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Last Updated on December 14, 2020

15 Healthy Recipes for Dinner (For Fast Weight Loss)

15 Healthy Recipes for Dinner (For Fast Weight Loss)

Have you ever been frustrated because you just cannot lose weight no matter what you do?

It can be the most frustrating feeling when you want nothing more than to lose weight, yet you always find yourself bingeing on late night dinners. If you can relate to this, know that I understand where you are coming from. Honestly, it is hard to switch from eating pizza at dinner to salad every night.

People are both habitual and emotional by nature. If we try to do too much at once, we set ourselves up for failure.

That is why I believe in finding foods that bring comfort while creating a calorie deficit. You do not need to give up your favorite foods to lose weight. You just have to make the right switches to help you reach your goals.

To do this, we first need to take a look at what foods you currently like.

Do you like pizza? Great! Let us swap some of those carbs for some nutrient-dense but low-calorie options.

Do you love a good Chinese dinner? No problem! Swap that out for some Thai alternatives, and you will get the same taste with a nutrient boost to go with it.

No matter what your taste preferences, I have you covered. Try out some of these delicious but healthy recipes for dinner to save calories on your favorite meals.

1. Collard Wraps

    Collard wraps are one of the best ways to lose weight while saving a ton of calories. Just imagine any type of wrap you enjoy but with a 0-calorie tortilla.

    They are delicious, and they leave you feeling light and fresh in a way that is hard to get with most meals. This makes it one of the best healthy recipes for dinner.

    Learn how to make your own wrap with this guide.

    2. Portobello Pizza

      Are you craving pizza but do not want the calories? This recipe has you covered.

      Not only is it ridiculously easy, but it will conquer your cravings with that delicious home flavor you crave.

      You do not like portobello? No worries! There are plenty of other recipes you can make, such as toast, cauliflower, or veggies as a base instead. The options are endless when you go digging.

      Check out this guide on how to make one.

      3. Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

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        I can hear you over the screen now: “Wait! Does that mean I don’t have to give up my Chinese takeout to lose weight?!”

        Exactly! Except that you will be ordering takeout from your own kitchen in this case.

        Spaghetti squash is an amazing substitute for carb-dense noodles. In other words, you can eat more until you are full without having to worry about overeating.

        It is one of the best ways to fill up on nutrients without going overboard. This is definitely one you will want to save.

        Check out the recipe here.

        4. Cauliflower Mac-N’-Cheese

          Are you craving a good mac and cheese? This recipe takes it to another level by making it both low-carb and vegan.

          Yes, you read that right. This recipe is a keeper no matter what type of diet you might be on. Try adding it in when you get a cheesy craving and see if it takes care of that for you.

          You can make one using this guide.

          5. Sweet Potato Spaghetti

            Of course, we have all had the classic spaghetti squash spaghetti (which, by the way, is a staple for me). However, sometimes it is easy to feel like you need a switch. This sweet potato spaghetti satisfies just that.

            I absolutely love the savory taste of sweet potato and the feeling you get where you just finished eating a huge meal.

            Sweet potato is relatively low-glycemic compared to noodles, meaning it keeps you fuller longer and does not spike your blood sugar. In other words, you will stay satisfied until it is time for bedtime – something I think we can all agree we need.

            Learn how to make one using this guide.

            6. Crockpot Cauliflower Fried Rice

              Sometimes, it is those sneaky grains that can quickly add up in unwanted calories.

              Want to know an easy fix? Trade some of those grains out for low-calorie substitutes!

              Do not get me wrong, grains are not bad at all. However, if you are looking to fill up to the brim while keeping things low calories, subbing grains for vegetables is an excellent way to do that.

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              Check out the recipe here.

              7. Pizza Stuffed Peppers

                Another pizza option!? I know you are getting excited! Stuffed peppers make for an excellent pizza base because they add in an extra boost of flavor.

                Let us be real, half the battle in weight loss is an emotional one. We have an emotional attachment to food. But sometimes, all you need to overcome this is a little taste of home (the healthier version, of course).

                Use this guide to help you make your own.

                8. Black Bean Burritos

                  If you are a fan of a good burrito, then worry no more. This black bean burrito is extremely satiating and delicious.

                  Beans are a great source of fiber, which means that they will keep you feeling fuller for longer without being very calorie-dense.

                  On top of that, they tend to mirror the tastes of some of our favorite comfort foods. This keeps you both psychologically and physically healthy when you are trying to cut.

                  If you need help making one, check out this guide.

                  9. Chipotle Bowls

                    Who does not love a good Chipotle bowl?

