This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Finding what to eat when trying to lose weight can be challenging. These 7 healthy weight loss dinner ideas can give you inspiration.
It’s good that you’re wondering about what you can cook to lose weight. A lot of people look at dinner all wrong without ever questioning what they’re doing. This can slow down or even stop their weight loss.
Find out what the general rules of a healthy weight loss dinner are and discover 7 ideas you can try out.
What is healthy to eat for dinner?
There are a few things your food preferably does for you throughout the day.
- Provides you with nutrients (vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, antioxidants,…)
- Provides you with the right amount of calories
- Helps you feel full enough so you don’t think about food all day
Dinner is the moment you can get a few more of these things in for the day before you go to sleep.
The thing is that eating the wrong things and eating too much close to bed time can disrupt your sleep. Sleep is important for both your weight loss and health. The closer to bed time the less you want to eat, preferably nothing for a few hours. On the other hand you need certain nutrients.
Preferably you want to get most of your food intake earlier in the day. Certainly so with calories.
Too many fats and protein will stay in your stomach for a long time. Not very handy for sleep.
Carbohydrates will spike your insulin more. Insulin disrupts the production of sleep hormones. This in turn reduces your sleep quality.
A healthy weight loss dinner idea basically consists of some vegetables and a little bit of protein. Enough to keep you full until you go to sleep and to provide you with some nutrients. Not so much that this meal messes with your sleep.
1. Zucchini spaghetti
The first dinner idea on the list is zucchini spaghetti.
By replacing regular spaghetti strings, which are realtively high in carbohydrates and calories, with so called zoodles you can make spaghetti weight loss dinner friendly.
You are left with a tasty mix of vegetables and protein.
If you use premade spaghetti sauce from the store it’s worth taking a look at the nutrition label. There are brands that add sugar and/or artificial sweeteners to their sauce. Both are a no-no when it comes to losing weight and long-term health.
Zucchini is a popular vegetable in the low carb community because it’s such a good replacement of pasta. You can also use it for example to make a low-carb lasagna.
2. Salmon & broccoli
This dinner idea is a bit more suited for you if you’re shorter on time.
It basically just comes down to combining your favorite kind of fish with a portion of vegetables that pairs well.
Fish is a very weight loss friendly source of protein. Vegetables are just great for weight loss for a lot of reasons.
Your dinner doesn’t have to be salmon and broccoli only. Basically every kind of fish can be great. Some vegetables that pair well with fish are green beans and asparagus but you can easily swap them out with others.
3. Veggie soup
Soups are a great dish, especially in the evening.
They can really go in all directions but some vegetables you can use are onions, celery, carrots and leeks.
Chicken is the classic protein to add to soup but you can also use proteins like bits of pork, shrimp and slices of beef.
Soup will also help you hit your water consumption goals for the day.
If you want a bit more texture in your soup you can add some zoodles or other raw(er) vegetables.
4. Greek salad
There are all kinds of healthy weight loss dinner salads but the greek salad is a great example that stands out.
The main ingredients of a greek salad are tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese, and olives. You usually add some salt, oregano, and olive oil to it.
If you stick to these basic ingredients, Greek salad is not the greatest source of protein. You can solve this by adding a side dish of protein or by consuming a little more throughout the day.
5. Grilled chicken and vegetables
Grilling is not the best preparing method in terms of health but it does make some dishes a lot more tasty.
Some examples of great vegetables for grilling are: bell peppers, eggplants, carrots, onions, cauliflower, asparagus, zucchini and mushrooms (not actually vegetables but healthy and great for grilling anyway).
Finishing off this dish with your favorite herbs, spices, lemon and lime juice can take the taste of this dinner idea to that next level.
6. Cauliflower pizza
This next weight loss dinner idea is another popular dish in the low carb community.
Cauliflower pizza can satisfy your pizza cravings without adding tons of refined carbs and unhealthy oils to your diet.
Most of your favorite pizza topping are most likely weight loss friendly. Just make sure the tomato sauce you use doesn’t have any added sugars or sweeteners.
7. Stuffed bell pepper
Bell peppers make for a great ingredient holder. You can eat the stuffed bell pepper both raw or warmed up in the oven.
Some great ingredient ideas are shrimps, onion, garlic, minced meat, olive oil and cucumber,… Season it off and your healthy weight loss dinner is ready.
Some cheese on top can be delicious if you prepare this dish in the oven. Cheese is fairly high in fat and calories so not too much is the message.