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15-Minute Dinners for Weight Loss

You've heard it before: If rapid weight loss is your goal, eating homemade meals almost always trumps eating at a restaurant.
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But let's get real. Very few of us have the free time to whip up a nutritious dinner every night. Besides working a nine to five (that in reality, is more like an eight to six), carting the kids to and from school and squeezing in weekly workouts, there's usually little time for cooking—we get it. Although it may be tempting to just swing by a pizza joint and call it a night, resist the urge! Doing so will stall your better-body progress, and the salty, caloric fare won't do your health (or your family's) any favors.

Instead, whip up one of the seven healthy 15-minute meals for weight loss below. They all call for seven ingredients or less and are beyond easy to make. Add a few (or all) of them to your weekly dinnertime lineup to slim down without a hassle.

Cheese Chili

cheese chili ingredients

Serves 1

Half a can of chili might seem like a small dinner, but each serving delivers 13 grams of fiber and 13 grams of protein, and after you melt in a handful of shredded cheese and a few scoops of Greek yogurt, you've just built a meal that hits all the buttons of satiety: protein, fiber and healthy fats.


½ can Amy's Organic Chili
Kraft Natural Style Queso Quesadilla, 1/4th cup
2 tbsp. Fage Greek Yogurt 2%
1/4th avocado, sliced

To Assemble:

Step 1: Heat chili according to the can's instructions.
Step 2: Top with cheese, yogurt and avocado slices.

Whole Grain Pasta with Spinach, Tomato and Pesto

whole grain pasta ingredients

Serves 2

Pasta is quick and easy to make, but traditional dishes like baked ziti lack vital weight-loss nutrients like fiber and protein and health-boosting add-ins like veggies. This recipe solves all of those problems: it starts with a whole-grain pasta base, which fills you up more than the refined stuff and reduces the risk for chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes; then it calls for spinach, a renowned muscle builder; and it uses tomatoes, which add a major punch of flavor while also protecting against degenerative diseases.


4 oz Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Grain Spaghetti
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 package Hormel Natural Choice Oven Roasted Carved Chicken Breast Strips
2 tbsp. De Cecco Pesto

To Assemble:

Step 1: Cook pasta according to the box instructions.
Step 2: Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Then add and sauté tomatoes, spinach and chicken over medium heat until soft—about 5 minutes.
Step 3: Add drained pasta to a large serving bowl and combine with chicken, vegetables and pesto.

Chicken Burrito

chicken burrito ingredients

Serves 1

What we love most about Evol, aside from the cutesy name (it's "love" backwards), is the company's commitment to making food surprisingly unlike most processed foods in the supermarket. This burrito features free-range chicken, black beans, brown rice, bell peppers, corn and cheese made from hormone-free milk. It begs the question: If Evol can make frozen foods without funky additives, why can't its competitors?


1 Evol Burrito Cilantro Lime Chicken
1/4th avocado, sliced
2 tbsp. Desert Pepper Black Bean Spicy

To Assemble:

Step 1: Heat burrito according to the package's instructions.
Step 2: Top with avocado and bean dip

Teriyaki Veggie Quinoa Bowl

teriyaki veggie quinoa bowl

Serves 2-3

Once you've tried this Asian-inspired meal, you'll never want to pick up the soggy food court variety again. To boost hunger-quelling nutrients like protein and fiber, our recipe calls for quinoa in lieu of the white rice typically served at Chinese restaurants and a ton of vitamin- and flavor-packed veggies that are sure to keep you satisfied through bedtime.


1 cup Eden Organic Red Quinoa, dry
3 tbsp. Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki
1 red onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
½ pound broccoli florets, chopped
½ pound sugar snap peas

To Assemble:

Step 1: Make quinoa according to package directions.
Step 2: Add teriyaki to frying pan and heat over a medium flame. Add vegetables and cover with a lid. Mix occasionally, until the vegetables are soft.
Step 3: In a large bowl, combine and mix quinoa and vegetables.

Stovetop Cheesy Chicken & Vegetables

cheesy chicken and vegetables

Serves 4

You can't go wrong with chicken, veggies, cheese and a low-cal, flavor-packed sauce —it's a combination your entire family is sure to love. The bulk of the dressing this recipe calls for is filled with vinegar and tomato puree, which is a huge improvement on the typical oil-based dressings and sauces on supermarket shelves.


2 cloves garlic
1/4th cup Kraft Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing
12 oz bag, Market Pantry Italian-Style Vegetable Blend, thawed
1 pound skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp. Kraft Shredded Parmesan Cheese

To Assemble:

Step 1: Heat garlic and dressing in a large frying pan over medium heat for one minute and then add chicken. Once chicken is nearly cooked through, add vegetable bend and cover with a lid. Stir occasionally.
Step 2: Sprinkle with cheese before serving.

Soft Veggie Chicken Tacos

veggie chicken tacos

Serves 1, yields 2 tacos

This veggie- and protein-packed meal serves up a ton of flavor for a fraction of the calories and fat of fast-food varieties. To cut cooking time down, we suggest using pre-grilled chicken. Unlike other offerings on grocery store shelves, Hormel's doesn't have preservatives, artificial ingredients, or a laundry list of ingredients, making it a definite Eat This!


1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup mushrooms, sliced
¼ cup red pepper, sliced
2 oz Hormel Natural Choice Oven Roasted Carved Chicken Breast Strips
2 Mission Yellow Extra Thin Corn Tortillas
2 tbsp. Kraft Natural Mexican Style Queso Quesadilla with a Touch Of Philadelphia 2
2 tbsp. Desert Pepper Black Bean Spicy

To Assemble:

Step 1: Add olive oil to a frying pan and heat over a medium flame. Add mushrooms, peppers and chicken. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, until soft and warm.
Step 2: Arrange veggie and chicken mixture on tortillas and top with cheese and Desert Pepper bean sauce.

Spicy Salmon Burger

spicy salmon burger

Serves 2

Never had a salmon burger? You don't know what you're missing. Not only is it the most hassle-free vehicle for delivering seafood to your belly, it's also surprisingly tender and rich. Plus, each burger serves up 680 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, and that goes a long way towards keeping your skin, brain and joints healthy. The spicy sauce adds an additional hit of flavor without a ton of calories.


1 ½ tbsp Hellman's Mayonnaise Dressing With Olive Oil
½ tbsp Sriracha
2 SeaPak Salmon Burgers
2 Arnold Sandwich Thins Flax & Fiber
½ cup arugula
¼ avocado, sliced
1 bag, Alexia Southern Sweet Potato Blend

To Assemble:

Step 1: Combine mayonnaise and Sriracha, set aside.
Step 2: Cook burgers according to the box instructions.
Step 3: Meanwhile, cook the Alexia blend according to the bag instructions.
Step 4: Spread the spicy mayo mixture onto the sandwich buns, top with arugula and avocado slices.
Step 5: Serve burger with a cup of veggies as a side.



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Dana Leigh Smith
Dana has written for Women's Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and countless other publications. Read more about Dana Leigh