Quick Vegetable Side Dishes
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Build good habits to get greens at each meal with the ‘dump and drizzle’ or ‘dump and dip it’ method

a rectangular plate with a square cheese pizza on one half and cesar salad on the other

Family life is a real juggling act, especially when it comes to healthy meals. 


Life goes fast, some days it’s really hard to catch your breath. Add the chaos of kids and suddenly life for a family can be a real juggling act.  


How can we ensure we get good, wholesome foods while budgeting time and resources? How can we skip convenience foods and cook vegetables that taste good? This is the never ending question in the minds of busy parents, but truly applicable to any of us. Time… oh time! 


Don’t fret! In most instances, good planning and organization can help you buy, wash, chop or slice fruits and vegetables in nice colorful containers and have you looking like the next Martha StewartDo you find this a boring, mundane task? Try listening to a podcast while you prep and you’ll find move prep work to do so you can keep listening! And once the work is done, you will be thankful you can grab a container and quickly be able to add fruit, veggies and beautiful color to your plate. But until you reach your Martha goals, there’s a lot you can do to improve nutrition that doesn’t involve much time at all. 


vegetables washed and cut and placed in the fridge in clear plastic containers 


Need a time-out from food-prep? Trying to make take-out healthier?


Some nights we just need a time-out from food prep and the kitchen. In this case getting fruit in is not so difficult because you can pick, wash, bite and chew, hooray! But getting veggies in can seem like climbing Mount Everest. For instance, take Friday night when you come home exhausted and think “mmm what’s for dinner?”  


Having no plan set and no desire to get the kitchen dirty you might think “it’s a pizza night”. Some people force themselves to order a vegetarian to get some veggies all in one bite. At our house, however, Hawaiian, pepperoni or simple cheese pizza are the go-to favs. This means we will have a veggie-free dinner. For one night, that’s ok but if your house is anything like mine, where pizza night can come once a week, adding in a side of veggies in the most easy, thoughtless way possible is a real bonus.  


Try these Two Healthy Ways to Prep Quick Vegetable Side Dishes


Here is when I use my two most basic (zombie-proof) food prep techniques: the dump and drizzle and the dump and dip it.  


The dump and drizzle requires me pulling out a pre-washed (three times!) salad mix with a store bought dressing. Done in 10 seconds- dump the leaves in a salad bowl and drizzle with dressing. You can get all kinds of salad mix these days: coleslaw, plain spinach, spring mix with almonds and apples, deluxe mixed leaves all conveniently in one bag or container. The only trick here is to purchase it on your weekly grocery run and to keep it fresh. Sooooo easy! 


a woman holding a cup of salad dressing about to pour it over a salad 

Now the dump and dip it requires pre-washed ready-to-eat bags of carrots or veggie stick trays and a hummus or ranch dip. Or go for other prepfree options such as cherry tomatoes or sugar snap peas that simply need to be washed, not slicedDump the carrots or veggies sticks in a sharing plate with a dip in the center. While you are waiting for take out to arrive, serve the veggies. Voila! Done! 


A basic habit that grows


These simple techniques set the habit of adding color and more nutrients to your meals, even when you don’t have the ready to eat stuff on hand. Some pizza nights, 5 minutes before the pizza arrives, I have been motivated to wash a few veggies and fruits and make a nice colorful platter for the kids to nibble on (it’s heart-warming to see my husband join in).   


I noticed that washing garden lettuce and making a balsamic vinaigrette takes a maximum of 5 minutes with a good spinning lettuce washer. The habit has grown and with time I have gotten the kids involved to wash the leaves or make the dressing. Sure, the task moves from taking 5 minutes to 12 minutes, but the time spent with my little ones talking about their day while teaching them a basic skill is priceless. Time becomes not about feeling rushed, but about slowing down and enjoying the simplicity of a task with someone you love.  


a family preparing salad together in the kitchen


But until we get in that habit or that joy of the moment and time is pressing, just take a deep breath and tell yourself “here we go, it’s a dump and drizzle or dump and dip it meal”.  


Looking for more ways to get your family to eat more vegetables?


a closeup of dressing on a spoon being drizzled over a saladTry these tips here in our previous articles on the blog:




Looking for more simple meal planning tips and healthy recipes for a healthier lifestyle? Sign up for our weekly newsletter for a healthy recipe of the week (and nutrition articles and videos with a balanced living philosophy to help encourage healthy habits but still save room for your favorites). Our nutrition newsletter is written by the Online / Calgary Nutritionists on our team who each hold a professional Registered Dietitian license to ensure you are getting credible advice.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in


Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This