Are you looking for Healthy Dinner Ideas? Consider this your new go-to list for putting nourishing and wholesome meals together any night of the week. From vegetarian to ready-in-30-minute dishes, you’ll find it all here!
Healthy eating is all about feeling good about what you put on the table. It’s making sure that the meals you serve are nutritional and beneficial to the body.
But besides being a “good-for-you meal,” it’s got to taste delicious! Easy to make helps, too, and so does variety.
I know all about these needs – after all, helping you eat clean and be the best you can be (without spending hours in the kitchen) is one of the things I love best about what I do.
So, I’ve compiled an awesome list of the top healthy dinner ideas from my website. They are recipes full of good things, like vegetables, healthy carbs, fiber, and lots more.
All that said, there is no problem in building healthy dinners around things that are on your list of favorites. If broccoli is your go-to vegetable, think of tasty ways to serve it. If you really aren’t a fan of being in the kitchen every night, then work some meal prep into your week.
It’s all doable, my friends. And I’m pretty confident that this list of 50 healthy dinner ideas will get it done!
WHAT MAKES A DINNER HEALTHY?
Making a dinner healthy is all about what you eat and how you prepare it. Always look to eat loads of veggies. They are full of vitamins and fiber. Fiber is your friend, folks, and if you need help putting more fiber in your diet, look no further than my recent post, here!
Lean proteins are essentials and you can make them a part of your day by consuming nuts, full-fat dairy, and sources like beef and chicken. Add a salad, and include a grain like quinoa and you are all set with a healthy dinner.
On days you are in the mood to cook, consider making extras so that you can freeze some for another day. Using the slow cooker or instant pot as tools for coming up with healthy dinner ideas is ideal, too. They are great for making large quantities if you want, giving you lots of leftovers for another day.
When it comes to preparation, stay away from deep frying or using heavy oils and lots of butter when you cook. Instead, sautée, broil, and bake foods like beef, chicken, and fish.
MAKE HEALTHY DINNERS A REGULAR PART OF YOUR WEEK
There is really a simple way to make every meal healthy. It’s as easy as picturing your plate and filling it the same way each time. Plan your dinner around the plate, and the rest will fall into place. Success← Flavorful, good-for-you meals!
Here’s how to make sure every dinner you make is a nourishing one:
- Vegetables: Make sure that every plate is designed around the veggies. It’s pretty simple really and makes eating clean a breeze. Because clean eating is all about avoiding processed foods, making veggies the centerpiece most of the time totally takes all the guesswork out of meal planning.
According to the Nutrition Source at the Harvard School of Public Health, half of your plate should be fruits and veggies, with the majority of that half being vegetables. Not potatoes and fries, mind you, because they can have a negative effect on blood sugar.
- Protein: That same plate should be ¼ healthy protein. We’re talking lean poultry, fish, beans, and nuts. Eat red meat in moderation, and only allow yourself meats like bacon and sausage on occasion.
What does protein do for you? It helps to build and repair tissue, and also helps the formation of skin, blood, muscles, cartilage, and bones. In essence, protein helps the body run and gives us energy.
- Grains: In keeping with the guidelines of the Harvard School of Public Health, grains are a vital part of a healthy diet. Like the protein, your plate should be ¼ grains. Pair your veggies, fruits, and protein with a side of nutritional grains.
What are my suggestions for healthy grains? As you know, I am a big fan of quinoa and you’ll see that in some of the recipes below. Other great choices are brown rice and whole-wheat pasta.
TIPS FOR MAKING HEALTHY DINNERS
- Prepare a grocery list for the recipes you have in mind, along with nutritional snack items like cottage cheese and full-fat, plain Greek yogurt. I’ve written a post on my fave high protein snacks for weight loss – check it out here and add some of the items to your list.
- When shopping, stick to the produce aisles and shop for lean meats at the same time, avoiding the sections of the store that have overly-processed foods.
- Cook with healthy fats, meaning oils like coconut oil. What is the healthiest oil to cook with? I’ve answered that question here!
- Don’t forget dairy or plant-based sources of milk. Dairy has tons of benefits, like contributing to healthy bones and muscles.
- Don’t use fat-laden sauces or dressings full of preservatives. Make your own, like this amazing homemade ranch dressing.
- Be open to trying new foods. Break out of your comfort zone now and then. You may discover a new favorite healthy dinner idea.
- If you have a sweet tooth, that’s okay, too, as long as you satisfy it in a nutritional way. I can help you do that. Take a look at these 50+ shockingly delicious desserts – and you’ve got it! They are super healthy, too.
- If you’ve got a dish you love that is heavy on the cream, look for a remake that is just as tasty but better for you. The dish that comes to mind for me is mac and cheese. See my awesome makeover – I can guarantee you’ll never look back!
