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Healthy Meals For Weight Loss | Vegetarian & Vegan Friendly

Updated: Apr 1

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These healthy meals for weight loss can help you shed those unwanted pounds while providing your body with the nutrition it needs. The recipes are easy to prepare and require minimal cooking time.

Ideas and inspiration for many of the healthy meals for weight loss were taken from the brilliant cookbook Folks Over Knives. The recipes in Folks Over Knives were created by professional chef Del Sroufe to be both delicious and nutritious.

This book is intended to provide … an eclectic collection of healthy recipes drawing inspiration from cuisines all over the world.’

Below you’ll find healthy weight loss recipes for every meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner, and some snack ideas too!

In addition, there are loads of links to more recipes, cookbooks, and foods. All this with the aim of enabling you to cultivate a diet that promotes weight loss while improving health.

Healthy meals for weight loss food list

Before we tuck into the healthy meals for weight loss, it’s worth reviewing a range of foods that promote health. The idea behind this overview is to provide you with a simple checklist of foods that you can begin to include into your diet.

The list has been adapted from Dr Greger’s ‘Daily Dozen’. In his book How Not to Die, Greger tells us that ‘As the list of foods I tried to fit into my daily diet grew, I made a checklist and had it on a little dry-wipe board on the fridge.’

Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen is the distillation of years of research into the healthiest foods. Whenever he discovered ‘exciting new data’ on the health-promoting, disease-fighting effects of a food, he would add it to his list.

(Note, the ticks indicate the suggested number of daily servings.)

Healthy foods to eat

As part of the article on healthy meals for weight loss, we take a look at a range of healthy foods. From the Book How Not to Die, this image shows Dr Greger's 'Daily Dozen,' a checklist of health foods. In the checjlist are the following foods: Beans (legumes: split peas, chickpeas, and lentils) Berries Other fruits Cruciferous vegetables (rocket, bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, and other green, leafy veg) Greens Other vegetables Flaxseeds Nuts Spices Whole grains Clean liquid beverages (water, herbal teas, green teas).

Healthy meals for weight loss #1: Perfect porridge

After a morning run and refreshing shower there’s nothing better than a wholesome bowl of porridge. Packed full of energy, this perfect breakfast will set you up for the day.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup alternative milk (oat, almond, coconut)

1 cup water

Mixed berries, washed and diced

Diced nuts

Milled flax and hemp


  1. Introduce the oats, milk, and water in a saucepan. Set on a high heat ensuring to stir frequently.

  2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Continue to stir

  3. When the porridge is at the desired consistency, remove from heat and allow to rest for 5-minutes.

  4. Spoon the porridge into bowls and top with seeds, nuts and berries – and perhaps a drizzle of natural honey.

Healthy meals for weight loss #2: Banana smoothie

As well as being super-tasty, and super-easy to make, this smoothie is full of energy. The flax and oats give it body while also increasing the nutrient value.

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 bananas, sliced into segments

1 cup blueberries

1 avocado

1 cup alternative milk (oat, almond, coconut)

1 cup water

2 tbsp milled flaxseed

½ cup rolled oats

6 ice cubes


  1. Introduce all the ingredients – except the water – into a blender. (Set aside a sprinkling of berries, oats, and flax.)

  2. Blitz the ingredients while adding water a little bit at a time.

  3. When the smoothie is at the desired consistency, pour into large glasses.

  4. Top with the sprinkling of extras.

Related: Best Smoothie Maker

Healthy meal #3: Green smoothie

Fruit smoothies can contain a lot of sugar. And even sugar from fruit can rot teeth and prod the pancreas. But balancing smoothies with vegetables is a great way to decrease the sugar content while at the same time increasing the goodness.

Ingredients (serves 2)

1 banana

1 avocado

½ cup blueberries

1 cup alternative milk (oat, almond, coconut)

1 cup water

A generous handful of spinach

1 cup of kale

1 celery stick

½ cup oats

2 tbsp milled flax

1 tsp lemon juice

6 ice cubes


  1. Introduce all the ingredients – except the water – into a blender.

  2. Blend!

  3. Add water in stages and continue to blend until desired consistency is reached.

  4. Pour the smoothie into large glasses and, for culinary effect, pop a spliced celery stick on the top – a healthy version of piña colada.

