25 May 2022

Healthy recipes for dinner

authorWritten by AshleyOwen
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Dinnertime can be overwhelming if you are lacking inspiration and time for cooking. It can be especially difficult if you are working all day and the last thing you want to do is turn on the stove. We have some affordable healthy recipes for dinner that will make you say goodbye to takeaway!

Tempting takeaway

After a long day of work, the last thing most of us want to do is turn into a Masterchef at home and start hustling in the kitchen. It’s all too easy to slump onto the couch with a bag of popcorn catching up on Netflix. Trying to think of healthy recipes for dinner is not at the top of the list for most of us!

Yet we are all aware that this is probably not the best option for our health! Understandably, working life can be exhausting and when uber eats is readily available, why bother with a home-cooked meal?

In 2021, the average annual spend per person on takeaway foods in the United Kingdom rose to GBP 600. For a family of 4, that can quickly amount to GBP 2400 per year, enough for a tropical destination holiday! 

Cost aside, we know that takeaway foods are often not the healthiest choices. Laden in trans fats, salt, preservatives, and added sugars, there’s a reason they taste so good and can become addictive for many of us. 

Cooking your own dinners will save you a considerable amount of money, it also gives you control over the ingredients that go into your body. Therefore you can make more intentional and healthy choices about what you eat.

Home-cooked meals

One of the primary reasons that most of us don’t make time for a home-cooked meal is fatigue. In addition to lack of inspiration! It’s true that if you spend time making your own food at night, you may end up going to bed later. However there are plenty of strategies to avoid this and save time and energy!

By planning ahead, batch-cooking, learning how to be savvy with leftovers and stocking up on basic healthy staples, you’ll be an expert in no time. 

So, here are our top healthy dinner recipes that work whether you live by yourself, with a roommate, partner or whole family! Bonus: any leftovers can be stored in a tupperware for tomorrow’s school or work lunch. We will also provide some tips for time-saving and cost-saving! 

Hearty lentil dal 

After a long, tiring day, or one which has strained our emotions, we crave dal. There is something so comforting about the texture of soft, cooked lentils and the nurturing warmth of spices. It’s a soft, cuddly blanket for the soul and perfect all year round.

Dal is easy, healthy food. It's the perfect healthy dinner recipe. In fact, you can eat it out of a bowl, with minimum fuss, or scooped into fluffy naan or flatbreads. You can add extras as you see fit: a spoonful of coconut yoghurt on top, or a side of chutney. A sprinkling of coriander. Or, just as it is.

What’s fantastic about Dal is that it is something you can make with basic staples. Most ingredients can be stored in your cupboard and don’t need to be bought fresh, including legumes and spices.

One pot wonder

Dal is truly a one pot wonder and you can cook everything together. Start off with a little oil of your choice, either coconut or extra virgin olive oil, then add some chopped onion, garlic and green pepper and sauté for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. You can add as many spices as you like, some tomato paste, water and red lentils.Feel free to substitute with chickpeas or any other legume that takes your fancy! You can get creative with how to garnish your dal, add a spoonful of coconut yoghurt, some fresh parsley and lime slices. We love to serve it with healthy crackers for some extra crunch and nutrition!

Top tip: You can buy dried legumes in large value packs from middle-eastern delis and online. They are just as nutritious and much cheaper and sustainable than canned varieties (no metal waste). Red lentils can be added straight to your dal recipe whilst some legumes may require soaking time. Check the label for instructions and to save time, soak them overnight while you sleep. Dal is a great dish to make in batches, so why not double the recipe and keep it in tupperware for a few days. You can easily reheat it in the microwave, and with a side of rice, it’s the perfect lunchbox to pack for work (or school!) the next day.

Pasta and veggies

A tried and tested combination, pasta and veggies is truly a foolproof dish. You’d be hard-pressed to find a vegetable that doesn’t work with pasta! You will love this easy, healthy dinner recipe.

Think seasonal for this dish, and pick whatever vegetables are most readily available. Broccoli is the perfect example of a seasonal spring vegetable that pairs wonderfully well with pasta. 

Full of antioxidants and fibre, veggies are the perfect food. The more the better here so don’t be afraid to experiment with as many combinations as you wish! 

Our pasta with broccoli, wild garlic leaves and nut parmesan is a light yet comforting dish that is nutritious and delicious. The whole grain fusilli adds a boost of fibre, you can also use a different shape of pasta if you prefer!

 

Top tip: Pasta can be cooked ahead of time and stored in the fridge. You can make an extra batch of this and keep it for a few days. You can also cook plain pasta and add different veggies to it for variety! Also, frozen veggies can be a convenient option if you don’t have fresh ones at hand or if you want to save some money. They are just as nutritious as fresh ones! A bag of frozen peas in the freezer can be turned into a pasta dish in no time! Sauté some peas and onion in a pan, add some cooked plain pasta, perhaps stir in a dollop of ricotta and garnish with some mint leaves, voila! All in less than 20 minutes!

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