7 Must-Have Ingredients for Easy Healthy Dinner Recipes

Healthy food on a cutting board

Preparing a healthy dinner is tough when you have a busy schedule.

Getting out of a long day at work, it's easier to just pick up a pizza - (fine, every once in a while! But too often, and you’ll notice drastic effects on your energy levels.)

Half the battle is planning what you're going make.

To set yourself up for success when it comes to eating well, having a few staple healthy ingredients on-hand makes healthy cooking a no-brainer. This way, when you're short on time, you can throw something together that you know is nutritious.

Here are 7 of our favorite ingredients. How many do you keep in your kitchen?

1. Quinoa

(Pronounced keen-wah.) Quinoa is a grain that looks like couscous. The difference is that quinoa is a nutrient powerhouse, and naturally gluten-free. It's high in both protein and fiber.

Quinoa also easily becomes a meal:

Cook up a big batch of quinoa. Mix in some chopped vegetables, and spice to taste. Dinner is served! Keep leftovers in the fridge and you’ll have a complete meal whenever you need it this week.

2. Riced Cauliflower

(It's cauliflower - chopped to roughly the size of rice.) If you're eating low-carb, paleo, gluten-free - or just trying to sneak more vegetables into your diet, you should always have some riced cauliflower on hand. Chop it up in a food processor, or buy it bagged.

You can use cauliflower “rice” to replace regular rice, make pizza crusts, use in baked goods - the possibilities are endless.

Make yourself a carb-free rice bowl for dinner tonight. Add some vegetables, protein like tofu or chicken, spice and flavor with sauces of your choice, and dig in!

3. Cruciferous Vegetables  

(Yummy leafy greens!) These are must-have ingredients in any fridge. The most popular cruciferous vegetables include brussels sprouts, broccoli, arugula, and kale. Chop them up raw, steam, or lightly sautée to eat in salads or on their own.

You should get a serving of these at least once a day. They’re packed with nutrients that are big cancer fighters!

4. Nonfat Greek Yogurt

Nonfat Greek yogurt isn't just for breakfast. Try the unsweetened kind - it makes a great substitute for sour cream!

It's not only lower in calories than many other dairy products, it's actually good for you. Greek yogurt is high in protein, and contains live active cultures which are important for maintaining gut health.

Put a dollop on your cauliflower rice or quinoa bowl tonight!

5. Avocado

Don't let anyone tell you that avocados are fattening. Not all fat is created equal! Avocados are full of the healthy fats you should be having every day.

Cut up half an avocado to top your salad, veggie bowl, or spread it on toast! It will give easy healthy dinner recipes an added creaminess that you'll love, leaving you full, satisfied, and nourished.

6. Black Beans

Beans are a great way to add some plant-based protein and fiber to your meals. But of all the beans, we think black beans are best! They contain anthocyanin - an antioxidant proven to ramp up your brain power.

7. Lean Proteins

Skip the red meat - beef up your meals with a lean protein.

A great idea is to always have some frozen chicken or white fish on hand - or vegetarian protein like tofu. They are quick to thaw and cook, so you'll be eating your dinner in no time.

Are you trying any easy healthy dinner recipes tonight?

What are your go-to ingredients? Let us know if we missed any of your favorites!

If you’re thinking, “But I don't have any time to cook!” we're here to help.

Eat Rite is Buffalo's premier meal prep service, and we’d love to hear from you. Drop us a line!

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