Eating healthy is a key component of weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Incorporating healthy ingredients into your dinner meals can be a great way to support your weight loss goals. Choosing the right ingredients can help increase your nutrient intake, reduce your calorie intake, and keep you feeling satisfied.
Some healthy ingredients to make dinner and lose weight might actually be in your kitchen. With a little creativity and the right ingredients, you can create delicious, healthy meals that support your weight loss journey.
What You Need To Know About Eating Healthy To Lose Weight
When it comes to losing weight, eating healthy is essential in every meal.
Choosing whole, nutrient-dense ingredients is important to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber while keeping calorie intake in check. Including lean protein sources can help keep you feeling full and satisfied, while healthy fats can support healthy cholesterol levels and keep hunger at bay.
Incorporating plenty of vegetables can help provide essential nutrients and fiber while keeping calorie intake low. It’s also important to limit processed foods and added sugars, which can contribute excess calories and undermine weight loss efforts.
By prioritizing whole and nutrient-rich ingredients, you can prepare flavorful and fulfilling dinner meals that can help align with your weight loss objectives.
How To Make Healthy Ingredients To Make Dinner And Lose Weight
Here is a guide list of healthy ingredients that can be incorporated into your dinner meals to support weight loss:
- Use plenty of bright vegetables, which should cover half of your plate. Include non-starchy veggies such as broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, red bell pepper, and Bok choy.
- Include protein-rich foods, including fish, poultry, beans, tofu, tempeh, and eggs. This should fill a quarter of the plate. While people with elevated baseline levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol should be more conscious of how much cholesterol they get in their diet, moderate egg consumption — between 7–12 eggs a week — has been proven safe for many people1,2,3.
- Instead of frying fish or chicken thighs, grill or bake it.
- Include a nutritious carbohydrate such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, kasha, farro, and sweet potato on one-fourth of your platters. However, it’s also important to exercise portion control and limit refined white flour, as excess starch intake can undermine weight loss efforts. These carbohydrate sources are also high in potassium, a nutrient that many people don’t get enough of. Adequate potassium intake is crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels4.
- Choose lean meats and dairy products with less fat and eat less processed foods to cut down on hidden fats. Nuts, seeds, seafood, soy, olives, and avocado are all better choices since they include vital long-chain fatty acids and other healthy elements.
Healthy Recipes For Weight Loss
Greek Salad with Chicken Breast
This easy and tasty chopped salad contains all its vital and valuable dietary pillars, including healthy fats, an abundance of crisp vegetables, and lean protein. This Greek salad recipe is robust and nutritious without adding calorie-dense toppings.
- 2 cups shredded or chopped cooked chicken breast
- 1 large cucumber is peeled, seeded, and chopped.
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1⁄2 (14–16 ounces) can garbanzo beans, drained
- 3⁄4 cup crumbled feta
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- Combine the chicken, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato, onion, beans, and feta in a large salad bowl.
- Add the vinegar, oregano, salt, and pepper in a separate bowl in liberal amounts.
- Slowly sprinkle the olive oil into the mixture while stirring.
- Toss the salad with the dressing.
- You can serve this immediately, but it’s best to let it sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow the ingredients to meld.
Chicken Fajita Burritos
This burrito is stuffed with chicken, green beans, and cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla. In addition, purchasing a rotisserie chicken saves a great deal of time. They’re a breeze to create and perfect for your healthy dinner recipes.
- 1⁄2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 poblano or green bell pepper, sliced.
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1⁄2 can (14–16 ounces) black beans, drained
- 1⁄4 tsp cumin
- juice of 1 lime
- soy sauce
- 4 (10″) whole-wheat tortillas
- 1 cup low-fat shredded Jack cheese
- 2 cups shredded chicken (about half a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat.
- Add the onion, red, and poblano peppers and cook until browned, about 7 to 8 minutes—season with salt and pepper.
- Combine the beans with cumin in a saucepan and warm through. Add the lime juice and a few shakes of hot sauce.
- Preheat a grill, cast-iron skillet, or large nonstick pan over medium heat.
- Microwave the tortillas for 20 seconds, just enough so they’re pliable.
- Building one burrito at a time, sprinkle on some cheese, and top with some beans, the onion-pepper mixture, chicken, and salsa.
