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These 5-Minute Healthy Side Dishes are Perfect for Your Next Family Dinner

By Nicki Miller

Need a quick way to include more veggies on your plate? Try one of these tasty ideas that take five minutes or less to make. Whip up a serving for yourself or triple the recipe to feed your family — they’re great for bringing to potlucks, parties or including in your holiday spread. An added bonus: All of them keep well in the fridge if you make extras — so can have a healthy side prepped to pair with your lunch the following day. 


For Jenny Craig members, all the ingredients are on the Fresh & Free Additions list, so you can enjoy knowing each bite is packed with nutrients and low in calories. Bon appétit! 

Colorful Broccoli Slaw

5Minute_SideDishes_BroccoliSlaw.jpgThe next time you’re at the supermarket — grab a package of broccoli slaw in the produce section to make this simple and colorful recipe. Not only is broccoli slaw packed with vitamin A and C, it also contains calcium and iron, all of which are great for bone health. 1,2 If you want to add even more greens to your meal, use butter lettuce to make “tacos” with this as the filling.


  • 1 cup broccoli slaw 
  • ¼ cup chopped yellow pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro 
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice 
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, optional 
  • Dash of hot sauce, optional 


Cooking instructions: Put slaw, peppers and cilantro in a bowl. Squeeze lime juice and toss with a touch of olive oil and hot sauce, if using. 

Super ’Shroom Sauté

Not only is this dish delicious, but mushrooms are chock-full of antioxidants, which can protect your body against oxidative stress.3 Oxidative stress is believed to be one of the factors responsible for a host of health concerns including cancer, and cardiovascular disease, among others.3


5Minute_SideDishes_MushroomSaute_Filter.jpgChoose pre-sliced mushrooms, such as baby portabellas or button mushrooms, so you can save yourself the prep work. You can use this as a salad topping with a hearty green like kale. Prep the kale by removing the leaves from the stems. Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and spritz them with some olive oil spray, massaging it with your hands to make it softer. The sauté mixed with the kale is an ideal warm salad for a cold day.


  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1-2 tablespoons sliced shallots
  • Cooking spray (use sparingly) 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil 


Cooking instructions: Warm skillet over medium heat. Add sliced mushroom and shallots, and spray lightly with cooking oil. Cook thoroughly and toss in basil.


Gingery Cucumber Slices

Cucumbers are not only great for snacking, but they’re also the perfect veggie to use as a base for a healthy side dish. Plus, they’re extremely low in calories and hydrating.4 The other star of this recipe, ginger, has been shown to potentially reduce pain in people with osteoarthritis.5


5Minute_SideDishes_CucumberGingerSalad.jpgCheck the Asian food section of your grocery store to find a jar of pickled ginger. Pickled ginger makes this dish bright and flavorful — and one tablespoon comes in at only 20 calories.6 To make a bigger salad, add arugula. The greens are tempered by the cucumbers and sweet and zingy ginger.


  • 1 cup cucumber slices 
  • 1 teaspoon chopped pickled ginger
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice 
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, optional


Cooking instructions: Toss cucumber slices and small pieces of ginger together. Squeeze lemon or lime juice on top and a small amount of olive oil, if using. Toss gently to mix and refrigerate or let sit at room temperature before serving.

Green Savory Stir-Fry

The variety of nutrients contained in bok choy, such as potassium, vitamin C and B-6, can all help to maintain a healthy heart.7 What’s more, this cruciferous veggie is a great source of fiber, which can support your weight loss goals by helping you feel satisfied.8


5Minute_SideDishes_GreenStirFry.jpgOne of the best things about stir-fry is how quickly it cooks. Bok choy is the only ingredient you’ll need to chop, which makes your prep work a breeze! At first, it may seem like you’re using too much bok choy, but don’t worry, it’ll cook down quickly. Feel free to add other veggies you may have on hand, like the broccoli slaw and mushrooms from the other recipes, or serve this on a bed of baby spinach for a warm and wonderful salad.


  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 small head bok choy, washed and chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 5-10 snow peas
  • 1-2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional


Cooking instructions: Heat a small amount of sesame oil in a wok. Add bok choy and snow peas and toss. Sprinkle with soy sauce and red pepper flakes, if you want a little heat. Toss till cooked through.


We hope you enjoy one or all of these healthy, quick side dishes! For more delicious recipes and personalized support during your weight loss journey, contact Jenny Craig to book your free appointment with a consultant today.





[1] https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/1071173/2
[2] http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/nutrition/article/diet-and-supplements-bone-health
[3] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171109100409.htm

[4] https://www.livescience.com/51000-cucumber-nutrition.html
[5] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S106345841401276X
[6] https://bit.ly/2TkQs3D
[7] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/280948.php
[8] https://www.verywellfit.com/carb-information-for-bok-choy-2241765


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