7 Slim-Down Dinners
Lighter versions of meatballs, tacos, gumbo, crab cakes and other beloved (but sometimes heavy and calorie-laden) dishes.
Chicken Meatballs
If You're Craving Beef Meatballs...
Try Chicken Meatballs. They're lighter-tasting (and better for you) than classic beef, pork and veal. Using ground thigh meat prevents them from being too heavy, and they get fresh flavor from fennel seed, white wine and parsley. Baking the golf-ball-size rounds instead of frying them eliminates the need for tons of oil—and the meat stays moist, since you pack the balls close together.

Get the recipe: Chicken Meatballs
Vegetable tacos
If You're Craving Tacos...
Try roasted vegetable and bean tacos. They're meatless but bursting with a chunky texture and heft, thanks to a mixture of lightly caramelized onions and poblano chilies, roasted sweet potatoes and black beans. Melting shredded Oaxaca or Monterey Jack cheese on the tortillas (try using whole wheat ones) gives the dish a toasty flavor you won't get from sprinkling cold cheese on top.

Get the recipe: Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos
Shrimp, Pea and Rice Stew
If You're Craving Gumbo...
Try an Asian shrimp stew. Chef Andrea Reusing features many dishes influenced by Asian cuisine at Lantern, her restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She tosses shrimp in a marinade made with fish sauce, a Southeast Asian condiment, to add a salty, savory depth to this dish. Reusing also coarsely grinds jasmine rice (or another aromatic long-grain rice), which helps the stew thicken nicely without a gumbo's buttery roux. Baby spinach and peas add bright color.

Get the recipe: Shrimp, Pea and Rice Stew
Quinoa salad
If You're Craving Fried Rice...
Try a different kind of comfort food grain. Quinoa, which is both high in protein and fiber, is a healthy substitute for white rice in salads, soups and stir-fries. This warm dish also includes cubes of browned tofu and a dressing made from lime juice; sesame oil or walnut oil; soy sauce and fresh ginger.

Get the recipe: Quinoa Salad with Sugar Snap Peas, Tofu and Ginger Vinaigrette
Lentils with Chia Seeds
If You're Craving Beef Chili...
Try Lisa Oz's warming lentil dish. She simmers the legumes with onions, cumin, cardamom, garlic, ginger, turmeric, jalapeño and fire-roasted crushed tomatoes for a rich-tasting stew that's perfect over brown rice. Lisa stirs in a spoonful of chia seeds at the end; they're high in omega-3 fatty acids and have a mild nutty flavor.

Get the recipe: Lisa Oz's Lentils with Chia Seeds
Pork Scaloppine
If You're Craving Veal Scaloppine...
Try Pork Scaloppine. Traditional scaloppine involves dredging the meat in flour, frying it in butter and oil, and then simmering it in a garlic-lemon sauce that's heavy on, well, heavy cream. This recipe swaps the veal for leaner pork and has you brown the chops plain, without breading them first. The sauce is simply olive oil, parsley, lemon zest, capers, tomatoes and garlic.

Get the recipe: Pork Scaloppine
Salmon Cakes
If You're Craving Crab Cakes...
Try Salmon Cakes. These patties start with canned Alaskan salmon and canola mayonnaise, both superior sources of omega-3s, and include leeks and metabolism-boosting pepper. Rolling them in cholesterol-lowering sesame seeds before sautéing provides an extra boost.

Get the recipe: Salmon Cakes

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