20 Weight Loss Meals That Actually Taste Amazing

From turkey burgers to tacos, these simple meal ideas will rev up your metabolism and help you feel full all day long.

weightloss-recipes
Photo: Greg DuPree

Losing weight—and keeping the pounds off—isn't a quick or easy process, but a few simple diet tricks can be a big help along the way. Our favorite? Eating lots of protein, fiber, and healthy carbs, which keeps you feeling energized and satisfied and may even boost your metabolism.

If you're not sure how to work superfoods for weight loss into your daily menu, start with these healthy and simple meal ideas.

01 of 20

BBQ Turkey Burgers

This spin on burgers is a delicious way to cut back on beef and eat more turkey, an excellent source of lean protein and a favorite weight-loss food of Jillian Michaels. "Lean protein helps you stay fuller for longer," Michaels told Health. "It has the amino acids that are the building blocks for muscle."

BBQ turkey burgers recipe:

In a medium bowl, gently mix together turkey, garlic, paprika, and cumin. Form turkey into 4 (4-inch) patties; season with salt and pepper. Heat grill to medium-high; cook, turning once, until burgers are just cooked through (about 7 minutes per side). Serve with desired toppings and buns.

02 of 20

Energy-Revving Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the trendiest foods around, and for good reason: This earthy whole grain, which hails from South America, is packed with protein and fiber—a perfect combination for those who are looking to stay energized and keep their metabolism humming.

Add some black beans (another excellent source of fiber), fresh veggies, and fragrant spices and you have a satisfying dish. Make it as a main meal for lunch or as a side dish with dinner.

Try this recipe: Energy-Revving Quinoa

03 of 20

Spinach-Quinoa Breakfast Salad With Berries and Granola

Looking for a healthy start to your day but tired of oatmeal? Try a breakfast salad! If you struggle to get your greens in, adding them to your breakfast is the best way to get all of those nutritious vitamins and minerals you're looking for, plus quinoa that provides about one-third of your daily recommended protein intake.

Trust us, all the makings of your morning parfait help create an unexpected dish with pleasing crunch and pretty pops of color.

Spinach-quinoa breakfast salad with berries and granola recipe:

Whisk together vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, and salt in a small bowl. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking constantly, until fully emulsified. Spread yogurt evenly on 2 plates. Toss together spinach, quinoa, strawberries, blueberries, and half of the dressing in a medium bowl. Divide salad between plates, on top of yogurt. Drizzle with remaining dressing, and sprinkle with granola.

04 of 20

Steakhouse Salad

A juicy steak might be last on your list of weight loss meals, but when portioned properly in a salad, you can have a delicious satisfying meal with less than 350 calories for serving.

This recipe is all the best parts of a steakhouse meal—succulent beef, fresh spinach, and crispy potatoes in salad form. Go ahead, indulge—without breaking your weight loss meal plan.

Steakhouse salad recipe:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the pepper and salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast potatoes until golden and tender, about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through baking.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle beef with 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sear beef until browned on all sides and a thermometer registers 130°F to 135°F (for medium-rare), about 3 minutes per side, or to desired degree of doneness. Transfer beef to a plate; let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Return skillet to medium-high. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons water and Worcestershire, and cook 1 minute. Remove mushroom mixture. Add tomatoes to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until blistered, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir together buttermilk, vinegar, 1/2 cup of the blue cheese, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Toss spinach in butter milk mixture. Serve spinach topped with potatoes, beef, mushroom mixture, and tomatoes; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup blue cheese.

05 of 20

Salmon Noodle Bowl

This 30-minute weight loss meal offers a bounty of nutritious and metabolism-boosting ingredients in a single bowl. The salmon and avocado are loaded with healthy fats, and the noodles and veggies are high in fiber.

Asparagus is the unsung hero of this dish, providing a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, folate, and iron.

Try this recipe: Salmon Noodle Bowl

06 of 20

Cauliflower and Mushroom Tacos

Craving your favorite tacos, but don't want to break your weight loss plan? Give these cauliflower tacos a try. Packed with flavor, you won't miss the meat.

Taking only 25 minutes to make, these cauliflower-based tacos are less than 300 calories per serving and give you the boost of crunchy veggies we all could use.

Try this recipe: Cauliflower and Mushroom Tacos

07 of 20

Black Bean and Chicken Chilaquiles

This traditional Mexican breakfast food requires only eight ingredients, including chicken, queso blanco, and corn tortillas. It may look sinful, but because it's baked (rather than fried), it comes in under 300 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat per serving.

The key ingredient for weight-conscious eaters? Black beans. Their high protein and fiber content make them another weight-loss superfood.

Black bean and chicken chilaquiles recipe:

Preheat oven to 450°. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add chicken; cook 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl; stir in beans. Add broth and salsa to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside. Place half of tortilla strips in bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer half of chicken mixture over tortillas; top with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture. Pour broth mixture evenly over chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until tortillas are lightly browned and cheese is melted.

08 of 20

Cioppinno

At only 275 calories per serving, cioppinno, a shellfish-laden Italian stew will keep you feeling full for long after you've eaten. Providing more than half your daily recommended protein intake, the shellfish in this stew makes for the perfect pescatarian-friendly weight loss food.

