50 healthy foods to lose weight (including recipes and meal ideas)

50 healthy foods to lose weight

Healthy foods to lose weight: the good news is that they are many!

The good news is also that there are not so many “unhealthy” foods by definition. Food is supposed to nourish our body and provide us all nutrients we need. As I teach in my online course, a balanced diet must satisfy our requirements for nutrients and energy. In addition to this, a balanced diet can maintain a neutral energy balance, which means you don’t eat more calories than you burn. Finally, a balanced diet helps reduce the risk of chronic disease in the long term.

As a general rule, all healthy foods to lose weight provide the nutrients the body needs. Provided you do not consume more than the energy you burn through it, almost no food can be considered “unhealthy.” Some exceptions to this rule include, in my opinion, high-sugar food products, cured and red meat, as well as highly-processed foods. Consumption of the latter types of foods should be limited as much as possible. Also, eating according to official dietary recommendations helps minimize the future risk of disease.

Healthy foods to lose weight: how many blog posts have you read on this topic? Probably a lot!

To lose weight, the energy you get from food must be lower than the energy you burn. It is as simple as that. Even if you find tons of articles explaining to you that calorie count does not work (which I agree), at the end of the day, thermodynamic laws hold. Your belly fat does not come from out of space; it comes from the calories you eat. However, focus on calories alone does not work, and I honestly do not recommend you to do that. It’s not only an old-fashioned way to lose weight, but calorie count does not take into consideration one important factor that is essential to a successful weight loss program: to keep hunger at bay!

I have already written a lot about emotional hunger in another post. However, how to deal with satiety and hunger is not the goal of this post. However, let me just outline three basic rules that you need to follow if you want to lose weight:

  1. Eat when your hunger is real. The fact that you should eat when you are hungry looks pretty obvious. Well, it’s not. Human beings take (at least) 200 food-related decisions every day. Most of the time, you eat because you are bored, stressed, or because you have seen some tasty food and you haven’t resisted the temptation! Instead, every time you decide to eat something, stop for one second and ask yourself: “Is my hunger real?”. Most of the time, you will see you are not. Drink a glass of water or a cup of coffee, go out and get some fresh air. Distract yourself for a few moments and decongest your brain.
  2. Avoid sugar-added products. Let’s face it: people eat sugar all day long. The more sugar you put into your mouth, the more you get addicted to it and want more. Avoid sweet products as much as you can and stick to a couple of treats per week. Check labels and stay away from sugar-added foods; you’ll be surprised to discover how many food products contain added sucrose.
  3. Follow the “sandwich rule.” The sandwich rule?! Let me explain what I mean. You structure each meal as if it was a sandwich: you start with a salad (a large bowl and I mean large!), and this is the equivalent of the first slice of bread in the sandwich metaphor. You then have the main dish (see the great recipes below), which counts as the sandwich filling. Finally, you have a piece of fruit (the second slice of bread in the sandwich metaphor). Starting with a salad will help you reduce the portion of the main dish, while the piece of fruit at the end of each meal will help fill that final small little crave for sweet that you usually have after you have eaten your main dish.

To follow the above three rules will help you maximize the satiety level you reach after your meal, without counting calories.

Healthy foods to lose weight: a few basic rules

Over the past 15 years, I have worked with hundreds of people willing to lose weight, and those who reached the best results are those who learned to listen to their bodies and eat more mindfully.

With these basic principles out of the way, let me dig into the topic of this blog post: healthy foods to lose weight. Below you will find a list of 50 healthy foods to lose weight, followed by recipes and meal ideas, particularly lunch and dinner ideas. All the latter meal ideas follow the sandwich rule previously described. I have also added some information for vegetarians and for athletes who need to gain muscle.

