Healthy ways to lose weight

Kick-start your weight loss with affordable, healthy recipes, free workouts and lots of tips to keep you on track!

Reality Checked Diet: Dinner Recipes

Choose one of the 500-calorie dinner options below to round out your healthy diet.

Spinach-and-Avocado Salad

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Lemon-Basil Penne with Squash

  • 2 oz. (2/3 cup) dry whole-wheat penne
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup canned white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Parmesan

Prepare pasta according to package directions; drain. Toss hot pasta with remaining ingredients and serve.

Maple-Dijon Salmon with Broccoli and Couscous

  • 4 oz. salmon
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup dry whole-wheat couscous
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Put salmon on foil-lined cookie sheet. Mix maple syrup with mustard and spread on salmon. Broil for 8 to 12 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer reaches 145°F when inserted into thickest part. Prepare couscous according to package directions, and steam broccoli. Drizzled meal with olive oil and lemon juice.

Chicken with Garlic Potatoes and Green Beans

  • 3 oz. chicken breast
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup cubed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup sliced onion
  • 1.5 cups fresh green beans

Grill or bake chicken until an instant-read thermometer reaches 165°F when inserted into thickest part. While chicken is cooking, in a pan, sauté garlic and oil for 1 minute. Add potato cubes and onion and cook for about 10 minutes, until potatoes are almost tender. Add green beans and cook an additional 7 minutes; serve as a side with chicken.


Grilled Steak and Blue Cheese Salad

  • 4 oz. sirloin steak
  • 6 Tbsp. crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 3 cups romaine lettuce
  • 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette

Grill steak until medium or until an instant-read thermometer reaches 160°F when inserted into thickest part. In a medium bowl, toss remaining ingredients; plate and top with sliced grilled steak.


Chicken-Pesto Sandwich with Tomato Salad

  • 3 oz. chicken breast
  • 2 tsp. pesto
  • 1 whole-grain roll, sliced in half
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. pine nuts
  • 2 Tbsp. light Italian salad dressing

Grill or bake chicken breast until an instant-read thermometer reaches 165°F when inserted into thickest part. Spread pesto on both halves of roll; place chicken between halves to create sandwich. Toss tomatoes, pine nuts and dressing, and serve on the side.

Parmesan Pasta with Asparagus and White Beans

  • 2 oz. whole-wheat pasta (any shape)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 8 spears asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup rinsed and drained canned white beans
  • 4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan

Prepare pasta according to package directions. In a pan, sauté olive oil, minced garlic and asparagus for 4 minutes. Add white beans and cook for another 4 minutes. Toss cooked pasta with asparagus mixture and grated Parmesan.

Black Bean and Zucchini Quesadillas

  • 1 cup zucchini
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 whole-wheat tortillas
  • 2 tbsp. salsa

In a pan, sauté zucchini, finely chopped, black beans, olive oil and cumin for 5 minutes. Place 1/2 zucchini mixture and cheddar cheese on 2 whole-wheat tortillas. Fold in half and put into pan until cheese melts and tortilla is toasted (about 3 minutes per side). Top with salsa and serve.

Spinach and Ricotta Frittata with Italian Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. pine nuts
  • 2 Tbsp. light Italian salad dressing

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and cook baby spinach until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in eggs and egg whites, scrambled, ricotta cheese and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat without stirring for 4 minutes; flip frittata and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Toss romaine lettuce with pine nuts salad dressing. Serve frittata with salad on the side.

Cilantro-Lime Chicken Fajitas

  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • Sliced multicolored bell peppers
  • 3 oz. precooked chicken strips
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 2 6-inch whole-grain tortillas

Sauté onions, bell peppers, chicken strips, garlic clove and cumin in olive oil for 6 to 8 minutes, until peppers are tender and chicken is cooked through. Add cilantro and juice of 1 lime, and toss. Place tortillas on a plate and top with chicken mixture.

Shrimp Fried Brown Rice with Veggies

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 Tbsp. grated ginger
  • 3 oz. precooked shrimp
  • 2 cups frozen stir-fry vegetables

Sauté brown rice, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic clove and ginger in a pan for 3 minutes. Add shrimp and stir-fry vegetables, and cook for an additional 10 minutes until vegetables are heated.