Simple, quick, and delicious dishes that will help you hit your fitness goals.
Lindsay Brown 1 / 25
You already know the deal. In order to get ripped and lose weight you have to work outand eat healthy. But between your job, trips to the gym, and life in general, it’s hard to find the time and energy to whip up a healthy meal from scratch—and it’s much easier to pick up the phone and order some gut-busting takeout like pizza or Chinese.
But never fear! We are here to help. Here, we present to you 25 of the easiest and healthiest recipes around. From breakfast to dinner—and every meal and snack in between—we have you covered. None of these recipes take over 20 minutes to prepare (most of them take 10 minutes tops) and none call for fancy schmancy ingredients that require a special trip to the organic market. Instead, what we have for you are tasty and simple meals, snacks, and desserts that require little to no effort and are packed with lean protein, veggies, and other good-for-you ingredients. Incorporate these dishes into your diet and you’ll be shedding the fat in no time flat.
Ingredients ½ cup dry quick 1-minute oats 1 cup nonfat or low-fat milk Fresh or frozen berries or dried cranberries or cherries (or other fruit of choice) 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, slivered almonds (or other nut or nut butter of your choice) Dash of cinnamon Drizzle of maple syrup or dash of brown sugar
Instructions Cook oats according to package directions, using milk instead of water. Top with berries or dried fruit, walnuts, cinnamon, and sweetener of choice.
Ingredients 1 bar (3 ounces) organic, fair trade 65% dark chocolate 2 organic bananas, ripe but firm
Instructions 1. Slice the bananas into ¼ in thick slices. Place the slices on a piece of parchment paper, and freeze them until they are firm (about ½ hour). 2. Melt the chocolate gently in a double boiler, or a glass bowl set in a pan of water. 3. Using a toothpick, dip the bananas into the chocolate and place them back onto the parchment paper. 4. Return the chocolate dipped bananas to the freezer, and freeze until the chocolate is set. Transfer them to a container with a lid, and freeze them for snacking later!
Ingredients Four boneless skinless chicken breasts 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided ¾ pound fresh green beans 1½ pounds red potatoes Juice of ½ lemon Additional lemon slices (optional) ½ teaspoon dried oregano ½ teaspoon dried basil 1¾ teaspoon granulated garlic, divided Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions 1. Preheat the oven to 400. Wash and slice the potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Wash and trim the ends off the green beans. Add the vegetables to a large mixing bowl, and toss with 1½ tablespoon olive oil, ¾ teaspoon granulated garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.
2. Transfer the veggies on a baking sheet. I lined mine with parchment paper, but you could also spray with cooking spray. Using to same bowl, season up the chicken breasts. with the remaining olive oil (1/2 tablespoon), granulated garlic (1 teaspoon), lemon juice, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper.
3. Toss the chicken to evenly coat, and place on the baking sheet, making sure to leave space between each piece of meat.
4. Cook for 30 minutes total. I roast for 27 minutes on 400 and then three minutes on broil to crisp the edges (watch for burn!) at the end. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Ingredients 2 Tablespoons cooking oil of choice 1 medium onion, chopped 1-2 cloves garlic, minced 3 cups assorted veggies, fresh and/or frozen 4 cups brown rice 2 precooked grilled chicken breasts, chopped up the breasts OR 2 raw chicken breast 2 eggs, lightly beaten Soy Sauce or Tamari, to taste Sesame Oil, to taste Optional pine nuts and Siracha to taste on top.
Instructions 1. Heat oil in a wok or deep pan. If using raw chicken breasts, stir fry until cooked through then remove from pan and set aside.
2. Add garlic and onion and cook until onion is translucent. Add assorted veggies (if using frozen, you may add them this way) and stir fry until lightly cooked.
3. Add rice and mix rice and veggies together. Add cut up chicken. Push rice, chicken, and veggies to side of wok and add beaten eggs. Cook eggs until done, then mix them in with veggies, rice, and chicken.
4. Season to taste with soy sauce or Tamari and sesame oil, and top off with pine nuts and Siracha if desired.
Recipe and photo courtesy EA Stewart, RD @ The Spicy RD
Ingredients 2 fresh eggs 2 tablespoons vinegar 2 pieces sprouted or whole grain bread 1 avocado Handful of greens (spinach/chard/arugula etc) Salt and pepper Drizzle of balsamic reduction
Instructions 1. Bring a medium non-stick saucepan full of water (about 2½-3 inches deep) and 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a full boil under a lid.
