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25 Quick and Healthy Thursday Night Dinner Ideas

Use these easy Thursday night dinner ideas to use up your groceries, reduce food waste and make it till the weekend. These recipes are ready in 30 minutes or less, and make for fun and healthy Thursday night dinner ideas.

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For whatever reason, Thursday night family dinner ideas can be so challenging. I’m usually at wit’s end from the week, groceries (or what’s left of them) are unpredictable, and energy is low.

Which is why healthy Thursday night dinner ideas are helpful to have – just a list to draw from when I can’t exert any more mental energy.

Or, I resort to my meal prep ebook, which goes back to the basics. Just having a reminder and things printed out for you for easy dinner ideas is so helpful!

lemon pepper baked chicken tenders on fork

I’ve even talked about how to make Wednesday night dinners easy (something about mid-week is when motivation starts to wane), so I figured a post about quick Thursday night dinner ideas would be just as helpful.

Why are Thursday Night Dinner Ideas so Challenging?

Here are my guesses as to why we all need quick Thursday evening dinner ideas. Chime in if you have anything to add!

  • Your groceries may be running low or expiring (veggies going bad? How OLD are those leftovers?!)
  • You are a day away from the weekend, so you may be forecasting for the weekend but not thinking about a Thursday night meal idea.
  • Busy weeknights take a toll.
  • You’re exhausted and can’t think about cooking something extravagant from scratch.
  • You just feel tired of what you’ve been eating all week and want something different, but see above: no energy.
  • You may not have any leftovers “left over” from your week.
  • Kids activities taking up your time and energy.
  • You have picky eaters at the table – and you’re sick of making specific meals for them or having them not touch what you eat.

I’m sure there are plenty more, too!

Confused Woman Looking In Open Refrigerator

Tips for Thursday Night Family Dinner Ideas

I’m the biggest fan of family dinner ideas, but when I’m struggling with putting together some Thursday night family dinner ideas, this is what I always come back to.

These easy Thursday night meals have minimal ingredients and a quick cooking time. We often resort to vegetarian meals and quick vegan meals (30 minutes) too since cooking meat is usually the most time consuming.

potatoes, chicken sausage and veggies on a sheet pan
Sheet pan meal prep necessary for an easy and tasty recipe!

We even keep our kitchen stocked with fridge and freezer options from Thrive Market to just reheat, and we hit up Wegman’s hot bar when we need to.

thrive market

Here are some of my best tips to pull together a healthy Thursday night dinner.

  1. Choose recipes that have 6 or less ingredients. We don’t want to spend tons of time in the kitchen or buy anything new. Ideally, these ingredients are pantry staples or can be found in our fridge or freezer. No weird ingredients!
  2. Make sure to utilize some tips for meal prep ideas for the family (lots in this meal prep ebook!)
  3. Recipes that take 20 minutes or less. Again, easy and things we can make with minimal brain power.
  4. Less pots and pans to cook with, and less bowls to dirty. Sheet pan suppers come in handy here!
  5. Throw things together. This is where stir fries, hashes and bowls come in handy to reduce food waste and use up fruits and veggies on their way out.
  6. Breakfast for dinner is always super easy and quick.
  7. Enlist the help of helper electronics, like an instant pot, crockpot or air fryer. They get a lot of use in our kitchen! This instant pot tortellini soup is the best weeknight meal, and makes easy leftovers!
  8. If you have leftovers, like rice or sweetpotatoes, try using them in this butter chicken rice recipe.
  9. Utilize those canned goods and products – Canned tomatoes and canned beans are great ways to start any meal, like chili, or grain bowls.
  10. Keep some Butcher Box chicken thighs or ground beef on hand – these are easy meal starters and you can cook double to freeze for later.
  11. Boil pasta – the easiest simple dish – add tomato sauce or parmesan cheese. You can pair with these baked bison meatballs!

And of course, there’s nothing wrong with relying on meal delivery services too!

skillet with canned tomatoes being stirred with wooden spoon

The goal is to feed yourself adequately (which means carbs, fat and protein!) so you can move on with your night, whether it’s activities, putting the kids to bed, or just feeding yourself with an enjoyable glass of wine.

This is everything we practice with our performance plates, to make balanced meals.

If some of these recipes are missing a component, think about easy ways to add that in.

  • For example, my favorite ways to add a carb are microwaving a sweetpotato (takes just 5-6 minutes), using a microwave pack of rice, or adding a tortilla or toast.
  • Easy ways to add protein include canned beans, rotisserie chicken, deli meat, or chicken sausage, which cooks quickly.
  • Fats are the easiest to add because you can add olive oil, olives, avocado or cheese to something, plus it makes it more satisfying.
  • Here are 55 ideas for healthy sides for chicken tenders, which work as a side for other things, too!

Thursday Night Dinner Ideas

These easy dinner ideas for Thursday night will help make dinner more seamless and easy, so you can get to the weekend quicker!

I hope these Thursday night dinner recipes provide some inspiration for your Thursday night slump!

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