5 Ways to Quickly Prepare a Healthy Dinner

healthy dinner

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Progresso as part of Acorn Influence. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

When it was just my husband and myself, I loved spending time going grocery shopping. We would treat grocery shopping as if it was a date. Without a plan, we would head to the grocery store and see what looked good. Then, we would head home with our craving and enjoy preparing the meal together to help satisfy our craving. Due to work schedules, we wouldn’t eat together every night of the week. But, on the nights that we did eat together, every night was date night since we would shop on a day-to-day/date-to-date basis. We hardly ever planned ahead since we liked the spontaneity.

Fast forward a few years and a few kids later and we now have a totally different mentality of grocery shopping. It’s now a total juggling act that often ends with nerves frazzled. Our toddler is usually so tired by the time we get to the checkout line that he has completely checked out of the entire experience. Throw in a one-month-old and we have a whole new can of worms to deal with while trying to make sure all of the items on our shopping list are crossed off and make it into the bags during checkout. Grocery shopping is now the farthest thing from a date … so much so that I look forward to heading to the grocery store by myself while my husband stays at home with the kids so that I can think clearly and enjoy the experience.

I wouldn’t say that dinner prep is too far behind in terms of how it used to be treated as a date night. In years past, my husband would man the grill while I took care of preparing the side dishes. We would turn on the music, pour the wine, and spend time leisurely preparing the food that we picked up at the grocery store that day during our grocery store date.

Once again, fast forward a few years and a few kids later and we find ourselves doing the juggling act in our kitchen. Yes, there are nights when we wait until the kids are asleep so that we can prepare and eat dinner like date nights of the past. But, we also want to teach the importance of eating together as a family so those “date nights” are few and far between since we like to sit down with our three-year-old as a family.

Dinner prep now consists of trying to keep the kiddos entertained all while trying to make sure dinner is ready at a decent time due to our toddler’s bedtime. So, as one could imagine, trying to prepare a healthy dinner is extremely important to us, especially as we play out the roles of jugglers.

If any of this is ringing a bell, then don’t fret. I have some favorite tricks up my sleeve.

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5 Ways to Quickly Prepare a Healthy Dinner

Here are five ways to quickly prepare a healthy dinner for you and your family.

1.) Plan Your Weekly Menu

We’re all familiar with the “6 o’clock scramble,” right? As in, “What’s for dinner?” Yes, that is quite a dreaded question in many households. Day in and day out, dinner can become quite stressful as you either race to the store to pick up ingredients, peruse your pantry to try and throw something together, or call the local pizza place and opt for delivery.  It can be so hard coming up with new, exciting ideas for dinner that are simple to prepare and quick to make it to the table.

Recently, my husband and I have really gotten into menu planning. I like to carve out a few minutes during the weekend to flip through my favorite cookbooks or scroll through Pinterest. After I have the upcoming week’s menu planned out, we head to the store and pick up the necessary ingredients. I love having the menu on display in the house since it gets us excited to prepare and enjoy the meals that week. A weekly meal plan has been a game-changer. Our meals are already planned and we already have the food in our pantry and refrigerator. It’s been a win-win.

For more menu planning tips, be sure to check out my favorite 15 tips for weekly menu planning.

2.) Use a Slow Cooker

My Mom always prepares the best slow cooker meals. She pops the ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning and allows the food to cook throughout the day. Not only does the meal taste delicious but the house smells so amazing. Recently, I’ve come across a few slow cooker meals that have become staples in our home. The meals are simple and flavorful.

3.) Limit Your Ingredients

I’ve always been a firm believer that food doesn’t have to be complicated to taste good. With just a few ingredients, you can have a meal that tastes amazing and has people asking for more. I shy away from ingredient lists that are long and/or include ingredients that I will never use again (unless I make the same recipe). To me, those recipes are wasteful. If you use good, quality ingredients, the few that you do use in your recipe will make the end result a showstopper.

4.) Keep a Stocked Pantry

I strongly believe in having a stocked pantry. Yesterday, my husband asked me, “Can you throw lunch together quickly?” My answer was, “Yes.” Recently, I’ve started to realize the importance and freedom of having a stocked pantry. When we don’t have time to go to the store or schedules become a bit funky and we find that we can’t eat dinner together, it’s always nice to turn to the pantry and refrigerator to whip up a tasty dinner. Here are 10 of my favorite kitchen staples.

Healthy Dinner

5.) Stock Up on Soup

To me, soup is good just about anytime of the year. I’ve always been a huge fan of soup (just ask my parents). Even when it’s a bazillion degrees outside, I love to serve soup for dinner since it can be a healthy, lightweight meal. And, because making a homemade soup can require a lot of ingredients and a lot of time, I’m not ashamed to admit that I don’t mind opening up a can of soup. There are so many different delicious types of soup available at your local store. Let’s face it, when schedules are busy, it’s so simple to open a can, warm up the soup, and enjoy. Plus, our son loves soup and pretty much asks for a bowl of it on a weekly basis.

One of my new favorite soup options is Progresso Light Chicken Noodle soup available at Walmart. The product is full of real, quality ingredients including antibiotic free, all white meat chicken. Simply open up the can, heat up the ingredients, pour the soup into a bowl, and dig into the wonderful flavors. The best part is that Progresso Light Chicken Noodle soup is a lighter soup that is both delicious and it won’t derail you on your healthy start to the new year. Stocking up on soup the next time you’re at Walmart will help ensure you have a healthy dinner option that can get to the dinner table quickly. What’s not to love?

healthy dinner

What’s your favorite way to prepare a healthy dinner?

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Progresso as part of Acorn Influence. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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