7 Quick and Easy to Make Healthy Dinner Ideas. These delicious dinners make it a cinch to eat nutritious meals all week long.
Does mealtime often get taken over by the nutrition villains (tons of calories, loads of saturated fat, and excess sodium)? Take back the dinner hour: Here are a week’s worth of great-tasting meals with a real nutritional punch. Each one is under 500 calories—wham! High in filling fiber—bam! Low in saturated fat—pow! Not to mention, each recipe puts a premium on antioxidant-rich produce—with two veggies, plus herbs and spices to boost flavor (but not calories). Try one of these supercharged dinners tonight for a leaner, healthier you.
Dinner Ideas #1: Chicken Breast With Shaved Brussels Sprouts
• Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are loaded with cancer-preventing phytonutrients.
• This dish is very lean: 309 calories and 3.2 grams of saturated fat.
• It also packs potassium, which helps keep your blood pressure down.
Ingredients: boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, kosher salt, broccoli stems, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper, Brussels sprouts, celery stalks, hazelnuts, parsley and Parmesan cheese
Try this recipe:
Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are loaded with cancer-preventing phytonutrients, and this supercharged dinner of Chicken Breast With Shaved Brussels Sprouts provides real nutritional punch. This one-dish meal is super lean and also packs potassium–which helps to keep your blood pressure down.
Broccoli and Brussels sprouts are loaded with cancer-preventing phytonutrients. This recipe also packs potassium, which helps keep your blood pressure down.
2 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 2 broccoli stems 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 3 cups thinly sliced Brussels sprouts (from 12 medium) 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
How to Make It:
Place chicken and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan and cover with water; bring to a boil. Immediately remove from heat, cover, and let stand 15 minutes. Drain chicken and run under cold water. Cool completely; set aside. Using 2 forks, shred into bite-size pieces; reserve.
Meanwhile, use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer layer of broccoli stems; discard. Continue peeling stems into long strips. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add broccoli strips, Brussels sprouts, celery, hazelnuts, parsley, and reserved chicken to bowl with dressing; toss. Divide among 4 shallow bowls. Top with cheese.
Dinner Ideas #2: Barley-Stuffed Poblanos
• Eat this and you get more than one-third of your daily fiber.
• Your metabolism will get a kick from the chili powder.
• The dish also delivers about 30 percent of your calcium for the day.
olive oil, onion, barley, kale, chili powder, garlic, tomatoes, salt, poblano peppers, white cheddar, Monterrey Jack cheese and queso fresco
Try this recipe:
Indulge in these fiber-packed Barley-Stuffed Poblanos for your dinner tonight. You’ll get more than one-third of your daily fiber in a serving of these stuffed poblanos. Plus your metabolism will get a kick from the chili powder in the recipe.
This dish is fiber-packed—more than one-third of your daily amount. Your metabolism will get a kick from the chili powder, too.
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 large onion, diced 1 1/2 cups barley, soaked overnight and drained 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, leaves chopped 1 1/8 teaspoons chili powder, divided 3 garlic cloves, minced 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 6 large poblano peppers 2 ounces reduced-fat white cheddar, grated (1/2 cup) 3 slices reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, halved 1/2 cup crumbled pasteurized queso fresco.
How to Make It
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft (5-7 minutes). Add barley and 3 3/4 cups water and cook until barley is tender (about 30 minutes). Stir kale and 1/8 teaspoon chili powder into barley until kale is wilted; mix in cheddar.
Meanwhile, in a heavy pot, heat remaining oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, remaining 1 teaspoon chili powder, and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens (about 30 minutes). Turn heat to low; cover.
Preheat broiler with rack in middle position. Slice off stems from peppers to make a wide hole for stuffing; reserve stems. Using a small knife, carefully remove membranes and seeds. Stuff peppers tightly with barley mixture; return stem ends to the top of peppers. Place in a large, broiler-proof baking dish; broil until peppers are charred and soft (20 minutes), turning once halfway through. Add tomato sauce to pan around peppers; cover each pepper with 1/2 slice Monterey Jack. Broil until cheese melts (1-2 minutes). Transfer peppers to plates with sauce; top each with 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon queso fresco.
Dinner Ideas #3: Burger With Mushrooms and Radicchio
• The lean beef provides more than half your protein and nearly 30 percent of your iron for the day.
