Looking for healthy dinner recipes that will help you achieve your weight loss goals, while satisfying the tastebuds of the rest of your family? Then look no further.
We have THOUSANDS of healthy, easy and budget-friendly recipes on our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge!
Eating healthy and losing weight doesn’t mean you can’t have delicious healthy dinners the whole family will love….
Should dinner be the lightest meal of the day?
There certainly are benefits to eating a lighter dinner. Late night meals that are either heavy or carb-packed are correlated with increased weight. Plus, eating a heavy meal will give you that sluggish feeling the next morning which will mess with your appetite at breakfast.
In general, the later you eat dinner, the lighter it should be, according to many experts. Choosing a lighter option at dinner (especially if you eat dinner late) will help your body digest and break down the food overnight so you sleep better and wake up refreshed and hungry – which is a good thing!
And you’ll lose more weight! One study found that the time you eat your food can have a huge effect (more than doubling) on the amount of weight loss you achieve.
How can you feel full for longer?
As you may have noticed, some types of foods and ingredients fill up your tummy for longer and break down more slowly. These foods can stop you wanting to eat again soon after a meal, which is perfect for cutting out after-dinner treats, snacks, and desserts. So, when you’re looking for nutritious healthy dinner recipes to lose weight, choose ones that have:
- High protein – Not eating enough lean protein has been shown to increase your urge to overeat high-carb and high-fat foods, leading to weight gain, so where possible, incorporate good proteins like chicken breast fillets and lean beef into your healthy meal plan along with legumes like chickpeas and lentils.
- Wholegrain alternatives – Compared to refined grains, wholegrain alternatives are better-for-you. Carbohydrates that contain more nutrients and more fibre, like quinoa or brown rice over white rice, will help you feel full for longer.
- Healthy fats – Because our bodies burn fat more slowly than carbs, eating healthy fats can help you lose weight by reducing your sugar cravings and ensuring you have enough energy to make it through till bedtime.
Just as importantly, healthy dinner recipes to lose weight should cut back on carbohydrates (especially refined ones) and sugars because these tend to give you a quick burst of energy but break down quickly. That means you’ll have an empty tummy and low energy levels very soon after eating a seemingly big meal. And that’s why you might feel tempted to eat dessert or a sugary snack. Choosing low carb ingredients to satisfy your appetite will set you up for success between dinner and bedtime.
Is it bad to eat before bed?
Generally, yes. There are much better times of the day to eat your food to make sure your body uses up the energy and gets all the nutrients it needs. But if you’re REALLY feeling hungry, your schedule is a bit off, and/or your body is telling you to eat… listen to your body. Try to tune in to what’s really going on. If it’s genuine hunger and it can’t wait till morning, eat! Just make sure you eat something healthy and try to set up your schedule and meal plan so that it doesn’t become a regular habit.
How long before bed should you stop eating?
Here’s the short answer: you should put the food away around 3 hours before you plan to go to bed.
Why stop eating three hours before bed? Eating right before you go to bed (or worse, in bed!) is a bad idea. Here are just some of the reasons why…
- You won’t use all the energy – Since you’re going to spend all night lying in bed, you’ll likely have leftover energy from the food you eat that isn’t burned and is instead turned into fat stores
- You won’t be able to relax – If you eat right before bed, you’ll get a spike of energy right when you’re trying to relax and fall asleep… worst timing ever!
- You’ll get nightmares – Maybe you’ve experienced this before… heavy food in your tummy and/or sugars can give you some pretty weird dreams!
- Your body needs a break – Your body needs to heal and rejuvenate… but if it spends all night trying to digest what you ate just before bed instead of healing and making new cells, you’ll miss out on your “beauty sleep”!
So, stop eating at least 1-2 hours before bed. But ideally, 3-4 hours. That means if you normally go to bed at 10pm, try to make sure dinner finishes between 6-7pm and resist the urge to have supper or snacks before bed.
Want to know more? Read how to stop nighttime snacking!
Healthy dinner recipes
5 healthy pasta recipes
1. Creamy Carbonara
You might have thought that carbonara would be off the weight loss menu due to the high fat content. But that doesn’t have to be the case if you just make a few tweaks here and there, without compromising on taste.
2. Creamy Tuna Pasta
This dish is so creamy and tasty you would never guess it was good for you! Low in fat and high in protein and nutrients, it has all the flavour without the calories.
3. Chicken, Coriander, Avocado and Lime Pasta
Have you got some leftover cooked chicken to use in a simple dinner recipe? Or even go vegetarian and leave out the meat altogether – it’s up to you.
4. Mushroom Kale and Pine Nut Pasta
We know we know, kale is not always the most popular ingredient for the family! However, if you team it up with the right ingredients it can be absolutely delicious.
