These simple meal ideas, ranging from turkey burgers to salads, will help you lose weight and feel full all day.
Losing weight isn’t quick or easy, but simple dietary modifications can help. Eating a lot of protein, fiber, and complex carbs to invigorate and fulfill you is one of the best improvements you can make.
If you’re unsure how to incorporate superfoods into your regular diet, start with these nutritious, simple meal options that provide health advantages beyond weight loss. If you’re putting together a weight-loss strategy, consult a healthcare physician, registered dietitian, or nutritionist.
Meal Quality Tips for Weight Loss
Here are a few pointers to consider when selecting quality meals:
- Include various healthful foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and lean proteins.
- Plan your meals and snacks carefully: write down your favorite recipes and the ingredients you’ll need. If possible, choose low-calorie ingredients and snacks at the grocery store.
- Limit your intake of specific foods: You may consume foods with added sugar, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Try to restrict your intake of certain foods.
- Make sure your eating plan is one you can stick to. Maintaining weight loss requires a diet that is consistent and simple to follow.
- Everyone’s calorie requirements will differ. What and how much you eat will differ from what and how much someone eats. Make sure you’re getting enough calories and nutrients.
Beans, Peas, and Lentils
When deciding what to eat, there are numerous ways to incorporate beans, peas, and lentils. For example, you can have lentil soup and crisp chickpea salad.
Black Bean and Chicken Chilaquiles
There are only eight ingredients in this traditional Mexican morning dish, which includes grilled chicken, queso blanco, and corn tortillas. The main ingredient is black beans, which are packed with protein, fiber, and minerals, making them even another superfood.
Instead of being fried, this food is baked. Fried foods are frequently calorie-dense, which means they contain more calories per unit of food.
To create the dish, use this recipe:
- First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray and add the onion, sliced or chopped. Cook for 5 minutes or until the onion is gently browned.
- Sauté for another minute with thinly sliced or chopped garlic, using the cooking spray as needed.
- Add 2 cups of cubed cooked chicken and heat through, about one to two minutes, while stirring everything together. Transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl and add 1 cup of black beans.
- To make the sauce, combine 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth and 1/4 cup salsa in a skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring periodically, before setting away.
- Cut four corn tortillas into one-inch strips and place half in a baking tray covered with cooking spray.
- Half of the chicken mixture should be layered over the tortillas, followed by the remaining tortillas and chicken mixture. Pour the broth mixture over the chicken mixture evenly. Add 1/2 cup low-fat shredded cheese on top.
- Bake at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or until the tortillas are gently browned, and the cheese has melted.
This dish serves four people, so you can eat it for multiple meals or share it with guests.
Crisp Chickpea Slaw
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are high in resistant starch and a good source of protein and fiber. Resistant starch is a carbohydrate that functions as a prebiotic by resisting digestion in the small intestine. Prebiotics feed the beneficial microorganisms in the big intestine.8
Chickpeas can be a great way to add crunch to your slaw if you don’t like or can’t have nuts.
For a weekday meal or a weekend picnic, try this slaw:
- In a small mixing dish, combine 1/4 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and water, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of rinsed chickpeas, 1 cup of shredded cabbage, and 1/4 cup of chopped celery and shredded carrots.
- To combine, toss with the yogurt dressing.
- Sesame seeds can be sprinkled on top.
- Place the slaw in a container for storage. Allow at least two hours before serving to chill.
Before serving, shake the slaw to redistribute the dressing. The slaw can be kept in the fridge for up to three days.
Lentils provide more than 15 grams of fiber per cup. This plant-based cuisine is also high in protein. Lentils cook quickly and come in a range of colors to select from.
If you’re unfamiliar with lentils, try them in a broth-based soup. Broth-based soups, as opposed to cream-based soups, can fill you up with fewer calories.
Take note of the following steps when making this soup:
- In a saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil.
- Add 1/2 small onion, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, and 1 minced garlic clove, all finely diced.
- Season with salt and pepper while you cook, and mix the items in the skillet every three to five minutes until the onions are tender.
- Pour 14.5 ounces of your preferred broth into the pan, then bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add 3/4 cup washed and drained cooked lentils from a can. Cook for 5 minutes or until the soup thickens.
- Add 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve your lentil soup alongside some whole-grain toasted pita wedges.
Different grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and pasta options, including those made with vegetables, can help you get the nutrients you need.
