30 Best Light Dinner Ideas for Healthier Meals

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Odette Published: October 12, 2021

Having a fun weekend getaway can make us forget our strict, healthy diet. Binging on tasty but processed snacks at parties or even on a movie night with friends and family is something almost every one of us is guilty of. There’s just something so comforting with a slice of pizza and a bag of chips. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get right back on track! Light and healthy recipes are always available for you to bounce back. Learn about these flavorful recipes on our list of light dinner ideas.

Doubtful it’s as tasty as your weekend cheat day meals? Well, light and healthy doesn’t always mean bland and tasteless. There are healthy recipes that don’t taste healthy at all! Meaning, they’re just as tasty as any other recipe. And since these are light, you can serve them in the summer season or just anytime you want!


30 Delicious Light Dinner Ideas

Lose what you gained last weekend by planning your weekly healthy meals. We have quick and easy dinner recipes done in less than an hour here. Instant Pot? We also have recipes using it! Brush up your cooking skills by adding these easy meals to your healthy diet now.

Chicken Tacos with Fresh Corn Salsa

chicken tacos with fresh corn salsa recipe

You can still enjoy flavorful tacos even if you stick to your light and healthy meals. You’ll be surprised, there are taco recipes that are tasty despite being healthy. Case in point, this delicious dish! And best of all? It’s so easy to make!

READ ALSO: What Everyone Needs To Know About Butter Lettuce

You can enjoy this with corn tortilla and we promise that it still will be light. But know that you can also substitute butter lettuce to make it an even healthier dish. These guilt-free tacos are sure to please you just as the original recipe does.

Recipe for Inspiration: Chicken Tacos with Fresh Corn Salsa

Baked Chicken Breast

baked chicken breasts recipe

Did someone say light, healthy, quick, and easy? The perfect candidate is here — baked chicken breast! There is no doubt that this is healthy as its main ingredient is chicken breast! It’s the famous chicken that’s part full of lean meat and protein that is ideal for losing weight.

READ ALSO: 75 Easy Romantic Dinner Ideas For Two: Best Valentine’s Day Recipes

Underwhelmed? This baked chicken is only coated in olive oil and a blend of herbs and spices like dried thyme, oregano, parsley, and garlic powder, but it is flavorful. Too flavorful that it’s one of the best romantic dinner ideas for two. For that, it certainly deserves a spot on your list of light dinner ideas.

Recipe for Inspiration: Baked Chicken Breast

Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

thai pineapple fried rice recipe

Vegetarian on top of trying to eat healthily? Then you better try this Thai pineapple fried rice recipe we have here. Everything in the recipe is healthy even down to the oil you will use. Instead of regular cooking oil or butter, you’ll use coconut oil which contains healthy fatty acids that help reduce appetite. It also encourages fat burning. So, if you’re aiming to lose a couple of pounds, add this to your list of light dinner ideas.

Additionally, this recipe also calls for brown rice, but if you do not have leftovers (or simply not up for it) you can always opt for white rice. The result will just be as tasty and refreshing.

Recipe for Inspiration: Thai Pineapple Fried Rice

Summertime Pasta Salad

summertime pasta salad with tomatoes corn and jalapeno pesto recipe

Like the rest of the recipes listed here, this pasta salad is just as easy, light, and healthy. But what sets it apart from the others is that this dish is also a summer favorite. How? Well, it’s made with summer favorites like corn, cherry tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, and more. It may be included on our list of light dinner ideas but it sure is perfect for the warm season as well.

Recipe for Inspiration: Summertime Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Corn, and Jalapeño Pesto

Cauliflower Fried Rice

cauliflower fried rice recipe

Is white rice too heavy for your tummy? Go light by substituting it with cauliflower using this fried rice recipe, which almost tastes like your favorite Chinese take-out! You can even substitute soy sauce with the low sodium variety if you want.

READ ALSO: 15 Best Soy Sauce Options for Your Pantry

The umami flavor of the soy sauce is dominant in this dish making it tasty and flavorful, but a teaspoon of sesame oil elevates this dish a little bit more!

Recipe for Inspiration: Cauliflower Fried Rice

Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos

Mahi Mahi Tacos Recipe (California Pizza Kitchen Copycat) - soft-shelled tortilla stuffed with rice and mahi mahi fish with ranch and sriracha dressing

Of course, we wouldn’t forget to add this mildly flavored and tone-downed fish to our list of light dinner ideas. And not your usual recipe for fish at that. We made sure you can enjoy it like your favorite comfort food — and that’s with tacos! We love that it’s guilt-free, just exactly what you need to lose weight without sacrificing taste.

Recipe for Inspiration: Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos

Mexican Chicken Noodle Soup

mexican chicken noodle soup recipe

You know chicken noodle soup is the perfect dish to sip on when you’re sick. But did you know that it’s also light and healthy, making it just the right meal for those hoping to lose weight? Even more so with this version of the recipe that’s healthier than the original.

But what is the difference? The original recipe has chicken stock packed with sodium as its soup base, but this recipe uses tomatoes that help balance the saltiness of the dish.