For those of you who want to lose weight fast, I have also added a special section with healthy food to lose weight fast. This post is quite long and detailed. However, this is why I think the following summary will help you navigate it more efficiently:

50 healthy foods to lose weight

Millet 1.     Millet. Millet is a gluten-free grain that works well as a replacement for couscous. It works well with pulses, legumes, and also fish. Millet also provides more essential amino acids than most other grains.
quinoa 2.     Quinoa. Quinoa is a seed that has become popular in recent years as a gluten-free replacement to many grains. It works well to prepare salads and soups, and you don’t need a lot of time to cook it. Another nutritional advantage of eating quinoa is that, contrary to grains that do not contain all amino acids, quinoa is a source of high-quality proteins. It is not possible to get all the amino acids your body needs from grains, and that is why the latter should always be consumed together with pulses, which compensate for the lack of specific nutrients in grains.
pasta with vegetables 3.     Pasta. I know what you are thinking: “pasta is NOT a healthy food to lose weight!” Well, surprisingly enough, I have always added a pasta recipe to all the weekly dietary plans I sent to my clients over the years. If you want to eat pasta without gaining weight, make sure you follow a few simple rules: choose wholegrain pasta or at least durum wheat pasta. Follow the cooking time reported on the label and do not overcook it. Pasta “al dente” has a lower glycemic index compared to overcooked pasta. Also, the glycemic index lowers even more if you re-heat your pasta dish the day after you have prepared it. Finally, serve it with lots of vegetables. Pasta tastes excellent with eggplants, zucchini, or simply mixed vegetables. And if you make “Pasta al pesto,” do not forget to add runner beans. You will be amazed by the result!
buckwheat 4.     Buckwheat. Another gluten-free grain replacement. Buckwheat looks like a grain, but it is not, it belongs to the same family of rhubarb. You can either buy it as kernels and prepare it with mixed vegetables or buy the flour and make home-made buckwheat pasta. Buckwheat is richer in minerals than many other grains. The latter include manganese, copper, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus.
brown rice 5.     Brown rice. Rice is a staple in many countries worldwide, and it is the main ingredient in the famous Italian risotto recipe. However, rice is often consumed after refinement, a process that reduces both its fiber and micronutrient content. Therefore, brown rice is a superb source of fiber with nurtures your gut microflora and helps you fill full faster.
 polenta 6.     Polenta. Polenta is made of cooked cornmeal (or buckwheat) flour and represents a gluten-free bread replacement together with cheese, vegetables, mushrooms, meat, or fish. To reduce its glycemic index, you can let it rest for one day after you prepared it, then slice it and grill it to make polenta crostini. The latter taste is delicious with some Gorgonzola. Since it’s corn-based, polenta is also a source of carotenoids.
oat meal 7.     Oat. Oat is a fantastic grain, rich in fiber, especially beta-glucans, which help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Oat is available in stores as kernels, flour, flakes. Although it is a gluten-free grain, celiac people should buy certified gluten-free oat, since the regular version might contain some traces of gluten.
 asparagus 8.     Asparagus. I love asparaguses, and I think they taste great when sautéed with a little butter. I know, I shouldn’t say this to you! Asparaguses are a source of folates and vitamins A, C, E, and K, not to mention chromium. They work with any food, although I think the tastiest combination is with eggs.
 beetroots 9.     Beetroots. I must admit I have always disliked beets until I tried them raw. If you can grate some beets into a salad, you will add some color to it, not to mention that raw beets taste good. Beets are healthy foods to lose weight and a source of folates and manganese and also contain betalains, a class of anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.
spinach 10.  Spinach. Spinach can be consumed either raw (maybe as a smoothie together with some green apple and lemon juice) or sautéed with some olive oil and garlic. To be honest, my favorite way of cooking spinach is sautéed and sprinkled with a teaspoon of grated Parmesan as we do in Northern Italy. Spinach is a source of iron (although you should consume them with vitamin C, which increases vegetable iron’s bioavailability) and folates.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 11.  Pumpkin. You can eat the pumpkin “fruit,” its seeds, and even its flowers. Fried pumpkin flours are a typical side dish in the Italian cuisine, but you can also bake them. Pumpkin is excellent for vegetable soups, and it is a source of carotenoids, vitamin C, and potassium.