Brown Rice, Egg, and Walnuts
Eating brown rice can help you consume more whole grains. Whole grains contain fiber, which aids digestion and fills you up. You can use brown rice for white rice, which is a refined grain. Brown rice, on the other hand, is high in resistant starch.
In a pinch, you may cook a quick supper that contains carbs, protein, and healthy omega-3 fats for a balanced meal. Warm leftover brown rice, then top with walnuts and a poached egg.
Quinoa is a hearty whole grain with an earthy flavor. One cup of quinoa has around 8 grams of protein. Quinoa contains critical amino acids, iron, folate, and magnesium.
Quinoa is a flexible whole grain that you may integrate into your diet, especially if you are gluten-free or attempting to reduce your intake of refined grains.
Quinoa can be used as a main dish for lunch or as a side dish for dinner by combining it with the following ingredients:
- Beans, black
- Fresh vegetables
- Aromatic spices
Whole Wheat or Plant-Based Pasta
Pasta can still be a component of a healthy diet. Pasta is the foundation of many healthy meals because it may be topped with a variety of items such as meat, seafood, and vegetables.
Replace normal pasta with nutrient-rich pasta, such as whole grain pasta, to boost the nutritional content of a pasta-based meal. Pasta with veggies or legumes (for example, lentils, black beans, and chickpeas) might also be a good option.
Reduce your carb intake using veggie pasta such as zucchini and butternut squash noodles.
Meat, Seafood, and Eggs
Meat, seafood, and eggs are just some foods that might help you reach your daily protein need.
BBQ Turkey Burgers
Protein fills you up and helps your body burn calories. In addition, protein-rich diets can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Try this turkey burger recipe with white flesh turkey, an excellent source of lean protein:
- In a medium mixing bowl, gently combine ground white flesh turkey, garlic, paprika, and cumin.
- Season the mixture into four 4-inch patties with salt and pepper.
- Heat a grill to medium-high and cook the patties, flipping once, until cooked through, about seven minutes per side.
- Serve on whole wheat or whole grain buns with desired toppings (e.g., lettuce, tomato, avocado, hummus, low-fat cheese, or grilled onions).
Cioppino, an Italian stew rich in seafood, is usually made with the day’s catch. Cioppino can be made with crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, or fish with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce.
This stew’s shellfish is a wonderful supplement to a pescatarian diet or if you don’t eat other main protein sources. Cioppino has more than half of your daily protein requirements.
Try this fast recipe for cioppino:
- 8 ounces skinless cod or sea bass filets, cut into 1.5-inch pieces, and 6 ounces peeled and deveined fresh shrimp, cut in half lengthwise. Keep the fish refrigerated until ready to cook.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. In the pan, combine 1/3 cup chopped onion, 2 sliced celery stalks, and 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring periodically.
- Add 1 cup of chicken broth and 1/4 cup of dry white wine or more broth. If you follow a pescatarian diet, you can use veggie broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to low heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add 14.5 ounces of no-salt-added, drained tomatoes and 8 ounces of no-salt-added tomato sauce, along with 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of crushed black pepper to a mixing bowl.
- Bring the ingredients back to a boil before lowering the heat to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, covered.
- Return the saucepan to a boil and reduce to low heat before slowly adding your seafood components. Allow the stew to simmer for three to five minutes, covered. The fish should flake easily with a fork, and the shrimp should be translucent.
- Before serving, top with 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley.
Cioppino can be served with toasted bread to dip into the delectable sauce.
With English muffins and creamy hollandaise sauce, Eggs Benedict is a delectable and iconic brunch dish. Try these healthy substitutes for your favorite savory morning treat:
- Substitute a whole-grain English muffin for the English muffin.
- Instead of Canadian bacon, use omega-3-rich smoked salmon.
- For a vegetarian option, substitute portabella mushrooms and sautéed spinach for the Canadian bacon.
- Instead of butter, make the hollandaise sauce with low-fat sour cream, 1% milk, and olive oil.
The following Eggs Benedict recipe incorporates a variation of the hollandaise sauce described above:
- In a mixing dish, combine 3 tablespoons of light sour cream, 2 teaspoons of fat free milk, and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
- Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet or pan over medium-high heat. Add 1.5 cups sliced fresh button mushrooms and 2 tablespoons finely minced shallot to the pan. In the oil, cook and stir for four minutes.
- Cook until the baby spinach is slightly wilted, about 4 cups.
- Fill another medium-sized nonstick skillet or pan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the water is barely simmering.
