29 Quick and Easy Healthy Dinner Ideas
Healthy dinner starts with making healthy choices. The ready-to-eat meals in the supermarket are often full of added sugars and deliver a lot of fat and salt.
Most food products are highly processed today and do more harm than good for your health.
That is why in this article you will learn more about healthy dinner recipes with fresh ingredients that do not take too much time.
In this article you discover:
- 8 golden principles for a healthy evening meal
- The importance of dietary fiber
- Which fatty acids I advise you to eat (and which absolutely NOT)
- My top 4 oils and fats for baking and roasting a healthy meal
- More than 20 healthy dinner ideas
- 3 delicious dinner recipes
The Importance of a Healthy Dinner
Losing weight is a complicated process that does not happen overnight. Unfortunately, you do not wake up with a slim body after a night’s sleep.
What brings you closer to a slim and healthy body?
Healthy eating is more than just leaving candy, cookies and crisps. Where many people switch to whole grain products and eat smaller portions of meat, the real result lies in a more drastic approach.
Turning over your food pattern and leaving unhealthy foods not only gives you more energy, but also ensures that you are permanently slim.
To lose weight and eventually reach your goal weight, healthy nutrition is essential.
You can not expect to become slim when you eat the most unhealthy meals every night.
If you really want to be slimmer, then you should pay attention to your meals.
In order to make healthier choices at dinner, I give you 8 principles to pursue.
8 Principles For Healthy Dinner
Are you ready for it?
Here are the most important principles for a healthy evening meal:
# 1: Eat Plenty Of Vegetables
Most vegetables contain few calories, but many vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers.
Some vegetables, however, distinguish themselves from the rest with even more proven health benefits.
Vegetables (and fruit) is an important part of a healthy diet and you can eat unlimited.
I give you my favorite vegetables for a healthy evening meal (in random order):
A serving of raw spinach (30 grams) provides more than half of your daily vitamin A and full vitamin K requirement.
And all for only 7 calories (source). In addition, spinach has many antioxidants that can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Antioxidants are substances that help prevent oxidative stress by free radicals in the body.
Oxidative damage is considered one of the major causes of aging and many diseases, including cancer (source).
Research has shown that spinach (or a similar leaf vegetable) contains a lot of beta-carotene and lutein. These are two types of antioxidants that can lower the risk of cancer (source).
It also appears that eating spinach can be beneficial for the health of the heart, because it can help with lowering blood pressure (source).
It belongs to the crucifer family. Other species that also include kale, white cabbage, cauliflower, etc.
Broccoli contains many dietary fibers, low carbohydrates and is full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Even during the Roman Empire, broccoli was already considered a valuable food.
Broccoli also contains substances such as isothiocyanates and sulfofaran. These are two strong antioxidants that are involved in the stimulation of detoxifying enzymes and protect the structure of DNA (source).
Brocolli is also full of minerals and vitamins, such as vitamin B6 that has a beneficial effect on the heart and brain.
The nutrients in broccoli help keep the heart healthy by preventing heart attacks and strokes and keeping arteries clean. It is also a natural cholesterol and blood pressure reducer.
But broccoli also has healthy effects on the skin.
Vitamin A is abundant in broccoli and important for the health of the skin, the health of the eyes and is even involved in fertility.
Eating broccoli as an evening meal helps with weight loss because it contains a healthy dose of fiber, protein and detoxifying phytochemicals.
These nutrients support a balanced blood sugar level and help you feel fuller for longer.
In addition, broccoli has a low-calorie density and a large volume. This has the advantage that it takes a lot of space in the stomach and you do not have to worry about having eaten too many calories.
With carrots, you can vary endlessly and it is still tasty too.
What about, for example, carrot stew as dinner? Delicious!
Carrots are rich in vitamin A (a serving of 128 grams gives as much as 428% of the recommended daily amount) and vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium.
A carrot also contains beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gives carrots their vibrant orange color and possibly helps reduce the risk of cancer (source).
Are you a fanatical smoker?
Then read along.
Eating carrots can reduce the risk of lung cancer in smokers:
Compared with those who ate carrots at least once a week, smokers who did not eat carrots were three times as likely to develop lung cancer (source).
Not everyone should like Brussels sprouts, they should not be missed at a healthy dinner.
Brussel sprouts are very nutritious and contain a good amount of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid, manganese and potassium.
Brussel sprouts also contain kaempferol, an antioxidant that can be particularly effective in preventing damage to body cells (source).
An animal study shows that eating Brussels sprouts leads to an increase of 15-30% of some enzymes that are responsible for the detoxification process (detoxification), which could reduce the risk of colon cancer (source).
Green peas are considered starchy vegetables.
