Updated: Jul 19
Finding the right meals that help with weight loss can be tricky. This article offers seven weight loss ideas for dinner to help you stay on track.
Consuming the same meals each day to lose weight can lead to craving unhealthy meals. Skip boring meals in the kitchen by trying the seven weight loss dinner ideas below.
7 Yummy Weight Loss Dinner Ideas
It has been shown that consuming a low-calorie diet can provide weight loss benefits, regardless of which diet you choose, like vegan, paleo, or keto. |*|This consists of consuming fewer calories than what you burn daily. |*|
The important note on decreasing calories is to ensure you're eating nutrient-dense foods. Combining nutritious foods that are rich in fiber |*| and provide sufficient protein |*| are excellent ways to help maintain satiety, ensuring you can stay in a calorie deficit more easily. Thus, you’ll be able to lose weight more easily. Plus, you can count cooking for yourself as self-care!
Here are a few low-calorie, healthy dinner recipes to try:
1. Stuffed Bell Peppers with Ground Turkey
Servings: 4, Calories per serving: 495
· 4 red bell peppers
· ½ cup uncooked brown rice
· 1 jar tomato sauce
· 1 lb lean ground turkey
· Salt/pepper + seasonings of choice
· 1 large onion
· Cooking spray
*Noom is a comprehensive nutrition and fitness program that emphasizes changing behaviors over eliminating foods or following strict exercise regimens.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Slice off the tops of the bell peppers and remove the inner seeds. Keep the tops, but discard the innards.
Add a large pot to the stove with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Add in brown rice and simmer for 45 minutes until the water is absorbed.
Heat a large pan on medium heat, add cooking spray, and add sliced onions. Make sure to stir constantly for about 2-3 minutes.
Add ground turkey, salt, pepper, and seasonings. Stir consistently, breaking up large pieces of turkey and cooking until no pink is visible.
Mix the tomato sauce into the turkey mixture and cook on low for 1-2 minutes. Add rice, stir, then remove from heat.
Put approximately ¼ of the mixture into each hollowed-out bell pepper. Place the peppers into a deep baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray and add the tops. Cook the bell peppers for about 40 minutes in the oven until softened.
Serve and enjoy.
This recipe is simple to make and only requires a few steps, plus it offers fiber from the onion and bell pepper. |*| Tomato sauce is an excellent, low-calorie way to provide flavoring to recipes.
Ground turkey provides an excellent source of protein, vitamin B6/B12, and essential minerals. |*| When using ground turkey, it’s necessary to opt for lower-fat options to help keep the calorie count down.
2. Stuffed Chicken Breast with Spinach and Cheese
Servings: 4, Calories per serving: 172
· 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5 oz per)
· Bunch of fresh spinach leaves
· ¼ cup ricotta cheese
· ¼ cup mozzarella cheese (or substitute it with cheddar cheese)
· Seasoning of choice
· Cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350F.
Pound each breast until they are about 1" thick. Set aside.
Boil a pot with water on the stove and blanch spinach for about 30 seconds, until soft. Remove from water and set aside.
Mix the ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella, spinach, and seasoning in a bowl.
Lay each chicken breast flat, fill with cheese mixture, and wrap. Make sure to keep the mixture in the center to prevent it from oozing out during cooking.
Insert a toothpick into each chicken breast where the fold ends so it does not open while baking.
Place the breasts onto a baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil and bake for 45 minutes. When pricked, the juices should run clear.
Serve and enjoy.
Note: To increase the calories, you can add ½ cup cooked brown rice to the side of each stuffed chicken breast for an additional 160 calories per serving. The chicken breast may be substituted with chicken thighs, and the cheese can be substituted with cream cheese as needed.
Using chicken in this recipe, whether it be baked chicken or grilled chicken, provides protein, vitamins, and minerals that can aid in a balanced diet. |*|Spinach is a very low-calorie food, with only seven calories per cup. It provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to recipes. Plus, it can even help you maintain eye health. |*| Adding in low-fat cheese offers a delicious flavor and can be considered part of a heart-healthy diet. |*|
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3. Salmon with Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Servings 2: Calories per serving: 282
· 1* 6 oz salmon fillet
· 1 lb Brussels sprouts
· 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
· Cajun seasoning (or seasoning of choice)
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Toss Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt/pepper, and seasoning together in a bowl. Add to a baking sheet and cook for about 15 minutes. Stir the Brussels sprouts halfway through.
While the Brussels sprouts are baking, rub the seasoning onto the salmon fillet.
Pull the Brussels sprouts out of the oven, shift them to the outside of the baking sheet, and add the salmon fillet in the middle.
Bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and slice the salmon into halves.
Serve with ½ of the Brussels sprouts. Enjoy.
Roasting Brussel sprouts and salmon proves an effective way to consume less oil than pan frying, thus lowering the caloric content of this dish. Salmon has a high protein content, important nutrients like omega-3s and vitamin D, and helps keep you full for longer. |*|
Extra virgin olive oil has been shown to aid in avoiding cardiovascular disease, which is potentially connected to obesity, according to this 2019 study. |*|Brussel sprouts are also another excellent source of fiber, aiding in keeping you satiated. |*|
4. Thai Lettuce Chicken Wraps
Servings: 2, Calories per serving: 413
· ½ lb chicken breast, diced
· 1 carrot, shredded
· ½ cup cabbage shredded
· 1 head romaine
· 1/3 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
· 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
· 1 teaspoon fish sauce
· 1 tablespoon peanut butter
· Cooking spray
Cook ½ lb chicken breast, season with salt and pepper on the grill for about 9-10 minutes, flipping halfway. You can also bake the chicken for about 25 minutes at 350F. Once cooled, dice the chicken, and leave to the side.
