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30 Weight Loss Dinner Recipes For Super Busy Weeknights

When you have a jam-packed schedule, these light recipes are ready in under 40 minutes.
seared ginger cumin swordfish with blueberry avocado salsa

They say dinner is the meal to watch out for when watching your weight. We are here to help you end the day on a good note. We've gathered up healthy weight loss dinner recipes that require very little hands-on work and take 30 to 40 minutes in total. But they are all packed with nutrients and light ingredients, so you can avoid overeating and going to bed with a burdened digestion.

Once you see how easy it is to cook your way to thin, check out these ways to lose weight in 4 seconds.

1

Crispy Cod with Sweet Potato Fries

crispy cod with sweet potato fries in a basket
Brie Passano

Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 282 calories, 11 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 235 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 23 g protein

If you're looking to take an average fish and chips dinner to the next level, this recipe is sure to do the trick. This flaky, delicious white fish is made in the oven instead of deep fried, so it's healthy and quick.

Get our recipe for Crispy Cod with Sweet Potato Fries.

2

Sheet-Pan Italian Pork Chops

sheet pan pork chops
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2
Nutrition: 702 calories, 52 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 832 mg sodium, 16 g carbs, 6 g fiber, 4 g sugar, 47 g protein

Not only do you get a well-rounded meal with the meat and veggies in this recipe, but these pork chops can be prepped and in the oven in minutes. And did we mention they're keto?

Get our recipe for Sheet-Pan Italian Pork Chops

3

Butter-Baked Salmon and Asparagus

keto butter baked salmon with asparagus on the side horizontal
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2
Nutrition: 586 calories, 52 g fat (16 g saturated fat), 721 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 26 g protein

Even though this is the ultimate no-frills recipe, it doesn't look it when it comes out of the oven. All you have to do is trim the asparagus and melt the butter before letting your oven do the rest.

Get our recipe for Butter-Baked Salmon and Asparagus

4

Seared Ginger-Cumin Swordfish With Blueberry-Avocado Salsa

seared ginger cumin swordfish with blueberry avocado salsa
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Total Time: 27 minutes
Serves: 2
Nutrition: 392 calories, 23 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 536 mg sodium, 6 g fiber, 3 g sugar, 35 g protein

This swordfish is taken to the next-level with this blueberry-avocado salsa. It takes less than 5 minutes to prep and the dynamic flavors give a whole new identity to the swordfish underneath.

Get our recipe for Seared Ginger-Cumin Swordfish

5

Zucchini Noodles with Bacon Vinaigrette

keto zucchini noodles in bowl with fork
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 1
Nutrition: 296 calories, 22 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 637 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 16 g protein

If you're looking for a breakfast-for-dinner type of deal, this zoodles recipe is the one for you. It takes nearly no time to make and brings in the bacon and egg flavors that pasta carbonara has, but with a zucchini noodle twist.

Get our recipe for Zucchini Noodles with Bacon Vinaigrette.

6

Pesto Chicken

keto pesto chicken
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2
Nutrition: 834 calories, 56 g fat (26 g saturated fat), 1,235 mg sodium, 9 g fiber, 8 g sugar, 66 g protein

This one-pan recipe is easy to make and packed with flavor. Chicken is your best friend when it comes to cooking up something light in no time, and can really wear a thousand different (flavor) hats.

Get our recipe for Pesto Chicken

7

Warm Kale-Quinoa Salad

kale quinoa salad with apples and walnuts in two white bowls
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 377 calories, 11 g fat (4 g saturated), 299 mg sodium, 17 g fiber, 14 g sugar, 13 g protein

Three superfoods, zesty flavors, and crunch to boot—what else could you possibly want in a salad. The fact that it comes together in under 30 minutes is an added bonus, so you can practice self-care on busy weeknights, too.

Get our recipe for Warm Kale Quinoa Salad.

8

Garam Masala Chicken Skewers

garam masala chicken skewers with dip on wood serving board
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2
Nutrition: 233 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated), 154 mg sodium, 12 g fiber, 12 g sugar, 15 g protein

This chicken on a stick recipe was dreamt up as a healthy appetizer, but how easy would be to throw a side of crunchy steamed veggies in the mix, or a nice overn-roasted brussels sprouts, and call it a delicious dinner? Garam masala will become your favorite flavor-carrier, especially after you dip these puppies in the punchy jalapeno-yogurt sauce for contrast.