                    Choosing the best healthy recipes for dinner involves some flexibility. For this meal, I personally have tried swapping out the rice with cauliflower rice (for those of you who are going low-carb).

                    This meal has a great blend of healthy fats, carbs, and protein that make it a very balanced option.

                    (P.S. Does anyone else ever pronounce it Chip-Pot-el)?

                    Check out the recipe here.

                    10. Sushi Bowls

                      Have you ever had a sushi bowl? If not, definitely try one soon!

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                      I am writing this from So-Cal where they are almost a staple. It is easy to make sushi. Just throw all the ingredients into a bowl and savor the flavor.

                      The cool thing about this bowl is that you (again) have the option to use either cauliflower rice or brown rice.

                      When it is extremely late at night, some people find that the extra blood sugar from carbs can make it hard to sleep. For this reason, low-carb options make a great dinner.

                      Learn how to make one with this guide.

                      11. Bliss Bowl

                        How do I describe a Bliss Bowl to you? Imagine everything deliciously healthy and nutritious mixed into one bowl. Eating a Bliss Bowl is like eating a salad but with more flavor and the same health benefits.

                        Eating healthy foods does not need to be boring, and this bowl is one of the flavorful yet healthy recipes for dinner you can find.

                        Visit this site for a step by step guide on making your own bowl.

                        12. Protein-Style Burger

                          Healthy recipes for dinner do not have to be restrictive. You cannot stand going without your burger? Thankfully, you do not have to. By simply substituting lettuce for the buns, you can have your burger and eat it too.

                          This specific burger is made perfectly juicy with special sauce to give you just that perfect burger joint taste. Making this allows you to savor that burger taste without sacrificing your health.

                          Check out the recipe here.

                          13. Zucchini Roll-Ups

                            If you have any Italian blood in you, I am sure you are craving a bit of pasta right about now. Thankfully, low-carb diets and pasta can still go hand in hand.

                            This zucchini Roll-up is a lasagna based dish that is perfect for people on Keto. The lack of pasta makes it way easier to cut body fat while still enjoying the dishes you crave. Just make sure to take it easy on the cheese if you are not on Keto and looking to cut quickly.

                            Check this out to learn how you can make your own Zucchini Roll-Ups.

                            14. Spaghetti Squash Boats

                              These delicious boats are stuffed with mouth-watering goodness that gives you that delicious, satisfying pasta taste. But unlike regular pasta, this amazing dish will not leave you feeling heavy afterward.

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                              Think alfredo pasta but without all the gunk. With this delicious and healthy pasta recipe, you are in for a real treat.

                              Learn how to make one by checking out this guide.

                              15. Peanut Chicken Zucchini Noodles

                                Last but not least is our peanut zoodle dish. I will admit that I am a little selfish for posting this one. I just LOVE a good peanut sauce, and this one fits the bill.

                                In case you have not yet tried a dish like this, try picturing a satisfyingly-creamy pad thai. Of course, this one uses veggie noodles as a base, so you can feel fresh and light as you hit the pillow.

                                Learn to make this flavorful, health pasta by checking out this guide.

                                Bonus Advice

                                1. Keep Your Blood Sugar Balanced

                                If you are wondering why swapping some noodles and rice could benefit weight loss more, it is because of blood-sugar balance.

                                The more stabilized your blood sugar is, the more your body will be able to burn fat.[1] That is why it is essential to load your body with healthy carbs, fats, and proteins that will keep your blood sugar stable.

                                2. Commit to One

                                With so many diets out there, it can be tempting to bounce from one plan to the next. However, I find that balance is the absolute best way to go.

                                But if you really are set on doing a specific diet, then stick to it. Diets like Keto, Atkins, and Paleo can become ineffective if you mix them with the other types of diet.

                                3. Recognize What Your Cravings Are Telling You

                                Having a craving? Are you craving a particular food that a low-calorie version just will not take care of?

                                Then just have a bite or two. It is far better to indulge in a bite here and there than to have it build up and give in to a binge at some point.

                                If you tend to gravitate towards one specific food, keep an eye on what may be causing it.

                                For instance, if you crave sugar a lot, it could mean your body is out of wack or you are low in chromium. Craving chocolate? It could be a magnesium deficiency.

                                If you listen to what your cravings are telling you, you might be able to stop them in their tracks, making a healthy lifestyle an easy transition. It certainly helps that there are many healthy recipes for dinner, providing you with a lot of choices regarding what you want to eat.

                                Keep it up, and remember why you started. This journey you are on is so worth it!

