Fit + Fab Challenge: Healthy Dinner Suggestions

Denise Austin by Denise Austin | April 5, 2021 | General

When it comes to healthy dinners, I definitely have a plan in mind each week – it makes shopping and meal prep so much easier, and cooking more fun! I follow these steps:

  1. Determine what my week looks like. I travel a lot and have plenty of lunch-time meetings, so on the days I know I may be eating not-so-great due to travel or prior commitments, I really try to cook a healthy dinner. This usually involves a lot of fresh veggies, some olive oil and a lean protein. All good for you, fueling your body in the way it needs!
  2. Look up a new recipe to try out each week. I love to cook, it is a fun, creative outlet for me, so I try to find a new, easy and healthy recipe every week or so, to try out. Then I work the ingredients into my shopping list and make that the highlight meal of the week! (Y.ou can use my Meal Planner in my 10-Week Plan for recipe ideas – all are healthy and delicious!!)
  3. Make a recipe on Monday that I can easily use in different ways the next few nights. For instance, if I cook up some ground chicken or turkey for a pasta sauce for a Monday dinner, I’ll then use some of the reserve meat for a hearty grain bowl on Tuesday, and a stir fry on Wednesday. This way I am not boring the family with the same leftovers, while also not wasting food.. a win-win!

That said, I do keep a handful of staples around, so I can make those go-to meals that my family loves. Here is my list and some recipes I use them in, courtesy of my Stop The Clock Nutrition Plan:

Extra virgin olive oil. Heart healthy, I use this on and in most everything that calls for oil!

Lemons. Lemons add so much flavor and life to dishes – especially leftovers! I use lemons as a garnish and flavor enhancer in my Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Root Vegetables recipe.

Avocados. A healthy fat, sometimes I just add a scoop to whatever dinner I am making!

Kale or spinach. Dark leafy greens for dinner salads or sides – I almost always add to pasta dishes. This Italian Stuffed Peppers with SautĂ©ed Spinach is a wonderful vegetarian meal my family loves… and includes spinach!

Garlic. I love this natural anti-inflammatory and use it all the time! My Heavenly Turkey-Kale Meatballs call for fresh garlic – give them a try!

Sweet potatoes. A perfect sweet treat or substitute for white potatoes. My 10-Week Plan has a delicious Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Grass Fed Beef recipe – try it today if you haven’t made it yet!

Carrots, onions and celery. Kitchen staples we should all have on hand to add classic flavor to almost any dish. I use all of these in soups, stews, stir fry and more.

Quinoa. I love this protein-rich food, and use it in salads, casseroles and more. My 10-Week Plan has a delicious Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas recipe that is a filling dinner option.

Organic, omega-3 enriched eggs. A quick, inexpensive way to get protein and omega-3s. I love whipping up breakfast for dinner – a good omelette with lots of veggies and a sprinkle of cheese, or fried egg sandwiches (use whole grain bread, add some avocado and arugula plus a squeeze of lemon – delicious)! The Poached Eggs with Lentils recipe in my 10-Week Plan is a delicious dinner option – give it a try!

Pre-roasted chicken from the grocery store. Good to have on hand for healthy meals, fast. I use the chicken breast in my Chicken No-Fried Rice recipe (you can also substitute tofu!).

Basil (a source of antioxidants and antibacterial properties) can be added to red sauces and sprinkled on top of soup for a fresh flavor. Try my Chicken Piccata Recipe!

I hope these tips and recipe ideas encourage you to cook more meals at home – healthy, budget-friendly and fun to do!

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