• You’ll feel satisfied, thanks to that protein and 7 grams of fiber.
• Shiitake and other mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and help reduce cholesterol.
Ingredients: olive oil, mushrooms, salt, pepper, ground sirloin, whole-wheat hamburger buns and small head radicchio
Try this recipe:
Burger With Mushrooms and Radicchio delivers a great-tasting meal with just 500 calories. Shiitake and other mushrooms provide rich antioxidants and help reduce cholesterol–plus you’ll feel satisfied thanks to the protein and 7 grams of fiber in this fabulous burger.
The lean beef in this recipe provides more than half your protein and nearly 30% of your iron for the day. Plus, shiitake and other mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and help reduce cholesterol.
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 pound mixed exotic mushrooms, trimmed 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided 1 1/4 pounds ground sirloin 4 (2-ounce) whole-wheat hamburger buns, split 1 small head radicchio, sliced into thin rings
How to Make It
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, until tender and golden (4-6 minutes). Transfer mushrooms to a plate. Wipe out skillet; reserve.
With clean hands, form meat into 4 patties; sprinkle remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper over both sides of burgers. Return skillet to medium-high heat; cook burgers until medium (5-6 minutes per side), or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 160°.
Place 1/4 of the radicchio slices, then burgers, on bottom buns; divide mushrooms among burgers and top with the other half of bun.
Grapefruit and Avocado Salad With Seared Salmon
Dinner Ideas #4: Grapefruit and Avocado Salad With Seared Salmon
• Fatty acids from the walnuts and salmon, as well as monounsaturated fats from the avocado, keep this dish heart-healthy.
• Grapefruit helps kick up fat-burning and stabilizes blood sugar.
• This salad nets you a good amount of the B vitamin niacin, which helps keep your skin, hair, and eyes healthy.
Ingredients: grapefruit, arugula, avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, cooking spray, salmon fillets, and walnuts
Try this recipe:
Grapefruit and Avocado Salad With Seared Salmon not only provides great taste and appealing presentation, it’s loaded with powerful nutrients. When you serve this power salad, you’ll get heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids–thanks to the walnuts and salmon–plus monounsaturated fats from the avocado that also helps your heart. The grapefruit helps kick up fat-burning and stabilizes blood sugar–a powerful combo if you’re trying to drop a few pounds.
Walnuts and salmon contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Plus, avocado is packed with monounsaturated fats, which also help your heart.
1 large grapefruit 2 large bunches arugula, stems removed (10 cups) 1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided Cooking spray 3 (5-ounce) wild salmon fillets (skin on) 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
How to Make It
Peel and segment grapefruit with a sharp knife on a cutting board; reserve juice in a bowl. Toss grapefruit segments and juices with arugula and avocado; divide salad among 4 serving plates. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper over both sides of salmon. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add fish (skin-side down) to skillet, and cook until skin is golden and fish releases easily from pan (about 4 minutes). Using a spatula, gently flip fish and cook about 3 minutes more. Break each fillet into 4 pieces; top salads with 3 pieces fish. Drizzle salads with reserved dressing; sprinkle with walnuts.
Dinner Ideas #5: Brown Rice Bowl with Turkey
• Very low in sugar—only 1 gram!
• This dish serves up about one-fourth your daily requirement of vitamin B6, which is crucial for a healthy immune system.
• It’s super lean, too, with just 1.2 grams of saturated fat.
Ingredients: brown rice, salt, chicken broth, bone-in turkey breast, olive oil, pepper, soy sauce, baby spinach, scallions, sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds
Try this recipe:
Brown Rice Bowl With Turkey is a delicious dinner that makes it a cinch to eat a nutritious meal during the week. This one-dish meal serves up about one-fourth of your daily requirement of vitamin B6–which is crucial for a healthy immune system. It’s also super lean and very low in sugar.
This dish serves up about one-fourth your daily requirement of vitamin B6, which is crucial for a healthy immune system.
1 1/3 cups dry short-grain brown rice 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided 1 (2-pound) bone-in turkey breast 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, divided 4 cups baby spinach 1 bunch scallions, chopped 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, optional
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 425°.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine rice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 cups broth, and 1 cup water; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until rice is tender (about 45 minutes).
Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil. Place turkey on sheet and coat with oil. Season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and brush with 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce. Roast, turning halfway through until turkey is cooked and a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 165° (50-55 minutes). Remove from oven and transfer turkey to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest (about 5 minutes).
Stir spinach, scallions, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce into rice with remaining 1 cup warmed broth. Thinly slice turkey. Divide rice and sliced turkey among 4 bowls; drizzle each with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.
Dinner Ideas #6: Spaghetti With Wilted Greens and Walnut-Parsley Pesto
• This meal makes for excellent post-workout fuel (a great mix of whole grains and protein).
• It helps keep you energized since it provides one-third of your daily iron needs.
• You get antioxidants from the veggies, herbs, and walnuts
Ingredients: whole-wheat spaghetti, Swiss Chard, parsley, baby spinach, walnuts, garlic, olive oil, lemon zest, salt, black pepper, and eggs
Try this recipe:
This meal of Spaghetti With Wilted Greens and Walnut-Parsley Pesto makes for excellent post-workout fuel–thanks to a great mix of whole grains and protein. Added bonus from this one-dish meal: You get plenty of antioxidants from the veggies, herbs, and walnuts.
This meal makes for excellent post-workout fuel (a great mix of whole grains and protein). Added bonus: You get plenty of antioxidants from the veggies, herbs, and walnuts.
1 (1-pound) box whole-wheat spaghetti 1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped 1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley 1/2 cup packed fresh baby spinach 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted 1 small clove garlic, peeled and chopped 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided 6 large eggs
How to Make It
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package directions; reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water. Add chard after 5 minutes of cooking and drain; return pasta and greens to pot.
While pasta is cooking, combine parsley, spinach, walnuts, garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon water, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a food processor; pulse until chunky.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, crack eggs into skillet. Cook until the whites are completely firm but the yolks are still soft (about 2 minutes). Season eggs with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
Toss reserved pasta mixture with pesto and enough reserved cooking water to make a thin sauce. Divide pasta among 6 shallow bowls and top each with a fried egg.
Dinner Ideas #7: Sweet Potato and Spinach Quesadillas
• You’ll get an immune boost from the beta-carotene in sweet potatoes.
• This dish delivers 20 percent of your daily iron needs.
• It contains more calcium than a glass of milk.
Ingredients: sweet potatoes, red-wine vinegar, sugar, black peppercorns, red onion, salt, black pepper, flour tortillas, baby spinach, mozzarella and olive oil
Serve up a meatless meal of Sweet Potato and Spinach Quesadillas tonight. You’ll get an immune boost from the beta-carotene in the sweet potatoes, and 20 percent of your daily iron needs are met with this veggie quesadilla. Plus this quesadilla contains more calcium than a glass of milk!
This dish contains more calcium than a glass of milk, plus you’ll get an immune boost from the beta-carotene in sweet potatoes.
2 medium sweet potatoes (1 pound total) 1 cup red-wine vinegar 1/2 cup sugar 4 black peppercorns 1 large red onion, sliced 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 8 (6-inch) flour tortillas 5 cups baby spinach (about 4 ounces) 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella 4 teaspoons olive oil
How to Make It
Microwave potatoes on high until tender (about 15 minutes).
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, and peppercorns; bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Place onion slices in a medium heatproof bowl; pour hot vinegar mixture over onion and let stand 10 minutes. Drain onion slices and transfer to a plate to cool.
Split cooked potatoes open with a knife; remove flesh and transfer to a bowl (you should have about 1 cup). Use a fork to mash potato with salt and pepper; divide potato filling among 4 tortillas. Top each with 1 heaping cup spinach, 1/4 cup cheese, and another tortilla.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, heat 1 teaspoon oil and transfer 1 quesadilla to skillet; cook until quesadilla is crisp and cheese is melted (about 3 minutes per side). Transfer cooked quesadilla to a serving plate. Repeat with remaining oil and quesadillas. Cut quesadillas into quarters and serve each with 1/4 cup pickled onions.
I hope you find these recipes delicious and helpful. If you have anything that you’d like to share or any opinions on any of the content on my site, please do speak up. I look forward to your comments, questions and the sharing of ideas.
Note: Thank-you for supporting this website with the purchases you make through the provided affiliate links.