5-Day Meal Plan for People With Thyroid Disease

A step-by-step guide for 5 days of meals

Traditional Arabic Salad Tabbouleh with couscous, vegetables and greens on concrete background
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While there is no specific diet for thyroid disease, eating well means focusing on balanced meals full of whole foods, including fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, and lean proteins.

An underactive thyroid can slow down your metabolism (the process in which your body converts the food you eat into energy) and cause fatigue, constipation, and weight gain. Choosing more nutritionally dense foods and exercising can help you feel more energized, support a healthy weight, and help you stay on top of your health.

This article provides a meal plan, shopping list, and instructions to help you prepare for the week.

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7 Quick Nutrition Tips for Thyroid Wellness

Goitrogens, Soy, and Iodine

Goitrogens, the compounds released when raw cruciferous veggies like kale and broccoli are digested, mainly cause issues if you have an iodine deficiency. If you do, your healthcare provider will work with you to correct it.

Also, cooking deactivates goitrogens. Isoflavones in soy may conflict with your medications and affect the thyroid. Talk to your healthcare provider about possible interactions and confirm whether you should follow a soy-free diet.

This meal plan is entirely soy-free, and all recipes, although they contain cruciferous veggies, are cooked, reducing the potential for goitrogens being released when the food is digested. While there is a reasonable amount of evidence to show iodine benefits thyroid health, excessive iodine consumption can worsen thyroid disease.

In some cases, if you receive radioactive iodine therapy, you may be asked to follow a low iodine diet for several weeks before getting your treatment to increase its effectiveness.

Dietary Considerations

The relationship between thyroid disease, metabolism, and body weight is highly complex. Those with underactive thyroids often burn fewer calories at rest, while those with overactive thyroids tend to burn more calories at rest.

Your calorie needs will depend on height, weight, activity level, and gender. It's important to avoid going on a strict, very low-calorie diet as they often do more harm than good and can even slow down your metabolism.

Instead of focusing on calories to satiate your hunger, focus on eating nutrient-rich foods to promote satiety while nourishing your body and supporting healthy energy levels.

Because thyroid disease can present unique challenges, it's important to work closely with your healthcare team and registered dietitian to develop a plan tailored to your individual needs.

Hydration

Pair your meals with refreshing beverages and keep sipping throughout the day. Water is always a smart choice. If you want to switch up the flavors, try peach mint iced green tea, freshly steeped mint and lemon tea, or a light strawberry basil sparkler.

Meal Plan Overview

This 5-day meal plan provides healthy amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats to optimize your health and support a healthy weight. Depending on your body's fullness or hunger, you may omit a snack or add one.

Here's a glimpse of what you'll be enjoying throughout the week. The meal plan is designed for two people. Detailed prep instructions are below.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snack/Dessert
Cherry berry smoothie bowl Portable tuna pockets with fresh fruit Ultimate chopped salad Dark chocolate cake 2-3 Brazil nuts
Savory spinach and feta oatmeal bowl Leftover ultimate chopped salad Veggie enchiladas Garlic parmesan popcorn Apple slices with nut butter
Brown sugar citrus yogurt bowls Leftover veggie enchiladas Pesto salmon with potato soup   Whole grain mini berry crisps Hummus and carrots
Peanut butter cup chia pudding Leftover pesto salmon with potato soup Chopped tabouli salad with fresh fruit Peanut butter banana yogurt parfait Popcorn
Mexican garden scramble with matcha latte Leftover chopped tabouli with fruit Vegetarian black bean tostadas Dark chocolate avocado mousse

Grocery List

Review the list and cross out items you already have handy. Doing this will save you time and money at the supermarket.

Do your best to buy everything you need in one go. Substitutions are noted where you can omit or swap an ingredient in order to avoid unused food and food waste. At home, prep what you can to save time on weekdays. See detailed instructions below. 


Canned Goods - At least 28 ounces low-sodium chicken or veggie broth - 2 5-ounce cans water-packed chunk light tuna1 15-ounce can white beans - 15-ounce can garbanzo beans - small jar kalamata olives - 2 15-ounce cans black beans - 2 8-ounce cans enchilada sauce

Pantry Items (you likely have many of these on hand) - Rolled oats - Brazil nuts - Olive oil spray - Salt and pepper - Brown sugar - Honey - Granola - Sliced almonds (or whole almonds or other nut) - Almond, peanut, or your favorite nut butter - Chia seeds - Unsweetened coconut flakes (optional) - Cocoa powder - Salsa/hot sauce Matcha powder - Vanilla extract - Cumin powder - Turmeric powder - Olive oil - Dried oregano - Unsalted pistachios (1/3 cup) - Quinoa - Dark chocolate bar - Popcorn kernels - Garlic powder - Ground cinnamon - Ground nutmeg