 50 healthy foods to lose weight 12.  Carrots. Carrots are healthy foods to lose weight and a source of carotenoids. Carrots also contain biotin, vitamin K-1 (phylloquinone), potassium, and vitamin B6. I like them grated “á la julienne” and added to salads, but also cooked together with pumpkin and potatoes as a soup.
 50 healthy foods to lose weight 13.  Broccoli. This type of vegetables contains high amounts of antioxidants, particularly glucoraphanin, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Cooked or sautéed broccoli is a typical dish. However, raw broccoli retain most of their vitamin C content. If you are using anticoagulant medications such as warfarin (which is a vitamin K inhibitor), you need to be careful not to overeat broccoli because they are a rich source of vitamin K.
 50 healthy foods to lose weight 14.  Peas. Peas are also healthy foods to lose weight and a versatile legume that tastes good raw, cooked in soups, sautéed, or blended with fruit and vegetables to prepare delicious smoothies. Besides being a source of fiber, peas contain both vitamin K-1 (phylloquinone) and vitamin C.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 15.  Chickpeas. My favorite way of eating chickpeas is by preparing hummus. I like to make different versions of it, for instance, by replacing tahini with almond butter or using sesame oil instead of olive oil. Chickpeas are a perfect ingredient for soups, or just boiled and seasoned with oil and lemon juice. The vitamin c contained in the latter increases iron’s bioavailability by converting vegetable iron (which is insoluble) into a soluble iron form that can be absorbed by the bowel. Dried chickpeas can be considered a snack. Chickpeas, and legumes in general, are a source of proteins for vegan people, especially when consumed together with grains because these two types of food combined provide all the amino acids your body needs.
 50 healthy foods to lose weight 16.  Lentils. Lentils can replace chickpeas during the preparation of hummus. Lentils are also suitable ingredients for soups, and they match well with grains (rice and lentils, for instance). Red lentils, in particular, can be bought dried and do not need any soaking before cooking. Lentils are a source of fiber, protein, and iron and should be consumed together with a source of vitamin C, such as tomatoes or lemon juice.
 50 healthy foods to lose weight 17.  Beans. What I wrote for lentils and chickpeas holds for beans as well. I like cannellini beans cooked with tomato sauce and sage, a recipe that in Tuscany is called “Fagioli all’uccelletto.” Beans are a source of phosphorus, and several types exist black, red, cannellini, kidney beans. There’s no way of getting tired of them!
 50 healthy foods to lose weight 18.  Fava beans. Less known than “traditional” beans, fava beans (also called broad beans) are particularly tasting when blended with pecorino and olive oil. The latter mix goes well as a spread on bread or as a dip for vegetables. If you suffer from favism, a rare genetic disease, you should stay away from fava beans, because the latter can cause hemolysis in patients who suffer from this disease. Besides this, fava beans have the same health properties reported for other legumes mentioned above.
 50 healthy foods to lose weight 19.  Tofu. Tofu is incredibly versatile and works well in many types of dishes, included desserts. You can use it to prepare vegan burgers or make a stir-fry with lots of vegetables. Tofu is a source of vegan proteins, and it’s often supplemented with calcium. You can also bake it and have it as a snack or add it to a bowl of noodle soup.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 20.  Tempeh. Although less known than tofu, tempeh is also a soy product, produced by fermenting soybeans. Notably, lupin tempeh also exists. This food is rich in protein, fiber, and also contain some iron. The latter has a low bioavailability, which increases when consuming tempeh with a source of vitamin C.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 21.  Cod. Typical white fish of cold seas, cod can be cooked in many ways: grilled, poached, in soups, or baked. My favorite recipe is poached cod with cherry tomatoes, capers, and black olives. Cod is a source of proteins, phosphorus, niacin, and vitamin B-12.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 22.  Salmon. Whether salmon is a healthy food or not, is highly debated because of the many problems connected to its farming. However, wild salmon is a source of omega-3, selenium, B-vitamins, and, obviously, protein. Salmon is a versatile ingredient as cod. My favorite way is grilled and served with curry sauce and raisin.
