You are a corporate workhorse. Your boss loves you for that. Your paycheque says it all. Life, as you know it, is good.
Okay, let’s cut to the chase. The other side of the story is you always head home with a tired body, exhausted brain, and a hungry stomach. Some nights you would go straight to your favorite fast food joint and get what seems to be your perpetual go-to meal. The question is, are you sure you are eating real, healthy food and not artificial junk masquerading as one?
On other days, you try to muster up all the skills you need to prepare yourself a decent meal–using whatever’s left of your weekly supply. You’re lucky if you happen to have whole-grain noodles, fresh tomatoes, and parmesan. Otherwise, grilled skinless chicken breasts would also make a nice, healthy treat. In both instances, you feel a quick sigh of relief, a refreshing break from your rather stale, unhealthy diet.
You don’t need to force yourself to eat food that only does your body more harm than good. It only takes a few minutes to know what to eat for dinner tonight and whip up something that will not only satisfy your palate but will also boost your energy for the next day.
20 Quick and Healthy Dinner Recipes To Try
Here are 20 quick and healthy dinner recipes you can enjoy all without breaking a sweat.
1. Easy, Healthy Meat Sauce
When you get both nutrition and gastronomic indulgence, you know it’s something you need to try. This easy marinara recipe makes use of fresh vegetables, ground sirloin, and jarred marinara sauce–no need to do the sauce from scratch! If you’re preparing a week-long meal plan, this recipe is recommended as it has a shelf life of five days and can be kept in mason jars.Total prep and cook time: 30-35 minutes Health factor: Ground sirloin is the leanest cut of meat–that’s fatless protein for you!
2. White Bean and Tuna Quesadillas with Cherry Tomato Pico
White beans have a mellow, blunt taste to them which means you can mix them in whatever sauce or broth you have. This tuna quesadilla recipe takes its taste from fresh cherry tomato pico, making it a savory meal you can have any time of the day.Total prep and cook time: 25 minutes Health factor: Beans are among the top quick dinner recipes known to score low on the glycemic index. This helps reduce your risk of heart diseases and diabetes.
3. Sardines Tossed in Marinara With Coconut oil
Can’t get enough of marinara? Partner it with coconut oil to make a succulent base for this super quick sardine meal.Total prep and cook time: 1 minute Health factor: Aside from tuna, sardines are known to be one of the highest sources of omega-3 fatty acids which lower chances of heart diseases
4. Green Salad With Lemon Dressing
The lemon’s tangy taste cuts through the fresh, earthy texture of vegetables ultimately providing you with a satisfying multi-sensory experience.Total prep and cook time: 20 minutes Health factor: Keeping a high-fiber diet can help lower cholesterol levels and improve digestion.
5. Salmon Avocado Poke Bowls
This simple Hawaiian dish offers a nice balance between the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of fresh salmon and the creamy, smooth taste of avocado. Add to this the filling quality of rice and you’ll surely have a full meal, hook, line, and sinker.Total prep and cook time: 20 minutes Health factor: Avocados are very nutritious and contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals as well as healthy fats.
6. Sheet Pan Teriyaki Chicken and Roast Broccoli
A healthy and deliciously satisfying meal in a single sheet pan. This improved and simplified version of everyone’s favorite chicken recipe, cuts down on prep and cook time while keeping the delectable taste of the meal we’ve all grown to love.Total prep and cook time: 40 minutes Health factor: Did you know that chicken meat is a natural antidepressant? Keep your happy hormones afloat even after a challenging day at the office with this easy-to-prepare meal.
7. Green Eggs and Ham Frittata
This version of the popular egg dish offers a generous load of spinach, leeks, and dill. The meal also highlights the sweet taste of ham and the piquant texture of cheese.Total prep and cook time: 30 minutes Health factor: This pantry staple is packed with vitamins and minerals and is rich in protein, amino acids, and healthy fats.
8. Baked Chicken Fingers With Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
This delicious chicken meal, that doubles as a snack, is an ideal recipe for people who are on the go. Pop the breaded chicken in the oven, prepare your dipping sauce, add in some greens, and it’s done!Total prep and cook time: 25 minutes Health factor: Baking the chicken instead of frying gives you all the flavors without the guilt.
