May 24, 2024

Skip a sink full of dishes and try a foil packet dinner on weeknights.

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Ending the day with a delicious meal screams comfort, but a messy kitchen and a sink full of dirty dishes can be quick to ruin that. That’s why foil packet dinners are so great: They’re easy to make, easy when it comes clean-up and they even feel festive because you have your own little packet on your plate.

“Foil packet dinners are a great way to cook up a protein, vegetable and starchy carb all at once, so you can have a balanced meal on the table in a short amount of time and with minimal clean-up,” says dietitian Hannah Magee, RD.

And while you can put just about any meal into foil (just like a sheet-pan dinner or one-pot meal), you’ll want to try these winning foil packet recipes stat.

1. Grilled Chicken and Potatoes In Foil

Serve this foil packet dinner with a green salad on the side.

“Chicken is a nutritious lean protein choice and potatoes are a starchy vegetable that serve as a carbohydrate source in this meal,” says Mia Syn, RD of Nutrition by Mia. “Omit the butter or use additional olive oil instead to replace the saturated fat.”

2. Pecan-Crusted Honey Mustard Salmon in Foil

The pecans in this recipe are a great source of plant protein and healthy fats.

This dish can help you meet your recommended two servings of seafood per week, Syn says. “Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for brain and heart health.”

3. Cilantro Lime Shrimp and Cauliflower ‘Rice’ Foil Packs

Shrimp is a great low-calorie protein source.

Using cauliflower rice instead of regular rice not only helps you eat more vegetables, but it keeps this foil packet dinner great for low-carb diets. And you get a double dose of protein with shrimp and black beans, Syn says.

4. Grilled BBQ Chicken Foil Dinner

This easy dinner is composed of simple ingredients you likely already have on hand.

This recipe calls for store-bought barbecue sauce, but many contain sizeable amounts of added sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, Syn warns. “Read the ingredient lists and nutrition facts labels to find the best option in your market.”

5. Steak and Mushrooms Foil Packs

Coconut aminos is a great gluten- and soy-free substitute for soy sauce that you can use in this recipe.

“Mushrooms are a great meaty-tasting vegetable that can complement meat dishes well or be used as a plant-based swap for those looking to cut back on animal protein intake,” Syn says. If you want to lower the calories here, make this recipe with chicken instead of steak.

6. Moroccan-Inspired Salmon Foil Packets With Carrot Noodles and Chickpeas

Salmon and chickpeas add protein to this dish.

“Spiralized vegetables, like carrots used in this dish, can serve as a lower-calorie and lower-carb swap for pasta,” Syn says. If you don’t have carrots, you can spiralize zuchinni, sweet potato or beets.

7. Sablefish in Foil With Peppers and Olives

If you don’t have sablefish on hand, try this recipe with tilapia, cod or sole.

Also known as black cod, sablefish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and key nutrients like magnesium, iron, vitamin A and B vitamins, Syn says. You’ll cook this lean protein in foil with peppers and olives for a nice mix of sweet and salty flavors.

8. Steak and Potato Foil Packs

This classic American dish is hearty and filling.

Top sirloin, the meat used in this recipe, is a lean cut of red meat, which means it’s high in protein and low in fat, according to the Mayo Clinic. To make this foil packet meal more well-rounded, consider adding green vegetables like broccoli, spinach or asparagus to the packet before grilling.

9. Pineapple BBQ Chicken Foil Pack Dinner

For a vegetarian dish, use pulled jackfruit instead of chicken.

This hearty recipe marries savory and sweet for a satisfying dinner. Use fresh pineapple slices as opposed to canned pineapple in juice here for a lower-sugar option, Syn suggests. Also, be sure to choose a low- or sugar-free barbecue sauce.

10. Foil-Pack Baked Nachos

Customize these nachos with your favorite toppings.

While this recipe calls for ground beef, any ground meat or meat substitute would work, Syn says. “Swap Greek yogurt for sour cream and bean chips instead of traditional tortilla chips for higher protein alternatives.”

11. Chicken Parmesan Foil Packets With Veggies

To add a carbohydrate to this meal, consider serving with a side of whole-grain pasta.

Because this chicken parmesan recipe skips breadcrumbs, it makes for a lower-calorie and lower-carbohydrate option, Syn says. “To add cheesy flavor without cheese, try nutritional yeast in place of parmesan.”

