5 Healthy Dinner Ideas

Nutritious meals the whole family can enjoy

If you’ve run out of ideas of what to cook for dinner and are looking some inspiration in the kitchen, here are five healthy dinner ideas to get your mouth watering.

Learn what makes a healthy dinner and how to make nutritious meals the whole family can enjoy.

What makes a healthy dinner?

A healthy dinner should comprise of a balanced plate that contains three to four portions of fresh vegetables, quality protein and healthy fats.

Examples of quality plant-based protein include beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, seeds, quinoa and peas. Animal-derived proteins (meat, fish, eggs, dairy products) are highly acidic and inflammatory for the body and should only be eaten in small amounts.

Healthy fats include avocado, nuts, seeds (chia, sunflower, pumpkin), flaxseed oil and extra virgin olive oil.

Here are a few tips to make your dinner as healthy as possible:

  • Eat whole foods in their natural state and organic where possible. Buy seasonal produce from farm shops or farmer’s markets as the food is fresher and hasn’t been sitting in supermarket storage for months at a time.
  • Consume lots of different coloured fruits and vegetables. Every plant contains specific antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are essential for health. If you find yourself eating the same fruits and vegetables day in day out, switch things up.
  • Avoid processed and packaged foods as they are high in sugar, salt and damaged oils that wreak havoc with your health.
  • Steer clear of refined grains (white flour products like bread, pasta, pastries, pizza) and only eat whole grains such as wholegrain rice, millet, bulgur and buckwheat.
  • Don’t use microwaves or overcook your food as it destroys the nutrients in the food.
  • Season foods with herbs and spices. Avoid toxic table salt and and only use sea salt or Himalayan salt in small amounts.
  • Control your portion sizes and don’t overeat.
  • Add fermented foods to your diet. Sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir contain natural probiotics that support gut health. Learn more about benefits of fermented foods.

Healthy family dinner recipes

Cauliflower Pizza (gluten and dairy-free)

This healthy and nutritious pizza is packed full of nutrients and won’t leave you feeling bloated or gassy. Made with a cauliflower base, an avocado and basil sauce and topped with an array of vegetables – it’s a dish the whole family can enjoy.

Kale, leek and mushroom mini pies served with steamed vegetables.

These delicious, creamy pies are both gluten and dairy free. Made with fresh vegetables and a ‘cheesy’ cashew sauce, they are topped with a vegan crumble that goes golden and crispy when baked.

Spinach, mushroom and cashew curry served with coconut cauliflower rice

Rich in flavour and aroma, this easy-to-prepare curry recipe is served with a grain-free rice made from cauliflower and coconut. The blend of turmeric, cumin, coriander and black pepper provides medicinal benefits due to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties of these herbs.

Sweet potato and lentil sliders served with salad

These vegan sliders (patties) are loaded with antioxidants and flavour. Made with creamy sweet potato, tahini and aromatic spices, they are popular with kids and adults alike. Served in a crispy lettuce bun, these sliders are a great option for those who are gluten-free.

Almond-crusted hake served with courgetti in basil pesto

This dish provides a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. The nutritional yeast not only gives the sauce a nutty and cheesy flavour, it provides an excellent source of B vitamins. You can replace the almonds with toasted sunflower/pumpkin/sesame seeds to make it a nut-free dish.

Boost your nutrition at dinner time

Dinner is a great time to get the family together to reconnect and it’s also an opportunity to boost your nutrition with healthy food before winding down for the day. Eating a healthy dinner can also help balance your blood sugar levels, lower inflammation and promote better digestion and sleep.

To learn more about nutrition and healthy cooking, take a look at CNM’s short courses:

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