Prep your veggies by shredding the carrot and cabbage. Separate the head of romaine by removing each individual leaf. Set aside from carrots and cabbage.
In a small bowl, mix sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, and peanut butter. Whisk until combined.
Toss the chicken, carrot, and cabbage together with the sauce, then fill each lettuce leaf with about two spoonfuls of the mixture.
Serve half of the wraps on a plate, and enjoy.
As noted above, chicken breast is a way to add lean protein to any dish. You can add baked or grilled chicken to this dish. Adding in carrots and cabbage help increase the fiber content of this recipe and add bulk, so you feel full, even with fewer calories. The romaine lettuce acts in place of tortillas, helping you save carbs while adding nutrients like folate into the dish. |*|
Sweet chili sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce help create a tasty Thai food flavor. Peanut butter provides a delicious sweetness and arginine, an amino acid that can help reduce cardiovascular disease. |*| For additional flavor in this healthy meal, you can add a sprinkle of chili powder and fresh cilantro.
With such a simple, easy to make recipe, this dish is great to meal prep over the weekend to set you up to eat healthier. Meal prepping can also prevent the stress that comes with figuring out what you are going to eat.
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Related: How Healthy is an Air Fryer?
5. Shrimp Stir Fry
Servings: 2, Calories per serving: 436
· 1 lb shrimp (cleaned and shelled)
· Frozen vegetable mix including bell peppers, broccoli, and mushrooms
· 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
· ½ cup teriyaki sauce
Heat a large pan on the stove to medium heat with the sesame oil.
Add the cleaned shrimp into the pan, season them with salt/pepper, and sauté them for about 2 minutes until they are no longer translucent. They should be pink at this point. Stir consistently so they do not burn.
Next, add the frozen vegetable mix to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes until the vegetables are heated through.
Make sure to use thick teriyaki sauce (not marinade) for this recipe. Add it to the vegetables and shrimp, tossing until everything is covered.
Serve ½ of the finished dish onto a plate and enjoy your shrimp stir fry.
A 2012 study notes that seafood (including shrimp) is one of the best protein sources that provides vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that can positively impact health. |*|Using a blend of frozen vegetables helps increase fiber intake and allows you to skip the chopping steps for a quicker meal.
Teriyaki sauce does not add significant health benefits, but it does create a healthy meal to enjoy. Sesame oil is flavorful and is full of antioxidants. |*|
6. Vegan Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
Servings: 2, Calories per serving: 196
· 3 cups of diced/skinned butternut squash
· 4 cups vegetable broth
· 1 medium diced onion
· 1 tablespoon olive oil
· Salt/pepper + seasoning of choice
If you can find diced, skinned butternut squash at the store – it will save you prep time for this recipe. Otherwise, you can slice and deseed a whole butternut squash, then roast for 45 minutes at 375F.
Heat up a large pot on the stove to medium heat, add the olive oil and diced onion. Sauté for about two minutes until the onion has softened—season with salt and pepper.
Pour the vegetable broth into the pot, add the butternut squash, and bring to a simmer.
Cook for about 10 minutes until you can easily prick the squash with a fork.
Remove from heat and pour into a blender. Blend for about 30 seconds until the soup is smooth.
Add more salt/pepper and other seasonings of choice to taste.
Serve ½ of the soup in a bowl and enjoy.
Butternut squash is low-calorie and contains a long list of vitamins and protein, and fiber. |*| This healthy meal provides the perfect, comforting fall dish you'll want to make every week. As noted, the onion provides fiber, while olive oil can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Vegetable broth helps create a tasty soup base for this creamy fall option. If you're not on a low-carb diet, you can add in some sweet potatoes for an extra dose of vitamins, protein, and fiber.
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7. Vegan Chia Seed Pudding
Servings: 1, Calories per serving: 303
· 3 Tbsp chia seeds
· ¾ cup unsweetened nut milk (almond, cashew, etc.)
· 1 teaspoon honey
· 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
· 1 cup blackberries
Add the chia seeds, nut milk, honey, and cocoa powder into a container and mix well.
Refrigerate the mixture for a minimum of one hour so that the seeds can soak up the nut milk.
For the best result, keep it in the fridge overnight, as it will yield the thickest chia pudding.
When you’re ready to serve it, add it to a bowl and top with blackberries.
Chia seeds are often found in vegan recipes and contain many benefits, including protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. |*| According to this 2014 study, chia seeds helped men and women decrease their weight. |*| While this is a sweeter recipe, you can certainly consume it as a healthy dinner to enjoy the many health benefits. This would be similar to enjoying pancakes for dinner, though much more nutritious.
The cocoa powder provides a delicious chocolatey taste, with honey adding sweetness and potentially aiding in reducing inflammation. |*| Blackberries have potentially shown a correlation between consumption and fat loss. |*|
This easy to make delicious dish is a great dish to meal prep. With this recipe being so simple, you can make multiple at a time to have throughout your week.
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Final Notes on Weight Loss Ideas for Dinner
The above list of delicious recipes for weight loss is only a few of the many low-calorie healthy dinner ideas you can choose. With recipes that adhere to low carb, paleo, vegan, etc. diets, you can consume a diet that aligns with your preference and aids in weight loss and healthy eating. These recipes are also great to meal prep and pack as lunches to practice self-care at work!
It’s best to work with a nutritionist or doctor to determine the number of calories to consume daily, as eating the incorrect amount can negatively impact you.
Stay on track with your weight loss journal by using this Colorful Meal Planner.