Healthy Recipes




30 Easy-to-Make Meals Under 500 Calories

Woman holding plate with vegan or vegetarian food. Healthy plant based diet. Healthy dinner or lunch. Buddha bowl with fresh vegetables. Healthy eating

30 Easy-to-Make Meals Under 500 Calories

We all crave delicious and nutritious meals, but sometimes the things that taste the best for us are loaded with calories. While calories are important and are essential in assisting your body to work properly, consuming too many of them can lead to weight gain. However, reducing your calories does not mean you need to skimp on flavor. In this article, we will share 30 meals under 500 calories that are nutritious, delicious, and sure to leave you satisfied. 

1. Chickpea Quinoa Bowls

cooked quinoa in a bowl.


Want a protein-packed bowl with fewer calories? Swap the meat for some chickpeas. Chickpeas are a great source of protein but are lower in calories than chicken or beef. Over a bed of quinoa, place your chickpeas, sliced cucumbers, feta cheese, Kalamata olives, and some sliced red onions. Garnish with fresh parsley. You can create a roasted red pepper sauce to go with it by combining red peppers, garlic, olive oil, and paprika in an immersion blender.

2. Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps

Asian minced meat lettuce wraps over dark stone background. Top view, flat lay
Lettuce wraps are a healthier choice for a traditional taco-style meal.

©Tatiana Volgutova/Shutterstock.com

Not only is this meal under 500 calories, but it is super simple to make as well. Make a sauce with rice vinegar, water, soy sauce, siracha, garlic, and a little sugar. Cook your ground beef with garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Place your beef into your lettuce wrap and place shredded carrots and chopped scallions on top. Garnish with fresh mint and sprinkle the sauce on top.

3. Sheetpan Chicken and Vegetables

Chicken with oven baked vegetables on a baking sheet

©Angelika Heine/Shutterstock.com

Combine soy sauce, olive oil, ginger, garlic, and crushed red pepper in a bowl. Mix well to create your sauce. In another bowl, have your chicken and vegetable mixture. Snap peas, bell peppers, and scallions are recommended. Pour the sauce over the mixture and add it all to a baking sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 400°F. Stir halfway through. When finished garnish with sesame oil.

4. Coconut Chickpea Curry

Vegan chickpea curry with rice and cilantro in a black bowl, dark background. Indian cuisine concept.

©Nina Firsova/Shutterstock.com

While this recipe may surprise you because of the rice, it is still under 500 calories. 1 cup of white rice has about 206 calories, and this meal can serve four. So that is only about 52 calories per person coming from the rice. For this recipe, you will need to buy a store curry sauce. Try to look for one with a lower sodium content. In a skillet, over medium-high heat, you will add onion, pepper, and zucchini until they brown. Then add your chickpeas and your selected curry sauce. Add spinach just before serving so it can wilt. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and place over white rice.

5. Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers, halves of peppers stuffed with rice, dried tomatoes, herbs and cheese in a baking dish on a blue wooden table, top view. Vegetarian dish, stuffed vegetables
Stuffed peppers are a great meal under 500 calories that will fill you up.

©Esin Deniz/Shutterstock.com

This is a delicious and easy meal to make. Gather some bell peppers and chop off the tops. Remove any lingering seeds from within and have them stand up like a cup. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook your ground turkey with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning. While that is cooking, prepare your Spanish rice on another burner. Additionally, chop up some cilantro, and a jalepaño. Open, rinse, and drain a can of black beans. Once everything is cooked, add your rice and beans to the bottom of your pepper cup. Then top with the ground turkey and chopped jalepaño. Sprinkle a little cheese on top and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with your chopped cilantro.

6. Grilled Chicken Salad

Salad of grilled chicken tenderloins with avocado, tomatoes, red onion, green beans, spinach and arugula. Delicious healthy eating.


You can spice up a salad with a few simple steps. For this salad, use spinach as your base and garnish with vegetables of your choosing. We recommend cherry tomatoes, corn, feta cheese, and a couple of slices of avocado. Grill your chicken and place it on top. Season with a balsamic vinaigrette or with lime juice and salt.

7. Kielbasa Skillet

Brown Sugar Kielbasa, Bacon, Cocktail Stick, Food, Horizontal, No People

©Antonio_Sanchez/ via Getty Images

This meal under 500 calories is always a family favorite and can be made in 20 minutes or less. Make a batch of brown rice and set it on the side. In a pan, heat your kielbasa with an onion, some mushrooms, and garlic. In a separate bowl, mix corn, black beans, cilantro, and diced red pepper. Season the vegetables with olive oil, lime juice, and salt. Stir the vegetables into the rice. For a little additional flavor, you can add a soy sauce or seasoning of your choice. A personal favorite of my household is Wegmans's Citrus Ginger Sauce. Combine the vegetable rice mixture and kielbasa and serve.

