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10 Simple Dinner Ideas for Healthy Eating in Real Life
You may think that preparing healthy, delicious dinners at home is a complicated process, but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be.
Even though I love food and enjoy cooking, I like to keep it simple when it comes to mealtime. This means choosing recipes that are easy to follow and don’t involve complicated cooking techniques or seemingly never-ending steps.
Here are 10 of my go-to simple dinner recipes that can help you get a healthy meal on the table quickly.
Plus, they’re delicious and pair well with just about anything. This makes them the perfect base on which to build a filling meal.
At my house, we prepare stuffed sweet potatoes at least once a week. I roast a whole sweet potato, then stuff it with ingredients like sautéed veggies, beans, chicken, and cheese.
This meal is super versatile, and you can choose from a variety of flavor combinations. You can try out one of the simple recipes below or wing it and simply pile your favorite ingredients onto a roasted sweet potato.
- Chicken Pesto Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Vegetarian Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes
Grain bowls are a hit in my kitchen. My husband and I love how simple and adaptable grain bowls are and frequently prepare this dinner when we’re craving a flavorful yet easy-to-prepare meal.
I follow a gluten-free diet, so we use gluten-free grains like quinoa and brown rice. However, you can use any grain you want for grain bowls, including farro, millet, and barley.
Grains provide an important source of fiber and other nutrients like magnesium. Studies have found that diets rich in grains are linked to a lower risk of several health conditions, including colon cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes (2Trusted Source).
To prepare a grain bowl, top a serving of cooked grains with cooked or raw veggies and a protein source like chicken, fried or hard-boiled eggs, grilled shrimp, or salmon.
Then top it with a store-bought or homemade dressing, or keep it simple with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice.
For example, this Green Goddess Buddha Bowl uses an irresistible combination of brown rice, roasted broccoli, sugar snap peas, avocado, hard-boiled eggs, toasted pumpkin seeds, and a creamy yogurt-based sauce.
Here are a few more grain bowl recipes that make a perfect dinner option for nights when you’re short on time:
- Thai Chicken Buddha Bowls
- Salmon Grain Bowls with Lemon Tahini Sauce
- Sweet Potato & Chickpea Buddha Bowl
Share on Pinterestcheche22/Getty Images
When you have chickens like I do, eggs make their way into more than just breakfast meals. We regularly use eggs as the protein source for quick and tasty dinners, including frittatas.
Eggs have you covered when it comes to healthy fat and protein, so all you need to do is add a variety of your favorite veggies to cover your fiber needs.
Some of my favorite vegetables to use in frittatas include asparagus, spinach, sweet potatoes, zucchini, onions, broccoli florets, mushrooms, and tomatoes. You can also add in ingredients like cheese, herbs, spices, or pesto to give your frittata extra flavor.
You can even use leftovers like salmon, shredded chicken, and potatoes in your frittata.
I like to serve frittata with some sliced avocado or fresh fruit. It’s a filling meal that you can enjoy at any time of the day or night. Frittatas are super simple to make, and you can whip them up in under an hour.
Here are a few tasty and easy frittata recipes:
- Spring Vegetable Frittata
- Cheesy Chicken Pepper Broccoli Frittata
- Wild Mushroom Frittata with Cheddar, Green Onions, and Peas
A large, filling salad is one of my go-to dinners, especially when I’m not feeling up to putting time into a meal.
The problem with most salads is that they’re not well composed, and you end up feeling hungry again just a short while after finishing your meal. The key to making a hearty dinner salad is making sure that you include plenty of protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
Start with a base of your favorite greens, such as spinach, mixed greens, arugula, kale, or romaine. Add a few more veggies, such as peppers, cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, or red onions, to your greens to bump up the fiber content.
Then choose a protein source like grilled chicken, shrimp, salmon, or hard-boiled eggs. Adding a fiber-rich carb source, such as beans or roasted sweet potatoes, will bump the fullness factor even higher.
Top your creation with roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds for a crunchy texture, then drizzle it with a healthy dressing like olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or follow this recipe for Homemade Green Goddess Dressing.
Here are a few more dinner salad ideas:
Most everyone loves a good pasta dish, but most pasta dishes don’t contain the necessary ingredients, such as protein and fiber, to keep you feeling satisfied (3Trusted Source).