- Roll into a tight package.
- Place the burritos on the skillet, cooking for a minute on each side until lightly toasted.
Rotisserie Chicken Parm Casserole
This is a delicious and healthy dinner option that can aid in weight loss. Made with lean rotisserie chicken, this dish is a great source of protein, which can help you feel full and satisfied. The dish also contains wholesome ingredients such as whole wheat pasta, fresh vegetables, and flavorful herbs and spices.
- non-stick cooking spray
- 8 ounces penne or whole wheat pasta, cooked al dente
- 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Toss the pasta, chicken, 1 cup of tomato sauce, parsley, oregano, basil, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top the casserole with the remaining 1/2 cup tomato sauce and spread evenly with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and crusty bread crumbs.
- Bake until the top is bubbly and golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Butter-Baked Salmon and Asparagus
Salmon and asparagus are always excellent when grilled together. This baked salmon recipe is more suitable for keto dieters since it adds delicious fat to the omega-3 fatty acids naturally present in salmon. The lemon flavor in the mayonnaise-based topping is very excellent on the asparagus.
Although olive oil is a natural complement to salmon, this dish adds richness and flavor from butter. The ketogenic diet requires high-fat foods; butter adds plenty of fat and excellent taste to this dish. Combined with a mayonnaise-heavy topping, this dish is nutritious and luxurious5.
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 (4 ounce) fresh salmon fillets, skin-on
- 1/2 lb fresh asparagus spears, trimmed
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp chopped green onion
- 2 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf fresh parsley
- 1/4 tsp finely shredded lemon peel
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium.
- Place salmon, skin side down, on one side of a baking sheet. Add asparagus to the other side of the baking sheet. Drizzle melted butter over salmon and asparagus; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until salmon is cooked and flakes easily with a fork and asparagus is tender.
- Combine mayonnaise, green onion, parsley, lemon peel, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Serve with roasted salmon and asparagus. If desired, top with additional parsley.
Keto Cheeseburger Casserole
This healthier version of Hamburger Helper is likely to become a go-to dish for when you want to relax. This new version has a lot of beef and a sauce with no added sugar, so you know you’re having a good dinner. Also, this is a good keto diet, so you may include it in your meals.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 lb ground beef
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1 1/4 cups shredded Colby jack cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped chives
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan and add the ground beef. Use a metal pancake turner to press the meat down into a single layer that covers the entire surface of the pan. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until browned, then use the pancake turner to flip the beef over and cook for another few minutes. Use a large spoon to spoon the excess liquid until only a tiny amount remains.
- Add onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and tomato paste to the beef. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add marinara sauce and heavy cream and remove from heat.
- Stir 1 cup of shredded cheese and spoon the beef mixture into a large casserole dish.
- Top with remaining cheese and bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and melty. Top with chives and serve immediately.
Chicken is super versatile, especially when figuring out different weight-loss meals. Adding pesto will be the perfect topping, providing tons of flavor. Fill the other side of your plate with some leafy greens to make a salad, and you’ve got yourself a filling dish.
What’s more, leafy greens contain thylakoids, plant compounds that have been linked with increased satiety and better appetite management in at least two human studies6,7,8.
For the Chicken
- four 6 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup basil pesto
- 4 ounces fresh whole-milk mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 6 cups baby arugula
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper. Place chicken breasts in a pan and coat with oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes or until chicken is done (165°F).
- Top chicken breasts with pesto and cheese. Bake 2 to 3 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted.
- Divide arugula and onion among serving plates. Top with chicken and tomatoes.
- Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup olive oil and vinegar; drizzle overall.
Oven-Baked Chicken Fingers With Chipotle-Honey Mustard
These chicken fingers are so good that you’ll forget about your old fast-food favorites. While this recipe calls for making your chicken fingers from scratch, you can cut the time down even more by purchasing frozen tenders at the store. You can use this recipe as inspiration and still make the delicious dish with chipotle honey mustard sauce for dipping.
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenders
- salt and black pepper to taste
- three egg whites, lightly beaten
- 2 cups panko gluten-free bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp chipotle pepper purée
- 1 tbsp honey
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Place the egg whites in a shallow bowl. Place the crumbs on a plate and season those, too.
- Dip the chicken tenders into the egg, then toss in the crumbs, being sure to coat thoroughly.
