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Last Updated on December 14, 2020

15 Healthy Recipes for Dinner (For Fast Weight Loss)

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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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                                Published on August 24, 2021

                                What Is a Whole Food Diet And Does It Really Work?

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                                What Is a Whole Food Diet And Does It Really Work?

                                I’ve been a dietitian now for a long time (more years than I care to mention), and if there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that fad diets are best avoided. This is why I’m so pleased that whole food diets are being talked about more and more.

                                Rather than a “diet,” I prefer to think of a whole food diet as a way of life. Eating this way is balanced, and it is a great way to support your all-around body health and longevity. Plus, it’s delicious and—in my opinion—not limiting either, which is a massive bonus.

                                A well-balanced diet follows some fairly basic principles and, in essence, consists of plenty of the following:

                                • Fruit
                                • Vegetables
                                • Whole grains
                                • Lean protein
                                • Nuts
                                • Water

                                This is essentially all a whole food diet is. Unfortunately, there isn’t an accepted definition of the whole food diet, which means that there are some highly restrictive versions around and some involve principles to frame your diet around rather than strict rules.

                                Read on to learn more about the whole food diet as a framework for eating rather than a strict rule book of dos and don’ts that restricts your lifestyle.

                                What Is a Whole Food Diet?

                                By definition, a whole food diet consists of eating foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. It’s easy to get lost in a quagmire of organic, local, or pesticide-free, but a whole food diet is basically food in its most natural form. Obviously, spices can be ground and grains can be hulled, but you get the idea. You eat the whole food rather than what’s left after being refined or processed.

                                In other words, it involves a lot of cooking because whole foods do not involve anything processed. That means no premade sauces, dips, or convenience foods like chocolate bars, sweets, or ready-meals. It also includes things like tinned vegetables and white bread.

                                Why? Processed and convenience foods are often high in salt, saturated fat, and additives in comparison to anything homemade. Because of this, their toll on your overall health is higher.

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                                Can Other Diets Also Be Whole Food Diets?

                                Here’s where it gets confusing—yes, other diets can also be whole food diets. Eating a whole food diet is a lifestyle choice, but many other diets can exist within a whole foods construct. So, diets like the MIND Diet and Mediterranean Diet are also whole food diets.

                                For example, here are the foods involved in the MIND Diet:[1]

                                • Green, leafy vegetables five times a week
                                • Five or more different colored fruits and vegetables every day.
                                • Berries five times a week
                                • Five or more servings of nuts a week
                                • Olive oil five times a week
                                • Whole grains five times a week
                                • Oily fish twice a week or take an algae-based omega-3 supplement
                                • Legumes and pulses five times a week
                                • White meat/mix of plant-based proteins twice a week
                                • Vitamin D supplement
                                • Minimally processed foods
                                • No more than one glass of wine a day
                                • One or two coffee or tea a day max
                                • Two liters of water a day

                                That’s pretty much a whole food diet, right? As long as any meat or plant-based proteins are as unprocessed as possible, then it can be a whole food diet.

                                Other diets, like a vegan diet, for instance, could be whole food diets or not. It really depends if processed foods are included. Some food substitutes are really heavily processed, so it’s important to read labels really carefully. But it’s only some, not all.

                                And here’s where it gets woolly. If you don’t need to eliminate certain food groups for whatever reason—ethical, health, religion—then a whole food diet can be great. But if you do exclude certain foods, then it could be beneficial to include certain “processed” foods. This is to make sure that you don’t miss out on vital nutrients to keep you healthy.

                                Processed Foods That Are Okay on a Whole Food Diet

                                Many brands of cereals are fortified with B vitamins, which can be hard to come by on a plant-based diet.

                                For example, vitamin B12 (needed for maintaining a healthy nervous system, energy, and mood-regulation), is largely found in animal sources. It is something that those on a plant-based diet need to keep an eye on, as studies show that around 20% of us are deficient. And we also know that 65% of vegans and vegetarians don’t take a B vitamin supplement.[2]

                                So in that case, choosing a cereal fortified with B vitamins would be a good option, if done wisely. By that I mean use your discretion and check the labels, as many brands of cereals are packed with sugar and additives. But you can strategically choose minimally processed foods using a whole foods mentality.

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                                As a rule of thumb, if there are any ingredients that you can’t pronounce, don’t understand, or sound artificial, they probably are best avoided.

