After all the time you spent making a healthy dinner, wouldn’t it be a waste not to make healthy side dishes for dinner, too? But what to make? We’ve all been trained to make a boxed or canned side, like mac and cheese or Rice-a-Roni, but those are loaded with fat, sodium, and goodness only knows what else. No fears, my diet-conscious dears… I can help! Here’s my list of 7 delicious and healthy side dishes for dinner… all kid-tested, tried and true, and good for you!
1 Brown Rice
White rice is okay, but bland and it won’t keep you full very long. But brown rice is richer, tastier, and loaded with fiber, to keep you fuller, longer. It’s also low on the glycemic index, which means it takes longer for your body to digest it… bonus! Brown rice is an excellent side dish!
2 Fresh Veggies
Does anything compare to the tasty crunch of fresh vegetables? Steam them, or enjoy them raw… either way, fresh veggies are an excellent choice, a completely healthy side dish for dinner. I love carrots, or green beans, or bell peppers, or sliced cucumbers… all of them are tasty, and kids love them all, too!
3 Fresh Fruit
Strawberries, pineapple, watermelon, honeydew… why not enjoy some fresh in-season fruits as a healthy side dish for dinner? Sweet fruits are a great accompaniment to salty meats, especially baked ham… and they work well at preventing a sweet-tooth driven rush for an unhealthy dessert. I love making Polynesian chicken and pineapple kabobs… a main dish and a healthy side dish for dinner, all in one!
Whether they’re fresh, cooked, or enjoyed raw, beans are another smart choice for a healthy side dish for dinner. I love a mixed-bean salad, too… or just a small serving of kidney beans. They’re high in protein and in fiber, so they’ll keep you full for a long time, and give you energy to spare.
5 Green Salad
Why not make a mix of a few of these other healthy side dish for dinner ideas, and throw them together in a green salad? I love fresh greens with diced cucumber and tomatoes, with beans… but experiment and see what your family likes most! Beware of dressings, though — they can be loaded with calories in the form of fats, which sort of undoes all the healthy goodness of a green salad.
6 Mashed Cauliflower
Pinterest is packed with recipes for mashed cauliflower, a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes. Again, they’re loaded with fiber and are low on the glycemic index. Try a few recipes and see if your family can tell the difference between their fattening mashed potatoes and the healthier mashed cauliflower.
Chick peas (or garbanzo beans), mashed with a little garlic and olive oil… yum! Hummus is another healthy side dish for dinner your family will enjoy. Dip some baked chicken in it, or some carrot sticks… just about anything can be yummied-up with hummus on the side!
Hooray for healthy side dishes for dinner… or lunch… or even just for a snack! I especially love fresh fruits and veggies on the side… but which of these healthy side dished do you like best, and why? Or do you have another side dish idea to share?
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