Easy Healthy Dinner Ideas for Busy Families
Oftentimes people think that easy healthy dinner ideas are not easy or that they use ingredients that they don’t have in their house. The truth is that you don’t have to have a bunch of strange health food ingredients in your house to be able to feed your family good meals quickly.
Here are my Top Tips for Healthy Dinner Ideas:
- What meat do you have on hand? Base your meal around that unless you are vegan.
- What vegetables do you have on hand or in the freezer? Include those in your meal or as a side dish. Vegetables can be raw or cooked.
- Get your best easy recipes in one place. Like this notebook with sheet protectors.
- Always have salad ingredients on hand. This adds a healthy component to any meal. If you don’t have salad one day, then just cook up an extra vegetable from your freezer stock.
Here are my Favorite Easy Healthy Dinner Recipes Categorized by Meat:
- Ground Beef (try to buy grass-fed beef when you can)
- Tacos – Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning and a little water and cook on the stove for 10 minutes or so. Then add to your favorite tortillas and have chopped tomatoes, lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, and sour cream on hand. Everyone can make their taco the way they like it best. For an even healthier option, skip the tortillas and add the taco meat to lettuce and make a nice taco salad. This is such a quick meal! You can’t even drive to the nearest fast food place and back in the time you can have this meal on the table!
- Meatloaf – Here’s my favorite 10-minute homemade meatloaf recipe.
- Sloppy Joes – Here’s my favorite homemade sloppy joe recipe.
- Taco Salad – Brown 2 pounds ground beef or ground round in skillet or Dutch oven. Add – 1 large onion, chopped, 12 oz tomato paste, 12 oz water, 16 oz tomato sauce, ¼ t garlic powder, 1 t chili powder, 2 t oregano, 1 t salt. Simmer 40 minutes. Then serve with diced tomatoes (if possible), lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and tortilla or corn chips. This can easily be doubled or quadrupled and frozen for another busy day.
- You can find these and my other easy healthy recipes in my cookbook here.
- Stir Fry – Slice some chicken breast into strips and pan fry in some olive oil with Braggs Liquid Aminos. Then add any kind of chopped vegetables you like or have on hand. You can make stir fry with just about anything! That’s the beauty of stir-fry because it’s a different meal every time I make it. Serve with rice or noodles and a big salad.
- Baked chicken – We love dark meat at our house, but this will work with any type of chicken. Place your chicken pieces in a 9×13 pan (we love our stoneware!) and season with salt, pepper, and tarragon. Then bake in the oven at 350 for 60 minutes basting the juices over the chicken pieces after 30 minutes. You can bake some potatoes in the oven at the same time and complete your meal with a big salad.
- Chicken Fajitas – Pan fry chicken breast strips in olive oil and add taco seasoning and serve the same way as the tacos above.
- Fish – Buy wild-caught fish only
- No Meat
- Pancakes or Waffles
- Tortilla Flips or Quesadillas – These can be different every time depending on what you have on hand. Mix together
- Baked Potatoes – Scrub potatoes and bake in your oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Then add your favorite toppings (including bacon and vegetables).
- Turkey (or beef) burgers
- Pan fried cutlets (can use chicken too) – Here’s my recipe.
Cooking easy healthy meals doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. Sometimes it’s just a matter of having the ingredients on hand. Here are the ingredients I have on hand that help me be more likely to avoid fast food meals and cook healthy dinner recipes instead.
- Frozen vegetables – these are easy to have on hand especially if you have a deep freezer. Even if you don’t have a separate freezer, you can still store a lot of vegetables. If you have a garden, plant extra and freeze anything you can. Or look for deals at your grocery store when they have frozen vegetables on sale and stock up.
- Salad Fixings – It’s always a good idea to have lettuce and carrots on hand at all times. We live in a very small town with no grocery store so this has been a challenge sometimes, but our local Dollar General carries produce now so life is a bit easier. Carrots last for a long time in the refrigerator! If you like tomatoes, cucumbers, red cabbage, peppers, or any other fresh vegetables, get those while you are out too. We try to eat any or all of these at every lunch and dinner.
- Tortillas – although these are not low carb or not necessarily a health food, they do fill up growing children. It’s easy to make tacos, fajitas and wraps when you have plenty of flour or corn tortillas around. These can be frozen too! Just buy a few extra packages and throw them (unopened) into your freezer. Then when you take the last one out of the freezer, be sure to update your grocery list.
- Potatoes – These make a great side dish and baked potatoes can make a whole meal if your cupboards are very bare. Fry up some bacon and add vegetables and you’re all set.
- Raw vegetables – Besides having a salad, it’s also good to have raw vegetables on hand for healthy meals. If a family member doesn’t like salad, they might eat some raw peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers or carrots. Even if you eat a salad, the more vegetables you eat, the better. Vegetables equal volume. The more vegetables you eat, the less you will want other unhealthy things.
How to Make Quick Healthy Meals with Picky Eaters
- Don’t have processed food in the house (or a very limited supply). Your picky eater will eventually figure out that they need to eat mostly meat and vegetables if they want to stay filled up. If they know that you will cave in and give them junk food if they complain long enough, they will always win.
- Don’t make more than one meal at a time. Stand strong and make one meal for the whole family. Every night will not be your favorite meal, but that is part of being a family. Not everyone is happy and in control every minute of the day.
- Read good books about people in history or in other countries who have very little to eat. Many times stories of others in horrible situations will help us be more grateful for what we have.
- Talk up the vegetables! Comment on the color and uniqueness of each vegetable and how we like some better than others. Find out whether you like certain ones better when they are raw or cooked.
- Add bacon! My son and husband hate cooked cabbage, so I got the idea to chop bacon and cook it up and add chopped cabbage to it. Now they love it and we make a whole meal out of this. Make sure you get bacon without nitrites for better health.
I hope these easy healthy dinner ideas have helped you get a better grip on what kinds of meals to fix and ingredients to have on hand.
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