It’s easy to whip up a healthy smoothie at breakfast time or a low-carb lunch in between meetings, but dinnertime is a whole beast of its own. You want something that will keep you satisfied, will help you achieve your wellness goals, and will get positive reviews from the entire family. It seems impossible, but we have the best healthy recipes for weight loss that are perfect for weeknight cooking and are so good that you can add them to your regular rotation.
When making a dinner plan with weight loss in mind, aim to eat a nutritious, balanced meal that includes one or two servings of veggies, a serving of protein, whole grains, and sources of healthy fats, says Andrea Mathis, M.A., R.D.N., L.D., an Alabama-based registered dietitian and author of The Complete Book of Smoothies: 115 Healthy Recipes to Nourish, Heal, and Energize. “This combination of nutrients should help to keep you satisfied between meals, which can help to prevent frequent snacking,” she adds.
Mathis notes that weight loss doesn’t mean you need to restrict foods that you love. “Mealtime should be an enjoyable experience and provide you with a sense of satisfaction. When preparing your meals, try to focus on selecting a variety of wholesome, nutritious foods that you enjoy,” she says.
That means you can say goodbye to boring salads, flavorless chicken breasts, and joyless plates of vegetables. These healthy dinner recipes not only support weight loss, but they bring big flavor to your dinner table. Bookmark these low-calorie, satisfying recipes so you can keep coming back to them again and again.
Skillet Salsa Shrimp With Spinach and Feta
A 15-minute seafood spread is in your future with this decadent recipe. Your favorite jar of salsa quickly turns into the base for a shrimp, spinach, and cheese-packed dinner. Just serve with a side of chips or flatbread for the ultimate meal.
Orecchiette With White Beans and Spinach
You don’t need to give up pasta forever just to lose weight. White beans and spinach bring a ton of filling protein and fiber to the one-pan dish for a 20-minute meal that hits all the food groups and flavors you love.
Chipotle Chicken Fajitas
A 30-minute dinner that is good for you, packs a ton of flavor, and includes soft tortillas and cheddar cheese is our kind of dinner. Plus–it’s kid-friendly.
Roasted Chicken and Potato With Kale
The crowd-pleasing recipe packs in 38 grams of protein for a serving and is done in just 40 minutes. You’ll also get a flavor punch from green olives, herbs, and lemon for the ultimate sheet-pan weight-loss meal.
Veggies on Sweet Potato Mash
Not only are sweet potatoes delicious, but they are high in fiber and low in fat, making them a great option for a healthy meal for weight loss. This vegetarian-friendly dinner is packed with protein from beans and Greek yogurt, and the sweet potatoes and kale provide vitamin B6 for an all-around nutritious dinner.
Fish Chowder Sheet Pan Bake
This one-pan dinner is everything you love about the summer staple but in an easy weeknight package. Potatoes, bacon, onions, mustard, and delicate cod are roasted on a single sheet pan that comes together in 30 minutes flat.
Seared Tilapia With Spiralized Zucchini
Amp up spiralized zucchini with briny capers, fresh parsley, and bright lemon in this delicious summertime meal. For under 300 calories a plate, it’s a family favorite you’ll make again and again.
Easy Tempeh Lettuce Wraps
This 20-minute vegetarian recipe uses gut-boosting tempeh to create a delectable dinner. Plus, a final dollop of Greek yogurt at the end adds a lighter creaminess we can’t get enough of for meatless Monday.
Striped Bass With Radish Salsa Verde
A piece of beautiful bass is already a showstopping dinner, but top it with a herby salsa verde that combines crisp radishes and salty anchovy paste for a true culinary delight.
Spicy Tofu Tacos
Crumble up tofu with the heat of poblano peppers, chile, and garlic, and you get a healthy version of spicy tacos at only 230 calories per serving. Add with a delicious slaw or side salad for the perfect dinnertime plate.
Smoky Peanut Butter Chicken Tacos
Peanut butter can taste delicious in more than just PB&Js. These chicken tacos are paired with a unique sauce that combines creamy peanut butter, tomatoes, chipotle chiles, adobo sauce, and chocolate chips. It’s spicy, sweet, and only 308 calories per serving.
Greek Salad Pasta
We love a classic Greek salad, but this twist on the healthy lunchtime staple makes it a family-friendly feast. After all, the best way to indulge in a plateful of pasta when you're trying to lose weight? Fill it up with lots of lean chicken breast, tomatoes, cucumbers, and zesty onions.
Seared Salmon with Roasted Cauliflower
Simple ingredients roasted to lip-smacking perfection make this a healthy, easy dinner that tastes completely indulgent. Add a side of quinoa or bulgur, and you’ll still stay under 500 calories.
