8 Healthy Dinner Ideas Any 20-Something Can Cook

My weight has always fluctuated like crazy. Constantly on a diet, I haven’t found a way to live life and remain at a constant, comfortable weight.

For a long time, I was obsessed with crash-dieting. I would lose a lot of weight and before I knew it, the weight would come back. And whenever it came back, I would crash-diet again – sometimes doing things I shouldn’t have been doing to lose the weight – and as assumed, it always came back.

The problem was that although I was eating healthy foods, I wasn’t eating healthy. A meal replacement bar for lunch? Toast for dinner because I was saving calories for booze? It wasn’t okay.

Recently, I gained a ton of weight back that I spent years losing. After hurting my back and hips (I’m 80 years old), I learned I wasn’t going to be able to run anymore. I took up Pure Barre, which was one of the best choices I’ve ever made, but I was still missing cardio — and because of that, any socializing and drinking I did would cause a whole lot of weight gain. Thanks to this, I realized I was going to have to make a major change in my diet if I ever wanted to lose the weight again.

I needed something that would work long term, so I decided to try out Weight Watchers Online to get the lifestyle change started. So far, I’ve been doing it for two months. And after two months of continuing to binge drink on weekends and eat carbs at least two days a week, I have lost 7 pounds. Now — this would be great if I didn’t spend a year gaining 18 pounds, but I did, and all I can do now is lose it. Slowly.

I’m not starving myself during the week anymore, and I’m not staying in when I could be going out with friends because I want to lose weight. I’m doing everything I want to do – eating whatever I want to eat – and I’m still losing weight. It’s a slow process — sometimes I only lose .2 pounds a week! But it’s working. There was even one week where I gained a pound, but I had the flu (or Sambola, as my friends called it) and after not eating for five days, I was hungry and therefore consumed way too many pumpkin muffins (once I touch carbs, I can’t stop).

Before, if I didn’t drop 3 pounds in one week I would either give up or start eating less. Now, I’m eating a real, regular diet and I’m happy. I have seen a pattern of weight loss each week and I’m going to (hopefully) keep at it.

In my adventures of becoming healthier and also becoming super domestic (because hi, 26, I’m old) I have been cooking up a whole bunch of quick, easy meals that are weight watchers friendly. Of course I’ve been snapping photos and throwing Insta-filters on my favorite pics so I could eventually share with all of you.

Here are a bunch of different healthy foods you can make — and 8 meal ideas for your domesticated-self-in-training. Enjoy!

Zucchini Noodles & Sweet Potato Noodles w/ Chicken Sausage & Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash

IMG_5332

For this one, I cut up some butternut squash and brussels sprouts, tossed some olive oil and salt on them, and threw them all in the oven at 450 degrees — cooked the brussels for 20-25 min and butternut squash for 30-35 min. At the same time I grilled a sun-dried tomato chicken sausage and cut it up into pieces. I then took my really cool Spiralizer and made one sweet potato and one zucchini into pasta! I threw garlic and olive oil on a heated sautè pan and threw in the cut up zucchini and sweet potatoes. I stirred it around for about 2 minutes, threw on the cooked sausage, brussels, and butternut squash, and there you have it — A YUMMY MEAL. I was the most full after eating this. For hours. Who knew?!

Crockpot Turkey Meatballs

IMG_5117

The creation I stole from my favorite cooking website, skinnytaste. They were THE BEST! I put the leftovers in 3 different tupperware containers so I could have them multiple times as leftovers. Yum.

“Zoodles & Meatballs” (I mixed the above turkey meatballs & sauce with zucchini noodles… omg, orgasm)

IMG_5118

Also from Skinnytaste. But, WOW. One of my favorite things I’ve ever cooked.

Grilled Pesto Chicken with Mashed Cauliflower and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

IMG_5101

Alright — now, this was the first time I not only cooked mashed cauliflower, but it was the first time I ever ate it. I wasn’t much of a fan of what I cooked, but seeing as I decided to try and make my own recipe, I should have known better. ANYWAY, it did definitely taste like it could have served as a replacement for mashed potatoes if made better… and I plan to try again soon. But I love potatoes too much. I think I’d rather not try to replace them. I mean, they ARE a vegetable.

I paired the mashed cauliflower with grilled pesto chicken (pre-marinataed from Trader Joe’s!) and my personal favorite, brussels sprouts. Great combo.

Quinoa and Kale Salad with Grilled Sun-dried Tomato Chicken

IMG_5067

This was another thing I created myself. It was basically a combination of my favorite salad, my favorite veggies, and a lil quinoa. I roasted some brussels sprouts and cauliflower, cooked up some quinoa, and threw it all together with kale, feta cheese, walnuts, craisins, and my favorite salad dressing – Ken’s Olive Oil & Vinegar.

…check out the fall themed presentation 🙂

IMG_5075

Pesto Veggie Pasta

IMG_4818

I got this pre-cut pack of “veggie pasta” from Wegmans. All I had to do was throw it on a sautè pan with garlic and olive oil for 2-3 minutes and it was done. Then I threw some pesto on it and bam – I pretended I was eating carbs. <3pesto<3

Grilled Steak with Roasted Green Beans & Rice/Quinoa

IMG_4632

So this right here is your classic grilled sirloin steak tip that was marinating in Sweet Baby Ray’s Steakhouse Marinade fa dayzzzz. In addition are some green beans in which I threw olive oil and salt on and roasted in the oven… and some Seeds of Change Quinoa and Brown Rice. A classic meal for a classy 20-something. 143 steak.

Salad with Grilled Chicken

IMG_4315

Since going on weight watchers, I’ve tried to keep nuts away because they is point-heavy!!! But in this guy, sometimes a girl just can’t resist. Here you have a mix of spinach and baby romaine lettuce with slices of grilled chicken (it’s the microwavable perdue grilled chicken — for those nights when you have 3 minutes to cook dinner), cut up strawberries, pecans, craisins, goat cheese, and Ken’s “Light Options” Olive Oil & Vinegar dressing. I could eat this salad for a week straight. I say only a week because by day 7 I would be craving french fries. It would not be good. But anyway, about this salad… it’s not good, it’s GREAT.

Grilled Turkey Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Fries & Brussels Sprouts

IMG_4554

This one is pretty repetitive, as you’ve got some turkey tenderloin I grilled on the George Foreman that had been marinating in garlic and herb marinade (I also always put spices on my grilled protein), some roasted brussels sprouts (big fan), andddd some sweet potato fries. I actually posted my recipe for sweet potato fries a year and a half ago when I was trying to be domestic. SPFs are my faves. I would date potatoes. LOVE THEM SO MUCH, IT HURTS, UGH.

What are some easy, healthy, delicious meals that you recommend to other 20-somethings? Tell us in the comments!

Samantha Matt

Hi I’m Sam. I made this website in 2011 and it’s still going. My first book, AVERAGE IS THE NEW AWESOME, is coming out in January (you can buy it right now on Amazon or from your fave bookstore!). I like pizza, French fries, barre, spin, more pizza, more French fries, and buying clothes. Writing is fun. Follow me on twitter & Instagram at @samanthamatt1... and on this site's meme account on IG at @20somethingproblems. OKAY GREAT THANKS BYE.

1 Comment
  1. Please share more! I’m just starting to cook for myself and your recipes are straight forward and non intimidating. Can’t wait to try some of these this week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.