Of all the meals you eat in a day, dinner is often the one that’s most challenging if you’re a mum who’s trying to lose weight.
At the end of another busy day, you’re tired, the kids are cranky, and you just need to get something on the table, STAT.
You might have searched online and found some healthy dinner ideas for weight loss – but what you really need are things that are quick and easy to make and that everyone will eat.
Because while you’re up for trying new things, you’re definitely NOT up for spending hours in the kitchen only to have the kids refuse to eat what you’ve made.
I know this challenge well because I’m a mum too – which is why I love sharing healthy dinner ideas for weight loss that the whole family will love.
These dinner ideas are all things that my own family (including my 13-year-old and 11-year-old) regularly enjoy, and they all get my dietitian’s seal of approval!
Here are 10 of my favourite healthy dinner ideas for weight loss:
1. Spaghetti bolognaise
Spag bol is a favourite meal for many families.
And it’s pretty easy to throw together with ingredients you probably already have in your freezer and pantry, like mince, onions, garlic, tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, and some herbs like basil and oregano.
If you don’t feel like making the sauce from scratch, using a premade pasta sauce is totally fine too (despite what you might have been told!).
There are however some simple (and sneaky) tweaks you can make that’ll make your bolognaise even more nutritious.
For example, I like to add extra veggies like grated carrot and zucchini, as well as sliced mushrooms.
I also swap regular wheat pasta for whole grain pasta, and add some grated or Parmesan cheese for extra protein and yumminess!
2. Slow Cooker Lentil Chilli
Legumes like lentils, beans and peas are an amazing source of fibre, which is why it’s recommended you eat them at least twice a week.
And if you’re looking for a way to get more legumes into your family’s diet, this Lentil Chilli recipe is a firm favourite in my household.
Simply add lentils, onion, red capsicum, carrot, garlic, chilli powder, cumin, paprika, tomatoes, tomato paste and vegetable stock to your slow cooker and stir well to combine.
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, depending on the strength of your slow cooker. Once it’s cooked through, add kidney beans and stir to combine. Serve with avocado and coriander, and enjoy!
Pop this chilli on at lunchtime, and you’ll have a delicious and healthy meal ready to dish up at dinner time.
3. Healthy Beef Stir Fry
I don’t know about you, but I love a Chinese takeaway.
And with yummy Chinese flavours and lots of nourishing veggies, this Healthy Beef Stir Fry is a great homemade alternative.
Stir frying is an ideal way to cook finely sliced meats and vegetables as it allows you to lightly cook the vegetables while still retaining some of their lovely crunch.
It also uses a very small amount of oil – just enough to lightly coat the wok.
Taking just 10 minutes to cook, you’ll have a delicious and healthy dinner that the whole family will enjoy!
4. Ginger Coriander Salmon Burgers
Fresh, tinned, smoked – salmon is a wonderfully nutritious food no matter which way it comes.
As an oily fish, it’s a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and support a healthy heart.
And if you want to get more salmon into your family’s diet, these Ginger Coriander Salmon Burgers are a great dinner option.
There’s a little bit of prep work involved, but once assembled they’re super quick to cook and even tastier to eat.
Serve with leafy green and sliced avocado, or even oven-baked fries or roast potatoes for a spin on the classic fish and chips.
5. Baked chicken with tomatoes, avocado and spinach salad
Chicken is a lean protein that’s ideal to eat at least twice a week.
And this baked chicken recipe is a tasty and simple dinner that is bound to become a regular on your menu of weekday meals.
Even better, it only uses one tray for cooking, so there’s not much to clean up afterwards (winning!).
You can pair it with either a salad or vegetables depending on if it’s summer or winter (or maybe just because you prefer one over the other).
Chopping up the veggies is also a great task you can get the kids involved in (safely of course) to help get them interested in – and therefore more likely to eat – what’s on the table.
6. Quiche or omelette
Eggs are another good source of protein that can be turned into a quick and healthy meal.
While it was once thought that eating eggs might increase the risk of developing heart disease, the Heart Foundation now says Australians can eat eggs without limitation as part of a healthy diet.
One of my favourite ways to eat eggs is to make them into a quiche with grated or canned vegetables, grated cheese and/or cold meat.
An omelette is another quick and easy meal dinner idea that you can adapt to suit your family’s preferences.
For example, you can add chopped tomato, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes or frozen vegetables.
Fresh or frozen spinach is also a great addition, as eating leafy greens has numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and mental decline.
7. Maple Ginger Stir Fry Bowl
When you think of maple syrup, you probably think of pancakes – but did you know you can also combine it with chicken and ginger to make an amazing (and healthy) stir fry dish?
With chicken, veggies and a delicious sauce, this Maple Ginger Stir Fry Bowl is easy to make and something the whole family is sure to love.
I like to serve this with brown rice, although white rice is perfectly fine too.
You can even make a double batch and freeze half for another night when you don’t feel like cooking.
8. One Pot Taco Pasta
As a mum, one-pot meals are my best friend.
That’s because they usually don’t involve a complicated recipe (you basically just chuck everything in a pot and cook it!) – and there’s minimal washing up.
And this One Pot Taco Pasta recipe is a particular favourite of mine because I LOVE mexican food.
It also goes down really well with my family because it has pasta for the kids and meat, which makes my husband happy.
It also has black beans, so it’s a great way to get your family eating one of their two recommended legume serves per week, plus a serve of veggies.
And if they don’t gobble it all up on you, there might even be some leftover for you to enjoy for lunch the next day!
9. Red Salmon Curry
I’ve already spoken about the amazing benefits of salmon – and this Red Salmon Curry is another salmon dish that’s sure to be a family hit.
It’s also another one-pan dish, which makes it a winner in my book!
Simply sear your salmon in a pan, then set aside and add the curry ingredients,
Once the curry is simmering away, you can pop the salmon fillets back in, and in 6 to 8 minutes your delicious and nutritious curry will be ready to eat.
Serve with rice, naan, or pita bread, and steamed vegetables such as broccoli or cauliflower for some extra goodness.
10. Lite ’n Easy
While all the meals above are easy to make, I know that there are probably times when you really don’t feel like cooking.
Which is why I highly recommend having some Lite n’ Easy meals tucked away in your freezer.
Lite n’ Easy is a great choice for an easy and nutritious dinner, as it’s full of real food ingredients without any added sauce fillers, additives or starches.
There are lots of different options to choose from, including my favourites:
31 – Lasagne
82 – Beef Korma
125 – Honey Soy Chicken
244 – Japanese Vegetable Stir-fry with Udon Noodles
249 – Greek Style lentils – even my fussy 13-year-old son likes this one!!
So there you have it! My top 10 healthy dinner ideas for weight loss so you’re never stuck wondering “What should I make for dinner?” again.
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