Mix and Match Dinners- Easy and Healthy Combinations

Many times I get into a rut when it comes to preparing meals. In the summer I tend to grill everything. A few years ago I turned everything into a casserole. In the winter I often want warm, comfort food that someone else was kind enough to make for me! Needless to say, despite my interest in nutrition, I get bored and need some easy ideas. I came across an article in Fitness magazine from last October that had easy to implement as well as good for you suggestions to mix up dinner.  The following includes some of what Fitness suggested as well as a few of my own ideas:

Pick a protein: eggs (I prefer these for breakfast), chicken, bison (best when purchased from a farmer), or lean beef (beans are good too!)

Choose a carbohydrate: brown rice or basmati rice, whole grain tortillas or pasta, for those with a gluten sensitivity(or if you just want a change) try gluten-free pasta and tortillas (Hy-Vee has a special section and Trader Joe’s will direct you if you ask)

Choose a few vegetables: asparagus, peppers, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms, onions, snow peas, sugar snap peas, zucchini, tomatoes (you can steam, saute, or eat raw)

Seasoning ideas: lemon pepper, garlic, and sea salt, butter or olive oil, basil and garlic, cilantro-lime juice, garlic and thyme, salsa, bruchsetta, teriyaki sauce (homemade or in health section)

The number of combinations you can make are countless.  A few examples include:

Stir-frys-Saute lean beef, onions, carrots, broccoli, and snow peas with brown rice

                           There are many ways to create a stir- fry dish. Get creative!(Make enough rice for leftovers to save time) 

Wraps can be super fast! Try a tortilla with chicken, peppers, onions, and cilantro-lime sauce

                          Any combination that works for you. These are so easy to throw together when your busy!

For a “dinner feel” try: Chicken with olive oil, garlic, and thyme with your choice of vegetables and put on a kabob,      serve with pasta (add carrots and peppers with olive oil and vinegar and your choice of seasonings to make a healthy pasta dish that will still be good for lunch the next day!

Purchasing vegetables pre-cut or cutting them up right away will save time. You can also purchase frozen vegetables to use part of the time.  Trying a variety of pasta and pasta shapes will add to the fun.  Lightly grilling tortillas can enhance their texture and flavor.  Just remember to keep mixing it up and keep it simple!



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