                                Benefits of a Whole Food Diet

                                In a 2014 analysis by Yale University, they concluded that “a diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention.”[3]

                                A diet rich in fruit and vegetables or other high-fiber foods like whole grains and nuts is really important in maintaining good long-term health and preventing health problems like diabetes and cancers. These kinds of foods also help our bodies to cope and control the effects of inflammation.

                                In fact, one review from 2019 stated that “diets high in plant foods could potentially prevent several million premature deaths each year if adopted globally.”[4] This is a big endorsement for a whole food diet.

                                Whole Foods and the Gut

                                Whole foods are loaded with fibers that are sometimes lost during processing or refinement. Fiber is essential for a healthy gut because aside from its traditional “roughage” reputation, it also feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut, providing a whole host of other benefits.

                                They also provide a lot of variety, which the gut loves. The more variety, the better. So, even though you might fall in love with certain recipes, it’s important to mix up the kinds of whole foods you eat to maintain a healthy gut. Aim for 30 different whole foods each week. It’s easier than you think!

                                Whole Foods and the Brain

                                The brain is a really hungry organ, and it uses 25% of the total energy you consume from your food. Everything it needs to function at its best is—you guessed it—a whole, unprocessed food.

                                In fact, the best diet recommended for brain health is the MIND Diet. In one study, it was shown that people who follow the MIND diet closely had a 53% reduced rate of developing Alzheimer’s.[5]

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                                Some of the best whole foods for the brain are:[6]

                                • Oily fish
                                • Nuts
                                • Eggs
                                • Berries
                                • Broccoli
                                • Whole grains

                                Is It Easy to Follow a Whole Food Diet?

                                Once you’ve got your head around having “ingredients” rather than “ready-to-eat” things in your kitchen cupboards, it’s actually very easy. The only issue is the lifestyle and habit changes that come along with it.

                                It is very likely that for many people, following a totally, religiously whole food diet may be unattainable at least some of the time. For example, there are days where you don’t get time to make your lunch or if you want to enjoy social eating. Similarly, people who have young children or who are working more than one job are unlikely to be able to follow a whole food diet all of the time.

                                Sometimes, we put ourselves under pressure to be as perfect as we can with diets like this, which can lead to an eating disorder called Orthorexia, which is a preoccupation with healthy eating.

                                This means that following a whole food diet, in principle, can be healthy and accessible for some people but not for everyone. It also means that those with previous disordered eating, as always, need to avoid any form of dietary restriction or rules around their diet.

                                Is a Whole Food Diet Boring?

                                Absolutely not! The beauty of this way of eating is that there are barely any recipes that are off-limits. If you can make it yourself using natural ingredients, then it counts. So, dig out your recipe books and get familiar with your spice cupboard.

                                Here’s my advice if you’re just starting: stock up on coconut milk and canned tomatoes. You’ll use them all the time in sauces.

                                Best Hacks for Sticking With a Whole Food Diet

                                Here are some tips to help you stick with a whole food diet and develop this lifestyle.

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                                1. Practice Batch Cooking

                                Especially in the beginning, if you’ve been used to eating more convenience-based or packaged foods, you’re likely to feel like you spend the majority of your life in the kitchen. So, I’d suggest getting your cookbooks out and planning around five things to make per week. If you make double, or even triple portions depending on your household, you’ll have enough quantity to last several meals.

                                For example, his could be homemade granola. Make it once, and that’s breakfast sorted for a week. Whole food diet ingredients like oats, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, and seeds are all delicious, and great nutritional resources to keep you feeling full until lunchtime.

                                I also love to make big stews, sauces, and curries that can happily be reheated and added throughout the course of a few days.

                                2. Make Your Own Convenience Foods

                                Sticking to a new way of eating can be really difficult, especially for your willpower. So, it’s very important to make it as easy as possible for yourself.

                                Pre-chop. Pre-chop. Pre-chop.

                                If you’ve got a container of carrot sticks on hand or can happily munch on a few pieces of melon from the fridge, use those—it’s almost easier than grabbing something from a package. This can extend to your other vegetables, too. If you get your veg delivered or buy it from a market, choose a few things to slice after you wash them. That way, if you need a speedy lunch or a lazy dinner, it’ll be ready in minutes.

                                Ready to Try a Whole Food Diet?

                                If you’re looking to maximize your overall health, well-being, and vitality, I’d absolutely suggest a whole food diet. But, as with everything, it’s important to do what works for you and your own lifestyle.

                                Featured photo credit: Louis Hansel – Restaurant Photographer via unsplash.com

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                                Reference

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