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Seven Healthy One-Dish Meals for Weight Loss

December 24, 2021
Seven Healthy One-Dish Meals for Weight Loss - Lark Health

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In this article:

  • Preparing food at home can give you more control over what you eat than ordering restaurant meals.
  • One-dish meals can be part of a weight loss plan if they are easy to make and contain wholesome ingredients.
  • The meals listed here are easy to make. They are easy to fit into a weight loss plan. Each one has complete protein, at least one serving of vegetables, and a moderate amount of high-fiber carbohydrates and healthy fats.
  • Lark can help you make healthier food choices. Lark offers 24/7 coaching to give you tips and guide you towards your weight loss and health goals.

If you want to lose weight and eat healthier, knowing exactly what is in your food can help. And a sure way to know is to make it yourself. That is because you do not always know what is in prepared dishes from restaurants or supermarkets.

Does cooking at home sound hard? It does not need to be! You can make your own meals if you…

  • are not an experienced cook
  • love delicious food
  • do not have much time
  • need to make food that your family likes, too

One-dish meals can be a good way to get started. They can be:

  • Easy
  • Versatile
  • Quick
  • Balanced
  • Nutritious

You can use wholesome ingredients and change recipes to your taste. Here are seven one-dish healthy meals that can help you lose weight.

Meals That Are Good for Weight Loss How One-Dish Meals Help
Preparing meals at home instead of ordering from a restaurant
One-dish meals can be feasible to make on busy days because they are easy and often quick to make.
Nutritionally balanced
One-dish meals can be filling and have protein, fiber, healthy fats, and vegetables all in one.
You can choose your ingredients and portion size. And you can always add more vegetables to lower the calorie density.
Foods that taste good
One-dish meals can have wholesome foods and tons of flavor from spices.

1. Vegetarian Chili

Vegetarian Chili

Chili with beef and sausage can be a heart attack waiting to happen. Eating vegetarian chili instead may help prevent one. You can make chili without a meat substitute, but if the meat-lover in your home requires it, textured soy protein or vegetable protein (TSP or TVP) may do the trick. Otherwise, extra-lean ground turkey is still a better choice than beef.

Heat olive oil in a large pot and add sliced garlic and chopped onion, celery, bell peppers, and (optional) jalapeno. Stir in bay leaves, oregano, cumin, chili powder, and pepper. Add canned tomatoes, yellow corn, and your choices of canned beans, such as pinto, garbanzo, and/or black. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, then serve. You can top it with cheddar cheese, avocado, or cashew nuts.

2. Peanut Sesame Shrimp Noodle Bowl

Peanut Sesame Shrimp Noodle Bowl

This Thai-inspired bowl can be served cold, so you can use leftover spaghetti and assemble the ingredients at the last moment. You can use brown rice instead of pasta, any raw vegetables you like, and tofu or cooked chicken or salmon instead of shrimp.

Make a sauce with tahini or peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, peanut or sesame oil, minced garlic, and sriracha or chili sauce. Add hot water if needed in order to thin it. To a bowl, add 1/2 cup of cooked whole-wheat spaghetti, 3 ounces of cooked shrimp, shredded cabbage or undressed coleslaw mix, chopped bell pepper and cucumber. Finally, top it with thinly sliced green onion and the sauce you made.

3. Tuna Salad

Tuna Salad

This tuna salad is healthy. It has protein, healthy fat, vegetables, and fruit. You can make it ahead of time. And you can put it in a one-dish meal that matches your mood. 

You can make a:

  • Sandwich or wrap with a high-fiber tortilla, a whole-wheat pita pocket, sliced whole-wheat bread, or whole-grain English muffin halves with sprouts, lettuce, cucumber, and/or and tomato slices. Optional: toast it with low-fat cheese for a tuna melt!
  • Salad with greens and 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans or corn.
  • Pasta salad with 1/2 cup of cooked whole-wheat penne or other pasta, plus 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped vegetables such as bell peppers and zucchini.
  • Tuna bowl with cooked vegetables, ‚1/3 cup of cooked quinoa or brown rice, and 1 ounce of crumbled or shredded cheese.

You can make a big batch of tuna salad and store it in the fridge or freezer. This is a recipe for 4 servings.

In a bowl, mix together 2 cans of tuna in water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of diced red onion, 2 stalks of sliced celery, 1 large diced apple, and 1/4 cup of parsley, mint, basil, or another fresh herb. Refrigerate until ready to use. 

