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Healthy Meal Planning for Dinners Simple, Quick, and Easy

Family sitting down enjoying dinner together because they

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Too often, families have to sacrifice having a healthy dinner together because of a lack of .time. Everyone is just too busy. Usually, dinner ends up a rush through a drive-thru while eating in the car. So not a healthy dinner nor quality time spent together! What if I told you that you can have healthy meal planning for dinners that are simple, quick, and easy?

 

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While most may believe that meal prepping is only good for lunches, that just isn’t the case. They can be easily adapted for dinners as well. Let me show you a few healthy meal planning dinner strategies so that you can enjoy time with your family again while still eating healthy food.

 

#1  Healthy Meal Planning Strategy: Roasting

 

Raw chicken being prepped with seasonings as a strategy for Healthy Meal Planning

 

Most days I have the same thing for breakfast and lunch. (Check out the recipes and strategies for Easy Lunches and Easy Breakfasts). But when it comes to dinner I want variety.

One of the ways I get a variety of different flavors without spending a ton of money or time is to roast meat with different seasonings. This works out really well when there is a good sale too.

I buy a few big packages of chicken and make chicken tacos, teriyaki chicken, bbq chicken, chicken chili, Italian chicken, and chicken parmesan. All you need is the different seasonings and aluminum foil. Just separate areas of a sheet pan for each different flavor.

Then, lay out aluminum foil and roll it up to create a barrier to separate the different flavors of chicken or whatever meat you are using.

You could do this with vegetables too. Roasting veggies is a great way to get kids to eat veggies vs steaming them.  They have a lot more flavor!

This would also work really well if you are only cooking for one or two people. You could meal prep your whole week on one pan and not have the same thing every night.

If you want to add different seasoning or sauces later start with this basic roasting directions for chicken.

 

Basic Roasted Chicken

  • Cut up boneless skinless chicken breasts into 4 oz sizes (about the size of your palm).
  • Place chicken on a sheet pan or an oven-safe pan
  • Drizzle one teaspoon of olive oil over it (or use an oil spritzer)
  • Toss it in the oil until fully covered
  • Season with Pink Himalayan salt and pepper to taste.

Roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 15-30 minutes (depending on how much chicken you are cooking) until the juices run clear and the middle is no longer pink.

 

 

 

 

#2  Healthy Meal Planning Strategy: Crockpot

Another way I get easy and variety in healthy meal planning for dinner is to use a crockpot. You can cook large batches of meat to use throughout the week in recipes. Chicken, pulled pork and meatballs are great options for this.

You can also simmer things like dried beans, pasta sauces, chicken stock in the crockpot to throw together meals. Another idea is to cook your vegetables or other side items in the crockpot while you are roasting your meat in the oven.

You can cook double batches of things like chili, stew, or casseroles in the crockpot. Then, you can eat half that night and freeze the rest for the following week. Just by doing this you can cook once for 7 days and have 14 days worth of dinners.

 

Tips when cooking in the crockpot

  • If possible start the cooking on high for 1 hour then turn it down to low. This will get the meat up to a safe temperature quickly.
  • Keep the lid on. Every time you take the lid off the crockpot it has to warm back up. The steam is being sealed in when the lid is closed.
  • Fill it at least half way, but not filled over 3/4 so it will heat the food properly.
  • An average time frame is 4 hours on high and 8 hours on low, but always allow some extra time in case it isn’t done at the expected time.
  • Cook root vegetables under the meat since they take longer to cook.
  • Save canned beans, cooked rice, or pasta until the last 30 minutes before adding.

 

An array of dinners that healthy meal planning makes Meal Prep dinners easy!

 

Crockpot Chicken Recipes

Here are two quick and easy chicken in the crockpot recipes.

 

Anything Crockpot chicken

Place 5-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts in a crockpot with 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth. Cook on low 6-8 hours and shred! You can use this for anything you want throughout the week.

Crockpot buffalo chicken

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 packet dry ranch and 1 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt (or homemade prepared ranch like this recipe here: Ranch Dressing)

3/4 cup buffalo sauce

Mix and cook in crockpot on low 6-8 hours and shred.

 

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More Crockpot Recipes

 

Crockpot Green Chili Pork With Cilatro Lime Cauliflower Rice

Crockpot Green Chili Pork With Cilatro Lime Cauliflower Rice a Heathy Meal Planning Recipe

 

Crock Pot Paprika Pot Roast

Crock Pot Paprika Pot Roast a Healthy Meal Planning Recipe

 

 Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas a Healthy Meal Planning Recipe

 

 

Turkey Meatballs

Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs Healthy Meal Planning Recipe

 

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Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas a Healthy Meal Planning Recipe

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Click Here for Even More Crockpot Recipes

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#3  Healthy Meal Planning Strategy: Freezer Meals

 

I’ve already touched on some freezer meal ideas in both roasting and crockpot meals, but some people like to meal prep for a month of freezer meals all at once. They will mass cook for a day or weekend and have almost everything prepped in the freezer.

 

I don’t typically do this, but I know it is a pretty successful strategy. Just beware!

 

When you venture into freezer meal cooking start slow! It will be easy to get overwhelmed trying to put together a whole month’s supply of freezer meals when you haven’t ever done it before.

 

An easy way to get started with freezer meals is to try the no-cook meals first. These are where you fill up a ziplock bag of just the ingredients uncooked like raw meat, seasonings, and vegetables and put the directions on the bag and stick it in the freezer.

 

This will work for many crockpot recipes. You are saving time by doing the cutting and measuring ahead of time so that the day you want to cook you literally dump it in and turn it on to cook.