 50 healthy foods to lose weight 23.  Swordfish. This fish is also rich in protein, vitamin B-12, zinc, selenium, and omega-3, and it is excellent grilled and served with baked potatoes.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 24.  Sea fruits. Shrimps, muscles, and octopus are some of the ingredients of the Italian “Insalata di mare,” which is a mix of different sea fruits served cold in olive oil. However, sea fruits can also be mixed with some chopped fish and vegetables to prepare a quick-and-easy fish soup. Sea fruits are healthy foods to lose weight because they are low in calories but provide proteins, vitamins, and minerals, particularly B vitamins, as well as vitamin D and A. Sea fruits are delicious when grilled and served with some lemon juice and freshly-chopped parsley!
50 healthy foods to lose weight 25.  Sea bass. This fish is typical in Mediterranean countries, which is usually served grilled, maybe with some baked potatoes on the side. Like other fish described in this post, the sea bass is a source of selenium.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 26.  Mackerel. Mackerel is a source of protein and omega-3, besides the other typical nutrients contained in fish, such as selenium and B-vitamins. You can buy either smoked or canned mackerel or a fillet. The latter can be grilled or cooked in soups or baked.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 27.  Anchovies. Anchovies are usually sold canned or in oil, and they are a typical Mediterranean fish. Their nutrient content is similar to other types of high-fat fish, and they can be used in salad or served on a piece of bread or bruschetta.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 28.  Chicken. If you are looking for healthy foods to lose weight, chicken can help you increase the amount of protein you eat without overeating calories. Choose free-range, antibiotic-free chicken. The breast can be grilled and chopped to make a Caesar salad. However, chicken is good also poached with vegetables or baked.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 29.  Eggs. As they represent a good source of protein, eating eggs help maintain a high level of satiety after a meal. Having eggs at breakfast can help you feel full until lunch. Besides high-quality protein, eggs also contain carotenoids (that give yolk its orange color), lutein, and zeaxanthin. Be careful to choose eggs from antibiotic-free chicken.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 30.  Cashews. Nuts are a good source of healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants. Cashews, in particular, are a rich source of copper. Cashews can be eaten as snacks (preferably unsalted), although cashew butter also exists and can be used to prepare hummus or other dips.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 31.  Hazelnuts. Typically consumed roasted, hazelnuts are a common ingredient in desserts, especially those made with chocolate. They also exist as butter and, although less known, as flour. Hazelnuts are a good source of vitamin E.
 50 healthy foods to lose weight 32.  Walnuts. Probably one of the most commonly consumed nuts can be found roasted or as butter. Walnut oil also exists, which cannot be used in cooking because it quickly deteriorates at high temperatures. Walnuts contain monounsaturated fatty acids and minerals.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 33.  Almonds. Another great food that works perfectly at breakfast, as a snack or as an ingredient in many salads. Almond butter is a healthy food product, provided it is made 100% with almonds and contains no shady ingredients. You can use it on toasted bread or as a thickener in a fruit and veggie smoothie.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 34.  Parmesan. Ok, I admit it. I added Parmesan because it’s my favorite food! However, Parmesan is, like any other type of cheese, rich in calcium and contains some vitamin K2. Contrary to what many people think, cheese does not increase cholesterol levels, not as much as butter. Parmesan can be consumed together with grains, vegetables (maybe in a salad), grated on soups, and even with meat. As you already know, I like to grate some Parmesan on top of sautéed spinach. Parmesan becomes lactose-free when it is aged for at least 36 months.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 35.  Gorgonzola/Blue cheese. Did you know that Gorgonzola is also lactose-free? Well, yes! As I wrote previously, my favorite way of eating a scoop of melted Gorgonzola on a slice of grilled polenta. However, cheese can also represent the main dish and served with lots of vegetables and a piece of fruit. Another tasty cheese, similar to Gorgonzola, is the French Roquefort. Have you ever tried it?