8. Salmon Rice Bowl

bowl, salad, burrito, chicken, rice, chipotle, mexican, tomato, grilled, tortilla, cilantro, sauce

©Julia Mikhaylova/Shutterstock.com

Mix siracha, honey, avocado oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger in a bowl. Pour over your salmon filets and bake in the oven at 400 °F for 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook a batch of brown rice. Dice an avocado, a red bell pepper, and some cucumbers. Place the rice on the bottom of your bowl, drizzle a little soy sauce on top. Next place your avocado, cucumber, and red pepper pieces into the bowl. Place your salmon on top, and garnish with a fresh herb of your choice and some sesame seeds.

9. Sweet Potato Nachos

Nutritious Sweet Potato Loaded Nachos with salsa and guacamole
Want nachos for less than 500 calories? Swap out the chips for sweet potatoes!

©Megan Betteridge/Shutterstock.com

Did you know that a typical plate of nachos can reach up to over 1,000 calories? What if I told you there was a way to make this delicious meal for under 500 calories? The secret? Sweet potatoes! Swap out those chips for a healthier choice and make some slight modifications to this family-favorite dish. For this recipe, you will place your oven at 325°F. Rinse, clean, and thinly slice your sweet potatoes into a chip-like shape. You place these onto a baking sheet and drizzle some olive oil on top.

Next, place them into the oven and allow them to bake for 20 minutes. While they are baking, add corn, black beans, and canned chicken to a bowl. Add seasoning of your choice. I like a little hot sauce on mine. After 20 minutes flip your potatoes and let them cook for another 15. Then, take them out and place your mixture on top of your sweet potato chips. Sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese on top and place back in the oven. Cook until the cheese is fully melted, then garnish with fresh cilantro.

10. Seared Tuna Steak With Spinach Salad

Close Up Still Life of Two Fried Tuna Steaks on Square White Plate with Seasoning and Fresh Green Salad with Tomato on Painted Wooden Table


Grill or pan-sear a tuna steak. Season with some garlic, ginger, and a little soy sauce. Feel free to add a store-bought sauce as well. Opt for one that is low in sugar, sodium, and caloric content. Then place the tuna steak over a bed of spinach. You can garnish your spinach salad with hard-boiled eggs, almonds, and cranberries. Dress with a vinegarette.

11. Shrimp Fajitas

A view of a skillet of shrimp fajitas.
Corn tortillas are a healthier option than traditional flour tortillas.

©The Image Party/Shutterstock.com

Preheat your oven to 400 °F. In a bowl combine olive oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, chipotle powder, and the juice of 1 lime. Slice an onion, a red bell pepper, and a yellow bell pepper, and pour 2/3 of the mixture over the vegetables. Place them in the oven for 15 minutes. While they are cooking pour the remaining amount of oil over your shrimp. Once vegetables are softened pull them out and place the shrimp on top of them. Continuing cooking until the shrimp are cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Then you can place the mixture in a corn tortilla. Top with fresh avocado, cilantro, and hot sauce.

12. Loaded Chicken and Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salad with broccoli, sweet potatoes and tomatoes on a rustic wooden table. Three-color quinoa salad. Superfood and healthy eating concept.


Grill a chicken breast and cook a cup of quinoa. Grab a bag of mixed salad greens and dress it with half of an avocado, some baked sweet potato, and fresh mango slices. Add some of the breast and quinoa to the salad. Top with balsamic vinegar and some sunflower seeds. For extra flavor, you can add some crumbled feta cheese.

13. “Spaghetti” and Meatballs

Cooking stuffed Spaghetti squash with meatballs in tomato sauce
Cooking stuffed Spaghetti squash with meatballs in tomato sauce


If you want this classic, delicious dish, but want to lessen the calories. Swap the pasta for spaghetti squash. Place your oven at 350°F. Cut your squash lengthwise and discard any seeds or membranes within. Then place it in the oven, cut side down, in a large baking dish with some water. Bake for 45-50 minutes. While that is baking make your meatballs. Add two eggs, beaten, chopped spinach, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, minced onion, garlic, and ground meat of your choice to a bowl and mix. Shape them into balls and cook them on the stovetop. Once your squash is done, let it cool for 15 minutes and then scrape the “noodles” out. Place your meatballs on top, and if you want add roasted mushrooms and a fresh herb of your choice to the dish as well.

14. Shrimp Tacos

Shrimps tacos, vegetables, avocado. with Pineapple Chipotle Sauce, Mexican food.
Shrimp tacos are a fast, easy meal under 500 calories for the whole family to enjoy.


