These Healthy Dinner Ideas will help you get dinner on the table FAST on busy weeknights! You'll love these quick and easy recipes.
What's in this Post
Why You'll Love These Weeknight Dinner Recipes
Here are just a few reasons why you'll love these recipes:
- They're healthy and delicious.
- They're made from simple ingredients you can easily find in the grocery store.
- Most come together in 30 minutes or less (or can cook in the slow cooker all day while you're at work).
- A lot of them can be made in one pan or pot so you won't have a sink full of dishes at the end of the night.
- You can make and freeze some of them ahead of busy days or seasons.
How to choose quick dinner ideas
Knowing what to make for dinner is probably the toughest part of dinner itself. Either you don't know what you're craving or you're worried it's going to take too long. Well, never fret with these strategies!
- Pick recipes that have ingredients you already have on hand at home – this way you reduce food waste. Have a ton of carrots? Look up carrot recipes! Want to do something with that chicken laying on the counter? Maybe look up some chicken pasta or casserole recipes.
- Use Pinterest to discover last-minute recipes and hone in on your cravings. You can use it as both a visual search engine or just browse your home feed for inspiration!
- Keep a list of all your usual go-to dinner recipes for easy access when you're running out of inspiration. This way you know you'll get to eat something you like, but don't have to think too much about what that is.
- Use Instagram and search specific hashtags like #lowcarb #broccoli or #groundbeef or even just #recipes to find new Instagram accounts and browse their recipes for ideas.
- Choose recipes with ingredients that you can prep ahead of time! With my meal planning app Dinner Prep Pro, I provide prep ahead instructions to do on the weekend so that the dinners can be made in a flash during the week!
Wanna Learn How To Meal Prep?
My meal planning service, Dinner Prep Pro, removes the guesswork and helps you get dinner on the table in 15-20 minutes each night. My meal prep checklists only take 1 hour each week!
Recipes with 10 ingredients or less
One of the best ways to cut back on the time you spend on making dinner is to limit the number of ingredients needed to make the meal. Below are some delicious dinner recipes with 10-ingredients or less. Most of the dishes below are low carb options too since grains take the longest to prepare and cook besides proteins.
Sheet pan dinner ideas
Here are some of my fave sheet pan recipes below to get you started – they make such great dinner ideas! I've also got a super handy round up of more sheet pan dinners right here on the blog if you'd like to check out more of them.
One pot pasta recipes
Making dinner in one pot is a great way to minimize your cooking time, and most of the pasta recipes below do just that! Pasta is just an overall great dinner idea because you get in your protein, carbs and veggies all in one meal as opposed to having to make separate side dishes.
Easy stir fries and skillet dinners
I've listed some low carb dishes below where you have the option to cook the rice separately, and I've also got some chicken teriyaki bowls where the rice cooks alongside the chicken and veggies. These easy dinners come together in a flash! And if you're looking for more skillet meals be sure to check out this other skillet recipes post with more ideas!
Mix and match dinner ideas
Mix and match dinner ideas are mainly the kinds of dinner where you use up whatever you have lying around in the fridge to make recipes that are more throw-together than pre-planned. Things like buddha bowls, burritos, tacos, salads, lettuce wraps, burgers, loaded fries, healthy nachos, etc. are great starting points for last-minute dinner ideas.
Another great dinner idea is to rely on freezer meals. Whether it's a dinner recipe you've made already and frozen, or just some large Ziploc bags full of frozen ingredients and sauces, freezer-friendly recipes can take a lot of stress off of dinnertime! I usually make something like pasta or a protein-rich soup or stew ahead of time and freeze in small glass containers. From there you can reheat in the microwave for 7-8 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Have dinner cooking in your crockpot all day for the EASIEST dinner ever! You can usually prep this the night before and have it cook overnight or while you're at work.
Usually all you have to do with crockpot meals is assemble the ingredients and dump into your slow cooker. The meal will cook on low for 8 hours and then most of the legwork is already done for you. Add in fresh veggies at the last minute if you'd like and dinner is on the table in a flash!
Instant Pot recipes
Whip up dinner using your Instant Pot – like the slow cooker, it's mostly a hands-off cooking process. Dump everything in and cook on high pressure. The main difference? The Instant Pot cooks everything FAST! You're looking at a 20-30 minute cook time from preheating to releasing the pressure, and everything comes together in one pot to minimize clean up.
Meal Prep Tools
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls to pack up your meals.
- Butcher Box, conveniently delivers a variety of meats to your door frozen.
- A rice cooker is invaluable for saving time, and it cooks other grains, too!
- If you don't have a slow cooker, this crock pot is super helpful for cooking hands-off!
- Here’s the Instant Pot I use.
- Use these Ziploc bag holders if you're preparing freezer meals.
- Freeze and refrigerate leftovers in round glass microwave-safe bowls with lids.
- **Get my full list of tools here**
The best thing you can do to ensure you can put dinner on the table fast each night is to prep ingredients beforehand. It's what I have you do with my meal planning app, Dinner Prep Pro! Learn how to food prep in one hour on the weekends – it's a great shortcut that'll help you save time and motivate you to stick to your meal plan, even if you're feeling lazy.
Cooking on a budget doesn't mean sacrificing on flavour. These cheap dinner ideas are all around $10 for four servings and make the most out of pantry goods and cheaper cuts of meat.
The last thing you need at the end of a busy day is a fight at the dinner table. If you've got some picky eaters in the your household, try these kid-friendly dinners. They're real crowd-pleasers!
It's recommended that you should eat dinner four to five hours after lunch. So, if you eat lunch at noon, you should eat dinner around 5:00 P.M. This might not always feasible depending on your schedule, though, but you should make sure to eat your dinner at least 2-3 hours before you go to sleep so you can digest your meal properly.
Skipping any meal, including dinner, can be bad for your health. It can lead to nutrient deficiencies or cause your metabolism to slow down. If you're concerned about weight loss, it's much better to eat a lighter dinner than none at all.
Make a meal plan for weekly dinner ideas
I think meal planning is really the only way to go when you're trying to keep on track with dinner ideas. I will usually fill in 5-6 days' worth of meals in a meal planner and account for my schedule that week when planning everything out. You can use some of the dinner prep strategies above when making out your meal plan for the week ahead. Having everything on paper helps you stay on track!
And if you need some help coming up with ideas in general, be sure to check out my Start Here page to learn how to best use my blog to help with meal prep! Or check out my easiest ever 30 minute dinner ideas to get started.