12. Greek-Inspired Salmon Baked in Foil

This dinner is a combination of nutritious protein, non-starchy vegetables and good fats.

“Lemon juice is a great way to add fresh flavor to protein dishes for very little calories,” Syn says. For a well-balanced meal, pair this lemony fish with a cooked whole grain like brown rice or quinoa.

13. Chicken and Rice Fajitas in Foil

This Tex-Mex favorite can be cooked easily in a foil packet.

“Pairing a protein and veggie with healthy carbs [like this recipe does] is helpful for feeling full and satisfied,” Magee says. Add a dollop of Greek yogurt and sliced avocado to the top for more protein and healthy fats.

14. Easy Chicken and Asparagus Foil Packets

Add your favorite seasonings and herbs to this dish to boost flavor without adding calories.

“I’d recommend pairing the juicy chicken and asparagus with a side of crispy roasted potatoes or cooked quinoa to round out the meal with some fiber-rich carbohydrates,” Magee says.

15. Asian-Inspired Chicken and Vegetable Foil Packets

This ginger sesame sauce is so delicious, you’ll want to bottle it.

This gluten-free dinner has nearly 36 grams of protein. The tightly packed foil ensures the chicken stays juicy while the ginger-sesame sauce adds complex flavors.

16. 5-Ingredient Mediterranean Salmon in Foil Packets

You can make this meal with just five simple ingredients.

“Salmon is a nutrition powerhouse,” Magee says. “Not only is it a quality source of protein, but it also offers omega-3 fatty acids, which have benefits for both heart and brain health.”

17. Caesar Grilled Salmon Foil Packets

For a well-balanced meal, serve this with a whole grain.

Spice your salmon with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil and then brush it with Ceaser dressing for more zing. You’ll place it in foil packets with veggies including artichoke hearts, which are low in calories and fat as well as high in fiber, Magee says. “Artichokes also offer 3.5 grams of protein per medium-sized veggie.”

18. Baked Lemon Chicken Foil Packets

This foil packet dinner is ready to serve in less than an hour.

To make this a well-balanced meal, Magee recommends adding more non-starchy vegetables. Throwing in a cup of broccoli, bell peppers or cherry tomatoes to the mix will make this more filling.

19. Foil-Packed Pork Tenderloin Dinner

One serving of this pork dinner clocks in at 28 grams of protein.

If you’ve run out of ways to cook pork, you’ll welcome this easy recipe that results in tender meat. “I love the addition of peach preserves for flavor, but I would love to see more color in this recipe,” Magee says. Consider adding vegetables like a simple green salad, broccoli, green beans or seasonal squash.

20. Grilled Shrimp Foil Packets

Add a side of green vegetables to this foil packet meal for a complete dinner.

“Shrimp is a source of complete protein,” Magee says. “Potatoes are also nutritious as they’re a great source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.”

21. Butternut Squash and Chicken Foil Packets

This butternut squash foil packet is great for fall and winter when this vegetable is in season.

Even though butternut squash is a vegetable, it is rich in starchy carbohydrates, Magee says. So adding in non-starchy veggies like Brussels sprouts, spinach or kale would round this meal out.

22. Shrimp and Couscous Foil Packets With Avocado Mango Salsa

Consider using whole-grain couscous here to add fiber to your plate.

“This recipe does a great job of encouraging you to eat the rainbow with mango, avocado, tomatoes, red onion and spinach,” Magee says.

23. Chicken Cordon Bleu Foil Packets

This restaurant favorite can be made at home in just 30 minutes.

This foil packet makes for a great main dish that’s creamy and filling. To make it a complete meal, add a side salad or steamed asparagus.

24. Curry-Spiced Foil Packet Potatoes and Eggs

Eggs are full of nutrition and great for a variety of diets, including vegetarian, low-carb and gluten-free.

Eggs are versatile and nutritious — and this foil packet breakfast can double as lunch or dinner. “This recipe proves that you can eat eggs at any meal and you’ll get a variety of nutrients like protein, vitamin D, choline and selenium,” Magee says.

25. Garlic Herb Sausage and Veggie Foil Packs

Customize these foil packets with whatever veggies you have on hand.

The combination of sausage, veggies and potatoes makes for the perfect weeknight meal when time is limited. One serving of this recipe gives you 20 grams of protein.`

Image Credit: Creative


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