20 Weight Loss Meals That Taste Amazing

From turkey burgers to tacos, these simple meal ideas will help you lose weight and feel full all day.

weightloss-recipes
Photo: Greg DuPree

Losing weight—and keeping the pounds off—isn't a quick or easy process, but a few simple diet changes can help along the way. Our favorite: eating lots of protein, fiber, and healthy carbs. You'll feel energized and satisfied.

If you're unsure how to work superfoods into your daily menu, start with these healthy and simple meal ideas that have health benefits beyond losing weight.

And don't forget to see your healthcare provider if you are putting together a weight-loss plan.

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 food of Jillian Michaels, personal trainer, businesswoman, author, and television personality. "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 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

This earthy whole grain, which hails from South America, is packed with protein and fiber—a perfect combination for those looking to stay energized and eat healthily.

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 1 cup of quinoa provides about 8 grams of protein, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that adults consume 50 grams of protein daily as part of a 2,000-calorie diet.

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

When portioned properly you can have a deliciously satisfying steak with less than 350 calories per 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.

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 of 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 buttermilkbutter 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 meal offers a bounty of nutritious 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, according to the USDA.

Try this recipe: Salmon Noodle Bowl

06 of 20

Cauliflower and Mushroom Tacos

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 indulgent, 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 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

Cioppino

At only 275 calories per serving, cioppino, a shellfish-laden Italian stew, will keep you feeling full 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 food.

Traditionally made from the catch of the day, which could be crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels and fish, the seafood is combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce.

The dish can be served with toasted bread and is dipped into the sauce.

09 of 20

Harissa Shakshuka With Spinach and Chickpeas

Eggs are high in protein and low in fat. They're perfect for breakfast for in a dinner-style meal like this Mediterranean shakshuka.

The Mediterranean diet is great for your gut, reducing inflammation, and promoting heart health, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Try this recipe: Harissa Shakshuka With Spinach & Chickpeas

10 of 20

Italian Garbanzo Salad

The star of this dish is the "powerhouse" food: garbanzo 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 can also regulate your appetite hormones.

Top your poached salmon with a delicious yogurt-based sauce such as a yogurt-tarragon sauce for extra flavor. Because the salmon is 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. 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 fiber intake, with the pear alone providing 15% (the USDA recommends women consume 28 grams of fiber daily and men consume 38 grams).

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 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, 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.

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, according to the USDA.

Try this recipe: 15-minute lentil soup

Eating healthy, delicious food while losing weight can be a challenge for many of us. Hopefully some of these 20 meal ideas can help.

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