healthy meals

Trying to watch your waistline? You may want to try cooking your own meals. A recent study suggests that people who cook at home eat healthier and consume less than those who regularly eat out. These light recipes, all under 400 calories, deliver protein and fiber to keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day, and even leave some room for mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacking.

Breakfast

Starting your day with a healthy breakfast is a great way to keep you energized, and help you avoid grabbing that pastry from your local coffee shop.

1. Vegetable and Egg Muffins

veggie and egg muffins
Image Attribution

Image Attribution

Source: Photo courtesy of AverieCooks
URL: http://www.averiecooks.com

Eggs are a wonderful source of protein, and these little “muffins” make an easy breakfast food for when you’re rushing out the door. Make them ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Then enjoy cold, or pop a couple in the microwave if you prefer warm.

They are also great for kids or for a post-workout energy boost.

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2. Strawberry Pancake Roll-Ups with Yogurt Filling

This recipe uses whole oats and protein powder instead of conventional flour. Using stevia instead of sugar keeps the calorie count low, and yogurt filling provides probiotics to keep your gut healthy.

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3. Nordic Spiced Porridge

If you’re looking for a quick, healthy recipe in a flash, this is a great option. Whole grains infused with spices make a filling and delicious breakfast. You can play around with the spices to suit your taste.

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4. Portobello Breakfast Cups

Literally packed with healthy veggies, these portobello cups make an excellent breakfast (or even lunch). The egg adds protein, and you can omit the cheese if you want to make it paleo-friendly.

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5. Avocado Toast with an Egg

This breakfast has five ingredients and can be ready in five minutes! Avocados, a nutrient-dense superfood may be high in fat, but it’s the good, heart-healthy kind of fat that will keep you satiated until lunch.

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6. Huevos Rancheros

This healthy version of huevos rancheros is not just good for you, it’s also a feast for the eyes. You can even help yourself to a second serving and stay under 400 calories.

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7. Overnight Oats

These oats are so simple, plus you make them the night before, which saves time in the morning. They take just a few minutes to prepare and are ready to eat after a night in the fridge. Try the Cherry Pie variation with a bit of toasted pecan!

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Lunch

Bringing your lunch to work is a great way to cut back on your daily calories. It’s also an easy way to save money. Try making these meals the night before to save time in the mornings.

8. Roasted Veggie Wrap with Bean Spread

veggie wrap with black bean spread
Image Attribution

Image Attribution

Source: Photo courtesy of The Garden Grazer
URL: http://www.thegardengrazer.com

The bean spread in this vegan wrap provides lots of protein, and you can switch out the vegetables to suit the seasons or accommodate any allergies or taste preferences. For an even quicker assembly, substitute the bean spread recipe for a prepared hummus.

For lunch on the go, sauté your veggies up the night before and then assemble the wrap before heading out the door in the morning.

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9. Easy Chopped Chickpea Greek Salad

This Mediterranean salad has a ton of fresh vegetables tossed in a heart-healthy olive oil. Chickpeas are packed with protein and fiber, so this will keep you full until dinner. You can eat the salad as is, over a bed of greens, or stir in a bit of quinoa for added protein, fiber, and other nutrients.

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10. Tex-Mex Spaghetti Squash with Black Bean Guacamole

Spaghetti squash is an extremely versatile base for a meal, and is rich in fiber and vitamin A. Black bean guacamole is a protein-packed topping that can provide special support for digestive tract health.

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11. Rapini Noodle Bowl

Rapini, a cousin to broccoli, contains powerful cancer fighting phytochemicals. The buckwheat soba noodles are gluten-free, provide a generous dose of manganese and protein, and are also quite filling.

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12. Raw Taco “Gorilla” Wraps

This recipe was inspired by gorillas in the wild, which often eat a diet of big, leafy greens. Instead of a sandwich, spring for this surprisingly meaty-tasting vegan meal, full of healthy fats, iron, and vitamins A, C, E, and K. It’s so tasty, you won’t even miss the bread. Swap out the nuts for your favorite for a twist on this recipe.

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13. Watercress Farro Salad with Tart Cherries

Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants, and farro has a fair amount of calcium. Watercress adds some kick as well as a shot of color to this deliciously fresh salad.

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Dinner

Four hundred calories may not seem like a lot for dinner, but you can maximize your nutrients and excite your palate without packing on the extra calories and fat.

14. Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

spaghetti squash
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Image Attribution

Source: Photo courtesy of The Wheatless Kitchen

This is a wonderful, paleo-friendly version of a popular Thai takeout dish. You can switch out the chicken for shrimp, or even tofu.

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15. Matcha Pistachio Crusted Halibut

Pistachios are loaded with potassium, and the matcha tea provides an “umami” flavor as well as antioxidants, vitamins, and many other health benefits. If you aren’t a fan of halibut, try using cod instead. Serve this recipe with veggies for a complete and balanced meal.

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16. Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower replaces carbs in this paleo meal, and the succulent, seasoned chicken provides lean protein. Plus, you can make this meal in less than 30 minutes.

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17. Vegan Pot Pies

pot pie
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Image Attribution

Source: Photo courtesy of Minimalist Baker
URL: http://minimalistbaker.com

Don’t let the “vegan” part scare you. These are every bit as flaky, savory, and satisfying as any traditional potpie recipe. Making the pies in single-serving ramekins helps control your portion size and calories. This is a great Meatless Monday meal. Give yourself enough time to prepare this fantastic recipe, as it will take about one hour.

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18. Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This healthy take on a popular restaurant item is full of flavor and low on carbs. Assorted vegetables offer a variety of vitamins and nutrients, and you can play around with the ingredients to suit your palate.

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19. Everyday Buddha Bowl

This well-balanced vegetable and grain bowl is based on the principles of the macrobiotic diet. The whole grains and veggies paired with protein-rich lentils make it filling and light at the same time — another great meatless meal!

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20. Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore

This slow cooker recipe gives maximum flavor for minimal effort. Serve on a bed of spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles to keep it light, or on pasta for a heartier meal.

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Healthy Made Tasty

Eating healthfully doesn’t have to mean nothing but salad greens. The key is to entertain your appetite and palate with a variety of textures and flavors. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can easily eat well and manage your calorie intake, all while feeling satiated and energized throughout your day.