Weight Loss

Healthy (But Lazy!) Dinner Recipes

By Dana Leigh Smith

When you have a jam-packed schedule or are just too tired to be bothered with the stove, we know it can feel like a major effort to deal with a guilt-free meal.

We totally hear you—and are here to help you end the day on a good note. So to help you stay on your slim-and-trim track, we’ve gathered up a slew of dishes that require 10 minutes or less of hands-on work—but are all packed with ingredients and nutrients. And once you see how easy it is to cook your way to thin, check out these 25 Ways to Lose Weight in 5 Seconds.

One Pot Lemon
Herb ChIcken & Rice

Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 422 calories, 9.8 g fat (4.3 g saturated fat), 161 mg sodium, 39 g carbs, 1.7 g fiber, 2.2 g sugar, 42.2 g protein (calculated with unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon added salt, low sodium chicken broth)

Seven ingredients, one large skillet and 30 minutes are all you’ll need to make this delicious protein-filled meal. To amp up the fiber count and boost your dinner’s satiety factor, add some chopped broccoli or brussels sprouts to the mix.

Get the recipe from Le Creme de la Crumb.

Easy Pork Chops with
Sweet and Sour Glaze

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 362 calories, 25.2 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 199 mg sodium, 14 g carbs, 13 g sugar, 18.2 g protein (calculated with no added salt and optional 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes)

Chops may not be the leanest cut of pork on the market, but a 3.5 serving of the protein source provides a decent hit of choline, a nutrient that attacks the gene mechanism that triggers the storage of fat around the liver. And by making this Asian-inspired dish at home, instead of ordering something similar from your local take-out joint, you’re saving tons of sodium, calories and sugar—without sacrificing flavors you crave. Looking for even more ideas that don’t sacrifice calories for taste? Check out these 20 Best-Ever Recipes for Zero Belly.

Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.

Creamy Chicken Quinoa
Broccoli Casserole

Total Time: 45 min
Serves: 6
Nutrition: 363 calories, 11 g fat (3.4 g saturated fat), 467 mg sodium, 3.3 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 33.7 g protein

Just because you’re trying to lose weight, doesn’t mean you have to give up savory comfort food—and this cheesy, bacon topped dish proves just that! By using quinoa in lieu of traditional white rice, the talented blogger behind this dish boosts the protein content six-fold and adds an additional 11.5 grams of waist-whittling fiber to her casserole creation. And thanks to the addition of broccoli, this dish provides a fair amount of vitamin C, a nutrient that counteracts cortisol, a stress hormone that promotes belly fat.

Get the recipe from Pinch of Yum.

Mexican Tortilla

Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 8
Nutrition: 424 calories, 13 g fat (6.6 g saturated fat), 324 mg sodium, 57.4 g carbs, 12.1 g fiber, 5.9 g sugar, 22.4 g protein (calculated with black beans)

This recipe relies on canned beans and a combination of frozen and no-chop veggies which keeps prep time to a quick 10-minutes. And after 20-minutes in the oven, this fiber and protein-rich one-dish wonder is ready to make its dinner table debut.

Get the recipe from Savory Simple.

Simple Sesame

Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 435 calories, 21.8 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 611 mg sodium, 9 g carbs, 1.1 g fiber, 2.5 g sugar, 52.8 g protein (calculated without rice and with 2 tablespoons sesame seeds)

It may arrive at your front door in just 30 minutes flat, but if Chinese takeout is part of your weekly dinner lineup, it’s likely making it very difficult to shed unwanted pounds. Don’t believe it? Consider this: An order of sesame chicken from P.F Chang’s will cost you 890 calories and an entire day’s worth of blood pressure-spiking sodium. The solution? This homemade version, on the other hand, has a fraction of the calories and salt and can get on your kitchen table just as quickly.

Get the recipe from How Sweet Eats.

Harissa and Citrus
Baked Salmon

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6
Nutrition: 307 calories, 14 g fat (1.4 g saturated fat), 817 mg sodium, 13.5 g carbs, 9 g sugar, 31.6 g protein (calculated with 32 oz salmon and green onions)

Move over, sriracha, a new saucy condiment is bringing the heat to dinnertime dishes. Harissa, a paste made with hot chili peppers, garlic and smoky spices, joins together with citrus fruits and onions to create this unique—yet easy to make—salmon dish. To round out your meal, follow Sweet Phi’s lead and serve your fish with a side of roasted broccoli. The green cruciferous veggie contains a potent phytonutrient called sulforaphane that increase testosterone and fights off fat storage.

Eat This! Tip

It may be more costly, but it’s worth it to buy wild salmon instead of the farmed variety. Not only is wild salmon leaner than farmed because it’s not plumped up on fishmeal and feed that’s been pumped with hydrolyzed chicken feathers, but it’s also proven to be significantly lower in cancer-linked industrial chemicals called PCBs. Other chemicals found in farmed fish include dioxins from herbicides, the most famous being Agent Orange.

