Are you too busy to make a nutritious dinner?

Does lack of time keep you from making a well-balanced supper?

Sometimes there just isn’t enough hours in the day and it’s one of the most common challenges we help our clients with.

In today’s post…

I want to share 5 Simple Steps (plus some bonus tips) that can teach you how to build a healthy dinner. This is the same exact advice I use with Reign Fitness clients. By simply stocking your fridge/pantry and doing just a little bit of prepping in advance – you will be able to throw together a healthy and satisfying dinner in just about 20 minutes. (not to mention leftovers for lunch)

Step 1: Pick A Lean Protein 


Add a 1/2 cup chopped portion, 4oz or am amount the size of your palm. (Men should double the portion)

  • Baked, grilled, roasted or boiled chicken
  • Cooked lean ground turkey, beef/steak, or bison
  • Shrimp
  • Fresh Salmon or Canned or pouch-sealed Salmon (Wild Caught)
  • Canned or pouched-sealed tuna (chunk light tuna tends to have less mercury than solid white.) 
  • Tofu
  • Eggs


Protein is essential because it increases satiety. As you know, protein is also crucial for building enzymes, hormones, and forming muscle. Protein also helps maintain strong hair, nails and repairing tissue.
*BONUS TIP: Boil a dozen eggs on Sunday so you have them on hand all week.

**BONUS TIP: Use canned beans, such as black, kidney or chickpeas. To save on sodium, use no-salt-added black beans and season lightly to taste. 

Step 2: Choose A Green Base 

Think of Popeye and bring on the spinach and fresh salad greens.


Green vegetables add volume and fiber to your meal without loading on the calories. Plus, spinach is high in antioxidants and iron. And dark leafy greens are a good source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as potassium.

*BONUS TIP:  Craving a hot meal? Place 1 cup of packed fresh baby spinach on a plate. Microwave on high and uncovered for about 1 minute, until wilted. 

Step 3: Add Vegetables 


Dig in your fridge and use what you have!
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Bell Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Squash
  • Green Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes


Remember what momma always said… “Eat your veggies!”

Momma was right!

veggies first1(2)_thumb

They supply you with filling fiber and a host of vitamins and minerals, as well as color and texture. If you have leftover cooked vegetables, toss them all together to create a salad mix. The wider the array of nutrients, the more interesting the dish will be to eat. Keep plenty of vegetables in the freezer so you always have them ready.

*BONUS TIP: Steam veggies in the microwave. Chop evenly in a bowl, add 2-3 tbsp of water and cover. Cook on high until tender.  A half cup of vegetables takes about 1 minute. 

Step 4: Add A Complex Carb 

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes; The Neelys

Go with 1/2 cup, which is about the size of your fist, of a whole cooked grain.
  • Brown Rice
  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Quinoa
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Farro
  • Millet
Or a cooked starchy vegetable:

  • Fresh Corn
  • Peas
  • Sweet Potato
  • Potato
  • Winter Squash


Whole grains and starchy vegetables contain fiber, which not only fills you up but also improves your digestive health and may also help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar.
*BONUS TIP: Choose quick-cooking grains, like bulgur or quinoa, which can be prepared in less than 15 minutes. For barley, brown rice and others that take longer, make a big batch on Sunday to keep in the fridge for the week. 

Step 5: Toss In A Little Fat 


Add two of the following to your meal:

  • 1 TBSP Cheese (shredded cheddar, crumbled feta, fresh goat cheese)
  • 1/4 avocado (sliced or cubed)
  • 1 TBSP Chopped nuts or seeds (pistachios, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 TBSP Oil (Olive oil is always a great choice. Hemp, flaxseed and walnut oils are also good sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids.)


Like protein and fiber, good fats will help keep you full longer and make your meals more satisfying. You also need fats to enable your body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Remember to limit saturated fat (which is found in animal products) and avoid trans fat (which is in some processed foods) and favor unsaturated fats (which are found in plant-based foods and oils, fatty fish and nuts.) Unsaturated fats helps improve blood-cholesterol levels, decreases inflammation and reduces the risk of heart disease.

Remember, all you have to do is start with a few choice ingredients and you’ll have dinner on the table in a flash! The main thing to remember is that cooking a healthy meal doesn’t have to be complicated. Make it simple and for you. Once you feel comfortable, you can get creative. Most importantly, make it fun. You’ll feel better physically and mentally about what you’re eating too.
Chow Down!

(Note: The recommended portion sizes are based on a healthy balanced diet. Portion sizes may vary depending on your personal fitness goals. If you are interested in a nutrition consultation or nutrition coaching please email us at 
Question Of The Day: How do you make time to cook a healthy dinner? 


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