Recipe for Inspiration: Mexican Chicken Noodle Soup

Cabbage and Tofu Stir Fry

Cabbage and Tofu Stir Fry Recipe

Quick, easy, and healthy. These are words to best describe stir-fry recipes like this cabbage and tofu stir fry. It’s a light meal anyone can enjoy! Aside from cabbage and tofu, you’ll also find a couple more vegetables in this dish like bell peppers, garlic, onion, and green onions.

Recipe for Inspiration: Cabbage and Tofu Stir Fry

Grilled Thai Curry Chicken Skewers

juicy grilled thai curry chicken skewers

Craving for some delicious chicken curry? Only, more light and refreshing while still keeping all the curry flavor you’re craving for? Then try these chicken skewers marinated in soy sauce, dark brown sugar, lime zest, garlic, and curry powder.

READ ALSO: How Long to Marinate Chicken For the Best-Flavored Meat

Too plain for you? Don’t worry. This recipe also includes a coconut-peanut sauce that you can make in less than five minutes. Serve the chicken skewers with this sauce and a slice of refreshing lime wedges!

Recipe for Inspiration: Grilled Thai Curry Chicken Skewers

Quinoa Salad

quinoa salad recipe

Now, if you’re vegetarian and vegan, then there’s no reason for you to skip this refreshing, crisp salad. It’s definitely something too look at, with its colorful vegetables such as cucumbers, bell peppers, onion, and parsley. And let’s not forget, it also has quinoa that helps aid weight loss.

Recipe for Inspiration: Quinoa Salad

Teriyaki Chicken

teriyaki chicken zucchini noodles recipe

Tired of the old too salty teriyaki chicken? Then make way for the most colorful and healthiest teriyaki chicken you can enjoy. This recipe uses chicken breast, healthy zucchini noodles, and bell peppers bathed in sweet-umami teriyaki sauce. A sprinkling of sesame seeds spruces up the dish too!

Recipe for Inspiration: Teriyaki Chicken Zucchini Noodles

Buddha Bowl

buddha bowls recipe

We mentioned quinoa helps aid weight loss, but quinoa also improves blood sugar and maintains your cholesterol levels. That’s why it’s a pantry staple for people maintaining a low cholesterol diet.

READ ALSO: 30 Vegetarian Instant Pot Recipes For No-Fuss Meals

Aside from quinoa, this recipe is also full of refreshing and healthy ingredients such as chickpeas, spinach, cabbage, avocado, cashews, and more! All these tossed in delicious tangy tahini dressing that you’ll surely love.

Recipe for Inspiration: Buddha Bowls

White Chicken Chili

5-ingredient white chicken chili recipe

Usually, chili recipes include many ingredients that take quite a long time to prepare and cook. That’s why we made it our mission to find a recipe for chili that works for busy bees out there. So, give this white chicken chili recipe a try and see how it compares to the original.

For this recipe, you only need chicken stock, shredded chicken, beans, salsa verde, ground cumin, and toppings of your choice like avocado and cheese. Of course, you’re free to add more if your pantry has it.

Recipe for Inspiration: 5-Ingredient White Chicken Chili

Shrimp Tacos

baja fresh copycat original shrimp tacos recipe

This recipe here is the freshest shrimp tacos you can ever make! Aside from the shrimp, this dish is full of fresh produce like red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, tomato, and lime.

READ ALSO: 6 Reasons Why You Should Shop At A Farmers Market

This light and healthy dish is ideal for diets, but who could stop busy moms from serving this scrumptious dish on a regular day? Served on a crisp corn tortilla, we’re sure even kids will love this take on tacos.

Recipe for Inspiration: Baja Fresh Copycat Original Shrimp Tacos

Burrito Bowl

kale, black bean, and avocado burrito bowl recipe

Do we dare forget your favorite deconstructed burrito on this list of light dinner ideas? Of course not. This burrito bowl is a healthy alternative, but still full of flavorful ingredients that complement each other. It’s fresh, healthy, and light, just the recipe to add to your weekly meal plan.

Recipe for Inspiration: Kale, Black Bean, and Avocado Burrito Bowl

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

chicken larb lettuce wraps

Now, if you’re looking for dishes that make you forget you’re eating healthy, then count on larb gai to do the trick. It’s healthy but doesn’t taste like you’re only eating bland greens. It’s packed with incredible flavors courtesy of the sweet Thai chili sauce, sambal, fish sauce, and herbs like mint and cilantro.

Recipe for Inspiration: Chicken Larb Lettuce Wraps (Larb Gai)

Chicken Rice

Crockpot Chicken and Rice Recipe

Fans of quick and easy recipes will love this crockpot chicken and rice just as they love instant pot pie recipes.

It may look scrappy, but it packs a lot of flavors. For this recipe, you only need a few ingredients such as chicken legs, chicken broth, and salt and pepper to taste. You may also add black olives if you have them.

Recipe for Inspiration: Crockpot Chicken And Rice

Grilled Shrimp

Rum Soaked Caribbean Shrimp Skewers Recipe - Grilled marinated shrimp

A long way from the Caribbean? Bring it closer by cooking this rum-soaked Caribbean grilled shrimp recipe. Just marinate the shrimp in pineapple juice, lemon juice, and dark rum. Then thread the shrimps in skewers and grill them. Grilling adds a smoky flavor to the shrimp, elevating this dish even more.

