5-ingredient summer recipes to save time and lose weight

From meatless Monday to Taco Tuesday to fakeaway Friday, here are five dietitian-approved summer meals to help you lose weight from our resident dietitian Melissa Meier. 

Slaving over a hot stove is never fun in the height of summer – but if you’re keeping an eye on your waistline, convenient takeaway meals aren’t going to do you many favours, either. Behold: five easy peasy summer meals that are quick, easy and oh-so-good for you.

Mango and tuna salad

Nothing says summer quite like a sweet and juicy mango. Not just a refreshing sweet snack, they work wonders in savoury dishes, too. I like to throw a handful of finely sliced mango into a salad alongside spinach, corn, Spanish onion and chilli tuna (hint: don’t drain the tuna, use the oil as a dressing).

The mango provides a boost of gut-loving fibre and beta-carotene for healthy eyes, while the tuna and corn offer a boost of muscle-building protein to keep hunger pangs at bay.

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Prawn tacos

Taco Tuesday gets a healthier spin with this nutritious combo. Fresh prawns, quartered cherry tomatoes and red cabbage make for a lighter filling on corn tortillas. If you’re feeling a little fancy, you could even soak the cabbage in a little red wine vinegar for a few minutes to make a quick pickle. Top your tacos with a dose of heart-healthy fats in the form of homemade guac – for good portion control, stick to just a quarter of an avocado per person.

Chicken and veggie tray bake

This dinner is as easy as one, two, three. Simply chop some cauliflower, pumpkin and potato into small-ish cubes, drizzle in olive oil and bake for an hour or so.

Meanwhile, marinade a couple of chicken thighs in olive oil, lemon juice and plenty of dried oregano, and pop them on the veggies towards the end of cooking. You’re in for a veggie-packed, well-balanced meal that requires just five minutes in the kitchen.

Homemade beef burger

A few easy tweaks can quickly turn a burger from an occasional treat into everyday fodder. To keep the saturated fat content low, start with a homemade patty made of 100 per cent extra lean beef mince, and opt for a small wholemeal bun for a fibre boost.

Then, fill your burger with a little mustard, a slice of cheese and a handful of lettuce and voila – you’ve got a healthy meal on your hands in less time than it’d take to drive to your local burger chain.

Vegetarian pizza

Ham, salami and prosciutto are standard pizza toppings – and while they’re delicious, they’re not so good for the health of your ticker thanks to the copious amounts of saturated fat and sodium they contain.

For a far healthier slice, opt for a homemade vegetarian version made from a wholegrain wrap, tomato paste, zucchini, mushrooms and a light sprinkling of mozzarella cheese. You’ll save a stack of calories and feel far better for it.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition.