7 Family Friendly Weeknight Dinner Recipes

A client recently asked me to share my best tip for losing a lot of fat quickly. She exercises regularly but wanted another way to accelerate her results. Can you guess what I answered? Stop eating unhealthy, high calorie dinners. 

This is a tough one for most of you. Life, work and family are hectic and time consuming, so the concept of eating a healthy, simply prepared dinner seems completely out of reach. 

The truth is that we overcomplicate the idea of a healthy dinner. I suspect this is because we are so used to eating out at restaurants where entrees are accompanied by sides, sauces and garnishes. 

Here are 7 truly healthy dinners that are quick and simple to make... 

1) Roasted Broccoli & Poached Eggs: Toss chopped broccoli with a little olive oil, sea salt and minced garlic and roast on a baking sheet at 425F for 25 minutes. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve with poached eggs. 

2) Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs & Sautéed Kale: Brown 8 beef short ribs in a skillet with coconut oil. Place in a slow cooker with ½ cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce), 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 Tablespoon crushed garlic, 1 Tablespoon crushed ginger and ½ teaspoon ground red pepper. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours. Serve with sautéed kale. 

3) Super Greens Salad & Roasted Chicken: Combine a mixture of super greens in a large bowl: baby spinach, beet leaves, arugula and kale. Top with sliced, grilled chicken and drizzle with balsamic vinegar glaze. 

4) Baked Catfish & Shredded Cabbage: Grease a casserole dish with olive oil and scatter 1 cup of chopped cilantro over the bottom of the dish. Wash and pat dry 4 catfish fillets. Rub the fillets with curry powder, sea salt and sweet paprika. Lay the fillets evenly in the dish, over the cilantro. Drizzle the fillets with lemon juice and sprinkle with chopped garlic. Bake for 30 minutes at 350F. Serve with shredded cabbage. 

5) Stir Fried Chicken & Veggies on Cauliflower Rice: Sauté chicken breast, sliced onions and sliced bell peppers in a skillet with olive oil. Season with sea salt, black pepper and fajita seasoning. Set aside. Cut a head of cauliflower into small pieces and run through a food processor with the shredding attachment. Sauté the shredded cauliflower for 5 minutes in a skillet with a teaspoon of olive oil. Serve the chicken and veggies on top of the cauliflower rice with a side of soy sauce. 

6) Smoked Salmon Omelet & Sliced Tomatoes: Whisk together 3 eggs with a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper. Cook in a heated skillet with a teaspoon of olive oil. Line the egg with smoked salmon and a sprinkle of shredded cheese. Fold the egg over the salmon and cheese, and serve with sliced tomatoes. 

7) One Pot Chicken & Veggies: In a large skillet, brown a pound of chicken tenders in olive oil. Season with sea salt, black pepper, dried basil, crushed rosemary, sweet paprika, dried thyme, dried parsley and cumin. Add 4 cups of chopped veggies (zucchini, onion, tomatoes) and 4 cloves of chopped garlic. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until tender and fully cooked. 

You see, healthy dinners can be quite simple to prepare. Don’t get too hung up on the exact measurements of ingredients and instead focus on combining a handful of quality ingredients together in a delicious way. There’s no such thing as a dinner that’s too simple when nutritious, wholesome ingredients are used. 

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Quick Fast Food Guide

Let’s face it, there will always be those nights when cooking is simply out of the question. Here’s my quick guide to making smart choices when you’re stuck eating a fast food dinner…
  • Choose Grilled: many fast food restaurants serve grilled chicken – choose this as often as you can.
  • Ditch the Bun: If a sandwich or burger are the only options then lighten it up by asking to have it lettuce wrapped or simply ditching half or all of the bun.
  • Dressing on the Side: Salads are a great choice, but don’t ever let the restaurant drench it in dressing. Get the dressing on the side and simply dip a little bit to taste. Also avoid croutons or any other high-calories add-ons.
  • Skip the Fries: Most fast food places now carry more side options than just fries. Avoid all of the fried sides and stick with steamed vegetables or fruit.
  • Don’t drink Calories: Just because you’re eating out doesn't give you license to drink a few hundred calories. Stick with water or unsweetened iced tea to easily avoid unnecessary sugar and calories.
  • Fruit for Dessert: That package of cookies or brownie that comes with your meal may look tasty, but you’re not eating it. You have a fitness goal, remember? Stick with fruit and you’ll be leaner and happier for it.

  • Taco Egg Muffins

    Egg muffins are a wonderful, protein-packed, on-the-go meal that are easy to make on the weekend for quick meals all week long. This version of egg muffins takes all of the delicious flavors of taco night and packs it into a guilt-free, low carb meal. Reach for one of these Taco Egg Muffins instead of a high carbohydrate snack and watch how quickly your body begins to transform. 

    Servings: 6

    Here’s what you need:
    • ½ lb ground beef
    • ½ teaspoon chili powder
    • ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
    • ¼ teaspoon cumin
    • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
    • Pinch of garlic powder
    • Dash of sea salt
    • 6 organic, free range eggs
    • 2 green onions, finely chopped
    • Handful of sliced olives
    • 1 tomato, chopped
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners or grease with coconut oil.
    2. In a skillet brown the beef over medium heat. Add in the chili powder, paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder and sea salt. Remove from heat and drain.
    3. In a bowl, mix up the eggs, add the browned, seasoned beef, chopped green onions, sliced olives and chopped tomato. Fill 6 muffin tins.
    4. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the egg is fully set. Enjoy!
    Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 184 calories, 13g fat, 225mg sodium, 10g carbs, 5g fiber, and 9g protein 

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    Ryan Pergola

    Fitness Pro - OCR Athlete - Gymnast - Economist - Health Coach. Follow me on fb. http://facebook.com/pergola.ryan

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