Essential blending: The Smoothie Recipe Book

Healthy meals for weight loss | Lunch

#1: Buddha bowl

In case you’re wondering, a Buddha bowl is a type of dish that contains a rich variety of fresh vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and pulses. Typically, the staple of the Buddha bowl is a grain – such as quinoa. Over and around (and sometimes mixed in to) the grain are the other ingredients. In essence, a Buddha bowl should be a vibrant, colourful, nutritious dish full of health.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 large cup quinoa

1 large, sweet potato (yam), cut into cubes

1 large red pepper, thinly sliced

4 chestnut mushrooms, sliced

6 florets of broccoli, blanched

8 vine-ripe cherry tomatoes

A generous handful of spinach, washed

An assortment of nuts, diced

½ cup sunflower seeds, lightly toasted

Spices: ½ tablespoon turmeric, cumin, curry powder


  1. Preheat oven (with a baking tray in it!) to 175 degrees.

  2. Boil the sweet potato cubes for 5-minutes then drain well and add a tablespoon of olive (or rapeseed) oil. Toss the spuds so that the oil is evenly distributed. Now include the spices and toss again before spreading over the preheated baking tray. Cook on the same heat for 25-minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, introduce the cup of quinoa into a large pan followed by 2 cups of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10- to 15-minutes. When the quinoa has shuffled off its mortal coils, drain well and set to one side.

  4. Boil the broccoli for 3-minutes before blanching. Drain and set to one side.

  5. When the sweet potato has softened, mix in the quinoa – either on the tray or in a separate bowl. Before spooning the mix into four bowls, line the sides with spinach.

  6. To finish your Buddha bowls, place the vegetables over sweet potato and quinoa mix.

  7. Garnish with the crushed nuts and toasted sunflower seeds then serve.

Essential reading: The China Study

Healthy meals for weight loss #2: Pasta salad

‘Let this be the first pasta salad of the sprint when asparagus and sugar snap peas are fresh in the farmers’ market,’ says Ray Sroufe, author of the international bestselling cookbook Folks Over Knives. Whether you can get farmers’ market-fresh ingredients or not, you will love this dish. It’s a doddle to cook, nutritious, and tasty to boot.

Ingredients (serves 4)

½ pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into ½ -inch pieces

½ pound sugar snap peas, trimmed

12 ounces whole-grain penne, cooked according to package direction, drained and rinsed until cook

4 green onions (white and green parts), thinly sliced

¼ cup finely chopped chives

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. First, prepare an ice bath – a container of water with a tray of ice cubes in it will suffice. Boil the asparagus and sugar snap peas for 2- to 3-minutes. Drain then plunge them into the ice bath. Drain again then set to one side.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and seasoning.

  3. When the dressing is ready, mix in a large serving bowl the pasta and blanched vegetables. Now include the vinegar and mustard mux.

  4. Gently fold together before serving.

Essential cooking: The China Study Cookbook

#3: Greek salad

Traditional Greek salads include a soft cheese, usually feta. However, these healthy meals for weight loss are all plant-based. So, the Greeks are going to have to make a special dispensation for this recipe. But honestly, this adaptation is so full of flavour and fresh ingredients, the cheese won’t even be missed. Promise!

Ingredients (serves 4)

A plentiful assortment of fresh salad leaves – leaf lettuce, sorrel, romaine, radicchio, bibb, even kale are all perfect flora for your salad.

12 vine-ripe tomatoes, halved

2 big beef tomatoes, finely sliced

2 avocados, destoned and diced or sliced

4 chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced

1 large yellow pepper

4 artichoke hearts

2 cups of mixed Greek olives (Italian olives will do just fine)


  1. Mix the salad leaves together and separate evenly across the four bowls.

  2. Over the salad leaves add the rest of the vegetables. Don’t be fussy with appearances at this stage.

  3. Now add the artichokes and olives.

  4. Generously drizzle olive oil over the salads then, before tossing, season with pepper, mixed herbs and a touch of salt.

  5. Serve with a substantial stick of rustic ciabatta.

Essential reading: How not to Die

Healthy meals for weight loss | Dinner

#1: Healthy pasta recipes

This healthy pasta recipe ticks all the right boxes. As well as being healthy, it is tasty, easy to prepare, and makes for a nutritious lunch the next day.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 beef tomato, sliced

1 avocado, destoned and diced or sliced

1 large yellow pepper, cut into strips

4 chestnut mushrooms, sliced

8 vine-ripe cherry tomatoes, halved

250g wholewheat pasta

Generous handful of rocket

1 cup of mixed Italian olives, pitted

½ cup fresh basil leaves, finely diced

½ cup pine seeds, toasted

½ cup olive oil

Seasoning: mixed herbs, pepper, salt


  1. Bring to a rolling boil a large pan of water. Pour in the pasta ensuring to stir immediately to prevent clumping. Cook as per the instructions.

