So much of the time we hear people say, “To lose weight, you have to eat less.”
And yes, in it’s most basic form, weight loss comes down to achieving a calorie deficit.
(aka: burning more calories than you eat)
While achieving this calorie deficit is certainly important, it’s equally as important to fuel your body. Meaning, you still need to eat! You just need to focus on clean eating.
So what should you be eating? What foods will provide you with energy, fill you up, and ultimately aid your weight loss goals?
Let’s get into it!
Please note: Check with your physician before starting any exercise routine or starting any particular diet. See this Disclaimer for more details. This post may contain affiliate links. For details, please visit my Disclosure page. Thank you!
What Makes a Healthy Dinner?
Below I’m going to provide 5 healthy dinners that’ll aid your weight loss goals. But before I reveal them, let’s examine what makes these clean eating dinners so optimal for weight loss.
1. Healthy dinners have slow carbs
Slow carbs simply means carbohydrates that are less processed, such as brown rice, potatoes, corn, and even whole wheat breads. These carbs have extra fiber, which slows down their absorption and reduces a spike in your blood sugar. In turn, this prevents your body from storing fat. It also keeps you fuller for longer.
Dietitians don’t tell you to lay off the white bread and pasta for no reason. Slow carbs are a wonderful addition to any clean eating dinner.
2. Healthy dinners are filled with vegetables
When recipes are loaded with veggies, they tend to bulk out the meal and make more food. This means you’ll fill up on more vegetables, rather than eating more of the higher calorie foods.
More vegetables also equals more nutrients and fiber. So not only will you get fuller, your body will be more nourished. Win-win!
3. Healthy dinners have a lean protein source
Protein is ideal to have with almost every meal because it keeps you fuller for longer as well. When you’re exercising to lose weight, eating protein also helps promote muscle maintenance.
During weight loss, our bodies pull from both out fat stores and our muscles. The goal during weight loss is to try and maintain your muscle mass so you end up looking lean but becoming strong and toned. Eating lean protein is healthy way to preserve your muscles.
4. Healthy dinners are free of added sugars
You’d be surprised how many recipes call for brown sugar or maple syrup. While I typically don’t mind including a teaspoon-full every once in awhile, it’s best to avoid this completely if your goal is weight loss. We get plenty of sugar from other food sources.
RELATED POST: Why is Sugar Bad for You?
5 Clean Eating Dinner Recipes
Clean Eating Dinner #1: Mexican Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Black Bean Skillet
This is one of my favorite clean eating dinners and is a staple in my home. It’s all made in one pan, so it’s extremely simple and has a quick clean up. It contains both chicken and beans for protein and sweet potato for slow carbs. We often add bell peppers for additional veggies too – just throw them in when you start cooking the onions!
Clean Eating Dinner #2: Coconut Curry Lentil Soup
I love anything curry – but store-bought sauces are often extremely high in sodium.
Make this clean curry recipe at home instead! Along with the loads of spices for flavor, it contains lentils as a healthy, vegetarian protein source. To make it extra filling, pair with a slice of whole-wheat bread or even some brown rice!
Clean Eating Dinner #3: Falafel Pita with Yogurt Tahini Sauce
Falafel is a wonderful source of plant-based protein. As you can see, this clean eating dinner recipe is also stuffed with loads of other veggies and herbs. This recipe includes a clean yogurt tahini sauce as well, making it absolutely impossible for your taste-buds to be bored.
Clean Eating Dinner #4: Balsamic Tempeh Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Bowls
Nothing beats a veggie bowl. Since this dinner gets roasted in the oven, it’s super quick to make. This is a perfectly balanced, high-protein meal that’s ideal for busy week nights. And goodness knows we all need quick recipes in our repertoires!
Clean Eating Dinner #5: Herbed Baked Fish with Rainbow Bell Peppers
I love this dinner because it proves that eating healthy doesn’t mean salads at every meal. With fish for lean protein, brown rice for slow carbs, and bell peppers for loads of vegetable nutrients (no salad needed here!), this meal is perfect for those with weight loss in mind.
If you liked this post on clean eating dinners, check out my popular post on healthy pumpkin recipes to try this fall!