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Fresh Low-Cal Meal Plan

Snap out of the winter doldrums and embrace the dawning of spring with a new slew of fresh, seasonal and waist-whittling meal ideas.

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Using herbs, spices and color-rich foods awakens the senses, and utilizing flavors from other cultures introduces combinations of tastes that are new and exciting to your palate. The recipes in this two-week meal plan span the globe –with the Cajun flavors of New Orleans, the blend of golden yellow and red spices from Moroccan cuisine, the sesame infusion of the Middle East and the strong and pungent flavors of Italian spices.

As always, we offer a daily and weekly balance of fats, carbohydrates and protein. And, with daily caloric totals ranging between 1,500 and 1,800 calories, you’ll be able to easily follow our light and nutritious outline of five daily mini-meals. Just remember that you may need to adjust the portions slightly, depending on your specific needs.

Take a peek in your pantry for the seasonings outlined in our two weeks of grocery lists. Stocking up on herbs and spices is a good investment – they’ll make a flavorful addition to your cooking repertoire for pennies a serving. But don’t be afraid to experiment with what you have on hand, using our recipes and meal ideas as guidelines to customize to your own life, budget and kitchen inventory. Many studies have shown that herbs and spices can offer health benefits in the way of free-radical-fighting antioxidants. So, let the synergy of taste surround your meals and your health may benefit, too!

Your Guide to Herb Pairing

Find out which herbs and spices to buddy up and which to keep apart in your cooking.


Added to most dishes after or near the end of cooking

Flavor: Lemony citrus notes, lively, fresh, bright

Works well with: Asian, Mexican, Caribbean, Latin American and Indian cuisine; chile powder, cumin, ginger, allspice, wasabi, sesame, Thai basil, mint

Doesn’t work well
Italian, German, Spanish or Mediterranean fare; rosemary, tarragon, sage, marjoram


Flavor: Clove notes, spicy, pungent, earthy

Works well with: Caribbean, Latin American, French, Creole and Cajun cuisine; allspice, curry, fennel, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, rosemary, parsley, saffron, marjoram, basil

Doesn’t work well with: Asian recipes; cilantro, mint, Thai basil


Very strong when served raw; best when cooked

Flavor: Slightly bitter, earthy, pungent

Works well with: Garlic powder, onion powder, parsley, rosemary, thyme, chives

Doesn’t work well with: Asian, Indian, Caribbean and Latin American recipes; cilantro, Thai basil, mint, lavender


Best if used raw or barely cooked; add at last moments of cooking or to garnish

Flavor: Licorice, slightly sweet

Works well with: Garlic powder; as part of a French Fine Herb Blend when mixed with chervil, chives, parsley

Doesn’t work well with: Asian, Caribbean and Latin American cuisine; rosemary, cilantro, mint


Flavor intensifies over time; use sparingly

Flavor: Tangy, fresh, bright, lemony

Works well with: Mustard seed and powder, cayenne pepper, lemon pepper, parsley, cilantro, chives

Doesn’t work well with: Asian, Indian, Caribbean, Mexican and Latin American fare; curry, rosemary, sage, thyme


Flavor: Pine, warm, woodsy, slightly citrus

Works well with: Garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, sage, parsley

Doesn’t work
well with:
Asian, Caribbean and Latin American recipes; curry, salsas, coconut, dill, cilantro, mint

Download the Shopping List & Meal Plan here.

The Recipes