Recipe for Inspiration: Rum Soaked Caribbean Grilled Shrimp

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

instant pot chicken tikka masala with cauliflower and peas recipe

Quick and easy? Not to mention, healthy? Count us in! This version of chicken tikka masala is ready in 30 minutes with the help of an Instant Pot. And loaded with cauliflower and peas, this version is even healthier than the original.

Recipe for Inspiration: Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower and Peas

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

grilled sweet potatoes recipe

They say about simple is delicious. This truth goes the same for these grilled sweet potatoes coated in fresh lime and flavorful cilantro dressing. It’s quick to make too as it’s done in less than an hour!

Recipe for Inspiration: Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Cajun Chicken and Veggies

one pan cajun chicken and veggies recipe

Time to add more dishes to your list of one-pan recipes. This spice-loaded dish is healthy like the others. Surely one of the must-try light dinners out there. By making it, you’ll be hitting two birds with one stone!

Recipe for Inspiration: One Pan Cajun Chicken and Veggies

Buffalo Chicken Potstickers

buffalo chicken potstickers recipe

Potstickers and buffalo chicken? Who would have thought combining these two crowd-favorites will create such a delicious dish! Each potsticker is filled with tender chicken, cream cheese, and tangy and spicy buffalo sauce. That sounds incredibly tasty, don’t you think?

Recipe for Inspiration: Buffalo Chicken Potstickers

Honey-Garlic Chicken Skewers

honey-garlic chicken skewers recipe

You don’t have to wait until the next summer cookout to try these sweet and savory honey-garlic chicken skewers. Judging by how easy it is to make, you can even enjoy this on a busy day by baking it instead of grilling. And yes, it tastes just as tasty!

Recipe for Inspiration: Honey-Garlic Chicken Skewers

Honey Garlic Dijon Broiled Salmon

Honey Garlic Dijon Broiled Salmon Recipe

Craving for more honey garlic recipes? Now, try this broiled salmon coated in olive oil, dijon mustard, honey, garlic, parsley, and thyme. You’ll be surprised at how all these ingredients complement each other well. It is as if this dish is expensive! Another thing we like? It’s done in just 13 minutes.

Recipe for Inspiration: Honey Garlic Dijon Broiled Salmon

Ground Turkey Taco Salad

turkey taco salad recipe

Craving for a beef taco but afraid that its meat is too fat and heavy to add to your light dinner ideas? Then substitute it with healthier options like this ground turkey taco salad full of vegetables like tomatoes, corn, lettuce, radishes, and more!

Delicious food that can help you lose weight? Who would say no to that? You may garnish your salad with cheese and sour cream. But, you can also skip it for an even healthier dinner.

Recipe for Inspiration: Turkey Taco Salad

Garlic Lime Salmon Fajitas

Sheet Pan Garlic Lime Salmon Fajitas Recipe

Here’s another easy-to-execute dinner you can whip up during crunch time — sheet pan garlic lime salmon fajitas. It’s simple, quick, and delicious. Truly, this is worth adding to your list of light dinner ideas.

Recipe for Inspiration: Sheet Pan Garlic Lime Salmon Fajitas

Summertime Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Summertime Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

This spaghetti is not your usual spaghetti. This version is light and healthy, and possibly the freshest of all tomato sauces you can add to your favorite pasta.

Recipe for Inspiration: Summertime Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Korean Ground Beef

savory korean ground beef

Can’t help but crave beef even on a strict diet? There’s no need to deprive yourself if you promise to consume lean ground beef only. This Korean ground beef recipe packs a lot of umami flavors. And because you’re on a diet, remember to use low-sodium soy sauce.

Recipe for Inspiration: Korean Ground Beef

Salmon Stir-Fry

Salmon Stir-Fry Recipe

It may be healthy and low-carb but this salmon stir-fry is just as tasty as your favorite baked salmon recipe. And you get to enjoy different textures too. We love the crisp texture of green beans and soft, melt-in-your-mouth salmon pieces that contrast so well.

Recipe for Inspiration: Salmon Stir-Fry

Veggie Sushi Bowls

veggie sushi bowls recipe

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. You can still enjoy the foods you love with a little tweaking, of course. One good example is this veggie sushi bowl full of healthy vegetables you also find in your favorite sushi.

This recipe uses brown rice and tamari (a Japanese gluten-free soy sauce) that are good alternatives if you want to maintain your healthy diet.

Recipe for Inspiration: Veggie Sushi Bowls

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Odette

Odette is a content writer and proofreader by day, and living her inner artist as a poet and singer by night. She's also a former member of a publication who she now mentors from time to time. She likes how sharing a tiny bit of her life and her journey can help others in return. And because she is a curl embassador, she finds joy in empowering fellow curlies to embrace their natural curls. She also loves doing random acts of service to people she loves by cooking for them during her free time. This girl loves anything pasta and French cuisine though she just went through her Japanese and Korean cuisine phase.

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