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Quick & Healthy Dinners for Busy Lifestyles
Posted on Sep 18, 2014 by Bridget Greenlee (G+)
Master these quick and healthy dinners to make your busy life a little more tasty.
If there’s one excuse we’ve all used to make up for our unhealthy eating habits, it’s lack of time. We’re working too much, have family obligations, or need to make sure to get enough sleep. While these are all important in a well-rounded life, eating healthy needs to be a priority too! Too many times we opt for the easy and fast option instead of the healthy one, because it seems like the simplest way to balance all of life’s obligations.
All too often, the easiest, quickest and, unfortunately, cheapest thing around is fast food. That one is a no-brainer – everyone knows they shouldn’t eat it but it -- but we still do. It can even get harder to make healthy choices as the day goes on. Most of us have our quick, standard breakfast and may pack a lunch or grab the same thing from day to day. By dinnertime, we’re starving, tired, and trying to do a million things. Often we just plain don’t have the time to make an elaborate recipe.
That’s where the recipes and tips below come in. While these specific recipes might not be your cup of tea, they’ll show you how nutritious cooking can be easy and delicious. There are ways to eat healthy on a tight schedule. You might have to plan ahead a bit or give some of your weekend over to grocery shopping and list making, but we can guarantee you’ll be happy you did. Plus, there’s no time like summer to be in your best shape and in the habit of eating right. We’ll help you get there!
Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos
If you haven’t yet realized it, a slow cooker is the busy person’s best friend. It may take five hours to cook but it will take you less than a half hour to prepare the meal that you’ll throw into the crock-pot. The greatest thing about slow cooker meals though (other than the fact that there are about a million different recipe ideas all over the internet, especially on Pinterest) is that they can be prepared ahead of time and frozen for later. Simply make the recipe up until the crock-pot cooking step, write the instructions on a plastic bag in permanent marker so you don’t have to search for the recipe come cooking day, and freeze. These pork tacos are a great year-round alternative to traditional cold-weather crock-pot meals like stews and soups.
This dinner is super-fast – only five minutes to prep and 15 minutes to bake. Plus, salmon is very healthy and easy to buy fresh or frozen in individual portions, which is perfect for a dinner for one or two people. Since this recipe has the salmon prepared simply, feel free to experiment, dress it up how you like it best, and bake it to use in other dishes (or make extras for tomorrow’s leftovers!). Add this to your weekly rotation.
Grilled Steak With Green Beans, Tomatoes and Chimichurri Sauce
Yes, you can grill dinner and still have it ready in no time at all. In this recipe, the veggies are quickly tossed in olive oil, thrown into foil and then onto the grill, where they will be done in minutes -- and the steaks take even less time to grill. This is another dish that can be really multidimensional, as it’s good enough to eat on its own or to put on a salad, a sandwich or in a wrap. If you plan ahead and everything is set to go for your weeknight dinner, this dish will barely take 20 minutes. What more can you ask for? Find your new favorite dinner here.
Buffalo Chicken Salad
Of course, no healthy meal list is complete without a salad. Many people are turned off by preparing a salad (too much cutting, chopping and prep time, and not enough flavor), but this recipe is different. You’ve got the flavor and substance of the buffalo chicken that literally spices up the salad and fills up hungry stomachs. The base of greens will also help satisfy the family with wholesome nutrition, while the blue cheese dressing adds even more flavor and is a good complement to the buffalo sauce, as wing-lovers know. Get cooking, stat..
Roasted Zucchini Flatbread With Hummus, Arugula, Goat Cheese and Almonds
Flatbread is another one of those dishes that’s easy to experiment with. This specific flatbread recipe is full of flavor and healthy vegetables. The cheese and almonds help in the flavor department, as does the peppery arugula -- although it’s perfectly fine to substitute spinach or another leafy green. You can feel free to add your own ingredients and use up vegetables you have on hand. The hummus is a healthy base (not to mention the whole grain pita) but you could also use tomato sauce, avocado, or any other healthy spread. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Join the flatbread movement here.
Knowing what foods work for your life and keeping them on hand is a large part of the healthy eating battle, but you’re not going to get the quick and easy part without a little planning. Having nothing on hand and no idea what to eat or make is a dangerous situation that can easily lead to fast food, frozen junk food or ordering in, each of which is a dangerous diet-ruiner. Whenever you can, plan a menu ahead of time and get all the groceries at once.
Not only will this save you time and leave you more space for the rest of your life, but you’ll be on track to save time the rest of the week too. Any spare time you find yourself with during the week, you’ll know what is on the menu for the next day or two and can get ahead on those meals. You’ll get out of your meals what you put into them – but it doesn’t have to be your valued time!
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