Sometimes keeping dinner healthy is really hard, especially when the act of making it feels like a lot less fun than going ahead and ordering chinese food or a delicious bubbling pizza. But, as I’ve written about before, there are easy ways to up the healthy game, and eating at home will also save you money.
1. At home pizza. Since I put the image of a bubbling pizza in your brain, it’s only fair that I let you know that there are healthy pizza options. You can try making the crust from cauliflower, or buying a whole wheat crust at the super market. Making your own pizza saves you a bunch of money and is easier than you’d think, but it is also quite a bit healthier. A pizza that you make at home is guaranteed to have more wholesome ingredients than most pizzas, and it won’t come with that fattening but irresistible garlic butter. While it’s in the oven, you can also throw together a salad, ensuring that you get the fiber and vitamins that you need.
2. Sneaky veggies. Sweet potatoes and squash are my two go-to veggies for this purpose. The best veggies for the “sneaky veggie” tactic are the ones that can be easily smashed or pureed, but squash also has a mild flavor that is easily hidden. You can make pretty amazing pasta sauces with a little hidden sweet potato or zucchini, they even make the flavor more complex. You can make a lot of your favorite comfort food this way. So go ahead and have that macaroni and cheese!
3. Showy veggies. Or, think about the veggies that you absolutely love. What veggies make you salivate? If the answer is none, don’t worry, you can go sneaky. But if you were blessed with taste buds that enjoy vegetables, use that to your advantage. Make a side dish where brussel sprouts (which, if roasted with some garlic are amazing!), green beans or peas are the star of the show. Or throw them into a meal you already like. If you’re making pasta and you have peas on hand…why not just toss some in? The meal will be more filling this way, and more nutritious.
4. Think about how you cook it. It’s no secret that frying is bad. But tossing something in a skillet with a ton of butter or oil isn’t much better. Be mindful of how you are cooking something, and think about your options with meals that your instinct would be to fry. Can you make baked chicken fingers? Yeah actually you can. And they’re pretty good! The internet is a powerful source for recipes of all that bad food you like cooked in healthier ways.
5. Make your own dressing. Stop buying bottled salad dressing. You don’t need it. You can make a ton of delicious types of dressing with olive oil and an acid of some sort (every type of vinegar and citrus juices). You can add honey to that if it’s all too tart. You can go Asian and use soy sauce (low sodium is best). There are thousands of ways to make homemade salad dressing, and pretty much all of them are better for you than store bought (with the exception of hot bacon dressings, which are delicious but bad). In the long run, it’s also cheaper to make your own. Buy a giant jug of olive oil and some vinegar and use forever.