5. Sausage Pasta Bake
With the veggies well hidden, you’ll be getting high fives all round from the whole family with this meal.
Join the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge to access stacks of family friendly pasta recipes like this. You can try Spring Vegetable Lasagne, Prawn Marinara or the classic Pasta and Meatballs.
5 slow cooker recipes
1. Slow-Cooked Chicken Jalapeno Poppers with Avocado Cream Dip
Make the chicken jalapeno mix for this recipe ahead of time and just assemble the rest of the recipe when ready to serve. Store leftover chicken jalapeno mix in an airtight container for 3-4 days to enjoy for another meal. You can use a slow cooker or oven to prepare this recipe. Get the recipe below!
2. Slow Cooker Beef with Sweet Potato and Pine Nuts
Load the slow cooker in the morning with all the ingredients for this delicious stew and let the cooker do all the work so you have a healthy meal ready at dinner, just 359 calories. This freezes well too – just defrost it overnight in the fridge the night before you want to eat it.
The recipe is available to members of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
3. Slow Cooker Ragu
If ever a sauce was made to be doubled, this is it. Freeze single or family-sized portions to use on a cold night when you come home late. You’ll be so glad you did. Just 314 calories including the pasta (why not add a green salad too?).
4. Curried Chicken and Lentil Soup
Soups really benefit from a low slow cook, and this chicken breast recipe is comforting food at its best. Whether you cook it in the slow cooker or on the stove, it’s winner winner chicken dinner and just 327 calories. Then freeze single serves to use for a quick and easy lunch another day
The recipe is available to members of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
5. Slow-Cooked Seasoned Pork with Crunchy Salad
If you haven’t jumped on the pulled pork bandwagon, consider this your official invitation. You can either cook this in the oven or the slow cooker.
Serve it that night with the tasty coleslaw and it’s just 368 calories.
Why not use a bigger pork shoulder and then use leftovers to top a jacket potato another night, or in a wrap with some avocado, cheese, and leafy greens, or as a topping for your homemade nachos. This recipe comes from the July 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground coriander
- 1/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1 brown onion
- 165ml lemon juice
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 to 2kg pork shoulder, trimmed of fat (serve 100g meat per person)
- Cooking oil spray
- 2 cups purple cabbage
- 2 cups white cabbage
- 1 green apple
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 Lebanese cucumber
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat Greek natural yogurt
- 8 mini tortilla wraps
Method (slow cooker)
- If using a slow cooker: place the first nine ingredients into the cooker and cook it on low for 8 hours. Then follow on from step 5 below.
- Preheat oven to 160C.
- Lightly spray an ovenproof casserole dish with cooking oil spray over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, cinnamon, paprika, ground coriander, and dried oregano. Saute 1-2 minutes until the onion softens. Add in 1⁄2 a cup of the lemon juice and all the orange juice and mix to combine well. Remove mixture from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
- Place the pork into the dish and cover it all over with the juice and spice mix.
- Place some foil over the top of the dish and cover with the lid. Cook in the oven for 3 hours or until the meat is very tender and falls apart when shredded with two forks.
- Allow the pork to cool slightly then pull apart with two forks and combine shredded meat with cooking juices. Prepare the salad by combining the cabbages, apple, onion, and cucumber.
- Combine the yogurt and remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and drizzle over salad, toss to combine well.
- Heat wraps according to packet directions.
- Add some shredded pork (100g per person) and crunchy salad to each wrap and serve 2 wraps per person.
Recipe serves 4.
5 air fryer recipes
1. Air Fryer Mexican Chimichangas – 239 calories per serve
OMG how good to these look? And they taste even better. Whip up these beauties for your next Mexican feast.
2. Perfectly Cooked Air Fryer Roast Lamb & Lemon Greens – 395 calories per serve
The beauty of this recipe is that you can get it on the table in under half an hour! Not bad for a roast lamb dinner. Great when you’re short on time mid-week.
3. Keto-Friendly Air Fryer Meatballs
These super low card keto cheesy air fryer meatballs are absolutely delicious and bound to be a hit with the whole family! You could even serve a side of pasta for the kids.
4. Steak Tortilla Salad – 453 Calories
This tasty and speedy dinner is perfect for mid-week as you can get it on the table in less than 30 minutes.
5. Fried Chicken with Apple Salad – 453 Calories
Did someone say Fried Chicken? This is where an Air Fryer really comes into its own. Crispy, crunchy chicken without all the oil! Delicious!
5 super stir fry recipes
1. Chilli Prawn Pad Thai
Pictured at the top of the page, this is a simple dish that will save you money (and calories) as opposed to having it from the take out menu.
