After a long day of work, household chores and another day of emotionally draining news reports, it’s no surprise you have little energy to spare when it comes to making dinner. But if you’re trying to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight while being stuck at home, that last meal of the day is key to avoiding late-night snacking and packing in all the nutrients your body needs.

So what’s for dinner tonight? We took all the guesswork out of that question by consulting TODAY nutritionist, Joy Bauer. Her plan is the perfect guide: It contains delicious meals with the right balance of lean proteins, high-quality carbs and healthy fats to give you fast and effective results. Plus, each tasty option has plenty of nutrient-packed and fiber-filled produce, providing loads of vitamins and minerals to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

Dinner rules:

Each of the Drop 10 dinner options contains no more than 500 calories.

“Pre-game” before your meal! Front loading before dinner can take the edge off your hunger.

Drink 16 ounces (2 cups) of water and eat one large handful (about 1 cup) of any non-starchy vegetable from this list. (Click here to see a larger version of approved non-starchy vegetables.)

Non Starchy Vegetables Chart
Non Starchy Vegetables Chart

Then, take a seat and take your time. Slowing down the pace of your eating will enhance digestion and allow you to be more aware of hunger and fullness cues.

Dinner options:

1. Burger and Fries

A bun-less burger of choice (lean beef, turkey, vegetarian) layered with lettuce, tomato, onion and a squirt of ketchup or salsa with one serving of oven-roasted sweet potato fries and 2 cups steamed or roasted vegetables or a salad dressed with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and unlimited vinegar or fresh lemon juice (alternatively, you can use 2 tablespoons of low-calorie vinaigrette). You can also skip the fries and instead enjoy your burger on a half bun.

Feel like cooking? Try these simple recipes:

Enjoy 1-2 servings of cauliflower fried rice and 4 ounces cooked protein of your choice such as shrimp, fish, chicken, tofu, pork tenderloin, lean steak or poultry sausage — or 3/4 cup cooked black beans.

3. Baked fish with broccoli and sweet potato

Five ounces of grilled, roasted or baked fish (cooked with 1 teaspoon olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, pepper and preferred seasonings) and 2 cups of steamed broccoli and 1/2 baked sweet potato.

Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Parmesan

Eat with 2 cups of steamed green beans or sugar snap peas.

sauteed Turkey Sausage
sauteed Turkey Sausage

Enjoy up to 2 servings!

6. Slow cooker comfort food

Chicken Curry and Vegetables or Slow Cooker Chicken and Black Bean Chili. For the Slow Cooker Chicken and Black Bean Chili, enjoy 1 serving with 1 dollop low-fat Greek yogurt + ¼ cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese + ½ cup cooked brown rice or quinoa (OR 1/2 baked potato)

7. Pork tenderloin, baked potato and carrots

5 ounces of roast pork tenderloin with 2 cups cooked carrots and 1/2 baked potato topped with 2 tablespoons of low-fat Greek yogurt or light sour cream and/or 2 tablespoons salsa.

Eat with roasted broccoli or cauliflower and 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa.

Serve with 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa.

Serve with 1 cup steamed edamame in the pod.

Join the Drop 10 TODAY challenge! See the full plan here.


More recipes from the plan

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Any health-related information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, or before embarking on any diet, exercise or wellness program.