From turkey burgers to tacos, these simple recipes will rev up your metabolism and help you feel full all day long.
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 these calorie-burning ingredients into your daily menu, start with these recipes. They all include at least one weight-loss superfood, and, best of all, they can be made in 30 minutes or less!
1. 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.”
2. 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.
Black beans (another excellent source of fiber), fresh veggies, and fragrant spices round out this satisfying dish. Make it as a main meal for lunch or as a side dish with dinner.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
At only 275 calories per serving, this 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 this stew is so rich, you wouldn’t believe you’d be eating such a healthy, weight loss-friendly meal.
9. Harissa shakshuka with spinach & chickpeas
10. Italian garbanzo salad
This vegetarian salad 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. Poached salmon with yogurt-tarragon sauce
With 35 grams of protein and low in fat, salmon is a longtime favorite weight loss food, boosting your metabolism while naturally regulating your appetite hormones.
This salmon, topped off with a delicious yogurt-based sauce, is filling and packed with flavor. Because it’s cooked in liquid, you don’t have to worry about the fish tasting dry.
12. 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.
13. Ham, sliced pear, and Swiss sandwich
This recipe 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.
14. Egg and Rice Salad to Go
This 10-minute salad-to-go combines fresh flavors and colors from green beans, a hard-boiled egg, plums, walnuts, and brown rice.
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. 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. Asian rice noodle salad
This super-easy Asian rice noodle salad is the perfect healthy weight loss meal to whip up when you’re short on time. It’s really light, but still 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. 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.
18. 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, this citrus salad with crispy quinoa and avocado is sure to hit the spot.
19. 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.
20. Greek lentil soup with toasted pita
Brothy, thin soups may not fill you up, but this thick 30-minute Greek soup with whole-grain pita wedges will keep you full until your next meal. The dish is full of satiating lentils, which provide more than one-third your daily recommended intake of protein. Plus, you get 5.3 grams of resistant starch per bowl.