Meat and Seafood - 12 ounces fresh salmon - Chicken breast (at least 8 ounces) Frozen Goods - 1 bag frozen mixed berries - 1 bag cherries - 1 bag corn kernels
Dairy and Eggs - Dozen large eggs - Crumbled feta cheese - Plain low-fat Greek yogurt (at least 24 ounces) - Half gallon milk of choice - Grated cheddar cheese (8 ounces) - Grated parm ( 1/4 cup) - Butter

Bread and Bakery - 1 pack whole wheat pita bread - 1 pack corn tortillas

Fresh Produce - 3 heads fresh garlic - Large bag baby spinach (at least 4 cups) - 1 large grapefruit - 1 medium orange - 9 small carrots - 4 lemons - 1 kiwi - 2 medium onions - 5 medium bell peppers, any color - 1 very small jalapeno - 2 apples- 1 small bunch cilantro or parsley - 4 small tomatoes - 2 avocados - 2 cucumbers - 1 pint cherry tomatoes or 2 extra medium tomatoes - Fresh basil leaves - 1 leek - 2 large potatoes - 1 medium banana - Hummus

Preparation Plan

This plan is designed for two people. In some cases, where noted, a recipe needs to be doubled or halved.

Use sturdy Tupperware and Mason jars to keep pre-chopped veggies and leftovers fresh. Store ingredients that weren't used where they belong, like your pantry or the fridge.

Shopping Day (You can split these tasks into 2 days if needed)

Monday Breakfast Prep:

  • Measure out the mixed berries, cherries, carrots, and almonds (you can use sliced, whole, or another nut—whatever you have available) for your cherry berry smoothie bowl. Store in a zip-top bag in the freezer until next morning, so you don't have to measure as much.

Monday Lunch Prep:

  • Prepare the tuna salad according to recipe instructions. Note that you can leave the celery out (it isn't listed on the shopping list because this is the only recipe that uses it). You can use cilantro or parsley, depending on what you bought, and if you don't have mayo on hand swap in some of the Greek yogurt you bought. Keep the rest of the white beans stored in tupperware in the fridge for the potato soup you'll make later on in the week.
  • Pack the salad for lunch, along with one pita each.
  • Note: Double the recipe, for two people.

Monday Dinner Prep:

  • Chop cucumber, tomatoes, bell pepper, and olives to prepare for your ultimate chopped salad. Store in the fridge until Monday's dinner.

Monday

Breakfast:

  • Combine the ingredients frozen on shopping day with the rest of the ingredients listed in the recipe.

Lunch:

  • Stuff pitas with the pre-prepped tuna salad and enjoy. Pair with fresh fruit.

Dinner:

  • Finish putting together the ultimate chopped salad according to directions. Note that you can use dry oregano instead of fresh (we omitted it from the shopping list because this is the only recipe that uses it).
  • Enjoy the salad with a whole pita bread.
  • Store leftovers for lunch the next day.

Snack/Dessert:

  • Prepare dark chocolate cake for two according to directions.
  • Note that oat flour is not listed on the shopping list. You can blend or grind some rolled oats to make oat flour instead of buying a bag that you may not use again. This will save you a few dollars.
  • Enjoy 2-3 Brazil nuts as a snack

Tuesday

Breakfast:

  • Prepare a savory spinach and feta oatmeal bowl according to directions.
  • Note: Double this recipe, for two people.

Lunch:

  • Enjoy leftover ultimate chopped salad.

Dinner:

  • Prepare vegetable enchiladas according to directions.
  • You can use some cilantro or parsley, whichever one you bought, and Greek yogurt and olives as garnishes.
  • Pack leftovers for lunch the next day.

Snack/Dessert:

  • Prepare garlic parmesan popcorn according to directions.
  • Pre-cut apples into slices and pair with 1 tablespoon of nut butter of your choice

Wednesday

Breakfast:

  • Prepare brown sugar baked citrus with honeyed yogurt bowl according to directions.

Lunch:

  • Enjoy leftover vegetable enchiladas.

Dinner:

  • Prepare pesto crusted salmon according to directions. If basil leaves have the stem intact, place the rest into a small vase and it'll keep for up to a week. Alternatively, you can chop it up and freeze or dry it for later use.
  • Prepare potato soup according to instructions. You can omit the bacon if you prefer.
  • Note: Half the potato soup recipe, to make only 4 cups.
  • Enjoy 1 cup soup with 3 ounces salmon for dinner. Pack leftovers for Thursday's lunch.

