How to make a quick and healthy dinner in minutes

by Beth Graham
Quick and healthy dinner ideas

Making dinner. Every. Single. Night. Am I right? Who feels like cooking these days? I’ve been in a bit of a culinary funk because I have absolutely no dinner inspiration. So we usually end up gravitating to our old standby, pasta. But even I’m kind of tiring of that. So I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for how to make quick and healthy dinner ideas for two that fit our lifestyle. No thinking required. Fast. And yummy.

Now that we’re empty nesters, I find that meal planning for just the two of us is much harder than planning for an entire family dinner. I was very focused on the meat & 3s when my kids were home, to fill them up with healthy food, but now that it’s just the two of us, I want easy dinner ideas. I tend to gravitate to bowls these days. And one-pot meals. 

Break out of your cooking funk with these quick and healthy dinner ideas

1. Order from a CSA – This is the best way to get fresh veggies in season. No matter where you live, chances are there’s a CSA near you that will delivery farm fresh boxes to your home. I’ve found that veggies are higher quality than what I get in my grocery store and I do like getting a mix of products and sometimes a few surprises. Once I got a whole stalk of Brussels sprouts (honestly, I didn’t even know they grew that way). Recently, my weekly basket included patty pan squash which I had never made before. So it was something new for us to try. if you’re looking for a CSA, find one that includes recipes in their delivery. No thinking required.

What is a CSA?
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The concept has been around forever and has its roots in farm stands – you know those rickety wood shacks on the side of the country roads where your grandmother used to stop to buy her produce. But CSAs have come a long way. They’re a great way to support local farmers and buy locally-grown, seasonal food. Farmers often sell “shares” in their farm, which can be in the form of a subscription box. You can generally select the quantity of produce you want and even choose the actual veggies for your specific box. 

2. Meal delivery plans – I’ve tried most of the companies out there and I’m rarely disappointed. All of the shopping and planning is done for you. All you have to do is prep and chop and generally, and you’ll have a really great meal in about 30 minutes. And because I know you’ll ask, my two favorites are Purple Carrot (vegan) and Martha & Marley Spoon. I’ve tried almost all of them and these two consistently have the best tasting meals. They’re both healthy dinner ideas that taste good.

3. Grocery store pre-packs – Grocery stores are starting to compete with the meal delivery companies by creating their own version of pre-packaging meal ingredients. My local store has prepped meals for both the slow cooker and for the oven. You can usually find these in the fresh meat section of your store. They’re the quickest and easiest way to put together healthy family dinners for picky eaters.

4. Food magazines – I might be a bit of magazine hoarder. I tend to pick one up every time I’m in the checkout lane at the grocery store. And I’m forever turning down or tearing out pages with dishes I want to make. It’s a great way to get inspiration especially when the seasonal magazines come out and you can find healthy meals that taste good. And you’ll also find some of the best dinner recipes of all time.

5. Apps – Let technology inspire you. Be honest. You’re picking up your phone and scrolling several times a day. At traffic lights. While waiting in line. When boredom strikes. Even when you’re on that conference call. I’ve downloaded a few healthy eating apps and it’s kind of like a roulette wheel. I just pick one app and scroll until a meal pops up that grabs my interest. The best apps will automatically create a shopping list for you once you select a menu. Pinterest is by far the best platform for meal planning (check out some of my boards). Two of my favorite foodie apps are the Food Network and Nom Nom Paleo. There are also apps that show you easy dinner recipes for beginners.

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