Another meal under 500 calories that utilizes those delicious corn tortillas. These shrimp tacos are easy and delicious to make! Pan-sear your shrimp with taco seasoning, olive oil, garlic, and a little cayenne pepper. While they are cooking, chop cilantro and thinly slice a radish. For a delicious sauce, combine lime juice, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, tahini, and honey. Blend all together and add to your tacos. Place the sauce on your tortilla then place the shrimp. Top with fresh cilantro and radishes.

15. Mahi Mahi and Quinoa Salad

Seared Mahi Mahi Fillets with Vegetables and Sauce

©Svetlana Foote/Shutterstock.com

Coat your mahi mahi with lemon juice, fresh thyme, garlic, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Bake it in the oven at 400°F for 20 minutes. While your fish is baking prepare your quinoa. To add color and flavor to the salad, add sweet red peppers, fresh cilantro, olive oil, salt, and some feta cheese.

16. Ground Turkey Stir-Fry

A delicious bowl of mixed vegetables with ground beef served in a bowl. This is a Chinese stir-fry.

©D. Patalano/Shutterstock.com

Grab a medley of vegetables, such as baby corn, asparagus, red bell peppers, and mushrooms. Wash and chop them into bite-size pieces. Season your ground turkey with salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder. Place your ground turkey in a skillet over medium-high heat with your olive oil. Cook until browned. Then add all of your vegetables to the skillet with your meat. Add soy sauce, and a little teriyaki sauce and let it simmer until vegetables soften. Top with fresh cilantro and basil.

17. One Pan Chicken Bake

Spiced Turkey Roast, Herb, Modern, Sauce, Basted, Chicken - Bird

©DronG/ via Getty Images

On a baking sheet, place your chicken, asparagus, carrots, and sliced golden potatoes. Coat them in lemon, fresh dill, parsley, salt, pepper, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Bake them for 15 minutes at 375 °F. Garnish with fresh lemon slices.

18. Beef Buddha Bowl

Beef steak, rice and vegetable power bowl. Healthy balanced food concept. On a dark background, top view

©Kiian Oksana/Shutterstock.com

Chop your top round steak into bite-size pieces. Cook in a skillet over medium-high heat with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, taco seasoning, and soy sauce. While the meat is cooking, cook brown rice. Next, chop a red bell pepper, a cucumber, and some fresh cilantro. Place the rice at the bottom of your bowl. Then layer the spinach and chopped vegetables. Place your beef on top and garnish with your chopped cilantro. Dress with lime juice and sea salt.

19. Homemade Vegetable Soup

Traditional Tibetan food is momo soup with vegetables Darjeeling, India.
Vegetable soup is a low-calorie and highly nutritious meal.


Dice onions carrots and celery. Saute them in a large pot with olive oil for 5 minutes, add garlic then cook one minute longer. Then add vegetable broth, tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, bay leaves, thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then add in green beans. Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for 30 minutes until all vegetables are tender.

20. Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Stuffed Acorn Squash is great


Slice your acorn squash and remove any seeds and lining from within. Place your squash, cut side down, in a baking dish with water. Cook at 400°F, uncovered for 45 minutes. In a skillet cook the ground meat of your choice, with salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder. Take your squash out of the oven. Stuff your acorn squash with fresh mozzarella cheese, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and your ground meat. Drizzle olive oil on top and season with more salt and pepper. Place it back in the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes more or until cheese has fully melted.

21. Bourbon Glazed Salmon

Grilled Scottish salmon with soy sauce and herb by lemon served on a stone board

©Maksim Toome/Shutterstock.com

Combine bourbon, maple syrup, soy sauce, and garlic in a bowl. Cover both sides of your salmon filets with the mixture. Cook in the skillet for 8-10 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Top with fresh chives. Serve with a side of salad.

22. Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Stir frying shrimp with broccoli closeup on a plate. Horizontal top view from above
You can make this meal in 20 minutes or less.


Another delicious stir-fry variation for a meal under 500 calories. In a skillet cook your shrimp with 1 tbsp of butter, salt, garlic, and paprika. Once shrimp are cooked add your broccoli to the skillet. Add soy sauce and fresh ginger. Simmer until your broccoli softens. Place the mixture over a bed of brown rice and garnish with fresh scallions.

23. Chicken Burrito Skillet

Chicken Burrito Skillet, Mexican gluten-free version of a cheesy, stuffed burrito.