2. Break eggs carefully into individual ramekins. Turn off heat and immediately add eggs to pan gently. To add the eggs, tip the corner into the hot water and allow the water to pool into the ramekin. Jiggle the cup slightly to let it start to set the egg, then pour out into the pan. Replace lid.
3. Set timer for 3-4 minutes for runny eggs, 4-5 minutes for medium. Do not lift lid!
4. While they are poaching toast the bread. Smash avocado and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Using a slotted spoon remove poached eggs to a paper towel to drain momentarily. If they are a little underdone to your liking leave in water for another minute or two.
6. Top toast with avocado, a handful of greens, poached egg and a pinch more of salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of balsamic reduction if desired
Little Italy Meatball Sliders with Whipped Ricotta
Makes 10 sliders
Ingredients For the Meatballs: 1 pound 93% lean ground beef 1 large egg ¼ cup grated onion 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped 2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley ¼ cup dry, plain whole wheat breadcrumbs 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Sauce: 1 ½ cups your favorite jarred marinara sauce
For the Whipped Ricotta: 1 cup ricotta cheese 1 teaspoon olive oil 10 slider rolls (preferably whole wheat), toasted 2 cups arugula leaves
Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix all of the ingredients for the meatballs together in a large bowl. Form into 10 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a rack in a broiler pan. Bake in the oven until cooked through, 18-20 minutes.
2. While the meatballs are baking, place the ricotta, olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a mini food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy.
3. Heat the marinara sauce in a medium saucepan on the stove (alternatively, you can heat the sauce in a bowl in the microwave). When the meatballs are done, remove them from the oven and toss them in the sauce.
4. To assemble the sliders, place a few arugula leaves on each roll bottom. Add the meatballs and spoon a little marinara sauce over each one. Top each meatball with a dollop of whipped ricotta and add the roll tops.
Ingredients 2 ounces herb goat cheese 2 ounces diced pancetta 3 skinless, boneless chicken breast ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper
Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine the goat cheese and pancetta in a small bowl. Cut a horizontal slit down the side of each chicken breast forming a pocket. Divide the goat cheese mixture into three equal portions and stuff inside of each pocket; close opening with a toothpick. Sprinkle the outside of each chicken breast evenly with salt and pepper. 2. Add chicken to a baking dish and bake for 25 minutes or until chicken is done. Discard the toothpicks. Serve immediately.
Ingredients 1 15 ounce can low sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste) Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, drained 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and pulse until the mixture is as smooth as you want it. It can be completely pureed or left with a few chunks of beans. If you like it smoother, add water 1 tablespoon at a time until you've got the consistency you like. Serve with pita chips, celery and carrot sticks, cucumber slices, or baked chips.
Ingredients 1 tbsp canola oil ¼ cup popcorn kernels olive oil spray 2 tbsp nutritional yeast ⅛ tsp salt ½ tsp garlic powder ¼ tsp cayenne pepper ½ tsp smoked paprika
Instructions 1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add a few pieces of popcorn - if the corn slowly spins in the oil then the oil is hot enough. Add remaining popcorn and cover with a lid. Once the popcorn starts popping, shake the pot gently to have the oil evenly coat the kernels. Remove from heat when the popping stops (when you can count to 3 between pops) and transfer to a large bowl.
2. Combine the nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika in a small bowl and mix to combine. Get a large serving bowl and place half of the popcorn in it. Spray generously with olive oil then sprinkle over half of the spice mix. Add the remaining popcorn and repeat once more. Toss to coat and serve.
Note: There are no quantities listed here. You can make as many or as few as you’d like depending if you want to make these as a snack, appetizer, or meal.
Ingredients Medium-sized zucchini Olive oil, salt and pepper Hummus Cooked chicken Red pepper, minced Onion, minced Crumbled feta cheese
Instructions 1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Cut the ends off the zucchini, then thinly slice lengthwise. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill for 2-4 minutes per side depending on thickness. Let cool or refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Spread one side of each zucchini strip with hummus. Top with chopped chicken, veggies, and cheese and roll. Place seam side down on a plate.
Ingredients 1 small extra ripe banana 1 small egg 3 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder 1-2 tablespoons granulated sweetener of choice, optional
Instructions 1. In a high speed blender or food processor, pulse the banana, egg, cocoa powder, and sweetener (if using) until a very fine batter is formed. 2. Grease a mug or small bowl generously. Pour the batter in mug and microwave for 60 seconds or until baked.
