When the seasons change we seem to want a change in our meals, too. In the winter, we look for heartier more substantial dinners and in the summer we like to keep it light. However, those in between weeks can be frustrating trying to make that transition and we spend a lot of time wondering what to make for dinner. Or maybe not. Maybe we just pull through yet another drive thru and load up on high sodium, high fat foods that are quick, but devoid of nutrition.
These 15 Fast Healthy Dinner Ideas are going to save you from another night of drive–thru!
Lately, I have had a LOT of health coaching clients and fitness class participants ask me, “What do you eat for dinner?” Most of them tell me that breakfast and lunch aren’t a problem, because they eat similar meals everyday. However, it’s panic mode for dinner. They don’t know what they want to eat, the kids are starving, and hubby or honey wants to know when dinner will be ready. Does it sound familiar? If so, no worries – help is on the way.
The key to worry free meals is PLANNING!
For instance, I have a weekly plan and it looks like this:
Sunday: Home Cooked Meal
Wednesday: Pasta (because hubby likes it)
Thursday: Easy (because I’m busy)
Saturday: Chef’s Choice
Having this plan allows me freedom in my meals, but gives me a basis from which to start.
Here are my 15 Fast Healthy Dinner Ideas –
For example, Sunday is “home cooked meal”, that leaves me a lot of room to try a new recipe or rely on a good old standby. I might roast a large pan of veg to eat throughout the week and put some in a (1.) Buddha Bowl to eat on Sunday.
Monday is self explanatory:)
Tuesday is Chinese food, well, that could mean an (2.) asian salad, (3.) home cooked stir fry, or maybe I’ll get Tofu and Vegetables with the sauce on the side (thanks to Master Wok). If I’m planning a stir fry and I know its going to be a busy week, I let my good friends from the grocery store salad bar chop my veg. I simply load up a container full of stir fry veggies, making sure not to get anything that will become slimy, i.e. sliced bell peppers, and add tofu or soba noodles when I’m cooking it. Bam! Dinner.
Wednesday is Pasta night, that means Shane is cooking (hopefully) and we’ll have (4.) quinoa pasta with a simple marinara, lasagna that I prepared earlier and froze, or (5.) pasta salad. My pasta salad consists of prepared pasta (we prefer farfalle or some other shape), chopped veg – onion, pepper, carrot, broccoli, olives, drizzled with olive oil and squeeze some lemon juice. Bam! Dinner.
Thursday is “Easy” and there again I have a wide choice. I can make (6.) bean burritos by smearing some heated vegetarian refried beans on an organic whole wheat tortilla, top it with onion, jalapeno, cilantro, salsa, roll it up and dinner is served. I could reach for a can of Amy’s Black Bean chili, Hilary’s veggie burgers, Jack’s tamales, or maybe just have a steaming baked potato and a crisp side salad. It’s a busy day so I make it as EZ as possible.
Friday is “Mexican” and one of my favorite nights. You can always get fast healthy dinner ideas from Mexican food. I’ll make (7.) spicy bean tacos, or (8.) smothered bean burritos (see above and add Frontera enchilada sauce on top), a (8.) vegan quesadilla for me and a veggie for hubby. We might have (9.) taco salad, (10.) veggie fajitas, or (11.) black bean soup. That soup is so easy! 2 cans of black beans, 1 jar of salsa, blend and top with cilantro, crushed tortilla chips and avocado. Whatever I make on “Mexican” night almost always has avocado in it – YUM!
Saturday is up in the air. We might eat out, make (12.) homemade tortilla pizza, or have a (13.) Greek dinner consisting of stuffed grape leaves (from a can), falafels, hummus, pita bread, and sliced cucumbers, tomatoes and kalamata olives – simple. We might have my (14.) Tangy Greek Chickpea Salad, it’s so zingy and delish! Now that it’s nearly summer, we might have a nice big salad and be satisfied.
So there it is, my meal plan. Simple but healthy. Home cooked (most of the time), but still quick and easy. If I spend a lot of time cooking, it’s usually on Sunday and I’ll freeze some meals. I also make a huge salad that we can eat throughout the week. I like to have a side salad with my dinners to ensure I’m getting enough veggies. Remember to make sure you don’t put any “wet” veggies (i.e. bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc) in it until you serve it, that way it stays crisp. You can also make these delicious (15.) Mason Jar Salads and ensure that your salads stay crispy and fresh for up to 5 days!
There you have it – My 15 Fast Healthy Dinner Ideas. This is what works for me and I bet it will work for you, too. Change it to suit your family. If they don’t like Chinese, maybe it’s Vegetarian night, or Soup night. The possibilities are endless, but don’t get bogged down. Just pick 7 basic meals and find 3-5 recipes for each night and rotate. You’ll have peace of mind knowing what’s for dinner.
Here are some other easy and fun dinners!
Spicy Cauliflower Stir Fry [The Kitchn]
Poblano and Portobello Fajitas [Minimalist Baker]
Black Bean Burrito Bowl [Vegan Richa]