4. Roasted Acorn Squash and Chicken Barley Soup

Roasted Acorn Squash and Chicken Barley Soup

This recipe tastes like it is anything but healthy. But it is very nutritious! You can serve it with 1/2 ounce of parmesan cheese, 1/2 ounce of crushed peanuts, or 2 slices of avocado.

Roast an acorn squash, with a drizzle of olive oil, in the oven. In the meantime, bring 4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth to a boil with 1/2 cup of barley. Let it simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Then add 1 lb of chicken breasts, chopped carrots, onions, and celery, a dash of cumin, and crushed garlic. Simmer. When the acorn squash is tender, scoop out the acorn squash flesh (or use the peel as well) and add it to the soup. Cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

5. Cheesy Pasta Bake

Cheesy Pasta Bake

This is an easy casserole to make. Just mix the ingredients in a bowl and bake them. You can add cooked diced chicken, tuna, or cooked lean ground turkey, but you do not need to. There is plenty of protein already. You can also swap tomato sauce for tomatoes and herbs. This recipe makes 6 servings.

Cook 8 ounces of whole-wheat pasta or use 3 1/2 cups of cooked pasta. In a skillet, cook sliced garlic and 3 cups of chopped vegetables, such as zucchini, eggplant, and onion. Mix the pasta and cooked vegetables with 1 can of Italian-style stewed tomatoes, drained, plus 2 cups of chopped spinach, fresh basil, dried oregano, black pepper, 1 pound of non-fat cottage cheese, and 2 ounces (1/2 cup) of shredded non-fat mozzarella cheese. Put the mixture in a baking pan, top it with another 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, and bake it at 350 until the cheese melts, about 15 minutes.

6. Egg and Mushroom Any-Meal Bowl

Egg and Mushroom Any-Meal Bowl

This can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is a good way to use up leftover cooked quinoa, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, or another whole grain. Throw it together for one person or for as many as you want. These instructions are for four people, but you can make a single bowl at a time.

Cook 8 ounces of sliced mushrooms with sliced garlic in 2 teaspoons of olive oil and optional red pepper flakes for heat. Toss 2 cups of halved grape tomatoes in 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and fresh or dried basil. Place 1/4 of the mushrooms and tomatoes, ‚1/3 cup of a cooked whole grain, and 1 soft-cooked or hard-boiled egg, in each bowl. Optional: add 1/2 cup of cooked cubed sweet potato to each bowl or top each bowl with 1 ounce of low-fat crumbled feta cheese or 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts.

7. Spicy Mediterranean Eggplant Stew with Chickpeas

Spicy Mediterranean Eggplant Stew with Chickpeas

This is a plant-based, or vegan, recipe that has complete protein and a lot of leeway. Feel free to add carrots, turnips, or green beans to the stew when you cook the onions. You can make your own whole-grain croutons to serve on top by tossing cubed pieces of whole-wheat bread with olive oil and (optional) garlic, fresh parsley, and/or fresh or dried basil.

Harissa is available in many supermarkets. If you cannot find it, sriracha, Asian chili sauce, or red pepper flakes with tomato pasta can be good substitutes. If you do not want the heat, just omit the harissa. There will still be enough flavor!

Chop an eggplant into cubes and toss them with salt. Rinse the eggplant after an hour and pat the eggplant cubes dry with a paper towel. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot and cook the eggplant. Remove the eggplant and set it aside. Then add chopped onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, and cinnamon to the pot. Add canned tomatoes, low-sodium canned garbanzo beans, and 1 to 2 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth. Serve with lemon juice, fresh mint or parsley, and homemade whole-grain croutons or cooked brown rice or whole-wheat pasta.

Losing a few extra pounds can be a great goal. Weight loss can boost health, energy, and confidence. It can be simple. And it can happen as part of your regular lifestyle. You can even eat your favorite foods and lose weight.

Lark makes weight loss simple and fun. With Lark, weight loss and healthy living happen when you make small changes that fit into your lifestyle. Lark offers tips, tracking, instant feedback, and friendly suggestions. Over time, small healthy changes can become habits for long-term success. Your personal Lark coach is available 24/7 through your smartphone so you can get expert tips, track meals, physical activity, and weight loss. 

The entire program may be available at no cost to you if your health insurer covers it. Click here to find out if you may be eligible for Lark! You could be minutes away from taking the first steps to hitting your weight loss goals and improving health.

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