This means that they contain a higher amount of carbohydrates and calories than non-starchy vegetables.
They can also affect blood sugar levels when consumed in large quantities.
That does not make them loved by everyone who wants to lose weight.
Nevertheless, green peas are incredibly nutritious. A portion of green peas (cooked) corresponds to 200 grams and contains almost 9 grams of fiber, 13 grams of protein and vitamins B1, B2 C, K, phosphorus, iron and zinc.
Because green peas are rich in fiber, they support digestion by strengthening good bacteria in the intestines and promoting regular healthy bowel movements (source).
Green peas also contain saponins, a group of substances that can potentially help fight cancer by reducing tumor growth (source).
It actually occurs everywhere, from vegetable dishes to desserts.
In the past, ginger was also used as a natural medicine for motion sickness.
Why can not ginger be missing with a healthy evening meal? Ginger contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help with arthritis, lupus or gout (source).
In one study, participants with osteoarthritis were treated with a concentrated gem extract. She suffered less from knee pain and relief from other symptoms (source).
It is also thought that ginger can be effective in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
A study from 2015 looked at the effects of ginger supplements on diabetes. After 3 months the blood sugar level of the group was found to have decreased with ginger (source).
Asparagus contains many important nutrients, including selenium, folic acid, vitamin B1, B2, K and vitamin E.
Asparagus is also a good source of dietary fiber. The fibers in asparagus help improve digestion.
The soluble fibers dissolve in our body and bind to glucose, cholesterol and fatty acids. As a result, these substances are absorbed less well and leave the body via the stool.
Half a portion of red cabbage (100 grams) provides almost 90% of the daily vitamin C requirement.
Of all healthy vegetables, kale is perhaps one of the most nutritious plant foods there is.
I will only mention the health benefits of kale that are supported by scientific research:
Kale is like other leafy vegetables, very rich in antioxidants. In kale are beta-carotene, vitamin C and various flavonoids and polyphenols (source).
Flavonoids such as quercetin and kaempferol are found in relatively large quantities in kale and also have other important functions.
These substances have been intensively studied in animal studies and have many beneficial effects on health. In animals, they work to reduce blood pressure, reduce inflammation and lower the risk of cancer (source, source).
The vegetables above certainly belong to a healthy dinner. And of course, there are a lot more healthy vegetables that you can eat.
Every vegetable has its own unique nutritional value, variety is the secret of healthy eating.
# 2: Avoid Simple (refined) Carbohydrates
But carbohydrates are not necessarily bad.
In reality, you need carbohydrates for energy and inhibit the breakdown of body tissue.
We must also make a distinction between slow (complex) carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates.
Simple carbohydrates are also called fast sugars.
Simple or refined carbohydrates are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing the blood sugar level to quickly peak (and fall).
This also ensures a high production of insulin, which at high values will store fat in the body.
The most common chronic diseases in Western countries come from simple carbohydrates, so it is wise to keep them to a minimum.
How can you drastically reduce refined carbohydrates and added sugars?
One way to do this is by switching to a low-carbohydrate diet. With this diet, you only eat good carbs from the best sources.
To put it in perspective, fruit naturally contains many natural sugars.
But fruit also contains antioxidants, fibers, vitamins and minerals. This slows the digestion and absorption of sugar and ensures a stable blood sugar level (source).
But if you only drink the fruit sugar and throw away the rest, then you are unhealthy.
Carbohydrates and sugars have been given a bad name for that reason, because many foodstuffs in the supermarket have stopped filling up with added sugars.
At dinner, it’s not about counting calories, it’s about the quality of the food you eat.
# 3: Eat More Fiber
It slows the speed at which sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream.
If you eat many foods with fiber, simple carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly in those foods.
This ensures that your blood sugar level remains stable. The brain gets the signal that you are full, so you are less likely to overeat.
Fibers also clean your colon and behave like a kind of brush.
The brush effect of fibers helps to clean up bacteria and other harmful accumulations in your intestines and reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Fiber-rich food is good for a good bowel movement and healthy digestion.
Fibers help you to have a soft and regular bowel movement, which reduces constipation (constipation). It also feeds friendly intestinal bacteria, leading to all kinds of health benefits (source, source).
The recommended daily amount of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men (source).
Most people, however, only eat half of that. Fortunately, increasing your fiber intake at dinner is relatively easy.
Examples of high fiber foods that are both healthy and satisfying:
- Brussels sprouts
- Kidney beans
- Chia seed
- Unpolished rice
The above foods contain not only fiber, but also other essential nutrients that are important for good health.
# 4: Provide Sufficient Healthy Fats
Are you afraid of fats? Then you are probably not the only one.
Fat-rich food was not recommended for a long time. Low-fat and fat-free food was the norm.
