Simple & Healthy Dinner Ideas

Overview

Preparing healthy and simple dinners doesn't have to be a time-consuming task. Start with fresh ingredients and the right mix of complex carbs, lean proteins and vegetables. Then just combine them for an easy, healthy dinner in no time flat.

Go Lean for Protein

Proteins like chicken thighs, sausage and well-marbled cuts of beef are higher in fat. Avoid those when cooking healthy dinners. Instead, choose lean cuts like chicken breasts, pork and flank steak. Also, keep portion sizes to no more than four oz. of protein per person, or one lb. of meat for four people. If you are a vegetarian, use beans and tofu as your proteins. Both are naturally lean and healthy.

Bulk up on Complex Carbs and Vegetables

When preparing a healthy and simple meal, it's important to prepare enough food to be filling. That's why the complex carbs and vegetables are so important at dinnertime. For complex carbs, turn to whole wheat pastas and breads, or brown rice. These will aid in digestion and help you feel full faster. Don't let vegetables be an afterthought. Boiling vegetables can strip them of their natural vitamins and minerals. Instead, steam, roast or grill vegetables with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. This will bring out the most flavor and also preserve those healthy nutrients.

Healthy Pasta Tosses

Now that you have the tools to choose and prepare the proteins, carbs and vegetables, here's an easy way to bring it all together: a healthy pasta toss. Simply cook the whole wheat pasta according to package directions. Drain it and toss with a little olive oil (that's a healthy fat!), salt, pepper and some chopped vegetables (either raw or roasted) and aromatic herbs. Then sprinkle with a dash of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or Romano) and serve. If desired, you can toss a lean protein with it, too.

About this Author

Sarah Caron is a journalist from Connecticut who has been writing for print and online for more than eight years. She is a regular contributor to SheKnows.com, iVillage.com, the "New Haven Register" newspaper and other publications. She received her bachelor's degree in political science from Barnard College.

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