These Low-Calorie Dinners Are Shockingly Filling — and Tasty



low calorie sheet pan fish and vegetables meal

Mike Garten

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.

Get the Pork Chops with Bloody Mary Tomato Salad recipe.


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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