50 healthy foods to lose weight 36.  Emmentaler. This Swiss cheese is particularly rich in vitamin K-2, which is good for bone health, and it is also lactose-free. It is high in calcium and protein. Emmentaler is a classic cheese for an easy-to-make sandwich. Diced, it works as a salty snack.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 37.  Cottage cheese/ricotta. Low-fat cheese can be useful to keep the amount of fat you consume low while eating food rich in calcium. This type of cheese is suited to prepare overnight oats and desserts.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 38.  Yogurt and sour milk. The health properties of fermented foods are notorious since the beginning of time. Several yogurts and sour milk varieties exist, made with different bacterial strains, which are all good for gut health. Both yogurt and sour milk can represent quick and easy breakfast and snacks and are packed with calcium and protein as well. Many of these products are sugar-added, therefore make sure you pick the unsweetened version.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 39.  Berries. Many nutritionists think that berries are superfoods because they are low in calories, a meager amount of carbohydrates, and they are packed with vitamins, especially vitamin C. You can use them together with your yogurt or add them to oatmeal. They also work well with a bit of whipped cream when you need a little treat.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 40.  Oranges. Every year a friend of mine orders oranges from Sicily for himself and all of his friends. And every year I cannot wait to taste them, they are so delicious! Oranges are a great source of vitamin C; you probably know it. When I squeeze them, I use their juice to soak some rolled oats together with some raisins. I put this mix into the fridge, and the morning after my overnight oatmeal is ready to eat. It’s my version of the British porridge, so to say. Try it. It’s delicious.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 41.  Prunes. Prunes but, most of all, dried prunes are a great help in case of constipation. And they are also healthy foods to lose weight. Prunes are rich in vitamin K; therefore, people following an anticoagulant therapy with vitamin K-inhibitors (e.g., warfarin) should be careful.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 42.  Grapes. A fruit that helps a lot in case of constipation, grapes, especially black grapes, are rich in several antioxidants, the same contained in red wine, but without alcohol!
50 healthy foods to lose weight 43.  Papaya. Papaya is probably the most concentrated source of vitamin C. It is, therefore, an excellent complement for a meal that contains iron-rich vegetal foods (e.g., spinach or legumes) because vitamin C increases the bioavailability of iron from vegetal sources.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 44.  Peach. Peaches are one of my favorite types of fruit and are a source of vitamin A (beta-carotene). It’s better to stay away from canned peaches since, although they taste delicious, they are usually sugar-added products.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 45.  Avocado. Probably one of the most mentioned healthy food to lose weight, avocado contains the same monounsaturated fats contained in olive oil, and it contributes to cardiovascular risk reduction. It’s not easy to find it at the right level of ripening. However, not so many people know that avocado can be diced and frozen to preserve it for longer times.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 46.  Olive oil. Olive oil is the king of the Mediterranean diet, and consuming it can help reduce the risk of several diseases, especially heart diseases. It’s rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, but also in vitamin E and polyphenols, which confer olive oil a high antioxidant power.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 47.  Tahini. Tahini is a sesame-based hummus and babagannoush ingredient. Tahini is a rich source of both antioxidants and unsaturated fats.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 48.  Rosemary. Rosemary is a popular Mediterranean herb rich in many antioxidants, such as rosmarinic acid. Contrary to other more sensitive herbs, rosemary does not deteriorate at high temperatures, and it is, in fact, typically used in baked dishes, especially meat and potatoes.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 49.  Oregano. Oregano is a popular Mediterranean herb. It is rich in antioxidants such as thymol, carvacrol, limonene, terpinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene. The latter compounds contribute to its typical flavor and scent. Although it is common to sprinkle it on pizza, oregano is also an ingredient of the Italian vinaigrette, and a tasty ingredient for meat marinades.
50 healthy foods to lose weight 50.  Basil. Basil is the main ingredient of pesto, and it is also commonly used to decorate pizza and tomato sauces. Basil also contains some antioxidants such as anthocyanins, limonene, and eugenol.