For this recipe, picture a burrito, but without the tortilla. Season your chicken how you would for tacos. Salt, pepper, taco seasoning, and olive oil. Cook over medium-high heat in a skillet. Then, once mostly cooked, add your Spanish rice, black beans, sliced tomatoes, Mexican blend cheese, and fresh scallions. Stir to combine and continue to simmer until flavors blend and meat is cooked through. For an extra kick, top with hot sauce. Also, feel free to top with a dollop of sour cream or fresh avocado slices.

24. Chicken Buddah Bowl

Lifestyle bowl with tofu, avocado, bulgur grains, cucumber, carrot and tomato garnished with seeds and micro greens. Healthy vegan and vegetarian food, tasty lunch or meal. Top view salad bowl

©Vladislav Noseek/Shutterstock.com

Chop your chicken into bite-size pieces. Cook over medium-high heat on a skillet with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, honey, siracha, and coconut aminos. While your chicken is cooking, wash some sugar snap peas, red cabbage (sliced), cherry tomatoes, and fresh corn. Cook white rice and serve it on the bottom of the bowl. Then place your corn, cherry tomatoes, red cabbage, and sugar snap peas around the edges of the bowl. Place your chicken in the center, on top. Garnish with fresh cilantro and sesame seeds. If you need more sauce, add a little more coconut aminos to your bowl and fresh lime juice.

25. Fresh Fruit and Kale Salad

Female hands washing kale cabbage in bowl of water. Cooking healthy organic home grown vegan food, top view

©Vladislav Noseek/Shutterstock.com

Stem and chop your curly kale. Massage the kale in a bowl with your hands Then add in goat cheese, pecans, blueberries, sliced strawberries, almonds, and edamame. In a smaller bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, chives, honey, and mustard. Mix well and pour over your salad, toss to combine.

26. One Bake Chicken

Homemade chicken fillet baked with ranch
Homemade chicken fillet baked with ranch

©from my point of view/Shutterstock.com

Wash and chop two leeks, 1 butternut squash, and scallions. Place them at the bottom of a baking dish. Pour one can of coconut milk into the dish along with diced fresh sage leaves. Cut your chicken into bite-size pieces and season with salt and pepper. Place on top of the mixture in the dish. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350°F.

27. Mediterranean Bowl

Healthy lunch bowl with grilled chicken, avocado and quinoa

©Elena Veselova/Shutterstock.com

Prepare and cook the orzo. Grill your chicken, with some light seasoning of your preference. Wilt spinach with some olive oil and garlic. In a bowl place your orzo as the base, then your chicken. Add your wilted spinach, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese. Season with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Garnish with fresh basil.

28. Mushroom and Tofu Stirfry

Fried tofu with sesame seeds and spices
Tofu is a great meat substitute when trying to keep meals 500 calories or less.


Add peanut oil to a skillet and allow it to heat. Add mushrooms and chopped bell peppers to the skillet and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Next, add chopped scallions, fresh ginger, and garlic. Cook for an additional minute then remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Add more oil and the tofu to the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the tofu browns. Then, add the vegetables back in add a little oyster and soy sauce. Cook for one more minute.

28. Citrus Ginger Chicken Salad

Delicious pasta salad with green lettuce, tomatoes and roasted chicken.
Delicious pasta salad with green lettuce, tomatoes and roasted chicken.


Marinate your chicken breasts in a premade citrus sauce. I recommend Wegmans Spicy Citrus Ginger sauce. Cook your chicken on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Once the chicken has cooled, slice it into strips. To create your salad, place a bed of lettuce down. Then top it with red cabbage, matchstick carrots, chopped cashews, diced scallions, and orange slices. Place your chicken on top and garnish with fresh sesame seeds. You can drizzle a nice citrus vinaigrette on top.

29. Turkey Patties With Salad

Juicy meat cutlets (beef, pork, chicken) in table on black background. Top view
These turkey patties are delicious and keep your meal at under 500 calories.


In a bowl, combine ground turkey, dijon mustard, chopped bell peppers, basil, diced onion, chopped spinach, and soy sauce. Also add salt, pepper, garlic, and fresh ginger. Add one egg and some breadcrumbs. Mix well. Form the mixture into balls and flatten it into patties. Cook on the stovetop. Serve with a bed of fresh spinach.

30. Curry Chickpea Salad

Fresh summer mediterranean salad with chickpea, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, red onion, parsley. Light background, copy space.


This meal under 500 calories is the perfect addition to any party. In a bowl, mix olive oil, curry powder, garlic, turmeric, fresh lime juice, and salt and pepper. In a large jar, pour that sauce onto the bottom. Then dump a can of chickpeas into the jar. Add diced onions. Next layer diced red bell peppers and sliced carrots to the jar. After, add red cabbage and sliced almonds. Top with golden raisins and fresh cilantro. When ready to serve, flip the jar over into a large bowl and mix well.

To top