Get the recipe from Sweet Phi.

5-Ingredient Butternut Squash,
Arugula & Goat Cheese Pasta

Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 5
Nutrition: 307 calories, 14.1 g fat (3.8 g saturated fat), 145 mg sodium, 36.3 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 3.4 g sugar, 53.9 g protein

Low-cal, high-protein pasta? Not only possible, it's delicious. You won't even miss the extra noodles thanks to the addition of arugula, pine nuts, goat cheese and butternut squash. Better yet: You'll sidestep overloaded sodium and fat counts found in most pre- and semi-homemade pasta dishes.

Can’t get enough carbs? Check out these 25 Best Carbs for Weight Loss.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.


Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 236 calories, 11.3 g fat (1.7 g saturated fat), 79 mg sodium, 0.6 g carbs, 0.5 g sugar, 33.1 g protein (calculated without added salt)

Want to lose weight without going hungry? Wild salmon is a must-have. Not only is it rich in omega-3s, healthy fats that stave off metabolism-slowing inflammation, but it’s also a great source of protein, a nutrient that increases post-meal calorie burn by as much as 35 percent! Thankfully, it doesn’t take a lot of work to transform a raw fillet into a filling, delicious meal, and this recipe by The Healthy Maven proves just that. We love that it goes from the oven to your dinner table in just 20-minutes flat.
Get the recipe from The Healthy Maven.

One Skillet Lemon
Chicken and Red Potatoes

Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6
Nutrition: 310 calories, 22.3 g fat (5.7 g saturated fat), 195 mg sodium, 10.2 g carbs, 1.4 g fiber, 1.6 g sugar, 18.1 g protein

Yes, you read that correctly, we’re telling you to eat potatoes for weight loss. The reason: An Australian study that measured the satiety index of 38 popular foods found that white spuds were not only more filling and satisfying than things like cookies and cake (no surprise there), they also ranked better than healthy picks like brown rice and oatmeal. As a result, research participants ate less on the days they consumed them. Add this healthy meal to your weekly rotation and it may just be easier for you to say no to dessert.

Get the recipe from Chelsea's Messy Apron.

5-Ingredient Easy
White Chicken Chili

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 460 calories, 6.5 g fat (1.2 g saturated fat), 948 mg sodium, 43 g carbs, 14.6 g fiber, 5.8 g sugar, 53.3 g protein (calculated with cooked shredded chicken)

A chili recipe that comes together in just 15 minutes? It may sound too good to be true, but it’s not! The secret behind the speed? Pre-cooked chicken—it cuts the cooking time in half. To keep the calorie and fat counts reasonable, steer clear of the sour cream and crumbled tortilla chips add-ons. Instead, top off your bowl with some avocado (a fruit that’s been shown to lower BMI and whittle waistlines) and fresh cilantro.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

12-Minute Peanut

Total Time: 12 minutes
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 380 calories, 11.3 g fat (2.7 g saturated fat), 778 mg sodium, 51 g carbs, 9 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 19.6 g protein (calculated with low sodium soy sauce)

There’s nothing not to love about stir-frys. They don’t take any special skills or crazy ingredients and they’re really quick to throw together. This vegan recipe, packed with vitamin-rich veggies, gets the bulk of its flavor from its peanut sauce, which calls for just five easy-to-find ingredients. And speaking of peanuts, find out which peanut butter varieties are the best bets for your waistline in ETNT’s exclusive report: The 36 Top Peanut Butters — Ranked!.

Get the recipe from One Ingredient Chef.

Crockpot Quinoa
Chicken Primavera

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3-4 hours
Serves: 8
Nutrition: 314 calories, 9.3 g fat (1.9 g saturated fat), 362 mg sodium, 33.7 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 3.3 g sugar, 24.7 g protein

If you’re an avid ETNT reader, you likely already know we’re big fans of quinoa—and with good reason. The ancient whole grain is naturally gluten free, filled with fiber and is a complete source of vegan protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino-acids that the body cannot create on its own. It’s primary downside? It’s kind of “meh” tasting when eaten solo. That’s why we love this recipe. The addition of garlic, lemon, herbs, chicken and veggies transform a somewhat-boring grain dish into a meal that’s not only healthy, but hard to put down.

Eat This! Tip

For the nights you really don’t have time to cook, consider ordering one of these 25 Restaurant Meals Under 500 Calories—they’re all sure to keep you on track towards you weight loss goal.

Get the recipe from Pinch of Yum.

