With so many options out there, it’s difficult to figure out what to have for dinner (let alone carve out the time to prepare it!), but it doesn’t need to be complicated. We spoke to five doctors about what dinners make them feel their best from the inside out. What do these healthy dinner recipes with vegetables have in common? They’re super easy to make, and you probably already have many of the ingredients you need.
Doctor-recommended healthy dinner recipes with vegetables
1. Meat, cheese and greens
The best part about dinner is that you get to play in virtually every flavor—which comes with an increase in nutritional variety. Dr. Michael P. Rogowski, PhD, senior nutrition scientist at Plexus, goes for approximately 2.5 cups of green veggies (broccoli, spinach, and asparagus are his usual favorites!), paired with a small portion of nuts and cheese, and a modest portion of meat of around four to six ounces. Dessert is a serving of frozen fruit of either bananas, pineapple, or blueberries. “It doesn’t have to be frozen,” says Dr. Rogowski. “I just like the texture of frozen fruit.”
2. Salmon and quinoa
Healthcare professionals choose salmon not only for its delicious taste, but its health benefits (think: a lower risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure). “It’s the omega-3 fatty acids that are key,” says Dr. Gretchen Frieling, MD, a board-certified dermatopathologist, who pairs her salmon with quinoa, avocado, and artichokes, which all contribute to glowing skin. “Those fatty acids also contribute to the production of collagen, a protein that helps keep the skin foundation strong and wrinkle-free.” High in vitamin A, blueberries for dessert also helps clear up acne-prone skin, she says.
3. Three-Bean Chilli
“One of my favorite dinners is the three bean chili from The How Not to Diet Cookbook,” says Dr. Michael Greger, MD, physician and author of How Not to Diet. The dish includes lentils, black beans, kidney beans, and a whole bunch of delicious, fragrant spices, seasonings and vegetables. “The good news is that we have tremendous power over our health destiny and longevity—the vast majority of premature death and disability is preventable with a plant-based diet and other healthy lifestyle behaviors.”
4. Arugula Salad
There are certain salads that are worth the effort, and for Dr. Robert Kushner, MD, author of Six Factors to Fit and professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, it looks like this: arugula and kale salad mixed with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded carrots, oven-roasted red and orange peppers, quinoa, cut up dates, all topped with baked salmon glazed with olive oil and mustard drizzled with lemon olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. “I like that this dinner can be assembled quickly using fresh healthy ingredients like bagged arugula or mixed kale. Carrots are already shredded, tomatoes just need washing, and cucumbers can be sliced in minutes,” says Dr. Kushner. To speed up the process even more, he roasts a big batch of vegetables the night before so he can use them as salad toppers throughout the week. What he likes about this dinner is that it fits into the goal of having half your plate covered with vegetables, a quarter protein, and a quarter carbs or starch.
5. Duck cassoulet and dark chocolate
Yes, even doctors treat themselves to French haute cuisine on the regular. “One of my favorite meals is a duck cassoulet made with duck legs, leeks and cauliflower,” says Dr. Fred Pescatore, MD, author of The Hamptons Diet. “This a classic comfort dish [with] lean protein, healthy fats your brain and metabolism need in order to function optimally, and nutrient-dense vegetables that will boost your immune system and strengthen your bones.” Compared to skinless chicken or turkey breast, he adds that duck is a very lean meat rich in protein, essential omega fatty acids, and essential vitamins and minerals. Best of all, it’s ease to slow-simmer at home. For dessert? Chocolate—but not just any kind leftover from Halloween. It’s got to be minimally processed made with at least 85 percent cacao so he can be sure it’s packed with powerful flavonoids.
The delicious benefits of cacao:
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