Losing weight doesn’t have to feel like a total chore. With just the right recipes on deck that support your weight loss goals and don’t sacrifice flavor, you’ll be well on your way to shedding those extra pounds in no time. Who knew several tweaks to your shopping list could make such a difference? We chatted with the experts and have 10 simple, light dinner ideas for quicker weight loss. Keep reading to learn the deliciousness that awaits, and next, don’t miss Up Your Protein With 5 Meals That Melt Stubborn Belly Fat.
How to make dinners that’ll keep you on track with your weight loss goals:
Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who sits on our Medical Expert Board, and Laura Burak MS, RD, founder of GetNaked® Nutrition and author of “Slim Down with Smoothies,” share some useful tips when preparing simple, light dinner ideas for quick weight loss.
- Be mindful of your portion sizes. Foods like avocado, salmon, and nuts are chock-full of important nutrients, but they’re also pretty packed with calories. Being mindful of and sticking to proper portion sizes when eating meals can help keep you on track with your weight loss goals.
- Incorporate non-starchy veggies into your dinners. Non-starchy vegetables include artichokes, asparagus, beets, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, eggplant, green beans, leeks, peppers, zucchini, tomato, and more. Fresh veggies don’t come with a high calorie count, and many of them contain satiating fiber that’ll keep you fuller longer. This may help you consume fewer calories in the long term.
- Bake, sauté, and grill your food. Stay away from frying your dinners at all costs, as this can add unnecessary extra calories to your plate.
- Include a lean protein that fills up a quarter of your plate. Examples of lean protein are fish or seafood, poultry, lean beef, pork, or eggs; or edamame, tofu, or beans if you’re opting for plant-based.
- Select a nutritious carb that’s rich in fiber, such as butternut or acorn squash, corn, baked potato, lentils, beans, or quinoa. Make sure the carb of your choice takes up the smallest portion of your plate.
Burak wraps things up by noting, “We tend to skimp on meals during the day and overdo it at night when our bodies usually need the least energy. Instead, I steer my clients into frontloading the daytime meals and lightening up dinner and beyond. The tedious feeling of what to make for dinner may haunt you on the daily, but you can actually approach it as the easiest meal. Think, ‘What’s my protein, what’s my carb/starch, and how I can include some sort of veggie option?’ Keep it light and keep it simple.”
Check out these simple, light dinner ideas for weight loss:
With Manaker’s and Burak’s expert insight in mind, we pulled together 10 of our best light dinner recipes for weight loss you’ll want to work into your regular rotation. Add these ingredients to your shopping cart ASAP.
1. Classic Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
Winter is the prime time to whip up a batch of homemade soup for a simple dinner. And let’s be honest: What’s better than butternut squash soup to fill your belly with nutritious veggies, vitamins, and pure warmth? This tasty recipe is jam-packed with fiber to aid in your weight loss efforts, along with vitamin A and omega-3s. Make enough for the whole family to enjoy—it won’t disappoint!
Get our recipe for Classic Butternut Squash Soup.
2. Mediterranean-Inspired Baked Chicken With Tomatoes and Capers Recipe
This Mediterranean-inspired baked chicken is chock-full of goodness and low in calories. It combines lean protein with cherry tomatoes to make a savory, easy-to-prepare dinner you’ll want to savor time and time again. The best part? You only need a single baking dish to cook it, which makes the clean-up process a complete and utter breeze.
Get our recipe for Mediterranean-Inspired Baked Chicken With Tomatoes and Capers.
3. Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad With Eggs and Pickled Red Onions Recipe
Let’s talk Brussels sprouts. This underrated, non-starchy veggie is high in fiber and water, making it the ultimate choice to turn into a warm salad for a light weight loss dinner. Eggs and pickled red onions round out the flavor profile of this mouthwatering dish.
Get our recipe for Warm Brussels Sprouts Salad With Eggs and Pickled Red Onions.
4. Sweet and Spicy Glazed Salmon with Roasted Veggies
When paired together, glazed salmon and roasted veggies create a dynamic duo that’s refreshingly light any time of the year—most especially in the summer! Adding lots of color to your plate is a good, healthy thing to do, and this meal certainly has you covered with that.
Salmon is the protein star of this recipe, and non-starchy veggies like green beans, cherry tomatoes, and summer squash complement it so well. Plus, we truly can’t resist a good sheet pan meal! Are you with us?
Get our recipe for Sweet and Spicy Glazed Salmon with Roasted Veggies.
5. A 10-Minute Mediterranean Tofu Scramble Recipe
Breakfast for dinner? Sign us up! If you’re looking for a plant-based twist on your typical scrambled eggs, this recipe is it. We’re certain that a protein-packed tofu scramble like this one will be a healthy staple in your home, and it only takes 10 minutes to whip up. Bring on the bell peppers, tomato, parsley, and feta cheese for a truly delicious meal.
Get our recipe for 10-Minute Mediterranean Tofu Scramble.
6. A Grilled Swordfish With Caponata Recipe Straight From Sicily
This grilled swordfish recipe will transport you to Sicily for dinnertime. It’s a light and healthy meal the whole family will want in on—and it won’t hamper your weight loss progress with just 360 calories per serving. Add some tomatoes, eggplants, capers, and small swordfish steaks to your shopping cart, and get ready to prepare one of your new favorite meals.
Get our recipe for Grilled Swordfish With Caponata Recipe Straight From Sicily.
7. Instant Pot Lemon Chicken
You can always count on your handy-dandy Instant Pot to make a recipe so much simpler. This Instant Pot lemon chicken is the ultimate example—and the end product is darn juicy!
It’s time for some more lean protein, as boneless, skinless chicken thighs are the star of this dish. We’ll be honest: You’ve never met an easy chicken recipe as tasty as this one. Fresh lemon juice, Italian seasoning, thyme, and chicken broth complete the flavor profile of this dish. Consider pairing your chicken with a side of Parmesan-roasted broccoli.
Get our recipe for Instant Pot Lemon Chicken.
8. A Healthy Shrimp and Spinach Salad With Warm Bacon Recipe
Next up on our list of simple, light dinner ideas is this healthy shrimp and spinach salad, which is topped off with warm bacon bits. This recipe takes spinach and totally revamps the superfood into a meal that’s bursting with flavor. Get ready to slice some red onion, mushrooms, and hard-boiled eggs, cook your shrimp, whip up a Dijon mustard-based dressing, and dig in!
Get our recipe for Healthy Shrimp and Spinach Salad With Warm Bacon.
9. Grilled Vegetable Wrap With Balsamic Mayo Recipe
Something as simple as a grilled veggie wrap can pack loads of flavor without the added calories. Take our recipe, for example. Each wrap is perfectly filled with tasty vegetables like asparagus, bell peppers, and arugula, and finished off with a savory balsamic mayo. This light meal brings on the deliciousness at an appealing low calorie count.
Get our recipe for Grilled Vegetable Wrap With Balsamic Mayo.
10. Grilled Mahi-Mahi With Salsa Verde
Last but certainly not least, we’ll round things out with this grilled mahi-mahi recipe, complete with fresh salsa verde and flavors of mint and parsley. Suffice it to say, your tastebuds will be beyond pleased with this dinner. This very low-cal meal will give you a little bit of summertime in the winter.
Get our recipe for Grilled Mahi-Mahi With Salsa Verde.