Shrimp, Avocado, and Egg Chopped Salad
Salad is a deceptive name for this hearty dinner, which fills your belly with three of our favorite ingredients—shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, and creamy avocado, all topped with a tasty lime dressing.
Spiced Grilled Eggplant With Fresh Tomato Salad
This tangy eggplant dish should be the star of your plate the next time you grill. Pair it with a wild rice salad and a lean protein for a complete—and completely filling—meal.
Seared Tilapia With Spiralized Zucchini
Spiralized zucchini (a.k.a. zoodles) are a low-carb alternative to noodles, and they taste great too. Seared tilapia is lightly flavored with lemon, capers, and parsley for a delicious low-calorie meal.
Pan-Roasted Bass With Papaya Relish
Switch up your usual seafood (we see you, salmon) by grilling up this delicious bass, which gets a surprising kick of tropical flavor from diced papaya. Serve with a side of coconut rice for a delicious plate that’s reminiscent of an island vacation.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Chicken Salad
Each forkful gives you a bite of something deeply satisfying (think sweet potatoes, chicken breast, and avocado) in this colorful salad, which stays under the 500-calorie mark.
Seared Coconut Lime Chicken With Snap Pea Slaw
Flavored with coconut and lime, this low-cal dinner will make you feel like you’re sitting on a beach in the sun. Plus, coconut cream steps in as a lighter, creamy alternative to a heavier dairy-based cream.
Fiery Black Bean Soup
When the weather is cold, there’s not much better than a comforting soup for dinner. This spicy, low-calorie soup is high in protein and packed with flavors from onions, cumin, jalapeños, coriander, lime, cilantro, and tomatoes. Plus, you can swap the chicken broth for vegetable broth if you’re looking to make this soup entirely vegan.
White Wine and Tomato Mussels
This delicious seafood dinner is less than 300 calories per serving and only takes 20 minutes to cook. Plus, the mussels and tomatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for your skin, immune system, and brain. We recommend adding a side dish to this for a more filling, nutritious meal.
Roasted Cauliflower ‘Steak’ Salad
This show-stopping dinner is a veggie lover’s dream—an entire head of cauliflower coated in a cumin and za’atar mixture, and then roasted to mimic a piece of steak.
Wild Salmon Salad
Following the keto diet can help you lose weight due to its focus on tons of protein and healthy fats with a limitation on carbs. This keto-friendly dinner includes salmon and avocado, which are both healthy sources of protein and fat. The salad is less than 400 calories, but the fresh herbs, almonds, and olive oil give it tons of flavor.
Shrimp Stir Fry
There are so many savory flavors swirling through this 322-calorie stir-fry, so it’ll work with whatever veggies you happen to have in the house. Serve it atop cauliflower rice for a super-healthy, low-cal dinner.
Mediterranean Baked Cod
Davis is a fan of the Mediterranean diet for its focus on seafood, which offers fish as a high-quality protein source and an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids. This simple baked cod dish is perfect for those following this diet, with grape tomatoes and sweet peppers giving it an elegant finish and bright thyme brings a fresh finish to the dish. Plus, it’s only 205 calories per serving and takes a total of 25 minutes to prepare.
Peach and Cucumber Salad
This fruity dish combines sweet peaches with cucumbers and fresh herbs that make this the perfect salad. Add pieces of chicken to up the protein for a more filling dinner, and you’ve got yourself an easy-to-make, low-cal meal.
Kale and Roasted Cauliflower Salad
Got kale? This deceptively simple salad has the added flavor of raisins and pine nuts, making it as tasty as it is good for you. Plus, crumbled feta cheese and roasted cauliflower florets step in to make the meal more filling.
Chicken Quinoa Bowl
Full of fiber and packed with vitamins, quinoa is a pretty perfect food. Top it with lean grilled chicken, arugula, and tomatoes and you get a deliciously healthy, high-protein meal that will keep you full for hours.
Ceviche-Style Passion Fruit Shrimp
Need a quick dinner that doesn’t require turning on the oven or firing up the stove? This Peruvian-inspired dish combines pre-cooked shrimp, avocado, passion fruit, and spicy flavors for a low-carb, high-protein dinner.
Shrimp Scampi With Zoodles
If you're craving this classic trattoria dish, swap out a portion of the pasta for spiralized zucchini noodles, and you’ll save on calories and carbs without sacrificing the yum. This version still includes some classic pasta in the mix, so even the veggie-haters will want to dig in.
Balsamic Steak With Eggplant and Peppers
Meat lovers rejoice—this steak dish has all the flavors you love in only 390 calories per serving. It’s especially delicious in the summer when tomato and eggplant are in their prime.