The list of healthy foods to lose weight could go on and on, but I think that if you integrate the above foods in your diet, you will benefit from it.

Healthy foods to lose weight: Meal ideas

“Meal ideas to lose weight” will probably be the topic of one of my upcoming posts on this blog, where I will give a series of examples of weekly meal plans to lose weight. However, in this post, I would like to provide you with at least some ideas of both lunch and dinner ideas that you can prepare using the above healthy foods to lose weight.

Healthy foods to lose weight: Lunch ideas

At the beginning of this blog post, I presented a simple set of rules you can apply to increase satiety and lose weight (the “sandwich rule”). Firstly, start every meal with a large bowl of mixed vegetables, preferentially mixed with some seeds and dried fruit or nuts to increase chewing and reduce your appetite. Vegetables also are, of course, healthy foods to lose weight. After this appetizer, have a main dish and stop eating when you fill full. Finally, eat a piece of fruit. The latter will act as a dessert and will fill the last “hole” in your stomach. However, a salad can well be a lunch idea per se, always followed by a piece of fruit. I think it’s still a good idea not to eat just one dish because even if you feel full after you have eaten it, it’s always easy to fall into the “there is still room for dessert” trap. By replacing dessert with a piece of fruit, you might feel more satisfied than by not doing it.

Said that, here are some ideas for healthy main dishes that you can “squeeze in” between a large salad and a piece of fruit:

Pasta anchovies and capers

Ingredients for each person: 50 g of long pasta (spaghetti, bucatini, etc.), capers, two anchovy fillets, 50 g of tomatoes, a clove of garlic, a teaspoon of olive oil, oregano, parsley, pepper.


Peel the tomatoes and pass them through a mill. Fry the garlic crushed and clean. Take it out as soon as it begins to brown. Rinse the anchovies and cut them in small chunks. Put them into the saucepan where you fried garlic and cook over moderate heat. Add the tomato sauce. Add the capers as well. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with oregano and chopped parsley and continue cooking until the tomato sauce is cooked. Meanwhile, boil pasta. Drain, place in a bowl and mix with the sauce you have prepared.

Chicken with vegetables

Ingredients for each person: 100 g of chicken, 50 g of tomatoes, 25 g of carrots, a spoonful of peas, white wine, chopped onion, garlic, herbs (sage, laurel, rosemary), parsley, vegetable broth, a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt.


Place the chicken in a pan greased with oil and put over shallow heat. Add the wine, let it evaporate, then add the onion and garlic, the herb bouquet, the tomatoes, the carrots cut into cubes, salt and a cup of broth, and then simmer. Towards the end of cooking, add the peas, thicken the sauce, add some chopped parsley and discard the herbs.

Tofu skewers

Ingredients for each person: 100 g of tofu, one small courgette, a few pickled mushrooms, two black pitted olives, one tomato, garlic, a teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, powder chilly pepper, one teaspoon


Dice the tofu, the courgette, and the tomato and marinate them for 3-4 hours together with all the other ingredients. Prepare some skewers with the diced ingredients and grill them.

Tempeh with peppers

Ingredients for each person: 100 g of tempeh, half yellow pepper, half red pepper, onion, a spoonful of miso, a teaspoon of ginger juice, a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt.


Slice the tempeh and the peppers into thin strips, chop the onion. In a pan, fry the chopped onion in 2 tablespoons of oil, add the peppers and sauté for a couple of minutes. Season with salt, mix and add the tempeh to the vegetables, sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the miso dissolved in some warm water and stir well. Continue to cook for about 20 minutes. Serve with ginger juice.

Barley with plums

Ingredients for each person: 50 g of hulled dinkel, 25 g of dried plums, 75 g of pepper, a few basil leaves, parsley, saffron, salt, a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil.


Wash, soak, and cook the dinkel. Meanwhile, keep the prunes in cold water for at least half an hour and then cook gently for a few minutes in the same water. Drain the plums and, in their cooking water, boil the peppers that you previously cleaned and sliced into strips. Add water enough to cover them, so they do not stick to the pan. Once cooked, add the peppers to the dinkel, which in the meantime, will be ready. Add chopped basil and parsley as well as some saffron and oil. Cook for another minute before serving.

Quinoa salad

Ingredients for each person: 30 g quinoa, 30 g avocado, red onion, half tomato, chopped parsley, one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper.


Bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, and return to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 12 minutes. Strain and rinse with cold water. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl. Add all the ingredients and toss well. Serve.

Healthy foods to lose weight: Dinner ideas

Following the same “sandwich” rule I explained for lunch ideas, here are some other ideas for dinner as well.

Chicken breast and mushrooms rolls

Ingredients for each person: 100 g of chicken breast, 100 g of mushrooms, lemon juice, a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt, white pepper.


Beat the chicken breast to flatten it well; sprinkle with olive oil, lemon juice, a bit of salt, and white pepper. Let it marinate for an hour. Drain the chicken breast and roll it around the mushrooms seasoned with salt and pepper. Put it in the oven covered with aluminum foil. Bake at 220°C for 10-15 minutes. Drizzle with the heated marinade.

Pasta with green beans, shrimp and cherry tomatoes

Ingredients for each person: 50 g pasta, 25 g shrimps, 50 g green beans, 50 g di cherry tomatoes, a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt.


Boil pasta in salted water, drain and let it cool. Follow the same procedure for beans. Cut the tomatoes in two halves. Season pasta with the other ingredients, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, stir and serve.

