How to Plan for Dinner in 1, 2, 3!

How to Plan for Dinner in 1, 2, 3!

Oct 11, 2023Tori Sajovec, RD, LD

Busy schedules can make getting the family back to the dinner table hard. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! Here are three dietitian tips that help to plan and execute weeknight family meals. With these easy tips, you’ll eat nutritious and delicious foods around the table in no time.


Tip 1: Keep it simple. Choose dinner ideas with minimal ingredients or minimal dishes, like one-pot recipes (try the delicious Parmesan Gnocchi Soup recipe below), to save on prep time and cleanup. You can build a simple, balanced meal by selecting a lean protein, veggie, and whole grain to incorporate, and then jazz it up with sauces or seasonings to make it both nutritious and satisfying.


Tip 2: Plan and prepare in advance. Look at your schedule for the week to see what dinnertime will realistically look like each night. Plan daily meals that correlate with how much time you have to prep and eat. Sheet pan recipes are hectic night heroes! Toss your family’s favorite vegetable with lean protein and seasonings, and let the oven do the rest. And don’t forget to get the family’s input! Pick two different colors of vegetables, such as carrots and green beans, and a grain – try a quick and easy microwavable brown rice pouch – for a balanced meal. 


Tip 3: Utilize leftovers. Instead of throwing out the random odds and ends or putting leftovers in your fridge at the end of the week, throw them together in a grain bowl to make a tasty and satisfying creation. Incorporate a whole grain such as brown rice or quinoa, leftover veggies, and a lean protein that you can prep quickly or pull out of the freezer.


Remember, it doesn’t have to be complicated. By sharing meals with our loved ones, we can nourish our bodies and relationships and create memories that will last a lifetime. If you don’t want picky kids, try not to be picky yourselves. That includes eating your serving of veggies, too! 

Bring your family back to the dinner table with this easy, one-pot meal that comes together in just 30 minutes!


Parmesan Gnocchi Soup

Serves 6

All you need:

1 tbsp Full Circle Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large onion, chopped.

1 clove garlic, minced.

6 cups Full Circle Organic low-sodium chicken broth

1 (15 oz) can Full Circle dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 (14.5 oz) can Full Circle no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

2 medium carrots peeled and thinly sliced.

Rind of Parmesan cheese

3 cups prepared potato gnocchi.

1 medium zucchini quartered and thinly sliced.

1 cup baby spinach leaves

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving.

All you do:

  1. In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Cook and stir onion and garlic in hot oil until softened.
  2. Add broth, beans, undrained tomatoes, carrots and Parmesan rind to stockpot. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  3. Stir in gnocchi and zucchini. Bring mixture to boiling; continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add spinach and heat through.
  4. Remove the Parmesan rind and top each serving with grated cheese.

Recipe source: 


Connect with your local Hy-Vee dietitian on our virtual nutrition services platform. To learn more, head to and schedule a complimentary Discovery Session with a Hy-Vee dietitian. We offer various services to help you meet your weight loss goals, including one-on-one consultation packages, personalized menu plan programs, virtual nutrition store tours and more.

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

About the Registered Dietitian      

Tori Sajovec RD, LD, received her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics with a minor in English from Iowa State University. From there, her passions took her to New Orleans, Louisiana, where she completed her 10-month dietetic internship program through Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. As her knowledge of food and nutrition grew, so did her desire to educate customers and clients on their overall well-being. Her goal as a dietitian is to make health and wellness an insightful and enjoyable lifestyle for all.

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