Ingredients 1 lb. shrimp, peeled, tail left on and deveined 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided 1 lime, zested and juiced 2 peaches, halved 1 small white onion, quartered 4 small tomatoes, diced (about 2 cups) 1 Jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed and diced Cilantro, optional
Instructions 1. Pre-heat grill to medium. Skewer 4-5 shrimp on four metal skewers, brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon lime zest, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Brush peach halves and onion pieces with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Place peaches and onions, cut side down, on grill. Grill peaches until charred, 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Grill onions until charred, 13-15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer peaches and onions to cutting board; dice when cool enough to handle.
3. Make the peach pico: In a medium bowl combine diced peaches, onions, tomatoes, jalapeño, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon minced lime zest and chopped cilantro if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Grill shrimp until opaque, 2 minutes each side. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Serve grilled shrimp with peach pico.
Ingredients 1 tsp olive oil ¼ cup onion, very finely minced 1 lb extra lean ground beef 1/2 cup roasted red pepper hummus, divided ¼ tsp pepper ¼ tsp salt 4 whole wheat or gluten-free hamburger buns, toasted ½ red bell pepper, finely sliced ½ cup cabbage, shredded
Instructions 1. Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add in the onion and sauté until it softens and slightly caramelizes, about 4 minutes. Add the onion to a bowl with the beef, ¼ cup hummus, pepper and salt. Mix until well incorporated, then form into 4 ¾-inch patties. Using your thumb, make a shallow depression in the center of each burger.
2. Place burgers on a grill heated to medium, close the lid and cook on both sides, about 6-8 minutes per side, until they reach an internal temperature of 160 F.
3. To serve, place the bell peppers on the bottom half of the buns, top with the burger and a tablespoon of hummus, and garnish with the shredded cabbage.
Ingredients 1/2 cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley 1 teaspoon fresh chopped mint 1 teaspoon lemon zest Salt and pepper 2 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 lb. lamb shoulder cut into about 3-inch medallions
Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line baking sheet with foil. Mix together breadcrumbs, herbs, and lemon in small bowl and season with salt and pepper
2. Heat large oven-proof skillet over medium high and add olive oil. Add lamb to hot oil and sear for 1-2 minutes on each side until brown.
3. Transfer lamb to baking sheet and pat breadcrumb mixture on top of each lamb medallion. Roast lamb for 5-7 minutes until breadcrumbs are golden. Remove from oven and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.
Recipe and photo courtesy Lisa Samuel, RDN and McKenzie Hall, RDN @ Nourish RDs
Ingredients 2 large fresh peaches white flesh or yellow; cut in half 1 teaspoon canola oil 2 cups arugula ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon honey 1 teaspoon lemon juice 2 tablespoons grated ricotta salata 1 teaspoon sunflower seeds, roasted and salted 3-4 fresh mint, leaves torn Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions 1. Slice peaches in half and remove the pit. Brush the four halves with oil and grill for about 5 minutes.
2. Mix olive oil, honey, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste; pour dressing over arugula just until coated. Reserve and refrigerate leftover dressing.
3. Remove peaches from grill and place on top of arugula. Sprinkle ricotta salata, mint, and sunflower seeds on top.
Ingredients 2 sweet potatoes, sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds 2 teaspoons chili powder 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 1 10-ounce bag frozen corn ½ cup cheese, shredded 1 avocado, chopped
Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together sweet potatoes with chili powder and oil. Layer potatoes on large baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes until cooked through. 2. While cooking the potatoes, place the corn in an oven-proof skillet and also roast in oven. Roast until some kernels begin turning brown, about 18-20 minutes. 3. Remove potatoes and corn from oven. Transfer potatoes to plate and top with black beans, corn, and cheese. Return to oven until cheese melts. Sprinkle with avocado. Serve.
Recipe and photo courtesy Judy Barbe, author of Your 6-Week Guide to LiveBest @ Live Best
Ingredients 3/4 cup all natural drippy peanut butter (any nut butter will work) 1 tablespoon coconut flour, plus more if necessary 1/2 cup protein powder 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk, plus more if necessary 2 tablespoons chocolate chips
Instructions 1. In a large bowl, add all ingredients except chocolate chips. Mix together using a wooden spoon until ingredients are well combined and resemble a soft cookie dough. If it seems to dry add a teaspoon or two more almond milk. If too wet, add a teaspoon more of coconut flour. (The important note is that you'll want to be able to roll the dough into balls that stick together well.) Stir in chocolate chips, then roll into 12 tablespoon sized balls. Transfer to an airtight container and store in fridge.