The flavor in cioppinno is so rich, you wouldn't believe you'd be eating such a healthy, weight loss-friendly meal.

09 of 20

Harissa Shakshuka With Spinach and Chickpeas

Eggs are a popular weight loss-food. High in protein and low and fat, they're perfect for a breakfast for dinner style meal like this Mediterranean shakshuka.

The Mediterranean diet is shown to be great for your gut, reducing inflammation, and promoting heart health—a perfect combination for losing weight and boosting longevity.

Try this recipe: Harissa Shakshuka With Spinach & Chickpeas

10 of 20

Italian Garbanzo Salad

The star of this dish is the "powerhouse" food: garbano beans, otherwise known as chickpeas, which are packed with key vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. An Italian garbanzo salad is a vegetarian salad that features some of the Mediterranean diet's key pillars: low-fat dairy (represented here by feta cheese), fresh vegetables (tomato, onion), healthy fats (olive oil), and lean protein (chickpeas). Best of all, one serving (1 cup) is only 159 calories!

11 of 20

Poached Salmon With Yogurt-Tarragon Sauce

With 17 grams of protein per 3 ounce serving and low in fat, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), salmon is a longtime favorite weight loss food, boosting your metabolism while naturally regulating your appetite hormones.

Top off your poached salmon with a delicious yogurt-based sauce such as a yogurt-tarragon sauce for extra flavor. Because the salmon cooked in liquid, you don't have to worry about the fish tasting dry.

12 of 20

Crisp Chickpea Slaw

Make this slaw for your weekday lunch or weekend picnic. Trust us: You and your picnic buddies won't be able to tell how healthy it is.

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are loaded with resistant starch, which helps with weight loss. They're also a great source of protein and fiber, which will help keep you full until dinnertime.

Crisp chickpea slaw recipe:

In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, vinegar, water, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the chickpeas, cabbage, celery, and carrots; toss to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Transfer slaw to a plastic food-storage bag or 2 portable containers. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving; slaw keeps up to 3 days.

13 of 20

Ham, Sliced Pear, and Swiss Sandwich

The idea is all about flavors and textures: Swiss cheese, pear, lean ham, yogurt-dill sauce, and pumpernickel bread. And it's loaded with filling fiber! One sandwich provides nearly one-third of your recommended daily intake of fiber, with the pear alone providing 15%.

Tip: Don't peel the skin; that's where most of the fiber-goodness is found. If you're looking for a hot meal, lightly spray the outsides of the bread with olive oil spray and press in a pan to make a grilled panini.

Try this recipe: Ham, Sliced Pear and Swiss Sandwich

14 of 20

Egg and Rice Salad

Brown rice is a hearty, fiber-rich grain that's low in calories and high in resistant starch. A protein-packed hard-boiled egg and walnuts, which contain healthy omega-3 fats, pair together to help keep you full.

15 of 20

Eggs Benedict With Smoked Salmon and Avocado Sauce

Eggs Benedict is a delicious and classic brunch dish. But English muffins topped with buttery hollandaise sauce isn't exactly the kindest combo for your waistline. For a healthier twist on your favorite savory a.m. treat, try this version: We've swapped the empty-carb English muffins for portobello mushrooms, and piled on an omega-3-packed serving of smoked salmon. Instead of hollandaise, we use a creamy avocado sauce, which also adds a dose of healthy fat.

16 of 20

Asian Rice Noodle Salad

An Asian rice noodle salad is the perfect healthy weight loss meal idea. Packed with filling and fat-burning brown rice, along with heart-healthy cabbage. Bonus: If you have leftover coleslaw, you can sauté it with garlic and ginger, then add a protein ( chicken, egg, soy) for a faster-than-takeout mu shu.

17 of 20

Chard and Mushroom Butternut Noodles

Who says you have to totally forgo pasta to lose weight? Swap starchy-carb noodles with butternut squash for a lower-calorie dish.

Full of veggies and and healthy fats to aid in weight loss, these butternut noodles are a great alternative to empty-calorie wheat pasta, and the parmesan cheese helps it feel indulgent—at less than 300 calories per serving.

Try this recipe: Chard And Mushroom Butternut Noodles

18 of 20

Citrus Salad With Crispy Quinoa

When the weather gets chilly, a salad likely isn't the first thing you crave. Instead, you're probably tempted to indulge on not-so-healthy comfort foods. But good news: There are plenty of ways to make your meals both nutritious and satisfying. Try topping salad greens with warm quinoa for a small boost of protein (and comfort). No matter what time of year, a citrus salad with crispy quinoa and avocado is sure to hit the spot.

19 of 20

Sausage and Kale Strata

A delicious casserole doesn't have to leave you feeling weighed down and sluggish. This sausage and kale strata casserole is less than 300 calories per serving and is sure to please any dinner guest.

Full of fiber and health-boosting nutrients, kale is an excellent leafy green to add to any meal to keep you feeling satiated, and of course, lose weight.

Try this recipe: Sausage & Kale Strata

20 of 20

Lentil Soup With Toasted Pita

Brothy, thin soups may not fill you up, but lentil soup with whole-grain toasted pita wedges will keep you full until your next meal. Lentils are chock-full of fiber with over 15 grams per cup.

Try this recipe: 15-minute lentil soup

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