Updated: Dec 3, 2019
Cooking is often a particular pain point for people because weeknights feel like enough of a scramble, and if a meeting runs late, traffic is obnoxious, or you’re just plain tired, it often goes out the window. However, when my clients have a game plan for nights like this, it makes it easier to stick with healthier eating habits, and there are plenty of things you can eat that are about as easy as grabbing takeout. Here are some healthy dinner ideas for nights you don’t feel like cooking.
1. Rotisserie chicken. It’s totally OK to stop at the store on your way home and grab one of these meal-saving miracles! You can serve it straight off the bone or doctor it up with a number of different seasonings, such as store-bought pesto. Serve it with pre-washed salad greens and a store-bought dressing and you’ve got a meal in minutes. For some insanely easy ideas, pick up my free booklet with 5 Recipes to Make with a Rotisserie Chicken!
2. Scrambled eggs. Who said eggs are for breakfast? Eggs are a convenient source of protein, and it takes less than 10 minutes to scramble, poach or boil them! Serve them with leftover or frozen, heated veggies, a seasoning of your choice, and perhaps a side of whole grain toast with mashed avocado.
3. Baked potato.Did you know you can make a baked potato in the microwave in about five minutes? It’s that easy! One of my favorite no-hassle meals is a baked potato topped with steamed spinach and broccoli (from frozen is fine!), cottage cheese, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and a sprinkle of parmesan. You can also fill you potato with leftovers (think: taco meat, cubed chicken, roasted veggies) and/or create a baked potato bar to make feeding the family a tad easier.
4. Baked sweet potato. Keeping with the potato theme, another one last-minute healthy meal idea is a baked sweet potato, which can also be nuked in a matter of minutes. Black beans go especially well with sweet potatoes so keep a can handy and pop it open on nights like these. Added store-bought salsa and some sliced avocado or guac and you’ve got dinner in 10.
5. Frozen entrees. Having a healthy frozen entrée on hand is a great backup plan when you don’t feel like cooking. One drawback of frozen entrees is that they often feel a little skimpy. To boost freshness, flavor, and satisfaction, I like to doctor them up. For example, if you’re having an Asian-inspired frozen entrée, add some riced cauliflower (they’re usually saucy enough so the veggies get soaked up), and top with chopped cashews or slivered almonds. For some healthy frozen entrée picksas well as some easy hacks that make them more filling, check out my blog post.
6. Canned tuna or salmon. When you’re not in the mood for cooking, there’s no shame in making tuna or salmon salad and dumping it over some pre-washed greens. But there are other things you can do with these pantry staples that are just as quick. For example, mix with chickpea or lentil pasta (which supply bonus amounts of protein and fiber), some heated, frozen veggies, and a vinaigrette. Boom! Dinner is done.
7. Frozen pizza. You've probably got a frozen pizza laying around and a frozen pie can make a perfect healthy dinner on nights you don’t feel like cooking. If you’re trying to eat healthfully, you’ll probably want to pick a healthier frozen pie so get my buying tips (and brand picks) here. To make this a more balanced (and therefore, healthier and more filling) dinner, add some protein and veggies. You could top the pie with leftover chicken or prosciutto, or you could do as I do: Bake some eggs on it. To do this, wait until the pie is nearly done and then crack some eggs on top and put it back in the often until the eggs set. I’ve never done this perfectly—the eggs usually slide to one side or another—but I don’t care because it’s super tasty and filling!
If figuring out what to eat is a personal frustration, I hope you’ll get in touch! I help my clients develop a game plan so they go from feeling overwhelmed and frustrated trying to figure out what to eat to confident and eating well in just a short time. You can also pick up my free recipe booklet with 10 healthy meals and snacks to make in 10 minutes or less right here.