One Pot

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6
Nutrition: 464 calories, 18 g fat (7.2 g saturated fat), 711 mg sodium, 48 g carbs, 2.4 g fiber, 26.2 g protein

We’ve never thought to cook pasta, meat and veggies in one stockpot before—but it’s a genius idea! The fewer dishes you use to make your meal, the less time it will take you to clean up after dinner, which means there’s more time for relaxing and unwinding before bed. Oh, and speaking of catching more shut eye, be sure to read up on these 30 Things to Do 30 Minutes Before Bed to Lose Weight.

Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.

Fettucine Carbonara
with Green Beans

Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 407 calories, 17.8 g fat (7.4 g saturated fat), 747 mg sodium, 35.8 g carbs, 1.5 g fiber, 1.8 g sugar, 24.2 g protein (calculated with 8 oz pasta and 1 oz parmesan cheese per serving)

Pasta is considered a no-no by many dieters, but if done right noodles can be a sound addition to any weight loss diet plan. In this recipe, the addition of green beans means you're taking in more fiber- and protein-filled calories and fewer calories from empty carbs. To further tip the ratio of veggies to carbs in your favor, add an extra cup of green beans or another vegetable like bell pepper or asparagus.

Eat This! Tip

Don’t love the idea of eating white pasta? Use a whole grain variety or pick up a box of Banza Chickpea Shells. Banza is made from a combination of chickpeas, tapioca and pea protein so it has three times the fiber and twice the protein of regular pasta.

Get the recipe from My Name is Yeh.

One Pot Lemon
Orzo Shrimp

Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 410 calories, 10 g fat (2.8 g saturated fat), 544 mg sodium, 42 g carbs, 3.1 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 38.7 g protein (calculated with low sodium chicken broth)

This hearty dish has all the makings of a solid, flavor-packed meal: carbs, veggies, shrimp and a plethora of spices. Best of all, it’s completely customizable. Not a fan of tomatoes or peas? Add in your favorite veggies. And speaking of shrimp, the deveined variety is one of Shaun T’s go-to proteins. Discover his other go-to eats for weight loss in our exclusive report 20 Weight-Loss Secrets from Insanity Trainer Shaun T.

Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.

Skillet Chipotle Chicken
Enchilada Bake

Total Time: 30-50 minutes
Serves: 6
Nutrition: 438 calories, 13.6 g fat (7.4 g saturated fat), 906 mg sodium, 44.4 g carbs, 9.3 g fiber, 4.6 g sugar, 34.7 g protein

This cheesy, eight-ingredient enchilada dish comes together with the help of just two pieces of cookware. And thanks to the addition of fiber-filled black beans, this meal will keep your belly full and you brain sharp. The musical fruit is full of antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function.

Get the recipe from What's Gaby Cooking.

Single Serving Tomato
Sourdough Soup

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 1
Nutrition: 98 calories, 3.9 g fat (0.6 g saturated fat), 174 mg sodium, 13.3 g carbs, 1.7 g fiber, 4.4 g sugar, 3 g protein (calculated without added salt)

Treat your taste buds to a comforting, low-cal meal for one. Pair this nutrient-filled soup with our go-to Grilled Cheese with Apples and Bacon for a satisfying duo that will hit your dinner table in 20 minutes flat.

Get the recipe from My Name is Yeh.

Glazed Salmon

Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 227 calories, 1.6 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 904 mg sodium, 19.1 g carbs, 15.8 g sugar, 36.9 g protein

Not only is it possible to make a restaurant-worthy meal with just five ingredients, it’s also extremely easy. Plus, with just 227 calories, this dish is likely far healthier than anything your local Hibachi restaurant is serving up. Pair the fish with some brown rice and some Asian-inspired frozen veggies to pack some extra fiber and nutrients into your meal.
Get the recipe from Cooking Classy.

Gnocchi Skillet with
Chicken Sausage & Tomatoes

Total Time: 10-15 minutes
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 235 calories, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 352 mg sodium, 41.7 g carbs, 1.3 g fiber, 2.4 g sugar, 12.5 g protein

A sausage dish with under three grams of fat!? Woohoo! Pair it with a simple side salad for a veggie-packed meal even your kids will want to eat. And to shop smart for healthy fare your entire family will love, check out these 50 Best Supermarket Shopping Tips Ever.

Get the recipe from The Kitchn.


Total Time: 25 min
Serves: 6
Nutrition: 249 calories, 5.3 g fat (1.9 g saturated fat), 706 mg sodium, 23 g carbs, 9 g fiber, 11 g sugar, 29.4 g protein (calculated with ground beef)

Not only is this chili delicious and super filling, it’s also beyond easy to make thanks to its short ingredient list. But those aren’t the only reasons you should put spoon to mouth: The body has to work harder to digest protein than carbs or fat, so eating a protein-heavy meal like this one can help you burn calories. And to rev your metabolism even further, sprinkle on some extra chili powder. The spice gets it heat from a compound called capsaicin, one of nature’s most potent fat burners. After you’re done eating dinner, check out these 55 Best-Ever Ways to Boost Your Metabolism.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.



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