back to top

19 Healthy Dinners Under 500 Calories That You'll Actually Want To Eat

It's true!

Carolyn Kylstra / BuzzFeed / Via skinnytaste.com / nutritionstripped.com

Calorie counting is not for everyone! And that's OK. But if you have certain goals, like building muscle, getting leaner, or losing weight, then being mindful of how much you're eating can be super helpful to you.

Something else that's important is to make sure that the foods you eat are high in nutritious value. Nutrients like protein, fiber, and fat can take a while to digest and help you feel satisfied for longer — meaning fewer cravings and lower general hangry-ness. (Here's some more information about how many calories you should be eating, in case you're curious.)

These dinners are all tasty and healthy, and they come with about 500 calories or less. Some may not work with your personal diet (the lower-calorie ones, in particular, may be bad choices for people who only eat three meals a day with no snacks). But you may just find something on this list that you like.

1. Lentil Pasta With Arugula Pesto

Nom nom nom. Get the recipe here.397 calories19 g protein20 g fat28 g carbohydrates (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar)
anutritionisteats.com

Nom nom nom. Get the recipe here.

397 calories
19 g protein

20 g fat

28 g carbohydrates (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar)

2. Crock Pot Cauliflower Chicken Chili

Get the recipe here.432 calories46.6 g protein18.3 g fat (4.5 g saturated)22.6 g carbohydrates (7.5 g fiber, 9.5 g sugar)575 mg sodium
cookeatpaleo.com

Get the recipe here.

432 calories

46.6 g protein

18.3 g fat (4.5 g saturated)

22.6 g carbohydrates (7.5 g fiber, 9.5 g sugar)

575 mg sodium

3. Sweet Potato Burger With Creamy Avocado

Get the recipe here.367 calories12.6 g protein13.9 g fat (2.1 g saturated)54.4 g carbohydrates (11.5 g fiber, 7 g sugar)574 mg sodium
Jenny Sugar / Via popsugar.com

Get the recipe here.

367 calories

12.6 g protein

13.9 g fat (2.1 g saturated)

54.4 g carbohydrates (11.5 g fiber, 7 g sugar)

574 mg sodium

4. Turkey-Basil Meatballs With Collard Greens

Get the recipe here.478 calories31.2 g protein23.1 g fat (4.8 g saturated)37.1 g carbohydrates (9.9 g fiber, 12.7 g sugars)726 mg sodium
Yael Malka / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

Get the recipe here.

478 calories

31.2 g protein

23.1 g fat (4.8 g saturated)

37.1 g carbohydrates (9.9 g fiber, 12.7 g sugars)

726 mg sodium

5. Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Get the recipe here. Nutrition info is for four boats.464 calories48 g protein14 g fat44 g carbohydrates (12 g fiber, 18 g sugar)1,640 mg sodium
skinnytaste.com

Get the recipe here. Nutrition info is for four boats.

464 calories
48 g protein

14 g fat

44 g carbohydrates (12 g fiber, 18 g sugar)

1,640 mg sodium

6. Shaved Asparagus Salad With Shallots and Fried Eggs

Get the recipe here.395 calories20.2 g protein26.6 g fat (7.2 g saturated)20.7 g carbohydrates (4.3 g fiber, 5.3 g sugar)336 mg sodium
Yael Malka / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

Get the recipe here.

395 calories
20.2 g protein

26.6 g fat (7.2 g saturated)

20.7 g carbohydrates (4.3 g fiber, 5.3 g sugar)

336 mg sodium

7. Pan-Seared Smoky Steak and Eggs

Get the recipe here. Nutrition info assumes that you're sharing this dinner with a friend:404 calories38.2 g protein26.7 g fat (12.7 g saturated)1.4 g carbohydrates1,265 mg sodium
colorfuleatsnutrition.com

Get the recipe here. Nutrition info assumes that you're sharing this dinner with a friend:

404 calories
38.2 g protein

26.7 g fat (12.7 g saturated)

1.4 g carbohydrates

1,265 mg sodium

8. Spicy Tamari Shrimp Lettuce Cups

Get the recipe here.396 calories32.6 g protein22.7 g fat (3.2 g saturated)17.4 g carbohyrdates (3.8 g fiber, 4.6 g sugars)1,167 mg sodium
Yael Malka / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

Get the recipe here.

396 calories

32.6 g protein

22.7 g fat (3.2 g saturated)

17.4 g carbohyrdates (3.8 g fiber, 4.6 g sugars)

1,167 mg sodium

9. Spaghetti Squash With Spinach, Parmesan, and a Fried Egg

This tasty dish is from the BuzzFeed 2015 Clean Eating Challenge. Get the recipe here.403 calories22.8 g protein22 g fat (7.7 g saturated)31 g carbohydrates (8.1 g fiber, 8.4 g sugars)205 mg cholesterol
Lauren Zaser / Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

This tasty dish is from the BuzzFeed 2015 Clean Eating Challenge. Get the recipe here.