9. Easy Salmon and Potato Foil Packets
No need to have advanced cooking skills to put this delicious meal together. This dish has the zesty, refreshing flavors of orange and lemon and infuses it into the tender and flaky meat of salmon.Total prep and cook time: 25-30 minutes Health factor: The combination of salmon and potato in this meal makes it great for the bones and heart.
10. Asian Prawn and Quinoa Salad
Fresh salad recipes always do the trick. If you’re looking for a meal that is packed with flavours without compromising on nutritional value, this delightful concoction is perfect for you.Total prep and cook time: 30 minutes Health factor: Quinoa, often called as the “wonder grain” is loaded with protein, fiber, and antioxidants. It is also popularly known to be a healthier alternative to carbohydrates.
11. Chicken Curry in a Hurry
This simpler take on everyone’s favorite Indian meal uses rotisserie chicken, cutting your cooking time in half. It also contains Greek yogurt which adds an interesting dimension to its already flavorful taste profile.Total prep and cook time: 45 minutes Health factor: Yogurt is known to help address certain gastrointestinal conditions such as lactose intolerance, constipation, and diarrhea.
12. Tomato Chickpea Salad
This hearty and easy-to-prepare meal marries the sublime taste of chickpeas and the invigorating quality of tomatoes. It also offers a generous serving of fresh ingredients such as parsley, cucumber, and green onions—a sure burst of flavors in the mouth!Total prep and cook time: 10 minutes Health factor: Tomatoes help maintain a healthy blood pressure level.
13. Roasted Cucumbers With Cream and Horseradish
Partner your favorite meat recipes with this dolled up cucumber-based meal. Cooked with butter and cream and accompanied with horseradish, lemon zest, and dill, this sumptuous side dish also makes a great, filling meal all on its own.Total prep and cook time: 35 minutes Health factor: Cucumber helps fight body inflammation with its cooling properties.
14. Quick Chicken Fettuccine
Want to treat yourself to an easy yet satisfying dish? This quick chicken fettuccine meal contains all the flavors you need to happily cap off your frantic day at work.Total prep and cook time: 20 minutes Health factor: This fettuccine and chicken combo is a goud source of protein.
15. Steamed Mussels With Tomato and Chorizo Broth
The refreshing taste of the sea in the mouth is a perfect way to shoo away all the exhaustion you’ve drawn in during the day. This one-pot broth-based meal is easy to prepare and yields a savory delight.Total prep and cook time: 30 minutes Health factor: Mussels are dense in nutrients and are believed to be the best seafood since they are farmed using environmentally-friendly methods.
16. Easy Garlic Kale
Packed with a wide variety of healthful compounds and minerals, this super meal transforms your dull dining into a unique appetizing experience.Total prep and cook time: 25 minutes Health factor: Enjoy kale’s vitamin-rich flavor profile as well as garlic’s pungent nutritional composition.
17. Gyudon (Japanese Simmered Beef and Rice Bowls)
Not even your busy schedule can stop you from enjoying this one-pot Japanese treat. This quick, savory meal will surely give all the after-work comfort that you deserve.Total prep and cook time: 20 minutes Health factor: Enjoy a hearty meal that comes with a good protein boost.
18. Healthy Pork Lettuce Wraps
Super simple and easy to prepare, this delicious wrap recipe is a healthy alternative to your usual heavy meat-based meal. The crunchy texture of lettuce and the savory taste of pork will surely bring joy to your taste buds.Total prep and cook time: 25 minutes Health factor: Lettuce is a healthier alternative to rice or bread—equally filling minus the carbs.
19. 15-minute Coconut Curry Noodle Soup
The richness of coconut milk, pungent spice of curry paste, and the tasty slivers of chicken breasts make this easy to prepare noodle soup a perfect evening meal.Total prep and cook time: 15 minutes Health factor: Soups are generally made up of liquid contents and they fill you up without all the unnecessary calories.
20. Smoky Citrus Shrimp With Parsley
This easy-to-prepare meal comes with oodles of flavors that burst in your mouth sending you straight to a unique and satisfying gastronomic adventure.Total prep and cook time: 40 minutes Health factor: Shrimps are known to be low in calories and high in protein.