 

Another easy way to get started is to double your recipe of whatever you are making like a casserole or stir fry and put half into a freezer bag for later that week, or month.

 

You can also look into meal plans and recipes that are already designed to have some similar ingredients to chop and cook together to freeze for the week. Here is a link to a variety of Freezer Meal Recipes I found helpful.

Bonus Resources

In need of meal prep and planning tools for your kitchen? I created a whole board of my favorites check it out here: Best Meal Prep Tools for Easy & Simple Healthy Meal Planning

Are you tired of spending all day planning and prepping meals? Get my Free Mastering Meal Prep and Planning guide today!

10 Easy Meal Planning Hacks You Need to Know

How to Easily Meal Prep Your Lunch With Simple Recipes

How to Meal Prep Breakfast With Simple Strategies and Recipes

Ball Mason Jars Review -Best Meal Prep Containers

Nutrition for Weight Loss Eating Vegetables the Easy Way

 

What will you be meal prepping this weekend? Comment below!

 

Meal planning book with foods to meal prep and text Free 5 Day mastering meal prep planning challenge join today

 

 

Meal planning for quick and easy dinners

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44 Responses to Healthy Meal Planning for Dinners Simple, Quick, and Easy

  1. Adriana says:

    The crockpot is my best friend. I love putting a bunch of stuff in there and letting it do its thing. A total time saver.

  2. Genny Gall says:

    great variety of recipes to select and try them all

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Great let me know which ones become family favorites in your house!

  3. Kuntala says:

    Thats very healthy advise. Like it

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Thanks hope some of them work for you!

  4. Suzanne says:

    Lots of good recipes here! I’m definitely saving some for days that I don’t have time to cook.

  5. Crock pots save a ton of time. So does eating fresh. People think it’ll be more work to eat fresh but I find it’s actually the opposite. On a long day it’s really easy to come home and whip up a salad and some nachos and salsa, for example. ESPECIALLY if I prep the veggies on the weekend ahead of time.

  6. Dalene Ekirapa says:

    I personally don’t love freozen foods because they tend to lose flavor! I would prefer the crock-pot strategy since that would really help out a lot. Having meals I can use throughout the week sounds very nice since it can be so boring to make a delicious dinner if you’re all tired.

  7. Laura says:

    This looks so great and perfect if don’t have too much time to cook. I like to have everything fresh and organic. Sometimes its hard as I’m cooking twice a day x

    Laura
    https://pinkfrenzymissl.blogspot.com/

  8. Nandita says:

    Though I like to cook fresh meals as much as I can, batch cooking certainly makes life a lot easier. I like how your recipes look fancy but are so easy to cook…happy kids & happy mom : )
    – Nandita

  9. Megan kerry says:

    Yes!! I love my crockpot (and my instant pot!!) makes meal planning a breeze

  10. Meal planning as a single is a headache and feels like a giant feat when you also work, so I love this quick and easy guide. It really reminds me that we have to health a priority, under all circumstances.

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Yeah it is tough finding recipes that will work for just one person. Hope these worked for you!

  11. We meal prep every week and I’m always looking for something different since I get sick of the same things over and over!

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      I know what you mean, hope some of these are new favorites in your house!

  12. Sincerely Jackline says:

    Roasting is not just a delicious option but it’s also so easy, fast and healthy way of cooking meat..!

  13. Brandy says:

    I love doing baked ahead and freezer meals there are my large way. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      I actually haven’t done too many freezer meals which ones have been your favorites?

  14. Alexandra Cook says:

    I love finding a new meal plan for my family to try. I’m always so scared I am going to mess it up somehow. This looks easy enough for me though. Thanks!

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Hope it worked out for you! Let me know if you have any questions.

  15. Jennifer says:

    These are such great tips! I never thought to separate different areas on one pan. I’ll definitely try this next time to save space and time!

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Thank you! I hope it went well for you!

  16. I love this post. You have so many clever hacks in here – especially the using foil to roast multiple “flavors” of the same food on the same sheet pan, all at once. Brilliant. Pinning and scheduling to FB.

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Thanks so much for your feedback! Hope a few work out for you!

  17. Alessia says:

    I find lots of amazing idea for tonight dinner actually! Thankyou will let you know the feedback of the family ! 🙂

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Awesome hope some of these work out for you!

  18. Bree says:

    I do so much crockpot style dinners in fall because of sports. If it weren’t for fast meals I don’t know how we would make dinner happen!!

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      I know what you mean! I hope some of these work out for you!

  19. Talya Stone says:

    It’s all about the crockpot for me – my saviour in meal planning! haven’t tried meatballs in there yet.

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      I love using the crockpot too!

  20. Nikki says:

    These are great tips. I love cooking using our crockpot because you can just throw in all ingredients and leave it. Definitely trying out some of these recipes.

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Me too then it cooks until time to eat!

  21. Roasting is delicious. These are great tips for meal planning.

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Thanks I hope some of these recipes and tips help you get a healthy dinner this week!

  22. Erin says:

    I love this ! Roasted chicken is definitely my go too! It’s super simple! I need to get better on utilizing my crockpot I always forget about it !

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Thanks for your feedback! Yes, roasted chicken is a go to in our house as well. When I know I am having a particularly busy week I pick a few different crockpot meals so easy to get it started in the morning and it cooks until it is time to eat.

  23. Ceci Rey says:

    Meal planning is so important. It keeps you frugal with time and money! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Thank you hope some of these tips and recipes work out for you!

  24. Wow! Such great recipes. Thank you!

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Thank you! I hope they work out for you.

  25. I love these ideas. Definitely going to try some of these out!

    1. Shannah Holt says:

      Thank you so much! Let me know how it goes.