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Sunday Strategist: A Week of Healthy Menus--January 4-8

Happy New Year! Are your 2016 resolutions still fresh on your mind? Before they become a distant memory, or a little voice that nags you once the realities of post-vacation life set in, consider this: there’s never been a better time to get healthy and eat deliciously. Losing weight is no longer about cutting out what you love or obsessively counting calories—it’s about understanding what your body needs, balancing your plate, and knowing how to enjoy the foods you love.

Cooking Light’s latest special edition, Your Complete Healthy Eating Guide, teaches you how to do just that. This week of Cooking Light dinner plans comes directly from this issue, with each menu inspired by a principle for long-term success. You’ll also find more about each principle, as well as expert tips and success stories from members of The Cooking Light Diet. Look for the special issue on newsstands this Friday.

Now, on to the recipes!

The Plan: Monday: Beef Chorizo Tacos with Cabbage Slaw with Simple Avocado Salad Tuesday: Lentil Salad with Soft-Cooked Eggs Wednesday: Smoky Farro and Chickpea Soup Thursday: Arctic Char with Orange-Caper Relish with Frisée and Arugula Salad Friday: Cobb Salad Pizza with Shaved Carrot Salad Dessert Bonus: Double-Chocolate Cookies

Monday: Cooking more will help you reduce your sodium and fat intake, eat more veggies, and expand your cooking knowledge. Smoky, saucy Beef Chorizo Tacos with Cabbage Slaw are budget-friendly and ready in less than 30 minutes (and save a whopping 27g of fat over store-bought chorizo). Serve with a fresh Simple Avocado Salad.

Beef Chorizo Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

Simple Avocado Salad

Tuesday: Eating more vegetables doesn’t really mean broccoli at every meal; it means leaning on plant-based proteins and getting in extra servings wherever possible. Fiber-rich lentils are the star of this zingy Lentil Salad with Soft-Cooked Eggs—delicious, meatless, and 16g of protein per serving.

Lentil Salad with Soft-Cooked Eggs

Wednesday: Contrary to food news trends in 2015, not all carbs are bad. Whole, unprocessed carbs provide lasting energy and aid in digestion. Smoky Farro and Chickpea Soup features the good carbs with whole grain farro, chickpeas, and vegetables. Bring to work tomorrow for a hearty lunch that won’t leave you starving or dragging at day's end.

Smoky Farro and Chickpea Soup

Thursday: Eating clean simply means leaning on wholesome ingredients and knowing what goes into them. Arctic Char with Orange-Caper Relish and Frisée and Arugula Salad uses simple, fresh ingredients. An added bonus: it’s ready in 20 minutes.

Arctic Char with Orange-Caper Relish with Frisée and Arugula Salad

Friday: Instead of banishing the comfort foods, snacks, and desserts you love, indulge smarter and in moderation so you don’t end up throwing your resolutions out the window. Bacon and blue cheese Cobb Salad Pizza delivers total weeknight pizza satisfaction at just 377 calories per serving. Serve with a simple, crisp-tender Shaved Carrot Salad.

Cobb Salad Pizza

Shaved Carrot Salad

Dessert Bonus: No splurge is complete without chocolate, and planning for the right indulgence actually helps you limit your splurges altogether. Double-Chocolate Cookies give you that intense chocolate flavor in one gooey, melt-in-your-mouth dessert.

Double-Chocolate Cookies

If you like having a healthy meal plan but want something customized to your dietary or caloric needs, check out The Cooking Light Diet. It’s a calorie-driven weekly meal plan—breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—based on your dieting goals and food preferences.