Benefits of Eating a Healthy Dinner
What should I make for dinner? Have you been asking yourself this question? Eating a healthy dinner has lots of physical and mental health benefits. And it all starts with making the right food choices.
A healthy diet includes foods that are rich in essential nutrients. Dinner ideas for tonight can transform your life in ways you’d never imagine. Here are the top benefits of knowing what to eat tonight.
One of the reasons for knowing what to cook in dinner and consuming a healthy dinner is losing extra weight. Maintaining a healthy weight will minimize the risk of lots of chronic health issues.
Being obese or overweight increases the chances of various diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and various cancers. As you are going to see from our list, most healthy foods are comprised of fruits, vegetables, and legumes that are low in calories and contain lots of nutrients. Further, they are usually high in fiber which is essential in weight management. It helps you feel full for an extended period.
Various research studies have shown that there is a link between your mood and diet. Diets that contain a huge amount of simple sugars usually trigger fatigue and depression.
Common examples of such foods include sugary drinks, cookies, white bread, cakes, and biscuit. On the other hand, whole fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains have a low amount of these sugars.
Researchers at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention have found that heart disease is a leading cause of death in most parts of the United States and other nations in the world.
Close to half of the adult population in the United States have a form of heart disease. Eating a healthy dinner and increasing physical activity can prevent premature heart disease and high blood pressure. The recommended diet to reduce high blood pressure includes:Consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains Choosing low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, nuts, vegetable oils, and beans Reducing the intake of saturated and trans fat such as full-fat dairy products and fatty meals Limiting drinks that contain simple sugars Reducing sodium consumption to 2300 mg per day
Reducing the Risk for Cancer
Consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants can greatly reduce your risk of developing different types of cancers.
Antioxidants protect our bodies from damage by eliminating free radicals which cause a wide range of diseases. Vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts are rich in antioxidants which reduce the risk of cancer.
Knowing what to make for dinner can promote digestion. You’ve probably heard a lot of people around you complaining about constipation. Most people around the world are suffering from mild to severe constipation due to the high consumption of unhealthy foods. They not only give no energy to the body but also lead to additional damages.
One of the main disadvantages of unhealthy foods is poor stomach performance. When your stomach doesn’t function optimally, it won’t digest food properly. And this will lead to constipation.
Strengthening Immunity and Metabolism
Do you get diseases from your surroundings frequently? It is because of weak immunity and poor metabolism. Poor metabolism is caused by skipping meals and eating unhealthy foods.
When you fail to eat unhealthy foods, your body won’t get enough energy from the food. Consuming a healthy dinner and breakfast will strengthen your immunity and metabolism.
Improving Sleep and Health
If you are suffering from poor sleep and health, you can transform your life by changing your dinner habits. Think of healthy dinner ideas and ensure that you consume a healthy dinner before going to bed.
When you do this, you’ll experience positive changes in your sleep. You’ll start sleeping peacefully and your health will greatly improve.
The biggest benefit of consuming a healthy dinner is skin improvement. When you consume lots of processed and unhealthy foods in your dinner frequently, your skin will become lifeless.
On the other hand, when you consume healthy foods at night, your skin will start glowing. A healthy dinner plays an important role in shaping your life.
13 Practical Tips For Preparing For a Healthy Dinner
A healthy dinner is just as important as a nutritious breakfast. While consuming healthy foods might seem like an uphill task, we’ll share with you a few practical tips that will help you stay on track in the long run.
1. Keep a Journal
Take a few minutes every day to write down what you ate after every meal and their respective amounts. Doing this will help you have an idea of your eating habits.
2. Planning Pays
Planning will help you avoid falling into the trap of consuming unhealthy foods. If you don’t have an idea what you’ll eat in the evening, chances are you’ll eat an unhealthy dinner.
3. Drink Tea and Water
Drinking unsweetened tea and lots of water is one of the best things you can do for your body. Avoid sugary drinks and sodas as they’ll keep you feeling thirsty and hungry all day long.
4. Consume Vegetables and Fruits
Your plate should always have some form of fruit or vegetable. A research study conducted by CDC back in 2017 found that only 12 percent of Americans consume the right amount of fruits and vegetables every day.
5. Follow the 3-Hour Rule
Your body needs enough time to digest the food that you consume. Always try to eat dinner three hours before going to bed. Also, drink enough water to avoid dehydration and getting up in the middle of the night.