Fortunately, using a few simple tips can help you create a filling and nutritious pasta dinner in no time.
First, choose your pasta. I am a big fan of Tinkyada brown rice pasta, but you can use any pasta you like. You can also use zucchini noodles in place of pasta if you’re following a lower carb dietary pattern.
Next, pick a source of protein. I like to use chicken breast or ground chicken or, if I want plant-based protein, I will add chickpeas.
Next, choose your veggies. I love a classic combo of spinach and broccoli, but almost any vegetable will work. Lastly, pick a sauce, such as pesto, marinara, or olive oil.
Here are a few recipes to try out the next time you’re craving a pasta dish:
- Broccoli Pesto Chicken Pasta
- Roasted Vegetable Chickpea Pasta Salad
- Zucchini Noodles with Mini Chicken Feta and Spinach Meatballs
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Few meals are more satisfying than a hearty, hot bowl of soup. Fortunately, soup can be simple to prepare and makes a perfect choice for meal prep, as you can make large portions easily.
I like making soups that require only one pot because this means less time cleaning up. I make my soups on the stovetop, but you can make any of the following recipes in an Instant Pot to save time.
Curry is a smart choice for a quick, filling dinner because it’s versatile, easy to make, and family-friendly. Plus, eating curry regularly may help improve your health by reducing heart disease risk factors, including high triglyceride and blood sugar levels (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
I like whipping up a warming chickpea and sweet potato curry during the winter months and serving it over rice or quinoa.
Many curry recipes take 30 minutes or less to prepare, including these simple curry dishes:
Burgers are a great choice for families because they’re simple to make and sure to please even the pickiest of taste buds.
Even though beef burgers are a popular choice, you can make burgers out of just about any protein source, including ground chicken, salmon, tuna, and lentils.
My husband makes a delicious chicken burger, and I like to serve it with a large salad and roasted sweet potato fries.
You can serve your burgers on a hearty whole grain bun, in a lettuce wrap, or on top of a bed of greens to suit your dietary needs.
Here are a few burger recipes that are super simple to prepare:
- Chickpea Pizza Burgers
- Spinach Feta Salmon Burgers
- Seriously Good Sweet Potato Cheddar Barbecue Chicken Burgers
Share on PinterestCameron Whitman/Stocksy United
Even though roasting a whole chicken may take some time, it couldn’t be any simpler. Check out this guide on how to roast a perfect chicken.
When I roast whole chickens, I stuff the bottom of the roasting pan with potato wedges, onions, and carrot chunks so the veggies cook along with the chicken.
When your chicken is done roasting, let it rest for 15 minutes before carving it. You can use that time to make a quick salad like the ones listed below:
- Easy Tomato Avocado Salad
- Favorite Green Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Pepitas
- Sun-Dried Tomato Salad with Olives and Feta
If you’re not a fan of cleaning dishes, this idea is for you.
Most recipes require you to use several pots, pans, and bowls. However, sheet pan meals allow you to pile all of your ingredients onto a single sheet pan to cook, which saves you time in the kitchen.
Check out these mouthwatering sheet pan meals:
- Sheet Pan Harissa Chicken with Chickpeas and Sweet Potatoes
- Sheet Pan Lemon Brown Butter Salmon with Parmesan Asparagus
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Vegetarian Mediterranean Sheet Pan Dinner
Preparing a healthy and satisfying dinner doesn’t have to involve complicated recipes and hours in the kitchen.
The recipes listed above are not only nutritious but also simple to prepare.
Try one of the recipes above the next time you’re drawing a blank at dinner time.
Just one thing
Try this today: If you’re unsure about what to make for dinner, don’t panic! First, take a look in your fridge and pantry to see what ingredients you have to work with.
Next, create a balanced meal by choosing the following:
- a protein source
- a nonstarchy vegetable
- a carb source
- a healthy fat
For example, pair baked chicken breasts with broccoli sautéed in olive oil and garlic. Add a baked potato, and you’ve created a healthy, balanced meal.
Many people feel overwhelmed when it comes to mealtime, especially those new to cooking. Keeping it simple is a good tip to help you stay calm in the kitchen.
Last medically reviewed on June 30, 2021
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