Snack/Dessert:

  • Prepare whole grain mini berry crisps according to directions.
  • Note: If you don't have any whole wheat flour, swap in some oat flour by grinding or blending two tablespoons of rolled oats. Use any nut you have on hand. The cinnamon and nutmeg add a nice flavor profile. You can buy a package of them if you think you'll use them down the line, but omit them if you'll only be using them for this recipe.
  • Note: Half the recipe, to make only two servings.
  • Pair eight baby carrots with 3-4 tablespoons of hummus

Thursday Breakfast Prep:

  • Prepare peanut butter cup chia pudding according to directions for a grab-and-go breakfast.
  • Note: Double the recipe, for two.

Thursday Dinner Prep:

  • Place chicken for the tabouli salad in the oven at the same time as the salmon, to have ready for use for Thursday's dinner. Simply prepare it and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When ready, store in tupperware.

Thursday

Breakfast:

  • Enjoy the peanut butter cup chia pudding prepared the night before.

Lunch:

  • Enjoy leftover pesto crusted salmon with a cup of potato soup.

Dinner:

  • Prepare tabouli salad according to instructions, using the chicken from the day before. Tip: chop up the vegetables while the quinoa is cooking. Use parsley or cilantro, whichever you bought.
  • Serve with fresh fruit
  • Pack leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

Snack/Dessert:

  • Prepare peanut butter banana yogurt parfait according to instructions. Break up the dark chocolate bar and use instead of the called for cacao nibs.
  • Popcorn

Friday Breakfast Prep:

  • Chop up the onion, bell pepper, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro (or parsley, if that's what you bought), and tomato to have on hand for quick cooking your Mexican scramble in the morning.

Friday

Breakfast:

  • Prepare Mexican scramble according to directions, using pre-chopped veggies from the night before. Enjoy with a cup of creamy cocoa matcha latte, prepared according to instructions.
  • Note: double the latte recipe, for two people.

Lunch:

  • Enjoy leftover tabouli salad.

Dinner:

  • Prepare black bean tostadas according to directions. Use the rest of your spinach instead of arugula. Omit the red onion.
  • Enjoy two tostadas per person.

Snack/Dessert:

  • Prepare dark chocolate avocado mousse according to directions.
  • Note: Half the recipe, to make only two servings.

A Word From Verywell

A balanced diet will help you hit most of your nutrient goals, making a dietary supplement unnecessary in most cases (although you should confirm this with your healthcare provider). The goal is to be prepared with a good meal plan, and prep ahead to lighten your workload throughout the week.

It's OK if the plan doesn't go exactly as outlined. You should feel free to modify steps to fit your personal needs and cooking style. Scheduling cooking time is helpful for some people, and you may find that it helps you get things done, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What diet is best for people with thyroid disease?

    Though there is no specific thyroid diet, people with thyroid disease should eat balanced, portion-controlled meals. It is important to focus on whole, unprocessed foods such as lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to optimize your health.

  • Are there foods you shouldn’t eat if you have thyroid disease?

    Possibly. Soy, for example, may hinder the absorption of certain thyroid medications. Cabbage and other cruciferous vegetables can alter iodine levels when eaten raw. However, cooking these vegetables can negate these effects. Iodine-rich foods like kelp may have a negative impact on some people with thyroid disease. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if there are any foods you need to avoid.

  • What is a good breakfast for people with hypothyroidism?

    Eggs are a healthy breakfast for people with hypothyroidism. Eggs are a lean protein containing iodine and selenium—nutrients necessary for thyroid health. Pair with toast and sliced avocado for a nutrient-dense, satisfying breakfast.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bajaj JK, Salwan P, Salwan S. Various possible toxicants involved in thyroid dysfunction: A reviewJ Clin Diagn Res. 2016;10(1):FE01–FE3. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2016/15195.7092

  2. Duntas LH, Jonklaas J. Levothyroxine dose adjustment to optimise therapy throughout a patient's lifetimeAdv Ther. 2019;36(Suppl 2):30–46. doi:10.1007/s12325-019-01078-2

  3. National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Hypothyroidism.

  4. Babiker A, Alawi A, Atawi M, Alwan I. The role of micronutrients in thyroid dysfunction. Sudan J Paed. Published online 2020:13-19. doi:https://doi.org/10.24911/SJP.106-1587138942

  5. American Thyroid Association. Low iodine diet.

  6. Martins C, Gower BA, Hunter GR. Metabolic adaptation delays time to reach weight loss goals. Obesity. 2022;30(2):400-406. doi:10.1002/oby.23333

Additional Reading

By Lindsey DeSoto, RD, LD
Lindsey Desoto is a registered dietitian with experience working with clients to improve their diet for health-related reasons. She enjoys staying up to date on the latest research and translating nutrition science into practical eating advice to help others live healthier lives.

Originally written by Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD
Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD
Leyla Shamayeva, MS, RD is a registered dietitian with a master's in clinical nutrition. She focuses her efforts on digital health communication.
Learn about our editorial process