- Cut back on sodium by using more spices and things like marinades to flavor chicken. And when shopping for extras like beef broth, always look for the low-sodium brands.
- Don’t forget about eggs. Eggs make a great healthy dinner idea and they come with nutritional benefits like maintaining eye and brain health.
HEALTHY INGREDIENTS TO INCLUDE IN HEALTHY DINNERS
There are some real power-packed foods out there that can add a super-boost of nutrition to your meal. What are they? I’ve listed some of my faves here:
- Black beans are full of fiber and they take a while to digest. This means that they help you feel full longer, while giving your digestive system a healthy workout. This keeps the digestive process flowing smoothly.
- Spinach is full of vitamins and minerals. Think Vitamins A, B6, B12, c, E, and K. Manganese, copper, folate, and calcium are part of the mix.
- Nuts are excellent for your health. Walnuts have anti-inflammatory effects and polyunsaturated fats, essential to good health.
- Avocado is one of the best ways to get your daily supply of healthy fats. Like spinach, they are full of vitamins and they contain potassium, too, which helps regulate fluid balance and may even reduce blood pressure and prevent strokes.
- Beets are a root vegetable often overlooked – and shouldn’t be. Beets give you an excellent dose of Vitamin C. The magnesium in beets helps muscle and nerve function, too.
VEGETARIAN HEALTHY DINNER IDEAS
Do you sometimes feel like you’d like to create a meal without meat? I’ve done that here and have included one of my family’s all-time favorites – yummy mac and cheese!
- Spicy Quinoa and Black Bean Vegan Enchiladas (pictured)
- Healthy Spring Rolls
- Butternut Squash Healthy Mac And Cheese
- Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole
- Easy Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Spicy Cauliflower Burgers With Sweet Potato Bun
MEAL PREP HEALTHY DINNER IDEAS
Meal prep is all about saving time. Prep these meals and eat well every night of the week!
- Easy Vegetarian Meal Prep (pictured)
- Healthy Chicken Fajita Meal Prep
- Healthy Egg Muffin Cups Meal Prep
- Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Meal Prep
- Turkey Meatballs With Spaghetti Squash Noodles Meal Prep
- Healthy Chicken Parmesan Meal Prep
- Salmon Meal Prep
- Honey Garlic Shrimp Meal Prep
LIGHT ‘N LOW-CALORIE HEALTHY DINNER IDEAS
Occasionally at the end of the day, I feel like a light meal. If I’ve just finished a workout or an activity with Dustin and the kids, I don’t always want something heavy. I look to dinner ideas like these instead.
- Spinach Salad With Warm Bacon Dressing (pictured)
- Perfect Avocado Toast
- Summer Corn Edamame Salad With Lemon Basil Vinaigrette
- Grilled Pizza With Maple Onion Jam
- Beet and Goat Cheese Salad
- Perfect Fluffy Omelet
- 15-Minute Go-To Healthy Beef and Broccoli
LOW CARB HEALTHY DINNER IDEAS
Are you watching your carb intake but want to make sure you are doing it properly? These healthy dinner ideas will keep you on the right track.
- Healthy General Tso Chicken (pictured)
- Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
- Spicy Shrimp Tacos
- Pan-seared Scallops
- Steak Cobb Salad With Avocado Lime Dressing
- Pan-roasted Salmon
- Healthy Broccoli Salad With Greek Yogurt Dressing
INSTANT POT HEALTHY DINNER IDEAS
You’ve just got to love the instant pot. I know I do! Imagine, these dinner ideas in just minutes!
- Instant Pot Barbacoa (pictured)
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Butternut Squash Instant Pot Chili
- Instant Pot Black Beans
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork 4 Ways
SLOW COOKER HEALTHY DINNER IDEAS
I enjoy the aroma of good food greeting me when I come in from work or errands. These slow cooker meals smell – and taste – delicious!
- Healthy Slow Cooker Beef Stew (pictured)
- Slow Cooker Green Chile Pork Tacos
- Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken
- Slow Cooker Chicken Cauliflower Curry
- Crock Pot Shredded Beef Tacos
HEALTHY SOUP DINNER IDEAS
Nothing beats a bowl of tasty soup no matter the season! Try one of my favorites.
- Slow Cooker Hot and Sour Soup (pictured)
- Roasted Acorn Squash Soup
- Easy Cream of Broccoli Soup
- Cream of Tomato Soup
- Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
READY IN 30-MINUTES HEALTHY DINNER IDEAS
In a rush tonight? One of these healthy dinner ideas will solve the problem in 30 minutes!
- Quinoa Lentil Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette (pictured)
- Flank Steak With Chimichurri Sauce
- Baked Sea Bass and Zucchini
- Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- Homemade Chili
- Spinach and Feta Burgers
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