Trying to come up with easy, healthy dinners can be harder than it looks. When you have a lot going on in life, it can be so tempting to just pick-up the phone and call for take-out. But precooked meals from a restaurant are going to be unhealthy with potentially a lot of sugar, salt and fat. Even if you order a salad, many times the salad comes with ingredients that do not have nutrition, like croutons and dressings with a lot of sugar.
So how can you create healthy dinners that are easy? Planning is one way. Planning meals can help take the stress out of deciding what to cook for dinner. By having a written list (or digital list) of the dinners you plan on making on a specific night not only ensures you are feeding everyone a healthy meal but can also provide health benefits, such as maintaining a healthy weight and creating happy memories when sharing a good meal together.
Here's a few steps to help you get started planning healthy meals:
1) Choose the recipes you want to make. This will force you to look in the pantry to see if you have the necessary ingredients or not. Also, you can determine if adjustments are needed based on the likes and dislikes of your family. For example, I recently made a vegan lasagna but the recipe called for eggplant. My significant other hates eggplant. So I adjusted by adding green peppers and mushrooms with zucchini.
2) Check-out sales at the grocery store. Sometimes, I am uninspired until I see a specific product on sale or I am scrolling through Pinterest. For example, my local grocery store had organic chicken on sale. So I knew I would make something with chicken during the week since it was on sale.
3) Determine which meals can be made ahead of time. This allows you to have a heat and eat strategy. Going back to the vegan lasagna, I made that on Saturday. We heated it up and ate it on Tuesday. Plus, we had left-overs for lunch! I love when that happens. Multiple meals for the price of one!
4) Ask for help! This is a hard one. But you don't have to do it all. Ask someone in the house to chop up veggies for a stir-fry or to make rice as a side dish. It is great to have help in the kitchen and if you have children in the house, it is good to get them involved in the kitchen so they can learn how to cook.
Now that you've prepped for the week and have a plan for dinner, need some recipe inspiration? Below are 5 dinners that come together easily and are healthy for quick weeknight dinners. I hope they inspire you! If you would like to receive healthy living tips and recipes for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.
Healthy Chicken Stir Fry from Wholefully. This recipe only takes 30 minutes from prep to table and this is a great recipe to get the family involved in helping. Carrots, peppers and mushrooms need to be chopped. The recipe uses frozen broccoli (love that shortcut) and the marinade for the chicken only needs to be on the chicken while the veggies are being cut-up. Click here for the recipe.
Black Bean Sweet Potato Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers from Ambitious Kitchen. Stuffed peppers are a dish I serve often for vegetarian night in my household. They are so easy and versatile. I will stuff them on the weekend and then on the night we are going to eat them, I simply ask my significant other to put them in the oven 30-40 minutes before I get home. They are ready to eat when I get home! Click here for the recipe.
Mediterranean Pasta from Well Plated. In 20 minutes you can have dinner on the table. Don't believe it? Try this pasta recipe. It is also really healthy. Warming up the chopped tomatoes activates the lycopene content. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that helps support cellular health. Using black olives and fresh garlic helps support a healthy heart. Click here for the recipe.
Easy Bruschetta Chicken from Lively Table. This is so simple and can be paired with any side dish. Pasta, roasted potatoes or broccoli and a salad. Chicken only takes 20 minutes to cook (typically) and with the minimal prep on the other sides (besides the potatoes) you can have dinner in 30 minutes. Click here for the recipe.
Easy Beef and Broccoli from Damn Delicious. The recipe promises it will be made in 15 minutes and you know it is healthier than take-out! The beef is flank steak which can be a little pricey. In the grocery store I shop in they have a beef stir-fry cut option or you may be able to find an organic red meat that is on sale as a substitute. Also, organic frozen broccoli florets would also be a good substitute. Click here for the recipe.
I hope the recipes I shared inspired you to start doing a little meal-planning and ditch the take-out. Now that things are starting to get busy with school starting soon, these steps and recipes can help you have healthy dinners the family will love.
If you make any of the recipes, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram as @heatherleehurst and use the #heathershealthhabits hashtag. I love seeing your takes on the recipes I share!