8 Easy, Healthy Recipes for Your Favorite Restaurant Meals
At the end of a long day it's hard to resist the siren call of tasty takeout. But restaurant fare can pack hundreds of excess calories, not to mention ingredients that leave you feeling less than your best. The good news? We've got simple recipes for the dishes you crave—from pad Thai and sesame chicken to pizza and pasta carbonara—so you can whip them up at home with healthier ingredients for a fraction of the calories (and cost). Read on to find out what's for dinner.
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Crispy farro and shrimp stir-fry
Try this recipe: Crispy Farro and Shrimp Stir-fry
Asian restaurants tend to drown dishes in sodium-rich soy sauce, but this recipe only calls for three tablespoons of the flavorful ingredient. Even better, the superfood-packed stir-fry replaces white rice with farro, a whole grain that’s also a good source of protein, magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins. Double win.
Healthier beef and broccoli
Try this recipe: Healthier Beef and Broccoli
This Chinese restaurant staple often comes in a gooey sauce that’s loaded with sugar. Our version only calls for two teaspoons of sugar, and uses healthy fat sources like sesame and peanut oils to keep the meal satisfying. Don’t forget to use low-sodium soy sauce, chicken broth, and dry sherry to create the marinade, which packs a major flavor punch for way fewer calories than the original version.
Try this recipe: Grilled Vegetable Pizza
Everybody loves pizza night, but pies piled with cheese may leave you feeling less-than-awesome. Just two slices from your local pizza place can rack up almost 700 calories. Our grilled vegetable pizza slashes the calorie count, and adds vitamin-rich produce and fresh herbs to the dish.
Try this recipe: Healthier Sesame Chicken
This better-for-you sesame chicken packs vitamin C and fiber, thanks to the addition of string beans, yellow peppers, and cauliflower. Add the veggies to chicken that’s been coated in honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, and ginger for a balanced dinner that’s only 335 calories per serving.
Better-than-takeout pad Thai
Try this recipe: Better-Than-Takeout Pad Thai
Who said noodles are a diet no-no? This healthier pad Thai is anything but a carb bomb. The slimmed-down recipe delivers plenty of protein thanks to ingredients like eggs, chicken, tofu, and peanuts. Add fresh veggies like green onions, sprouts, and garlic to gluten-free rice noodles to create a restaurant-worthy dish that can be ready faster than delivery.
Wedge Salad With Shiitake "Bacon"
Try this recipe: Wedge Salad with Shiitake "Bacon"
The old-school American starter isn’t hard to whip up; it’s typically just iceberg lettuce that’s been topped with crumbled bacon, chopped tomatoes, and onions, and a blue cheese dressing. But those few ingredients—mainly the bacon and blue cheese—tack on excess calories fast.
Since bacon isn’t exactly heart-healthy, we remade the classic appetizer with a vegetarian bent, swapping real bacon for shiitake ‘bacon’ bits—AKA mushrooms that get baked until they’re crispy, so they take on a similar smoky flavor. A buttermilk dressing made from avocado oil mayonnaise and a light dusting of blue cheese bring down the dish’s fat content too.
Brown Rice Pasta Carbonara With Pancetta
Try this recipe: Brown Rice Pasta Carbonara With Pancetta
Love pasta? You’re in luck. This healthier take on classic carbonara combines gluten-free brown rice spaghetti, savory pancetta, parmesan, and eggs for a protein-rich dinner that won’t weigh you down like creamy restaurant alternatives. Just one serving offers 15 grams of protein!
Smoky Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili
Try this recipe: Smoky Turkey and Sweet Potato Chili
Ditch calorie-rich restaurant chilis and make your own warming bowl instead. This recipe combines lean ground turkey with antioxidant-packed sweet potatoes that also deliver vitamins A and C, plus fiber, iron, and potassium. Even better, flavorful ingredients like smoked paprika and chipotle peppers will make you forget about the regular add-ins like sour cream and cheese.