When it comes to low-calorie meals, we’re fans of recipes that go hard on flavorful, nutrient-packed ingredients like fresh seafood, colorful veg and filling whole grains. Just because a food is low in calories, after all, doesn’t mean that it’s a healthy choice. Instead of ditching dairy, carbs, and other high-calorie favorites, we love to load up our plates with high-protein and -fiber ingredients and healthy fats so we never feel deprived — because that’s not what low-calorie eating is about.
Whether you’re practicing intuitive eating or simply looking to incorporate more nutritious meals into your routine, these healthy weeknight dinner recipes are the best of both worlds: low in calories and delicious. Love chicken parm? Tacos? How about Caesar salad? We’ve got it all. You can rest easy knowing that each of these meals is under 500 calories per serving, and feature small amounts of foods like steak, pasta, and — our forever favorite — parmesan cheese. We’ve also got a ton of delicious vegetarian options and vegan dishes in our mix. There’s no bland ‘diet food’ here: just nourishing whole foods, with a few treats thrown in.
Any one of these recipes can be served on their own, or with one or two healthy side dishes or healthy desserts (or both) for a heartier meal. Having a low-calorie weeknight dinner that fits into your diet plan just got a whole lot easier.
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Seared Salmon with Charred Green Beans
Broccoli “Steaks” with Spicy Tomato Jam
Sheet Pan Fish and Vegetables
Spicy Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
White Bean and Kale Toasts
Good Housekeeping’s Low Calorie Big-Flavor Cookbook
Garam Masala Roasted Chicken and Cauliflower
Roasted Cauliflower Tacos
Best-Ever Marinated Flank Steak
Balsamic Glazed Pork with Roasted Butternut Squash
Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
Packed with citrus juices, honey, shallot, jalapeño and ginger, this refreshing light dinner or appetizer is big on flavor.
Get the Shrimp Ceviche recipe.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Almond-Thyme Gremolata
Fiery Pork Lettuce Wraps
Air Fryer Stuffed Chicken
A yogurt marinade pretty much guarantees juicy, tender chicken legs in this tandoori spiced recipe. Plus, air frying gets you crisp, golden-brown skin with a fraction of the oil used for roasting.
Get the Tandoori Chicken recipe.
This deconstructed sushi bar classic keeps the calorie count low with a combo of brown rice and crisp Boston lettuce as the base.
Get the California Roll Salad recipe.
Try scooping up this rich tomato-and-egg stew with crusty bread, and then tell us you don’t love breakfast for dinner.
Get the Shakshuka recipe.
Paprika Chicken with Crispy Chickpeas and Tomatoes
With tons of fiber from the chickpeas and lean protein from the chicken breast, this one-pan dish is a meal in itself — though you can totally serve it with rice or couscous if you prefer.
Get the Paprika Chicken With Crispy Chickpeas and Tomatoes recipe.
Pork Chops with Bloody Mary Tomato Salad
Pork chops — a surprisingly lean cut of meat — are grilled to tender, juicy perfection in this protein and veg pairing. The Bloody Mary-esque salad makes for a lip-smackingly zesty side dish.
Grilled Chicken Skewers and Kale Caesar
These richly spiced meatballs get a fresh, flavorful topping of parsley and crumbled feta. Serve with couscous, or swap in a crunchy chopped salad for an even lighter dinner option.
Get the Moroccan Meatballs recipe.
Rice can absolutely be a part of a low-calorie diet, and this plant-based paella recipe proves it. We add in lots of colorful veg for a satisfying, high-fiber dish with amazing depth of flavor.
Get the Vegetable Paella recipe.
Roasted Salmon with Green Beans and Tomatoes
Spiced Fresh Tomato Soup with Sweet and Herby Pitas
Vegetable Ramen with Mushrooms and Bok Choy
Grilled Steak Tortilla Salad
Roasted Cauliflower Pizza
Striped Bass with Radish Salsa Verde
Korean Pineapple Beef Lettuce Wraps
This soul-warming soup may be low in calories, but it doesn’t feel lacking at all — especially with its velvety avocado topping.
Get the Vegan Black Bean Soup recipe.
Honey-Ginger Cedar Plank Salmon
Traditional Chicken Curry
Because they’re so low on calories (this entire bowl clocks in at just 280 calories), you can pair these delicious mollusks with bread (or fries!) if you like.
Get the White Wine Mussels recipe.
Pomegranate-Honey Glazed Chicken and Squash
Shrimp Packets with Kale Couscous
Pressure Cooker Winter Squash and Lentil Stew
Soy-Glazed Cod and Bok Choy
Zesty Lemon-Herb Baked Flounder
Harvest Flatbreads with Italian Sausage
Chicken Souvlaki Skewers
Speedy Eggplant Parmesan
Roasted Baby Vine Tomato Grilled Chicken
Salmon with Grilled Eggplant and Chickpea Croutons
You can have this takeout-classic and eat it, too. This version goes light on oil and adds in baked tofu and lots of fresh veg.
Get the Tofu Pad Thai recipe.
Lamb Sausage with Confetti Couscous
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