Having quick, healthy, appealing dinner ideas on hand is often a matter of finding the right inspiration. It can be hard to find the energy to cook at the end of a long day and it is all too easy to throw a packaged dinner into the microwave or just order a pizza. Eating healthy is difficult at the best of times, but end-of-the-day exhaustion can be disastrous to an otherwise healthy diet. There are a number of strategies you can turn to, however, if you are having trouble finding the inspiration for after work meals. Once you have mastered the art of the quick, healthy dinner, you may even start looking forward to your evening mealtime.
If you want to find quick healthy dinner ideas that you enjoy, you need to find your inspiration. An uninspired dinner tastes, after all, uninspired. One of the main reasons that diets fail is because people limit themselves to only a few food choices. There is a cornucopia of delicious, nutritious ingredients out there and the more things you try, the more fun you can have with your food. It is a good idea to experiment with different cuisines and styles of cooking as well as different ingredients when you are looking for quick healthy dinner ideas recipes. Throwing together a stir-fry, for example, is an easy, healthy alternative to ordering Chinese takeout. Tossing some veggies, meat and broth into a crock pot in the morning will allow you to make a delicious stew by the time you get home from work. Simply focus on foods that you love and try to find ways to make them simpler and healthier.
In many cases, only a few simple substitutions are needed to turn a calorie-laden favorite into a light, healthy feast. Take spaghetti and meatballs, for example. You can drastically cut the fat in the meatballs by substituting ground chicken for ground beef. Using whole-wheat pasta will ensure a healthy dose of whole grains. Making a healthy sauce is as easy as throwing a can of tomatoes into a pot with some garlic, onion and oregano. Making your own sauce will help you avoid the unnecessary salt, sugar and preservatives often found in jarred sauces. Adding veggies such as mushroom, spinach or even broccoli or carrots can mix things up and add some extra nutrients to your sauce as well.
A Candlelit Meal
Finding great, quick healthy dinner ideas for 2 can be a challenge. Cooking for a partner can add extra pressure to your kitchen situation. If your significant other is not as keen on healthy eating as you are, it can make things even more difficult. One way to approach the meal is to turn it into a romantic dinner. Dim the lights or light a couple of candles and make something that you both enjoy. Whole grain pita breads make wonderful individual pizza crusts. Topped with a layer of sauce, some veggies, turkey bacon crumbles and a sprinkling of cheese, you can make oven-baked pizzas worthy of an Italian bistro. If you prefer something a bit more exotic, why not try a Vietnamese rice noodle salad? Top low-calorie rice noodles with an array of chopped, raw vegetables and lean, grilled meat. For an exotic, tasty finish, sprinkle with the fat free dressing called nuoc cham, a simple combination of lime juice, fish sauce and chili peppers.
Play in the Kitchen
Finding quick healthy dinner ideas can be particularly challenging if you have children at home. Many childhood favorites are filled with fat, sugar, salt and carbohydrates. It is possible, however, to make healthy versions of the tried and true dishes your children love. Tuna noodle casserole is one of many quick healthy dinner ideas for kids. Instead of using canned mushroom soup, which has high levels of salt, fat and preservatives, you can make a simple mushroom sauce yourself. Mix a bit of melted butter with an equal amount of flour, and then pour in enough low fat milk to make a sauce, and stir until it has thickened. Toss in some mushrooms, egg noodles and a can of tuna and your casserole is ready for the oven. Vegetables, such as peas, carrots spinach and cauliflower are delicious additions to tuna casserole and add an extra punch of nutrition for both you and your kids. Try whole grain elbows for a more nutritious macaroni and cheese dish.
Many people find that cooking for one is the biggest challenge of all. Most recipes make enough food for four people and leftovers become tiresome after a day or two. There are two tactics you can take when choosing quick healthy dinner ideas for one. The first tactic involves making extremely simple meals. Remember that a balanced meal consists of a lean protein, a whole grain and at least one vegetable. By keeping a selection from each of these categories on hand, you can make an array of different meals at the drop of a hat. One night you can eat a grilled chicken breast, brown rice and steamed broccoli with soy and sesame oil. Another night you can eat a baked fish fillet, spinach sautéed with lemon and garlic and a quick couscous salad. If you would rather make soups that are more elaborate or casseroles, however, you can freeze the leftovers in single-serving containers. When you do this, finding inspiration for quick healthy dinner ideas will be as easy as opening your freezer.