- Break an egg into a small dish or bowl, then carefully place it in the water, allowing it to float near the surface. Rep with another egg in a different part of the pan.
- Allow the eggs to cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the egg whites are set and the yolks are thick. Using a spoon with holes, remove them from the pan or skillet.
- Toast both pieces of an English muffin made with whole grains. When done, arrange the halves on a platter and top with the mushroom mixture, eggs, and sauce.
- Season with pepper and nutmeg to taste, and garnish with thyme sprigs if preferred.
Ham, Pear, and Swiss Sandwich
This sandwich is high in fiber. One sandwich contains roughly one-third of your daily fiber need. The pear alone contributes almost 20% of that total.
With this recipe, it’s all about the flavors and textures:
- For the sauce, combine 2 tablespoons of yogurt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly chopped dill.
- Flatten both slices of pumpernickel bread.
- Layer 2 ounces lean ham, 1 ounce low-fat Swiss cheese, 1 sliced pear, and yogurt-dill sauce on top of one bread slice until all ingredients are used.
- Place the remaining bread slice on top of the sandwich.
Also, avoid peeling the pear skin. The skin contains most of the fiber goodness. If you want a hot dinner, lightly spray the outsides of the bread with olive oil spray and press on a skillet to produce a grilled panini.
Poached Salmon With Sauce
Salmon contains 17 grams of protein per 3-ounce plate and is high in omega-3 fats.1920
Salmon may also aid in the regulation of hunger hormones. According to research, meals high in polyunsaturated fats, such as walnuts, salmon, and canola oil, stimulate a hormone associated with fullness.
Try this recipe for poached salmon with a lovely creamy sauce:
- In a large skillet, divide 1 pound of skinned, center-cut salmon fillet into four portions.
- Add 1/2 cup dry white wine and enough water to just cover the salmon. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a low heat.
- Cover the salmon after it has been turned over. Allow it to cook for five minutes before removing it from the skillet.
- In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 teaspoons extra-version olive oil. 1 big minced shallot is added. Cook and stir for 30 seconds or until aromatic.
- Add 1/2 cup dry white wine and bring to a boil for 1 minute or until slightly reduced. Cook for another minute after adding 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 4 teaspoons cleaned capers.
- Remove from heat and mix in 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Finish with 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped dill on top of the salmon.
To keep it low-calorie and healthful, you can use plain yogurt in the sauce. This recipe feeds four people, but you can easily decrease the ingredients in half if you want to make fewer servings.
Eggs, particularly egg whites, are high in protein and low in fat. Instead of your normal scrambled egg breakfast, try something new, like a Mediterranean shakshuka.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes plant-based foods while limiting red meat and carbohydrates.23 Shakshuka poaches the eggs in a tomato, olive oil, garlic, and spice-laden broth. The finished product tastes like a filling breakfast or lunch yet is low in calories.
Try out this shakshuka recipe:
- In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. To the skillet, add 2 cups chopped sweet red peppers, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring periodically.
- Mix in 3 cups chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring the entire mixture to a boil, then reduce to a low heat and continue to cook for about 10 minutes.
- Make four gaps in the pan tomato mixture and crack one egg into each. Cover the skillet and heat for four to six minutes, or until the eggs are done, like in Eggs Benedict.
- As a garnish, sprinkle with 1/2 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt and finely trimmed parsley.
Shakshuka can be served with two warmed whole-wheat pita rounds.
Increase the flavor of your salads by adding some of the ingredients listed below in addition to lettuce and other vegetables.
Asian Rice Noodle Salad
For your next lunch or dinner, consider an Asian rice noodle salad. If you enjoy Asian cuisine, this salad can be a good substitute for fast food takeout.
When veggies and noodles are served in equal amounts, Asian rice noodle salads make for healthful dinners. You may make your salad or bowl more unique by performing the following:
- 1 cup of noodles should be cooked.
- Mix the noodles with at least 1 cup of sautéed veggies (such as cabbage, bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms, or any other vegetables of your choosing).
- For protein, add diced chicken, scrambled eggs, or tofu.
- Add in the light soy sauce.
When the weather turns cold, a salad is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. There are, however, numerous ways to make your meals both healthful and satisfying. For a little protein boost, consider topping salad greens with warm quinoa. A citrus salad with crispy quinoa and avocado will satisfy you at any time of year.
Learn more: Panna Cotta Recipe