I think the most dreaded question in any household is “what’s for dinner?” am I right?
It feels like you are constantly planning and trying to figure out what to feed the family, without picking the same easy things over and over again.
Well, let me share a little secret….you are always going to have the same thing over and over again.
BUT – what you can do, is mix and match so that it isn’t exactly the same, but maybe the same ingredients.
You don’t have to come up with this beautiful crafted Pinterest-worthy dinner for it to be healthy.
In fact, the more simple it is, likely the healthier it is!
Let’s jump in and figure out how we can create a healthy dinner, and I will also leave you with a few ideas to take with you!
I know we all want quick, easy and painless so that is what we are going to do!
Nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs a little planning and a little effort.
I know you are probably thinking you need to follow a recipe and have this planned out meal for your family every night, but that doesn’t have to be true if you don’t have the time to do it.
The only thing you need to focus on is figuring out a system and a plan that works for your schedule, and your family.
Maybe that looks like prepping some things earlier in the week, or maybe you have the time to go and make dinner from scratch every night.
Either way, don’t pick the path that automatically its you up for failure because of unreasonable expectations just because you think that is what you are “supposed” to do!
I am all about the idea that small changes add up to big results. So if in the beginning you are making 2 dinners a week healthier, we are off to a great start! Don’t feel like you have to jump in head first when it comes to getting healthy, just bite off as much as you can chew at the beginning so you can find some consistency before diving in deeper.
I create most of my meals around the protein source, because that is typically the hardest macronutrient to get in. Protein is incredibly important for overall health, muscle tissue, recovery, and hormones, so you want to make sure you are getting adequate amounts.
To make things easier, for us, we buy our meat in bulk. We head to Sams club or Costco once a month and stock up on chicken, ground beef, salmon, shrimp, steak, pork chops etc. So basically our entire freezer is meat, BUT, it makes it easier for us when creating meals and grocery shopping!
So at the beginning of the day (especially if you need to do some thawing) pick your protein source!
Next you want to pick what sides you are going to have with your dinner! So maybe you are going to do a lentil pasta and spinach, or rice and asparagus, or sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts. Whatever you have in the fridge/panty, grab out what you are going to mix together.
I recommend starting to get an idea of your genre here as well! Then you will be able to start getting a solid idea of what exactly is for dinner, or at least an idea!
Maybe you took ground beef out – so you could do spaghetti with meat sauce, meat loaf, burgers, tacos, stuffed peppers etc.
Chicken – you could make tacos, just grilled/baked chicken with sides, chicken enchiladas, chicken alfredo etc.
Salmon – you could do brussel sprouts/rice bowl, grilled lemon and ginger salmon, a maple glazed or honey salmon with potatoes and vegetable etc.
So you see you have plenty of options, but the sides you have matter for what you can make! So take inventory of what you have available for your carbohydrate and vegetable and you can start building from there!
So now you have the basis of your meal – you know what your protein source is going to be and your sides, now we need to decide how we are going to cook it!
There are several different ways you can cook, so it just depends on what you are comfortable with.
If you are doing spaghetti, you are going to boil noodles and make a meat sauce in a skillet with your ground beef and marinara.
If you are doing a meat with just potatoes and vegetables – you could use the grill, an air fryer for the sides and bake the meat, you could sauté the vegetables and bake the potatoes and meat, you can bake the potatoes and the vegetables and pan cook the meat, you could even use the crockpot! Whatever you have available that is going to best suit your needs for that night is best!
Make sure you are cooking with a good oil as well! You do not want to be using vegetable oil or canola oil EVER. You also don’t want to be dumping a bunch in the pan. Sautéing only takes about a tablespoon, and roasting in the oven takes a quick drizzle! But do make sure you are using some sort of oil or fat in your cooking, so that your meal is getting that flavor and you are also getting the healthy fats to level out your blood sugar and complete your balanced meal!