Ingredients 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 1 clove garlic, minced 5 basil leaves, chopped 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon olive oil Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions Combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil and toss together to combine and coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator and let reach room temperature before serving.
Recipe and photo courtesy of Kara Lydon, RD, LDN, RYT @ The Foodie Dietitian
Ingredients 2 heads garlic (about 25 cloves), peeled 1 cup orange juice 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 1 tbsp honey 1/2 tbsp black pepper 2 tsp kosher salt 1 tsp ground allspice 1/2 tsp paprika 6 bay leaves 5 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, drumsticks, or leg quarters
Instructions 1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients (minus the bay leaves) then blend in a blender or food processor. Combine with the bay leaves and chicken in a plastic resealable bag and marinate for at least four hours, overnight preferred.
2. Prepare your grill for indirect, high-heat grilling (about 400F on the cool side of the grill); for a charcoal grill, bank the charcoal to one side of the grill. For a gas grill, turn on the burners on only one side, to their highest setting. Place the chicken on the cool side of the grill, skin-side up, and roast until golden and its liquid runs clear when pierced (165F for those with a quick-read thermometer), about 35 minutes.
Ingredients ⅔ cup spelt flour ⅓ cup oat flour ⅓ cup buckwheat flour 2 tablespoons natural sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup unsweetened almond milk 1 cup full fat, organic cottage cheese 2 large egg, separated 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ cup blueberries ⅓ cup chopped pecans 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
Instructions 1. Whisk flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together almond milk, cottage cheese, egg yolks and vanilla.
2. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together until combined. Quickly whisk in the coconut oil so it is well combined into the batter without clumps. Stir in the blueberries and pecans. In a separate bowl, beat the two egg whites until stiff then fold them into the batter.
3. Heat a nonstick pan lightly greased with coconut oil on medium heat. When hot, add ¼ cup spoonful of batter to the skillet. When the edges start to look dry, about 5 minutes, flip. (This batter is thicker, so you won't see as many bubbles in the middle as a sign it's ready to flip.) Cook 2 minutes on the other side, then remove to a plate and serve or keep warm in a 200 F. degree oven.
4. Serve topped with plain yogurt and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Open Faced Italian Grilled Cheese with Cauliflower Toast
Ingredients 1 head of cauliflower chopped, leaves and steams removed 1 teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes ½ teaspoon dried oregano ¼ teaspoon dried basil dash sea salt 2 large eggs 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan Romano cheese blend 1 cup of part skim mozzarella cheese ¼ cup bread crumbs ⅔ cup marinara sauce
Instructions 1. Preheat oven to 450*F. Line a large baking sheet and spray liberally with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a food processor, pulse cauliflower florets in small batches until a rice consistency is achieved. Remove rice like cauliflower from food processor in small batches one at a time and place on the baking sheet. Heat for 10-15 minutes to remove excess moisture. Keep oven on but remove baking sheet and let cool.
3. In a large bowl, combine garlic powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, basil, salt, eggs, Parmesan Romano cheese, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, and bread crumbs. Mix together. Once cauliflower has cooled, add this to the bowl and mix well.
4. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and respray with nonstick oil, liberally. Portion mixture into 5 toast like squares on the baking sheet. Bake at 450*F for 15 minutes. Remove and flip, baking for an additional 12 minutes.
5. Remove tray from oven, place 2 spoonfuls of marinara sauce on each toast and sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese over the top. Place back in oven for an additional 3-5 minutes to melt cheese. Remove once melted and let cool a few minutes.Enjoy and top with some fresh basil!
Ingredients 4 slices of sourdough, or other hearty thick whole grain bread 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 ounce of brie, softened at room temperature 3 ounces of sharp cheddar, grated, at room temperature 1/2 sweet apple, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
Instructions 1. Heat a nonstick frying pan to medium high heat. Lightly brush the olive oil on each side of the four slices of bread. Toast one side of each slice of bread lightly in the frying pan.
2. Remove bread from pan, and spread the brie on the toasted sides of two pieces of bread. Top brie with the cheddar and 2-3 slices of apple. Top apples with remaining slices of bread, toasted side down. Return the sandwiches to the pan and lightly toast on each side. Cut each sandwich in half and serve immediately.