As the long summer days begin to come to an end and the cooler weather makes its way in, it’s time to begin thinking about “real-life” again. Getting back into a routine, especially with meals, can be tough. Real-life is hectic and sometimes dinner may not always be the priority of our days.
At N4L we’re proud of our farm-to-fork meals, but we know that not everyone enjoys them every night of the week. Even for those nights where you’re not having a N4L meal, we’ve got your back! Check out these 10 simple dinner ideas for healthy eating in real life. And, for the days when you don't have time to cook dinner, sign up for our custom meal plans to be delivered directly to your door!1. Sheet Pan Dinners
Something about a sheet pan dinner just sounds simple — and it really is. Add a protein of your choice and lots of veggies to a sheet pan and pop it into the oven for a simple, yet delicious and filling dinner. Things can get a little more advanced depending on what you’re cooking, but check out our previous blog on sheet pan dinners for tips and tricks to get started!2. One-Pot Meal
Similar to a sheet pan dinner, one-pot meals are your quick and easy weeknight dinner saviors. All ingredients are placed into one pot or pan for delicious flavor combinations and simple cleanup. No more stressing over side dish ideas because everything — protein, veggies, and grains — can cook in one dish. The possibilities are endless: think chilis, paellas, soups, or stir-fries.3. Crock-Pots and Slow Cookers
If you’re busy and out of the house all day, than one of these recipes are for you! Simply place ingredients into a crock-pot or slow cooker, then set it and forget it. You can then continue about your day and come home to a delicious flavorful dinner that took just moments to prepare.4. Outdoor Grill
Don’t forget about your grill once the summer is over. Weather dependent, the grill can be a great way to make a simple and easy dinner in moments. For an easier clean up, you can wrap foods in parchment paper and then wrap that in foil and place on the grill. A grilled packet of your favorite protein along with any fresh veggies or fruits can get you a taste of summer in the fall.5. No-Cook Meals
What could be simpler than “no cooking required?” Dinner can be made with simple fresh ingredients that don’t entail any cooking time. Make a salad filled with veggies and fruit as your base. Then add in avocado, beans, nuts/seeds, lean protein, or a homemade dressing for a nutritious and delicious meal.6. Frozen Vegetables
Frozen vegetables can be a lifesaver in a pinch. They’re just as nutritious as their non-frozen counterpart. Additionally, they last much longer in the freezer and take a fraction of the time to prepare. Stock up with the veggies you like and you’ll always have a side dish ready to go. Preparing frozen veggies can be as simple as roasting them on a sheet pan with olive and spices or adding them to your favorite cooked dishes in place of fresh.7. Breakfast for Dinner
Breakfast is a comfort food for many people and often times the recipes are simple to prepare. So why not have breakfast at dinner time too? Make some savory oatmeal, a veggie hash, or whole wheat pancakes for a fun and fast weeknight dinner!8. Bulk Cooking
We’ve spoken about this before, and our dietitians are super passionate about bulk cooking so we’ll mention it again. Cooking in bulk gives you a major head start for meal prep during the rest of the week. Cook extra veggies, grains, and even proteins and store them in the fridge or freezer in pre-portioned containers for the simplest dinners.9. Leftovers
Leftovers can often be thought of as a “last resort” sort of meal, but in reality they can be delicious and save you a lot of time during the week. We believe that you can cook it once and eat it twice, or even three times. There are so many ways you can repurpose leftovers if you want to change it up a little. Be creative and give those leftovers a chance!10. Prep
We saved the best for last — preparation is the key to healthy cooking. Creating a menu and being prepared can take away the stress surrounding dinner prep. Set aside one day of the week to shop for food and for prepping as much as you can in advance. Having your ingredients ready to go will turn the challenge of cooking healthy dinners into an enjoyable experience.
Make sure you check back for more tips and recipe ideas from Nutrition for Longevity. You can also choose from our selection of custom meal plans — including vegan, pescatarian, and flexitarian — to fit your specific need.