After the Second World War, studies were published (among others by Ancel Keys) that held saturated fats (such as eggs and red meat) responsible for cardiovascular diseases.
Saturated fat is not necessarily bad, it is often only in processed products. The processing is bad, not saturated fat.
But the same can not be said for trans fats.
If you want to invest in your health, it is important that you do not eat these trans fats (which occur in pizza, snacks, etc.) more than once a week as an evening meal.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Now let’s talk about the most healthy fats that exist: the omega 3 fatty acids.
This type of fatty acids actually belongs to the unsaturated fats, but deserves a separate mention.
Omega 3 fatty acids are healthy because:
- it lowers your cortisol level (source)
- it stimulates fat burning (causing your fat percentage to drop) (source)
- it suppresses your hunger (source)
- it counteracts depression and fears (source)
- it provides better visibility (source)
- it promotes strong bones and supple joints (source)
To get omega 3 fatty acids, you will have to eat fatty fish.
Flaxseed oil and walnuts are also packed with these healthy omega 3 fats.
You will have to eat fatty fish at least 2 to 3 times a week to take full advantage of the health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids.
Omega 6 Fatty Acids
Just like omega 3 fatty acids omega 6 has a number of healthy properties. However, the list is shorter than omega 3.
A surplus of omega 6 fatty acids is also unhealthy. In many fried foods are mainly omega 6 fatty acids, which are inflammatory.
In addition, you do not stimulate fat burning with omega 6, which you do with omega 3 fats.
So less with foods with a lot of omega 6 fatty acids and trans fats and you focus on nutrition with a lot of omega 3. This way you stay healthy and burn belly fat faster.
Concentrate on taking healthy fats. Those bad fats come, often unintentionally, anyway.
# 5: Drink Healthy
These products are full of added sugars. And unfortunately, they can be found everywhere.
From restaurants to supermarkets, you can not escape it. The good news is that there is also a healthy drink that you can drink during dinner.
Can you actually drink while eating? It is a question that I am asked now and then. Yes, drinking while you eat can certainly be useful.
Drinking water during or after a meal promotes digestion.
Water and other liquids help break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients. Drinking water also softens the stool, which helps prevent constipation.
By drinking water, you can also temporarily speed up your metabolism (source).
Several studies show that you burn 24-30% more calories an hour after drinking half a liter of water (source, source). This effect becomes even greater when you drink cold water. Your body then has to burn more energy to warm up the water.
What is healthy to drink during dinner? I’m glad you ask.
- Cold water
- Water with lemon
- Green tea
- Mint tea
- Coconut water
A cup of coffee after dinner cannot hurt either. Make sure you do not add sugar.
Drinking dairy during or after an evening meal is not recommended. Lime is contained in milk, which can affect the absorption of minerals (copper, zinc, iron).
Research shows that iron is better absorbed if calcium is avoided while eating the meal (source). Taking a lot of calcium does not necessarily cause strong bones, because you also need vitamin D, K2, magnesium and silicon for good absorption.
Would you rather drink something from alcohol at dinner? Then keep it with a glass of red wine. Red wine has some health benefits if it is drunk in moderation.
# 6: Cook With The Right Oils
I regularly get the question with which oils and fats you can best bake and roast. I can tell you in advance, it is not a frying fat!
My personal top 4 oils and fats for baking and roasting a healthy evening meal:
Oil / grease Dominant Fatty Acid Smoking Point Baking?
Coconut Oil 86% Saturated 250 Degrees High Heat
Ghee 62% Saturated 250 Degrees High Heat
Dairy Butter 53% Saturated 180 Degrees Medium or Low Heat
Olive Oil 73% Mono-Unsaturated 180 Degrees Low Heat
# 7: High Protein Food (for weight loss)
The protein that is in food is used by every part of our body to recover, grow and function.
Because proteins are involved in so many processes in the body, it is important that you consume enough protein every day during dinner to prevent a lack of protein.
Research shows that eating protein-rich foods has a number of health benefits.
It helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, increase energy levels, support muscles and bones and even increase the metabolism (source).
Another advantage of a protein-rich meal is that you will feel satiated more quickly so that you have less trouble with cravings.
Increasing your protein intake is a great way to quickly lose weight and burn fat.
That makes it, even more, a shame that few people consume enough protein. Proteins and healthy fats are known for their satiating effect. You will be less hungry.
If your goal is to lose weight, I recommend at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. This is only for people who do sedentary work and are otherwise not very active.
For everyone who does muscle building and fat burning, I recommend eating about 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
You will be surprised how much protein-rich foods you can eat in the evening. Vegetarians and vegans also have enough protein-rich food to choose from.
