I used to be that mom that made everything from scratch and somehow couldn’t understand why I didn’t have any time left at the end of the day. Two hours in the kitchen making dinner was totally normal. Even though I was a stay at home mom, there were definitely better ways I could have been spending my time. For working parents, the struggle becomes even more real. So how can you get dinner on the table, keep it healthy and make it quick? Check it out…I’ve got 5 minute hacks to make healthy meals for dinner…no struggle necessary.
*This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a commission on recommendations at no cost to you.
Skip the prep
If you naturally aren’t great at preparing meals, one of the best ways to help yourself and your family is to just have someone else do it for you!
$5 Meal Plan – Get affordable pre-made meal plans and grocery lists designed to feed your entire family! This takes all the guess-work out of grocery shopping and still helps you stay on budget!
Gobble – Gobble takes it a step further by completely prepping all of your meals and sending them right to your door! Healthy, tasty meals ready in only 15 minutes — and you didn’t even have to go to the store!
If you’re down for prepping everything yourself, here are my 5 sneakiest ways to make dinner a little quicker and healthier!
Veggies in spaghetti
Spaghetti is probably a staple in most house holds because it’s crazy easy to make but, spoiler alert, it isn’t all that healthy for your family. So, how can you make this classic family dinner a bit healthier?
- Add shredded carrots to your sauce
- Toss in spiraled zucchini (AKA noodles)
- Chop and add spinach to the sauce
Here are some handy tools you can use to get the job done even faster!
Meats can be one of the most expensive things on your grocery list. Therefore, I am a big fan of making it last as long as possible by chopping it or shredding it.
If you pop, beef, pork or chicken into a crockpot or InstaPot, you can quickly and easily shred up your chicken by using a hand-held mixer in place of a fork and knife.
This is a great idea for tacos, stews, pasta dishes or yummy sandwiches like these Crock Pot Shredded Pork Sandwiches on My Midlife Kitchen.
I don’t know about you, but my main mission in life and motherhood is to fill up my bottomless pits I call my children. The best way to do that is to take a normal recipe and the find healthy ways to beef it up.
My newest best friend has been instant rice pouches. You can pop them in the microwave and have burrito bowls, teriyaki and rice or even just a tasty side dish in less than 2 minutes.
Did you know you can make an entire tray of baked potatoes ahead of time and then store them for later? Plus, prepping and making them isn’t really all that tricky. Get the guide for meal prepping potatoes.
Once you’ve got them prepped and stored, all you have to do is warm them up and toss them along side your main dish. Personally, I would love some shredded, seasoned chicken on top of mine! Yum!
Frozen taco meat
Just like you can pre-prep baked potatoes, you can also make taco meat ahead of time and store it in your freezer.
That way, when it’s time to eat, a quick defrosting does the trick. You can do this with turkey, beef or chicken. Heck, since you already have potatoes prepped too, you could do these Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes from With Peanut Butter on Top.
Rice is a nice filler and so is pasta my friend. Did you know that studies have actually shown people who eat pasta tend to eat healthier?
That’s because it’s so easy to sautés some veggies to any pasta dish. When I was able to eat gluten I was always sure to keep pasta on hand. It’s a great way to finish up any leftover meat and/or veggies that might be lying around.
To be fair, some pasta may take longer than 5 minutes to cook, but it’s definitely possible to create healthy meals for dinner while you let those noodles boil!
Finger foods are fine
Who says you need a big, elegantly cooked meal on the table for dinner? Is all you have lunch meat, cheese and some apples? I say, roll with whatcha got.
One of the biggest setbacks I see from other families is that if they don’t have enough time to cook a big, fancy meal then they assume they don’t have any food and end up hitting up a fast food joint.
Chances are, there is something you can get creative with. Hot dog slices with broccoli florets? Sure. Baby carrots and lunch meat? It works! When life gets busy, you gotta do what you gotta do. Don’t be afraid to toss your hands and slap some easy to grab finger foods on the table.
Never ever underestimate the power of a rotisserie chicken. Quick stop at the store on the way home from work, and you can have yourself a completely cooked chicken in no time.
Go ahead, shred the chicken and make a pasta, slice it up and have it as is or even put it into a tasty salad! My personal favorite is eating it plain along side some yummy veggies with a little salt. (But, don’t worry, I’ll get to that)!
Veggies in a bag
Like I said, I like my chicken with a side of easy to make and serve veggies. Now, I know this isn’t the healthiest way to go, but hellooooo steamed veggies in the microwave are a thing now!
You can have healthy dinner meals made in no time when you can make veggies in the microwave, am I right?!?
Adding them as a tasty side, blending them in a pasta or even mixing in some cauliflower rice with your 90 second steamed rice is an easy peasy way to get veggies on the table in minutes.
Eat well and live too
It can be so tough in today’s busy world to try and eat healthy, get to all the sports, manage your work and still feel like you’re not going totally crazy but I swear it is possible.
You can eat well and live your life too.