403 calories

22.8 g protein

22 g fat (7.7 g saturated)

31 g carbohydrates (8.1 g fiber, 8.4 g sugars)

205 mg cholesterol

10. Shrimp Arugula Salad With Avocado

Get the recipe here.328 calories23.4 g protein24.1 g fat (4.1 g saturated)9.2 g carbohydrates (4.4 g fiber, 1.4 g sugars)214 g sodium
cookeatpaleo.com

Get the recipe here.

328 calories

23.4 g protein

24.1 g fat (4.1 g saturated)

9.2 g carbohydrates (4.4 g fiber, 1.4 g sugars)

214 g sodium

11. Slow-Cooker Paella

Get the recipe here.467 calories27 g protein12 g fat58 g carbohydrates (7 g fiber, 7 g sugar)
anutritionisteats.com

Get the recipe here.

467 calories
27 g protein

12 g fat

58 g carbohydrates (7 g fiber, 7 g sugar)

12. Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Soup

Get the recipe here.416 calories24.2 g protein8.4 g fat (1.5 g saturated)64.3 g carbohydrates (22.6 g fiber, 8 g sugar)1,082 mg sodium
thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com

Get the recipe here.

416 calories
24.2 g protein

8.4 g fat (1.5 g saturated)

64.3 g carbohydrates (22.6 g fiber, 8 g sugar)

1,082 mg sodium

13. Veggie "Sushi" Rolls

Get the recipe here. To get the nutritional info down to around 500 calories, adjust the recipe to just 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, and 1 teaspoon of tamari sauce. It's just a touch over 500 calories...but it's close enough.512 calories14.2 g protein40.9 g fat (8.5 g saturated)33.1 g carbohydrates (19.2 g fiber, 6.7 g sugar)1,321 mg sodium
nutritionstripped.com

Get the recipe here. To get the nutritional info down to around 500 calories, adjust the recipe to just 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, and 1 teaspoon of tamari sauce. It's just a touch over 500 calories...but it's close enough.

512 calories
14.2 g protein

40.9 g fat (8.5 g saturated)

33.1 g carbohydrates (19.2 g fiber, 6.7 g sugar)

1,321 mg sodium

14. Slow-Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken With Cauliflower Rice & Green Beans

Here's a tasty dinner from BuzzFeed's 2015 Clean Eating Challenge. Get the recipe here.358.7 calories32.8 g protein8.2 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat)33.2 g carbohydrates (9.1 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugars)860 mg sodium
Lauren Zaser / Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

Here's a tasty dinner from BuzzFeed's 2015 Clean Eating Challenge. Get the recipe here.

358.7 calories

32.8 g protein

8.2 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat)

33.2 g carbohydrates (9.1 g dietary fiber, 4 g sugars)

860 mg sodium

15. Stuffed Winter Squash & Quinoa, Cranberry and Pistachio

Get the recipe here. Nutritional info is for each half-squash.443 calories11.4 g protein18.2 g fat (2.4 g saturated)63.8 g carbohydrates (8.8 g fiber, 7.7 g sugar)18 mg sodium
thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com

Get the recipe here. Nutritional info is for each half-squash.

443 calories
11.4 g protein

18.2 g fat (2.4 g saturated)

63.8 g carbohydrates (8.8 g fiber, 7.7 g sugar)

18 mg sodium

16. Roast Chicken Bowl With Quinoa and Kale

Get the recipe here.379 calories34.8 g protein10.6 g fat (1.4 g saturated)38.6 g carbohydrates (5 g fiber, 1.4 g sugar)677 mg sodium
Yael Malka / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

Get the recipe here.

379 calories
34.8 g protein

10.6 g fat (1.4 g saturated)

38.6 g carbohydrates (5 g fiber, 1.4 g sugar)

677 mg sodium

17. Simple Roasted Salmon With Green Beans and Lentils

Get the recipe here.334 calories40.1 g protein5.1 g fat (0.8 g saturated)31.9 g carbohydrates (11.9 g fiber, 3.1 g sugar)926 mg sodium
Yael Malka / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

Get the recipe here.

334 calories
40.1 g protein

5.1 g fat (0.8 g saturated)

31.9 g carbohydrates (11.9 g fiber, 3.1 g sugar)

926 mg sodium

18. Chicken and Asparagus Lemon Stir-Fry

Get the recipe here. This one is also not quite under 500 calories, but that's because we calculated nutrition info by doubling portion size recommendations. 536 calories82 g protein14 g fat20 g carbohydrates (6 g fiber)874 mg sodium
skinnytaste.com

Get the recipe here. This one is also not quite under 500 calories, but that's because we calculated nutrition info by doubling portion size recommendations.

536 calories
82 g protein

14 g fat

20 g carbohydrates (6 g fiber)

874 mg sodium

19. Black Bean Chili With Greek Yogurt and Zucchini Ribbons

Get the recipe here.358 calories20.2 g protein7.7 g fat (1.1 g saturated)58.5 g carbohydrates (18.5 g fiber, 21.1 g sugar)823.2 mg sodium
Yael Malka / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

Get the recipe here.

358 calories
20.2 g protein

7.7 g fat (1.1 g saturated)

58.5 g carbohydrates (18.5 g fiber, 21.1 g sugar)

823.2 mg sodium

Top trending videos

Watch more BuzzFeed Video Caret right