Summer is in full bloom and everyone is worried about the shape and size of their bodies. It makes us do the craziest things: cutting back on comfort foods, restricting calories, portion sizes, or working out for hours each day. With this article, we want to show you how easy, tasty, and effortless it can be to reach or stay at your perfect weight while munching on some nutritious yet light dinners.
Please don't get us wrong - we wish that everyone would be very happy with their bodies and treating themselves well. But for those who have a real problem with their weight, we feel the need to share the best way to shed some pounds and feel better with each meal. We're not about restricting, it's rather replacing and enjoying. Because who'd want to stick to a diet that's not satisfying or tastes bland?
When it comes to vegan weight loss, most people think that it's just about cutting out the "bad boys" like animal products or processed foods. But what are you left with, then? Instead of focusing on what you're "not allowed" to eat, we want you to shift your perspective to look at what you want to add to your plate.
Because successful weight management and great health come from what you're putting on your plate instead of cutting out. So, get your veggies, fruit, legumes, and starches going - because these will be your best staples for enjoyable, satisfying meals that will fill you up while helping you get trim effortlessly.
One last note before we start: Whenever you encounter some oil in one of the following recipes, we highly suggest you skip or replace this ingredient. There are plenty of health reasons for doing so but let's just put it this way: one tablespoon of any oil has a whopping 120 calories. Just imagine how many apples, tomatoes or even beans you could eat for that amount!
Here are our 13 Light Dinner Ideas:
1. Crunchy Cashew Mustard Coleslaw
This creamy goodness makes you want to put the veggies on your plate, just to be able to enjoy the amazing sauce. The antioxidant-rich red cabbage has great anti-inflammatory benefits, helps to prevent cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Along with the cranberries, they make for a super high dose of vitamins and antioxidants. The crunchy lettuce and self-made healthy mayonnaise both give an interesting texture and quite some excitement for your taste buds.
2. Creamy Red Lentil & Kale Soup
Lentils make for a great base when cooking a filling soup– their high protein and fiber content will satisfy and satiate you very quickly while stabilizing your blood sugar.
Adding in some kale is means loading up on extra nutrients like powerful antioxidants and a good amount of calcium. Onions are very protective in regards to your cardiovascular health, blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.
3. Tofu Scramble With Kale & Sweet Potato Fries
Are you in it for a savory and satisfying dish? This light tofu scramble is filled with veggies and comes together with a nice amount of sweet potato fries. Although it's typically rather a breakfast or brunch meal, we say have what you crave at the time you're craving it!
Tofu offers a nice amount of plant-based protein and sweet potatoes are right in beta carotene as well as fiber. Plus, a meal is always nicer when it's colorful!
4. Vegan Protein Burrito
We don't want to give you the illusion that protein is incredibly important in terms of weight management but this burrito has a tasty filling of beans and quinoa which are pretty satisfying and offer complex carbs as well as fiber.
If you're having a hard time losing weight without starving yourself, go easier on the flour products (like tortillas or wraps) and wrap everything in lettuce instead. But don't cut back on carbs in general!
5. Simple Bean Veggie Chili
Here's a great idea for filling up on fewer calories while getting tons of beneficial nutrients: bean chili with veggies. The carrots and zucchini are chopped into very small pieces and soak up so much flavor you won't even taste them.
And there's just something about the soup-like consistency that kills your hunger for hours on end! Have it over potatoes or rice or eat it with some lettuce.
6. Cucumber Noodle Salad with Dill Dressing
Don't force yourself to eat tons of food if you're not hungry. This light and chilled dinner option is perfect for days you're just not feeling like cooking or eating a proper meal. Cucumber is very hydrating, offers a good amount of fiber as well as B-vitamins.
We suggest having some starch along with it like a baked potato or some rice and corn so you'll stay satisfied for a longer time.
7. Mexican Cauliflower Rice
Here's a great way to add more veggies onto your plate: disguise cauliflower as rice! The smaller your vegetables are cut, the more likely it is that you'll enjoy them. Drenched in wonderful spices, you will gobble it up quickly.
But please don't neglect your starches in order to feel satiated and get enough energy from your food. Mix it with "normal" rice or use it as a filling!
