The 15 Best Light Dinner Ideas • Kath Eats

Looking for a healthy meal that won’t weigh you down? These light dinner ideas made with real food ingredients are tasty and filling.

After a season of celebrations, many people are looking for the best ideas for light dinners.

I have always liked the saying “Eat breakfast like a king/queen, lunch like a prince/princess, dinner like a pauper.”

It’s the opposite of what we associate with the typical American day: skipping breakfast for double coffee, lunch on the run, and a big meal for dinner.

On days when I have a big lunch, I often crave something light for dinner, without too much cream or butter, rich or starchy meat.

It’s very possible to create hearty, tasty meals that incorporate all three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) without sending you to bed feeling like you can’t sleep on your stomach (been there, done that).

If you’re looking for lighter meals to add to your meal plan, here’s a list of the best light dinner ideas you can enjoy all year round.

They are easy to prepare, nutritious and many can be prepared to enjoy any night of the week. Enjoy these delicious dinners!

The benefits of a lighter dinner

Beyond a simple preference, adopting a lighter dinner has tangible health benefits.

A lighter dinner helps improve digestion, allowing our body to process nutrients more efficiently and promoting a feeling of overall well-being.

This conscious approach also contributes to better sleep quality, since a lighter meal does not interrupt the body’s nighttime rejuvenation process.

Incorporating nutrient-rich ingredients into lighter dinner options ensures that we not only satisfy our taste buds, but also provide our body with essential vitamins and minerals.

15 best ideas for light dinners

Mediterranean Grain Bowl Recipe

This Mediterranean grain bowl is great to make ahead and assemble on the spot in less than 20 minutes. I love all the creamy sauces! Canned artichokes are a great staple to have on hand in the pantry for salads or grain bowls. And cucumbers are cheap and easy to add too. Make your dressing with yogurt to fill up on protein.

Miso Noodle Soup

This soup is simple to make and full of flavor! It’s a hearty, comforting, nutrient-dense meal for cooler weather; It is also vegan and gluten-free. Avocados add healthy fats, soba noodles made with buckwheat also provide satiating protein.

ideas for light dinners

Tuscan Kale Salad with Pesto and Chicken

Craving a crunchy salad? This hearty kale salad is made with Tuscan kale massaged with pesto and topped with chicken, blue cheese, and Parmesan. The ultimate recipe for a light dinner!

Pumpkin and Farro Salad

This pumpkin farro salad combines chewy farro with a whole roasted pumpkin and a few surprises, like pomegranate seeds! It will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, so it’s great to make on the day of preparation.

Cold peanut noodles

The whole family will love these cold peanut noodles for a quick and healthy dinner. I always love this in the summer because you can make it ahead of time and take it on a picnic. These walnut noodles are another favorite. If you use soba or whole-grain noodles, you’ll get protein and fiber, and the healthy fats in the dressing will fill you up.

Salmon and Quinoa Burgers with Mint Yogurt Sauce

These burgers are super quick to make, packed with protein, and baked, so there’s no fear of them tipping over! With plenty of quinoa and salmon inside, the protein and fiber will keep you full. Plus you’ll have extras for lunch time!

Salmon Buddha Bowl

I love Buddha bowls in the winter, when fresh salads aren’t always a priority. This Salmon Buddha Bowl combines the simplicity of a bowl of seared salmon and brown rice with the rainbow of vegetables in a Buddha bowl—it’s light and delicious, and one of my favorite weeknight dinner recipes.

Cereal Chicken Bowl with Goddess Dressing

Hearty and healthy, this Grain Chicken Bowl with Goddess Dressing is packed with goodness. One of my favorite light dinners and it’s ready in 30 minutes! It’s a great way to use chicken breasts from the freezer that need to be used or you can use a rotisserie chicken from the store to save a lot of time. Frozen cereals also work well in a pinch.

Warm Quinoa and Honey Salad

This Spicy Honey Quinoa Salad is seasoned with a great ingredient: spicy honey! If you can’t find spicy honey in a store, you can always make your own with pure honey and some red chili flakes. Served with herb-grilled chicken and lots of veggies, this salad is a great easy all-in-one dinner.

Easy Tempeh Rice Bowls

These easy tempeh rice bowls are made with a homemade marinade of broth, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch. AKA all those good, strong Asian flavors! You can add any vegetables you want, but bell peppers and fresh spinach go great with this recipe. Also try peas or bean sprouts!

Mexican Buddha Bowl

This Mexican Buddha Bowl recipe is packed with fresh, real-food ingredients, like purple cabbage and avocado, and drizzled with a yogurt, cilantro, and lime dressing. Black beans and corn provide plenty of satisfying bites, and fresh cilantro and limes add a summery glow.

Chickpea Buddha Bowl

This Chickpea Buddha Bowl is packed with real, healthy food and topped with a golden honey-turmeric sauce. I love the texture of roasted chickpeas, plus the tofu and sweet potatoes will fill you up.

Quick and easy Mediterranean salad bowls

These colorful salad bowls with a Mediterranean touch have a satisfying combination of sweet and salty flavor, as well as a creamy and crunchy texture. Combine figs with hummus, artichokes, and pita chips for crunch. The more flavor and texture boxes you check with each meal, the better! Best of all, these bowls call for ingredients you probably have on hand in your refrigerator and pantry.

Lentil and Herb Salad

Enjoy it as a main dinner with salmon or roast chicken on top! Lentils are an underrated ingredient in salads and can instantly boost the protein and fiber of any dish. I love this salad with arugula, but you can use any greens you have on hand, like baby spinach.

Healthy Panzanella

This recipe is a KERF version of a healthy panzanella, which means “bread salad” in Italian! Combine whole wheat bread, kale, squash, green beans, tomatoes, and goat cheese in a colorful and hearty salad. Goat cheese does it!

What are your best ideas for a light dinner?

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