2. Tamari Fried Rice
This Tamari fried rice recipe is a great version of a stir fry favorite. Increase in quantities to serve the whole family or so you have leftovers for lunches. Enjoy it vegetarian or add some meat if you like, such as lean pork or beef.
3. Garlic Ginger Beef Stir Fry
For a quick and easy stir fry that can be on the table in 15 minutes, this Garlic Ginger Beef Stir Fry recipe is perfect. Why not make extra and enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day?
4. Honey, Lemon, And Ginger Chicken Stirfry
This is the sort of thing you can expect to be serving up to your family each night as part of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge. It’s a classic combination of flavors that works so well together. Another delicious chicken stir-fry recipe!
5. Veggie Packed Ginger and Tofu Stir-Fry
If you haven’t got tofu you could always use chicken, beef, pork, or lamb instead.
5 Asian recipes
1. Malaysian Spiced Pork Mince and Noodles
This healthy and flavourful Malaysian Spiced Pork Mince and Noodles recipe has only 5 ingredients and takes just 10 minutes to make. What’s not to love about that?.
2. Slow cooked Asian Chicken in buns!
Tender chicken and full of delicious Asian flavours, this chicken dish is a winner.
3. Peanut Butter Chicken Curry
To get access to this recipe join the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
4. Japanese Miso soup with Chicken and Noodles
To get access to this recipe join the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
5.Thai Beef Salad
5 kid friendly recipes
1. Chicken and Corn Pot Pie
These are super easy to prepare and work well as a make ahead dish – just 316 calories.
2. Turkey Burrito Bowl
Here’s a great recipe for when you are getting organised and doing some meal prep. It packages up well and freezes beautifully, perfect to defrost and reheat on a busy night.
3. Chicken Parmigana
Chicken Parmigiana is a favourite in so many families and now you can create this tasty meal in a healthy way.
4. Lime and Soy Steak with potato and peas
To access the recipe for this healthy dinner join the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge
5. Rice Paper Rolls
Stuff your rolls with whatever healthy salads, meats, herbs and spices that you have on hand. You could also add things like coriander, grilled haloumi, cooked prawns, mint leaves, bean sprouts – anything goes!
How to include healthy dinners the whole family will enjoy
If you’ve made the decision to lose weight and change aspects of your diet, the last thing you want to be doing is making different types of dinners to satisfy different members of your family. The Healthy Mummy’s 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge recipes and meal plans have thousands of easy dinner ideas and are designed so that the whole family can enjoy them and you can stay on track of your weight loss goals.
Loads of the healthy dinner recipes are kid-friendly, with pasta and burger options. What’s more, they are often super easy to prepare, think sheet pan or one-pot dinners, some with 5 ingredients or less. There are time-saving recipes for a quick dinner you can get on the table in under 20 minutes.
See some of these recipes our Healthy Mummy Community rave about 10 DELICIOUS family-friendly RECIPES helping mums achieve HUGE weight loss
How meal prepping can help
We talk an awful lot about Meal Prepping at The Healthy Mummy and on the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge. It really is an amazing way of ensuring you can get healthy family dinners on the table every night, particularly those busy weeknights.
If you think of the time you spend in the kitchen everyday or evening preparing meals, it quickly adds up by the end of the week. And if there’s one thing that busy mums don’t have enough of – it’s TIME. This is where meal prep comes in. By spending some time once or twice per week (or whatever works for you and your family) chopping, cooking and packaging up your meals and snacks you can slice a TON of hours off your weekly cooking schedule.
But you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. Meal prep can be made up of simple tasks like chopping ingredients and storing them in airtight containers, making a batch of healthy snacks from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge or cooking a double batch of your favourite healthy meal, so you can freeze some for another day.
What are the benefits of meal prep?
Oh so many…
- No more cooking in the kitchen every single day. By cooking in batches (for instance you might make a double batch of Bolognese, one to use this week and one to freeze for another family meal next week).
- Save money by buying your ingredients in bulk – it’s often much cheaper if you buy 3kg of chicken breast instead of 500g. Same goes with ingredients like 2kg bags of potatoes, 1kg bags of rice etc. Every little bit of money saved is money in your pocket.
- You’ll have spare time to hang with the kids in the witching hour (when they just want to snuggle up and read a book or play a game), instead of having emotional kids pulling at your legs while you try to cook dinner.
- Avoid the temptation to grab a take out when you’re tired and hungry, knowing there is a healthy meal already made at home.
- You use less electricity and water as you don’t need to cook as often. You’ll have less washing up as you’ll make one BIG mess instead of a mess EVERY DAY!
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