374 calories)



P.M. Snack (170 calories)

  • 22 unsalted dry-roasted almonds


Dinner (431 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,515 calories, 73g fat, 86g protein, 146g carbohydrate, 31g fiber, 1,492mg sodium


To make it 1,200 calories: Change A.M. snack to 1/2 cup raspberries and change P.M. snack to 1 clementine.


To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1 serving Sprouted-Grain Toast with Peanut Butter & Banana to breakfast and increase to 3 Tbsp. peanut butter at A.M. snack.



Day 7

Photographer / Jacob Fox, Food styling / Sue Mitchell, Food Styling / Kelsey Bulat

Breakfast (401 calories)



A.M. Snack (181 calories)

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup blackberries


Lunch (374 calories)



P.M. Snack (100 calories)



Dinner (432 calories)



Daily Totals: 1,488 calories, 72g fat, 85g protein, 142g carbohydrate, 36g fiber, 1,665mg sodium


To make it 1,200 calories: Omit yogurt at A.M. snack and omit clementine at lunch, plus change P.M. snack to 1/2 cup sliced cucumber.


To make it 2,000 calories: Add 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted almonds to A.M. snack, plus add 1 medium apple and increase to 1 1/2 cup edamame, in pods, at P.M. snack.

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