Lastly, decide on your flavors! You want to make sure you SEASON your food. So many people assume eating healthy means eating bland, and that doesn’t have to be true! Grab your seasonings and get on with it.
Mexican food? Go for taco seasoning or chili/cumin
Asian food? Ginger/soy sauce
Meat? Get some liquid smoke, has changed the game for us.
General seasoning? Onion powder and garlic powder, can’t go wrong!
Sweet potatoes? I like to use sea salt and smoked paprika
You can also add sauces! So maybe something like BBQ sauce, sweet chili, buffalo, a marinade. Just check the brand, and check your ingredients. Dressings don’t need to be packed full of added sugar and weird ingredients! Even adding some coconut oil or avocado can go along way in the flavor department.
Don’t be afraid to try new blends and rubs and flavors from the store – if you are getting sick of your food it is a great way to change things up without needing new recipes!
Once you have completed your steps, EAT YOUR FOOD!
Your body needs fuel to live no matter what, I don’t care what your goals are.
So if you are still trying to lose weight eating 1200 calories a day, email me. Because you need a good verbal butt kicking to get you to start treating your body as you should.
I am a huge believer in shit in a bowl. Seriously. I take a protein, rice, a vegetable, season it up and throw it all in a bowl with a little bit of sauce – BOOM dinner. Every time.
Now that we know how to create our own healthy dinner, I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you so you can refer back to them!
• 1lb chicken breasts
• 1 can full fat coconut milk
• 2 cups of kale (or any leafy green)
• juice from 2 limes
• 1 red pepper, diced
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp chili powder
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Add all ingredients to the crockpot and cook on high for 3 hours.
2. With 30 minutes left, cook rice on the stove top (unless using minute rice, then you can wait a bit longer).
3. Once it’s all cooked, add the rice to a bowl and top with coconut chicken.
• 1lb chicken breasts, diced
• 2 cups orange juice
• 1 large onion, chopped in large chunks
• 2 bell peppers, chopped in large chunks
• 2 cups mushrooms
• Choice of side – could do grilled potatoes or rice. We did this amazing potato salad recipe!
1. Soak your skewer sticks in water for 5-10 minutes. You can get them at any grocery store or on amazon.
2. Cut up your chicken and place it into the orange juice with salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic. Let that soak for as long as you like, the longer the better!
3. Prepare your grill (whether that is just turning it on or warming it up if its charcoal).
4. Grab all of your cut up ingredients and start threading them onto your skewers. Make sure you leave 1-2 inches on either end to grab them and to limit pieces falling off. Create a mixture of vegetables and chicken on each skewer.
5. Throw them on the grill for about 20 minutes or until chicken and vegetables are cooked through.
6. Assemble your plate and enjoy!
• 1 salmon filets
• 1/2 avocado
• 1 cup brussel sprouts, chopped
• 1 cup rice, I prefer jasmine
• chili powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder
• juice from 1 lime
• handful of cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Drizzle brussel sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper and cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring halfway.
2. Cook the rice according to directions on box.
3. Season your salmon filet with chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic, and a little cayenne.
4. Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When hot, add your salmon filets and cover. Cook for 4 minutes on eat side.
5. Dice your avocado and add lime juice, salt, pepper and chili powder.
6. Assemble your plate – mix rice and brussel sprouts together and place on plate. And salmon and then avocado on top, and sprinkle with cilantro!
Those are few of our staples, and if you want even more family friend recipes, there are some here, too!
If you are someone who can’t give up pizza, like me, check out these 16 healthy pizza recipes!
I hope this helps you on your journey to eating healthier, without getting overwhelmed.
It really is only as complicated as you make it – so if you just take it slow and focus on changing a few meals at a time, you will be able to be consistent enough to make it a lifelong commitment!
Being healthy is a choice, everyday, whether you are “fit” or not.
No one has it easy, and no one is just born that way.
Health comes from the inside, and the first step to getting healthy is dealing with nutrition habits and what is going on inside the body!
So try out a few of these recipes, add you own spin on them and enjoy!