Chickpeas and vegetable casserole

Ingredients for each person: a teaspoon of olive oil, 50 g of dried chickpeas, 100 g of vegetables: spinach, fennel, yellow and red peppers, a teaspoon of flour, onion, garlic, vegetable broth, white wine, and a bay leaf.


Soak the dried chickpeas for 24 hours. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté onion and garlic. Add spinach and cook for 4 minutes until the leaves wither. Add some fennel and pepper and continue to cook for another couple of minutes, stirring. Add flour and stir, then add some stock, wine, chickpeas, a bay leaf, cover and simmer 30 minutes. Season with salt, garnish with fennel tops and serve.

Venetian soup

Ingredients for each person: 50 g of rye, oats and barley grains, 50 of red lentils, 50 g of radicchio, onion, a teaspoon of olive oil, herbs and spices of your choice, salt.


Soak both the lentils and the cereals for a few hours and then rinse them. Peel the radicchio, cut it into strips, and fry it in oil with some onion for a few minutes. Add herbs and spices. Finally, cook all the ingredients together for about 30-40 minutes. Add some salt before serving.

Smoky black beans & carrot burger

Ingredients for each person: one small carrot, one garlic clove, 2 slices of wholegrain bread, 50 g black beans (half if they are dried), one or two tablespoons rolled oats, two chipotles in adobo (or dried tomatoes), one teaspoon cumin, one tablespoon olive oil, salt.


Trim, peel, and cut the carrot into small chunks; put it in a food processor and pulse it into tiny bits. Peel and mince the garlic clove; add it to the food processor. Rinse the beans in a colander and drain them; add them to the food processor. Add the oats, the chipotles in adobo, the cumin, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to the food processor. Process until the mixture is combined but not puréed, about 30 seconds. If it looks too thin, pulse in a few more oats; if it’s too thick (unlikely), pulse in a splash of water. Put one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Turn the grill to high; put the rack 6 inches from the heat. Shape the bean mixture into two patties (about ½ inch thick). When the oil is hot, cook the burgers, turning once, until crisp on both sides, four or five minutes per side, adding more oil if the pan is dry. Brush the bread with a little oil and broil until lightly toasted, two or three minutes. Trim, peel, halve, and thinly slice the onion. Strip the cilantro leaves from several sprigs. When the bread is toasted, remove it from the grill. Add the onion, the cilantro leaves, and the burgers. Close the sandwiches and serve.

Pumpkin gratin with toasted nuts

Ingredients for each person: one small butternut or other winter squash, one or two sprigs of fresh sage, one tablespoon of olive oil, two tablespoons of vegetable cream, 1/2 cup hazelnuts, pecans or pistachios, two tablespoons of Parmesan,


Heat the oven to 450°F (or 230°C). Cut the squash in half crosswise, trim and peel it, scoop out and discard the seeds, and cut it into chunks. Shred the squash in a food processor with a grating disk (by far the quickest method) or by hand with a box grater. Strip the sage leaves from three sprigs and chop them. Put the squash in a baking dish. Add the sage, one tablespoon olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper; toss and spread in an even layer. Pour the cream over the top. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake until the squash is tender and the cream is bubbly and thick, 15 to 20 minutes. Chop 1/2 cup nuts. Grate Parmesan. When the squash is tender, uncover the dish, sprinkle the Parmesan over the top, and sprinkle with the nuts. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the top gets lightly brown, about five more minutes. Let cool for a minute or two before serving.


This article is, of course, not a comprehensive guide on how to lose weight. However, it helped you get some inspiration to lose weight by eating healthy and tasty food. I will publish more content on this topic soon, stay tuned!

Picture of Gianluca Tognon

Gianluca Tognon

Gianluca Tognon is an Italian nutrition coach, speaker, entrepreneur and associate professor at the University of Gothenburg. He started his career as a biologist and spent 15 years working both in Italy and then in Sweden. He has been involved in several EU research projects and has extensively worked and published on the association between diet, longevity and cardiovascular risk across the lifespan, also studying potential interactions between diet and genes. His work about the Mediterranean diet in Sweden has been cited by many newspapers worldwide including the Washington Post and The Telegraph among others. As a speaker, he has been invited by Harvard University and the Italian multi-national food company Barilla.

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