Get our recipe for Garam Masala Chicken Skewers

9

Avocado Soup

keto avocado soup in bowl with spoon
Waterbury Publications, Inc.

Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6
Nutrition: 324 calories, 29 g fat (5 g saturated), 758 mg sodium, 14 g sugar, 7 g fiber, 2 g protein

Soup for dinner often seems impossible because we have this notion of soups that sit and simmer on the stove for hours. But throw that silly stereotype to the wind a whip up this uber-healthy soup packed with good fat in just under 30 minutes. Don't let the ingredient list scare you, this is a very simple chilled soup. Take the spice suggestions as a starting point and use whatever spices you have in your cabinet.

Get our recipe for Avocado Soup.

10

One Pot Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice

lemon herb chicken rice
Courtesy of Le Creme De La Crumb

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.

11

Easy Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Glaze

pork chops with sweet and sour glaze
Courtesy of Damn Delicious

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?

Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.

12

Creamy Chicken Quinoa Broccoli Casserole

quinoa casserole
Courtesy of Pinch of Yum

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.

13

Mexican Tortilla Casserole

mexican tortilla casserole
Courtesy of Savory Simple

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.

14

Simple Sesame Chicken

sesame chicken
Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

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.

15

Harissa and Citrus Baked Salmon

harissa salmon
Courtesy of Sweet Phi

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 light dinners. Harissa, a paste made with hot chili peppers, garlic, and smoky spices, joins forces with citrus fruits and onions to create this unique—yet easy to make—salmon dish. To round out your meal, 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.

16

5-Ingredient Butternut Squash, Arugula, and Goat Cheese Pasta

butternut squash pasta
Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

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.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

17

3-Ingredient Salmon

3 ingredient salmon
Courtesy of The Healthy Maven

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.

18

One Skillet Lemon Chicken and Red Potatoes

lemon chicken and potatoes
Courtesy of Chelsea's Messy Apron

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.

19

5-Ingredient Easy White Chicken Chili

white chicken chili
Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

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. Instead, top off your bowl with some avocado and fresh cilantro.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

20

12-Minute Peanut Noodles

peanut noodles
Courtesy of One Ingredient Chef

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 so much 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.

Get the recipe from One Ingredient Chef.

21

Crockpot Quinoa Chicken Primavera

quinoa chicken primarvera
Courtesy of Pinch of Yum

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

For a set-it-and-forget-it weekend dinner, try this crockpot quinoa recipe. The ancient 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. Its 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.

Get the recipe from Pinch of Yum.

22

One Pot Pasta

one pot pasta
Courtesy of Damn Delicious

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.

Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.

23

Fettuccine Carbonara with Green Beans

fettuccine carbonara
Courtesy of My Name is Yeh

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 when it comes to weight loss dinner recipes, 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. Boil a pot to increase the nutrition of these healthy dinner ideas!

Get the recipe from My Name is Yeh.

24

One Pot Lemon Orzo Shrimp

lemon orzo shrimp
Courtesy of Damn Delicious

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.

Get the recipe from Damn Delicious.

25

Skillet Chipotle Chicken Enchilada Bake

chicken chipotle enchilada
Courtesy of What's Gaby Cooking

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.

Get the recipe from What's Gaby Cooking.

26

Single Serving Tomato Sourdough Soup

tomato sourdough soup
Courtesy of My Name is Yeh

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 yourself and 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.

27

Maple-Soy Glazed Salmon

maple soy glazed salmon
Courtesy of Cooking Classy

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.

28

Gnocchi Skillet with Chicken Sausage and Tomatoes

maple skillet
Courtesy of The Kitchn

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.

Get the recipe from The Kitchn.

29

5-Ingredient Chili

5 ingredient chili
Courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

Total Time: 50 min
Serves: 4
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 one of the easiest weight loss dinner recipes 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 its heat from a compound called capsaicin, one of nature's most potent fat burners.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

30

Savory Steel Cut Oatmeal

savory steel cut oatmeal
Courtesy of Cookie and Kate

Total Time: 35 min
Serves: 4
Nutrition: 295 calories, 13.4 g fat (4.3 g saturated fat), 287.5 mg sodium, 29.8 g carbs, 5 g fiber, 0.2 g sugar, 13.7 g protein

If you've never considered oatmeal for dinner, it's definitely time to. This savory oatmeal recipe is perfect for any meal because it's quick to make, packed with protein, and completely delicious.

Get the recipe from Cookie and Kate

Additional reporting by Rachel Linder.

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