                                More Healthy Recipes

                                Featured photo credit: Eaters Collective via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Smart Nutrition: Blood Sugar Imbalance

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                                Katelyn Delaney

                                Owner of Revifi -- Fitness Training & Life Coaching

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                                1 Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide) 2 Intermittent Fasting Diet for Beginners (The Complete Guide) 3 10 Quick and Healthy Lunch Ideas That Fit Your Busy Schedule 4 21 Healthy Dinner Recipes to Lose Weight and Gain Muscle Strength 5 9 Meal Planning Apps That Will Help You Eat Healthier

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                                Last Updated on April 19, 2021

                                Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide)

                                Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide)

                                Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

                                I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

                                This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement it into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

                                What Is Intermittent Fasting?

                                As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

                                While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

                                The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

                                Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

                                Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

                                The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

                                It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

                                My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8 PM one evening to 12 PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

                                You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

                                Intermittent Fasting Schedules

                                There are several different fasting schedules you can choose from when you start an intermittent fasting diet. Here are some of the most popular.

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                                The 16/8 Method

                                This method of fasting involves fasting every day for 14-16 hours and eating during an 8-10 hour window. Many people who are getting started with intermittent fasting will find this the easiest schedule to keep. You can eat your last meal around 8 PM and not eat again until noon the next day, for example. This sounds simple, as you’re really only skipping breakfast, but you’re actually fasting for 16 hours in this case![2]

                                16/8 Method of Intermittent Fasting

                                  The 5:2 Method

                                  This fasting method involves eating normally five days each week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories for two (non-consecutive) days. On fasting days, women should eat around 500 calories, and men should eat around 600 calories.

                                  5:2 Diet for Intermittent Fasting

                                    Alternate-Day Fasting

                                    As its name suggests, this type of intermittent fasting involves fasting every other day. As with the 5:2 method, some people find it easier to eat 500-600 calories instead of going on a full fast each fasting day.

                                    Alternate Day Fasting
                                      The Warrior Diet

                                      This type of fasting is considered by many to be the most difficult and follows a 20/4 eating schedule. For most of the day, you limit your food intake to small amounts of fruits and vegetables (low-calorie foods). For four hours each day, you eat large-portioned meals to get in your day’s calories.

                                      Because of the intense nature of this method, it’s only recommended for those who have been on an intermittent fasting diet for a while and feel comfortable with it.

                                      The Warrior Diet

                                        Tips to Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

                                        1. Drink Plenty of Water

                                        Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

                                        2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

                                        The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge, as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

                                        3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

                                        One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[3] like a drink that contains sugar and causes you to overeat.

                                        4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

                                        The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

                                        To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

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                                        5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

                                        While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

                                        Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

                                        You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

                                        How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

                                        Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. After several hours of not eating, your body will use up its sugar stores, which will cause it to start burning fat for energy, a process known as metabolic switching. 

                                        Mark Mattson, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins explains this effect in simple terms:

                                        “Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours…If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and they’re not exercising, then every time they eat, they’re running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.”[4]

                                        Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

                                        This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[5].

                                        Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

                                        Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[6].

                                        The influence intermittent fasting has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

                                        Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

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                                        Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

                                        One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[7].

                                        This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fat-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

                                        Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

                                        Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

                                        Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

                                        Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

                                        How Much Weight Will I Lose?

                                        The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors.

                                        One study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that average weight loss on an intermittent fasting diet was around 9lbs after 12 months, and weight loss was most successful in those who strictly adhered to their chosen diet[8].

                                        Can I Work out While Fasting?

                                        Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

                                        If you are a hardcore athlete who often exercises for an hour or more each day, intermittent fasting may not be the best choice for you as this amount of exercise requires fuel to keep you moving and build muscle. However, light to moderate intensity workouts 2 to 4 times a week should work with intermittent fasting.

                                        The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are strength training workouts. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts. Combine these with lighter forms of exercise like walking, jogging, or yoga.

                                        You could also try this 30-Day Resistance Band Workout Challenge alongside your intermittent fasting diet. It will help you get into an exercise routine while easing into your new eating routine.

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                                        Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

                                        Remember, exercising can increase hunger, so try working out in the hour or two right before you are scheduled to break your fast[9]. Your body will be primed for a meal, and your hunger won’t get the best of you.

                                        Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

                                        First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen.

                                        If you’re trying to build muscle while fasting, you’ll need to ensure you’re getting enough calories, especially through protein, at each meal between fasts.

                                        Is Fasting Safe?

                                        As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting diet.

                                        I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when you aren’t able to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

                                        Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

                                        As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to make sure your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branched-chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

                                        For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

                                        The Bottom Line

                                        Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly and safely. If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with your lifestyle, and give it a go.

                                        More About Intermittent Fasting

                                        Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

                                        Reference

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