Antioxidant-Rich Dinners to Prep in 25 Minutes or Less (Weekly Plan & Shopping List!)
Health & Fitness

Antioxidant-Rich Dinners to Prep in 25 Minutes or Less (Weekly Plan & Shopping List!)

Our column, ThePrep, has everything you’ll need to make dinner planning and grocery shopping as easy as can be. Nutritional needs differ from one individual to another, and we invite you to use these dinner plans as inspiration and adjust them as you see fit. Sign up to get a dinner plan delivered to your inbox every Saturday!

When choosing recipes for my weekly menu, I don’t usually focus on the total time required to make them but rather on how long it takes me to prep them. While the oven or stovetop does its thing, I can spend time reading or calling a friend. This week’s dinners take no more than 25 minutes to prep. Added bonus: They’re packed with antioxidants to help protect your skin from sun damage (hello, summer!). While our bodies use sunshine’s UV rays to produce vitamin D, too much exposure can lead to skin damage. Luckily, antioxidant-rich foods (like sweet potatoes, salmon, avocado and green veggies, to name a few) may help counteract those damaging effects. Let’s get cooking!

Your Weekly Plan

Sunday: Chicken & Vegetable Penne with Parsley-Walnut Pesto 
Roasted Sweet Potato & Beet Sandwiches 
Salmon-Stuffed Avocados 
Minestra Maritata (Italian Wedding Soup) 
Garlicky Shrimp & Broccoli 
Grilled Chicken & Vegetable Salad with Chickpeas & Feta


Sunday: Chicken & Vegetable Penne with Parsley-Walnut Pesto

While this recipe calls for making the pesto, using cooked chicken helps keep the prep time to 20 minutes. Store-bought pesto can be high in sodium, so making your own allows you greater control over it. The antioxidants in green beans and cauliflower help prevent oxidative stress, which is linked to chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Monday: Roasted Sweet Potato & Beet Sandwiches

Photography: Rachel Marek, Food stylist: Lauren McAnelly, Prop stylist: Gabriel Greco

Making the most of our summer includes enjoying some evenings in the park near our house. Sandwiches are the best dinner option to take with us, and I’m excited to make this recently published recipe. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, which gives them their beautiful orange color. This antioxidant helps tame chronic inflammation and protects your eyes from vision damage. The creamy touch of the yogurt-feta sauce takes this sandwich to the next level.

Tuesday: Salmon-Stuffed Avocados

Photographer: Jen Causey, Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer, Prop Stylist: Lydia Purcell

This recipe is one of my favorite no-cook dinners, which I can whip up in just 15 minutes. Canned salmon and avocado are two antioxidant-rich foods in this dish. Salmon not only adds a rich flavor but is a great source of nutrients with antioxidant properties, including omega-3 fatty acids and astaxanthin. And avocado is rich in vitamin E and carotenoids, two nutrients known for helping protect your body from environmental stressors. A loaf of crusty whole-wheat bread from my nearby bakery pairs perfectly with this meal.

Wednesday: Minestra Maritata (Italian Wedding Soup)

Jen Causey

Having soup during the summer might seem odd, but I enjoy this cozy one so much that I eat it all year round. The rainbow of veggies—carrots, onions, spinach and celery—add plenty of antioxidant nutrients and beautiful color. While you can make your own meatballs, personally, I like to buy cooked ones for easy prep. Leftover crusty whole-wheat bread from Tuesday’s dinner is perfect for dipping into the soup.

Thursday: Garlicky Shrimp & Broccoli

Photographer: Kelsey Hansen; Food Stylist: Greg Luna

I don’t regularly eat much seafood (other than fish), but lately, I’ve decided to expand my horizons. Shrimp is so versatile and cooks up quickly, especially if you buy it pre-peeled. Broccoli and red peppers are packed with vitamin C, a potent antioxidant. To make this a complete meal, I’ll serve it over a bed of quinoa.

Friday: Grilled Chicken & Vegetable Salad with Chickpeas & Feta

I love inviting friends over for barbecues, which is one of the things I enjoy most about summer. And this recipe is one of those meals that works well as a casual dinner but also feels special enough to serve for friends and family. The medley of chickpeas and vegetables tossed with an herby vinaigrette is not only bright and delicious but delivers tons of nutrition. Olives and feta cheese add a nice briny bite.

I wish you all a great week, and I hope you enjoy this dinner plan. If you try a recipe, remember to add a review.