Oven-Roasted Salmon With Charred Lemon Vinaigrette
What could be better than a sheet pan dinner that features heart-healthy salmon? This elegant salmon recipe features the Mediterranean flavor of charred lemons, along with tasty fennel for a weeknight wonder.
Crispy Tofu Bowl
You don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy this sweet-chili tofu bowl, packed with crunchy cashews and sitting on a bed of tasty quinoa. We suggest you make this 30-minute meal for your next meatless Monday.
Grilled Fish Tacos
Your favorite fish gets a delightful burst of pineapple flavor in these addictive (but low-cal!) tacos. Serve with a side of grilled veggies for a summertime plate that the whole family will love.
Okay, so after all these healthy, low-carb dinners of chicken, tofu, and fish, at some point, you're going to crave a big old heap of pasta! No worries—this light version of fettuccine Alfredo swaps out heavy cream with Greek yogurt.
Harvest Chicken Casserole
To fill you up on a chilly night, whip up this hearty chicken casserole, filled with delicious, good-for-you ingredients such as brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and wild rice.
Smoky Vegan Black Bean Soup
Serve a hearty side salad and grab a slice of crusty bread and dip it into this heavenly black bean soup, loved by vegans and omnivores alike.
Cilantro Lime Salmon Bowl
Sweet honey, zesty limes, and crunchy red peppers make this salmon rice bowl a dinnertime favorite.
Light Chicken Cacciatore
Mmm, just like Mom used to make it...except instead of piling this savory dish on spaghetti, you add extra veggies and decadent olives. Add a side of whole-grain rice or quinoa for a complete meal.
Best-Ever Farro Salad
Hearty whole-grain farro has the perfect, chewy texture to keep you satisfied. Toss it with apples, pecans, and herbs for this addictive salad (add a piece of grilled chicken or fish on the side for a complete meal).
White Bean and Tuna Salad With Basil Vinaigrette
This meal-sized salad tastes like the flavors of spring—with protein-rich tuna, eggs, and beans to keep you satisfied. We love that it comes together in just 25 minutes, and leftovers pack up perfectly for tomorrow’s lunch.
Fried fish is a summertime favorite—this version of cornmeal-crusted catfish saves calories by baking instead of frying, but you still get the same delicious flavor! Pair with your favorite veggie and whole grain for a healthier meal.
Moroccan Meatballs With Roasted Tomatoes and Chickpeas
Meatballs don’t just belong on spaghetti. This version, flavored with cinnamon, cumin, and allspice, has an addictive flavor that pairs up perfectly with couscous and tomatoes for a special treat, all under 400 calories.
Blackened Shrimp and Brown Rice Bowl
Are you drooling yet? This tangy shrimp bowl is as delicious as it looks, with avocado, brown rice, and corn salsa adding the finish touches.
Grilled Chicken Kabobs
Spicy harissa paste is the secret ingredient to these seductive kebabs. Paired with the super-grain bulgur and protein-rich chickpeas, this is a winning meal that stays under 500 calories.
Cod in Parchment With Orange-and-Leek Couscous
Impress your dinner guests with this elegant-looking—but deceptively simple—baked cod dish. Cooking the fish in parchment steams the fish without the need for a lot of fat, keeping the calorie count low but the flavor high.
Vegetarian Fried Rice
If you’re jonesing for Chinese takeout, whip up this veggie-filled fried rice dish instead, which is lower in calories and fat than most restaurant versions. We love that you can mix in whatever veggies you happen to have on hand.
Thai Turkey Lettuce Cups
If you think turkey is just for Thanksgiving, check out this Thai-flavored treat. Flavored with ginger, soy sauce, and jalapeños, this creative take on turkey is just 250 calories per serving.
Garlicky Shrimp Zucchini Pasta
This shrimp dish looks completely decadent—until you realize the bed of pasta is actually a bed of zucchini noodles. The veggie-packed dish will be a family favorite in no time.
Honey Roasted Salmon and Radishes
This sheet-pan special mixes this classic flavor of roasted salmon with the surprisingly flavorful punch of radish greens. Plus, a can of chickpeas amps up the protein and offers some filling carbohydrates to the mix.
Burrito Zucchini Boats
Taco night just got a healthier upgrade with these adorable and tasty taco zucchini boats. Each boat is stuffed with ground beef and topped with hearty beans, corn, tomatoes, and cheese for the ultimate taco treat. You can switch out the beef for turkey for a low-fat option, or use tofu as a plant-based protein source.
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Comfort food at its best with this vegetarian version of the classic British pub food. This recipe uses green/brown lentils to replace the meat. It’s topped with high-fiber sweet potatoes for a healthier, low-calorie treat.
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