  2. Meanwhile, mix the olive oil, basil and seasoning in a bowl.

  3. When the pasta is cooked, preferably al dente, drain well then introduce the olive oil mix (save a bit for serving). Give the pasta a good tossing. Now add the toasted pine seeds.

  4. Portion the pasta equally among four bowls then add the vegetables and olives.

  5. Finally, before serving, create a nest of rocket on top of the pasta salad. Garnish with the remaining olive oil.

Healthy meals for weight loss #2: Sweet potato curry

This recipe requires a touch more culinary acumen, and it takes a bit more time to prepare and cook. But the rewards are worth it for this is both a delicious and nutritious meal.

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 sweet potatoes (yams), cut into cubes and par boiled

2 large carrots, cut into cubes and par boiled

4 big beef tomatoes, diced

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 large red onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed and sliced

A nub of ginger, grated

400g chickpeas, drained, oiled, and seasoned

200g brown rice

Species: 1 tablespoon garam masala (or curry powder), turmeric, cumin


  1. To make the curry sauce first soften the onions and garlic in a large pan. Once softened add the ginger and spices.

  2. Once the onions have softened add the tomatoes – both beef and cherry. Cover and leave on medium heat for 10- to 15-minutes.

  3. The final stage of preparing the curry sauce: ladle the mix into a large glass jug and blend until the consistency is smooth.

  4. Re-oil the pan previously used for the sauce and place on medium to high heat. Transfer the sweet potatoes and carrots. Sauté for 5-minutes before spooning in the sauce. When mixed add the chickpeas and a generous bunch of finely diced coriander. Reduce the heat and cover ensuring to leave a gap.

  5. Prepare the rice. Thoroughly rinse the rice in cold water. Add to a pan ensuring to stick to a ratio of 1 part rice to 2 parts water. (Optional: Pop into the pan two cracked cardamom pods and one star anise.) Cover, bring to a boil then simmer for 15- to 20-minutes.

  6. Once the rice has cooked remove cardamom pods and star anise then drain and fluff.

  7. To serve: place the rice in bowls ensuring to create a well in the centre. Spoon the curry into the well. Garnish with roasted almonds and sprig of coriander.

Essential cooking: Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen

#3: Need a Curry in a hurry? Do Saag Aloo!

Saag aloo makes for a sumptuous side or main course too. It’s simple to cook, requires little time to prepare, and is packed full of flavour. And what’s more, because saag aloo is vegan, dairy- and gluten-free, it is perfect for a dinner party.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp mustard seeds

1 yellow onion, finely sliced

3 large garlic cloves, crushed

1 nub of ginger, finely chopped

1 tbsp tomato purée

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp hot chilli powder

½ tsp turmeric

250g spinach, rinsed and chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional)


  1. First, simmer the potatoes for 10-minutes. Drain and allow to steam dry.

  2. Heat the oil (and a couple of tablespoons of water) in a large pan over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, onion and garlic and cook for 10- to 15-minutes.

  3. Once the onions and garlic have softened, add the tomato purée and remaining spices and cook for a further 5-minutes.

  4. Now add the potatoes ensuring to fold the ingredients together.

  5. After introducing the spinach and 100ml boiling water, cover and cook until the spinach wilts.

  6. Serve when the potatoes are soft, and the ingredients have infused. Scatter chopped chilli coils and enjoy.

Healthy meals for weight loss | Snacks

Snacking is synonymous with poor health and being overweight. However, not all snacks were created equal and some can be consumed as part of a healthy diet. Snack foods that litter the shelves of convenience stores and supermarkets are typically highly processed and full of salt, sugar, and fat. It's these types of snacks that you certainly should avoid.

Instead, before you start your day, take the time in the morning to prepare yourself (and your family) healthy, wholesome, nutritious snacks. Homemade snacks can be good for your health and tasty without being laden with calories. Below you'll find a list of healthy snack options.

Homemade hummus and carrot or celery sticks
Simple salad
Buddha bowl
Fruit salad - or just plain old fruit
Whole nuts with dark chocolate and medjool dates


About Adam Priest –

A former Royal Marines Commando, Adam Priest is a content writer, college lecturer, and health and fitness coach. He is also a fitness author and contributor to other websites. Connect with Adam at

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