A protein-rich inspiration for dinner:
- Grass-fed beef
- Almonds (and other nuts)
- Yogurt or kefir
- Goat cheese
- Chicken and turkey
- Black beans
# 8: Avoid Processed Products
These are often the products in packages, bags and cans in the supermarket.
Processed foods are unhealthy because salt, sugar and fat are often added.
This is done to sweeten processed food or to increase the taste.
They are not essential nutrients, but they do contain a large number of empty calories. But empty calories are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the harmful effects of these additives.
Several studies show that added sugars are bad for health. It can lead to insulin resistance, high triglycerides, increased harmful cholesterol and increased fat deposits in the liver and abdominal cavity (source, source).
Most people do not get health problems from a sugar cube with the coffee, they get it from processed food products and sweet drinks.
Remember that weight gain can only be the first symptom of a much larger health problem that involves eating processed foods.
Therefore, keep it from eating natural foods. Avoid ready-to-eat evening meals that are full of salt and sugars.
Do not forget to read labels: many of these harmful ingredients are also found in foods that at first glance seem ‘healthy’, such as crackers, tomato sauce and salad dressings.
OK, now it’s time for the real thing!
Sugar has more than 68 hiding names, so chances are that your food products are not really healthy at all.
Ideas for a Healthy Dinner
Are you looking for delicious cooking ideas for a healthy dinner?
Then you can go ahead with the following recipe list.
Here we go:
- Creamy chicken with sweet potatoes and broccoli
- Cauliflower soup with almonds
- Crayfish with buckwheat pasta and homemade pesto
- Caesar salad with olive oil, chicken and eggs
- Vegetarian pizza with spinach and tomatoes, among others
- Stuffed tomatoes with tuna and olives
- Spinach dish with spicy buckwheat pasta
- Salmon with avocado salad
- Sweet potato, turkey and spinach
- Pasta with red salmon and green asparagus
- Trout in a courgette jacket
- Vegetarian oatmeal pizza
Lose Weight With a Healthy Dinner
Healthy dinner does not mean that you have to sacrifice your taste.
Many low-carbohydrate diet recipes are not only healthy, but also filling and delicious in taste!
A balanced evening meal is important to get all healthy food groups in sufficient sizes.
High-quality proteins, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates contribute to a healthy diet and are an important source of energy.
Vegetables also provide a lot of fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are not only important for healthy resistance, but also help you lose weight without suffering from hunger.
3 Healthy Dinner Recipes
Now you know where healthy dinner needs to comply. To conclude this article I will give you 3 delicious and healthy dinner recipes.
Dinner # 1: Stewed Leeks with Chicken
What do you need:
- 2 thin leeks
- 1 onion
- 2 chicken fillets
- 1 stock cube
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- few sprigs of thyme and parsley
- pepper and salt
- Cut the dark green from the leeks, chop into rings and rinse the leek.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the leeks. Add the sprigs of thyme and parsley.
- In the meantime, cut the chicken and onion into pieces and squeeze the garlic. Heat in a pan some olive oil and fry the onion for about 3 minutes with the garlic.
- Then add the chicken and fry it light brown.
Dinner # 2: Broccoli with Goat’s Cheese and Quinoa
What do you need:
- 1/2 broccoli, in rose
- 1 small pot of lentils
- 150 grams of rocket
- 150 grams of soft goat’s cheese
- 150 grams of quinoa bunch of parsley
- Boil the quinoa in about 12 minutes.
- Put a big splash of olive oil in a frying pan and add the broccoli florets.
- Meanwhile, put the lentils in a colander and add them to the broccoli.
- Add the goat’s cheese to the vegetables and let it melt through.
- Finally, add the quinoa and the rocket to the pan and the dish is ready to serve!
Dinner # 3: Tuna Fillet with Steamed Vegetables
What do you need:
- 2 slices of tuna fillet, each 150 g
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 shallots
- 1 onion
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 tsp finely chopped parsley
- 150 g of green beans
- 150 g of cauliflower
- Rub the tuna steaks with the olive oil and let stand for at least 15 minutes.
- Cut the green beans in half, cut the broccoli into small florets and put them together in a steam basket in a steamer.
- Peel the shallots and cut into thin segments. Fry them in a pan with some olive oil.
- Cut the onion into half rings and squeeze the garlic. Add both to the shallots in the pan.
- Fry the tuna steaks on a grill plate and roast them for about 5-7 minutes
- Put the steamed vegetables on the plates, serve the tuna steaks and garnish with the shallots, onions and garlic. Sprinkle the parsley over it.
Did you know that research shows that 1 in 3 just gains from a diet instead of losing weight? (source)
Discover how you lose several kilos per week with tasty and easy to make slimming recipes!
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