6. Slow Down
Your eating pace greatly influences the amount of food you consume and the likelihood of gaining weight. Research studies have found that fast eaters are likely to consume more and have a higher body mass compared to slow eaters. The amount of food you eat and how full you feel are managed by hormones. Hormones tell your brain whether you are full or hungry. It only takes a couple of minutes for your brain to receive these signals.
Eating your food slowly will give ample time for your brain to receive the message Eating slowly will not only help you reduce your calories but also your weight. Your food needs to be chewed thoroughly to enhance weight control.
7. Consume Whole-Grain Bread
You can easily consume a healthy diet by going for whole-grain bread instead of refined grain bread. Refined grains have been linked to a wide range of health issues.
On the other hand, whole grains have been linked to a wide range of health benefits such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. They are rich in B vitamins, fiber, and minerals like iron, manganese, zinc, and magnesium.
Whole-grain bread is available in many varieties. And most of them are more delicious than refined bread. Always read the label to ensure that your bread has been made with whole grains only. It is also important that the bread contain whole seeds.
8. Consume Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is creamier and thicker than regular yogurt. It has been filtered to remove excess whey (the watery ingredient of milk). This leads to a final product that is higher in protein and fat than the usual yogurt. It is a good source of protein that will help you feel full for a longer time thus reducing your food intake and managing your appetite.
Greek yogurt has less lactose and carbs than regular yogurt. Always go for the plain and unflavored variety since flavored ones usually contain added sugars and other ingredients that are less nutritious.
9. Increase Protein Intake
Protein is one of the best nutrients in the world due to the superpowers that it offers. It is considered the most filling macronutrient due to its ability to affect hunger hormones.
A research study found that consuming meals rich in protein decreases hunger more than consuming a meal rich in carbs. Protein retains muscle mass and increases the number of calories that you burn during the day. It plays an important role in preventing muscle loss that usually occurs with weight loss.
If you’ve been trying to lose weight, you should consider adding protein to every snack or meal that you consume. Some of the best sources of protein include nuts, eggs, lean meat, dairy products, and peanut butter to name a few.
10. Roast or Bake Instead of Frying
How you prepare a dish has a huge impact on your health. Broiling, grilling, and frying are popular methods that people use today to prepare fish and meat. However, when these methods are used, several toxic compounds are formed.
They include heterocyclic amines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and advanced glycation end products. These compounds have been linked to a wide range of health conditions including heart disease and cancer.
Some of the healthy cooking options that you should consider include poaching, stewing, baking, pressure cooking, and simmering to name a few. These methods don’t form harmful products and they make your dish healthy.
11. Consume Omega 3 and Vitamin D
Vitamin D strengthens your immune system and promotes bone health. Every body cell has a receptor for this vitamin. This shows how important this vitamin is to the body.
Omega 3 is another important nutrient that is usually found in fatty seafood. It plays an important role in maintaining heart health, reducing inflammation, and promoting brain functions. Most western diets have been linked to inflammation and lots of chronic illnesses. If you are not a big fan of seafood, you should consider taking supplements.
12. Try a New Healthy Recipe Each Week
Thinking of what you’ll have for dinner every day can be frustrating. That’s why many make the same food every day. Trying new healthy recipes regularly is one of the best ways to add diversity and promote your health.
Set a goal of trying a new recipe once every month. You can also make healthier dishes using new herbs, ingredients, and spices.
13. Avoid Drinking Fruits
Fruits contain a lot of water, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. Research studies have shown that consuming fruits reduces the risk of various health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Since fruits are rich in fiber and plant compounds, the natural sugars are usually digested slowly and don’t lead to spikes in blood sugar levels.
However, this doesn’t apply to fruit juice. Most fruit juices are made using concentrates and sugar. Also, real fruit juices lack the chewing resistance and fiber that whole fruits offer. This makes it easy for fruit juice to increase blood sugar levels.
These are the best dinner recipes that you should try out today. Knowing what to cook tonight and consuming a healthy dinner will not improve your health but also minimize expensive medical costs. Use these quick and healthy dinner recipes to transform your life.
Featured photo credit: Ella Olsson via unsplash.com