8. Vegan "Egg" Chickpea Salad Sandwiches
Sometimes things have to be ready in a few minutes - that's where sandwiches come in handy. You just need to have some cooked legumes on hand, then mash up the chickpea filling and spread it onto your bread!
We love this quick and light option, especially during the hotter months of the year. Eating more legumes is always a good idea. We recommend filling the sandwich with lots of veggies so you eat a larger volume and get more great nutrients.
9. Easy Oil-Free Potato Salad
A great idea for garden parties or food prep is this quick and filling potato salad. Since potatoes are the most satiating food on the planet, you aren't very likely to overeat on them. Beans and veggies round this dish up perfectly!
We highly recommend you have some cooked starches on hand at all times. Once you're feeling very hungry and need to cook up potatoes for 30 minutes, it's very likely you'll go for the chips instead. Planning will ensure your success!
10. Southwestern Roasted Potato Hash
A true summer dish! This potato hash is super versatile and super customizable - you can add in veggies, herbs, and spices as much as your heart desires. It's the perfect combination of filling and light foods combined into one huge deliciousness.
You can have it alongside a huge salad, some bean burgers, or on its own. We love that it's so simple to make and still goes a long way.
11. Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic
Attending a BBQ and don't know what to eat there? Roasted veggies are the way to go. If you don't just want to stick to salad and some bread, bring your favorite vegetables over to put on the grill.
Please make sure to not use any oil, though, since it does not only add unnecessary empty calories but is also pretty unstable and can be a real health hazard when grilled. Tasty spices are all you need to make this dish very delicious!
12. A Real Mess of Peas
This beautiful mess of peas is so chaotic, you just have to love it. The dish includes both fresh, tasty greens and filling potatoes which make for a satisfying and springlike meal.
The proof is in the dressing though: creamy cashews along with spicy mustard and a sprinkle of sweetness drown the crunchy veggies into an out-of-this-world flavor. Way to enjoy your healthy food!
13. Spicy Sweet Potato Falafel
These spicy sweet potato falafel are definitely one of our favorites! Light and soft, they make for the perfect snack or dinner. They’re oil-free and loaded good fiber to fill you up. You can enjoy them by themselves or alongside some veggies and beans. Rice would be a great fit as well.
Most other falafel recipes call for a tahini sauce but this one comes with an avocado and yogurt dip. Nice little twist and perfect for the hotter months! You won't regret trying it out.
14. Parsley & Quinoa Green Detox Salad
Who doesn't love a tasty yet healthy dish? See how this green goodness is bursting with nutrition: The parsley is rich in vitamins, keeps your immune system strong and helps flush out excess fluid from the body. The nuts and seeds help absorb the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K – and they make for a delicious and satisfying crunch as well. And the folic acid is like a tonic for your heart!
To round up this dish, a nice load of protein and fiber comes from quinoa, a gluten-free pseudo-grain. Being very high in many minerals that most people don’t get enough of, it’s a perfect addition to the other vegetables like the rather fatty avocado, which can reduce inflammation and improve your feeling of fullness and satisfaction after this meal.
15. Hearty Italian White Bean Basil Soup
Last, but definitely not least, this white bean soup makes for a colorful, tasty and filling dinner. Spiced up with onion, garlic, and chili, this will definitely help lower your blood pressure and can even hinder tumor growth while giving your metabolism a nice hot boost!
The quercetin found in allium vegetables is an anti-inflammatory antioxidant, which is said to help with arthritis. Again, we have delicious tomatoes in this recipe, which give you a nice amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber and hydrate your body. On top of that, their beta-carotene makes your skin look great and protects against sun damage.
Both your vision and hair will benefit from this juicy ingredient as well. What makes this dish satiating and filling are the white beans. They are amongst the most fiber-rich foods, which forms a gel-like substance in your digestive tract and helps you release whatever needs to go. Therefore, they prevent constipation, digestive disorders and IBS. Plus they’re good for your heart and your blood sugar as well! So eat up on this healthy and tasty soup.
About the Author
Alena has been eating a plant-based diet for 6 years and is passionate about sharing her learnings in the fields of nutrition, wellbeing, and vegan ethics. She is the co-creator of nutriciously and loves music, reading, nature, traveling, yoga & good food. Alena received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy, and social work.