- Place the breaded chicken pieces on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the crumbs have browned and the chicken is firm.
- Combine the mustard, chipotle, and honey in a large bowl.
- Toss the cooked chicken tenders in the mixture, evenly coated with the spicy-sweet sauce.
Paleo Thai Beef Stir-Fry Recipe
There’s so much to love about stir-fry. They don’t take special skills or crazy ingredients and are swift to throw together. This paleo version packs protein, veggies, and delicious flavor, making you feel like you’re eating at a restaurant with better benefits.
- 1⁄2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tsp no-sugar-added fish sauce (such as Red Boat)
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1⁄4 tsp salt
- 1⁄4 tsp pepper
- 1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 Thai chili pepper, seeded and very thinly sliced
- 1 pound flank steak, thinly sliced (Note: To make thinner slices, place steak in the freezer for 30 minutes before slicing.)
- 1 (8-ounce) package of fresh matchstick-cut carrots
- 2 stalks of celery, sliced on the bias
- 1⁄2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped
- In a small bowl, stir broth, lime juice, coconut aminos, fish sauce, and honey; set aside.
- Heat coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Add garlic, ginger, and chili pepper; cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add meat and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the meat mixture from the skillet.
- Add carrot and celery to the skillet. Sauté until almost crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Return meat mixture and accumulated juices to skillet. Add broth mixture and cook and stir until simmering and heated through.
- Remove the skillet from heat. Stir in basil and mint. Serve over cauliflower rice.
1 Blesso CN, Fernandez ML. Dietary Cholesterol, Serum Lipids, and Heart Disease: Are Eggs Working for or Against You? Nutrients. 2018 Mar 29;10(4):426. doi: 10.3390/nu10040426. PMID: 29596318; PMCID: PMC5946211.
2 Réhault-Godbert S, Guyot N, Nys Y. The Golden Egg: Nutritional Value, Bioactivities, and Emerging Benefits for Human Health. Nutrients. 2019 Mar 22;11(3):684. doi: 10.3390/nu11030684. PMID: 30909449; PMCID: PMC6470839.
3 Fuller NR, Sainsbury A, Caterson ID, Denyer G, Fong M, Gerofi J, Leung C, Lau NS, Williams KH, Januszewski AS, Jenkins AJ, Markovic TP. Effect of a high-egg diet on cardiometabolic risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) Study-randomized weight-loss and follow-up phase. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Jun 1;107(6):921-931. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqy048. PMID: 29741558.
4 Potassium and Sodium. (2022, August 23). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/salt/potassium.htm#:~:text=Increasing%20potassium%. 20intake%20can%20help,can%20 raise%20your%20blood%20 pressure.
5 Albracht-Schulte K, Kalupahana NS, Ramalingam L, Wang S, Rahman SM, Robert-McComb J, Moustaid-Moussa N. Omega-3 fatty acids in obesity and metabolic syndrome: a mechanistic update. J Nutr Biochem. 2018 Aug;58:1-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2018.02.012. Epub 2018 Feb 27. PMID: 29621669; PMCID: PMC7561009.
6 Amirinejad A, Heshmati J, Shidfar F. Effects of thylakoid intake on appetite and weight loss: a systematic review. J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2019 Dec 13;19(1):565-573. doi: 10.1007/s40200-019-00443-w. PMID: 32550209; PMCID: PMC7270222.
7 Montelius C, Erlandsson D, Vitija E, Stenblom EL, Egecioglu E, Erlanson-Albertsson C. Body weight loss, reduced urge for palatable food and increased release of GLP-1 through daily supplementation with green-plant membranes for three months in overweight women. Appetite. 2014 Oct;81:295-304. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2014.06.101. Epub 2014 Jun 30. Erratum in: Appetite. 2016 Jan 1;96:645-6. Erratum in: Appetite. 2016 Jun 1;101:239. PMID: 24993695.
8 Stenblom EL, Egecioglu E, Landin-Olsson M, Erlanson-Albertsson C. Consumption of thylakoid-rich spinach extract reduces hunger, increases satiety and reduces cravings for palatable food in overweight women. Appetite. 2015 Aug;91:209-19. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.04.051. Epub 2015 Apr 17. PMID: 25895695.