50 Low-Calorie Meals That Don’t Taste Like Diet Food

Herbs, spices and sauces go a long way.

low calorie sheet pan fish and vegetables meal
Mike Garten

Whether you're practicing intuitive eating or simply looking to incorporate more nutritious meals into your routine, these dinner recipes are the best of both worlds — low in calories and delicious. Our round-up of the best low-calorie meals features all kinds of lean proteins (including plant-based options), generous servings of fresh vegetables and hearty, filling whole grains that are sure to please. Sticking to a healthy weeknight dinner that fits into your diet plan just got a whole lot easier.

Believe it or not, some of the most flavorful kitchen staples are foods that save you from extra calories at mealtime. You'll anchor your plate with high protein, low carb foods, like super flavorful salmon fillets seasoned with a fast pan sauce, flaky tilapia on a bed of greens or extremely versatile chicken thighs with a side of sweet potato spuds. Keeping your low-calorie dinner interesting is easy when you shop the freshest veg of the season: Start the year in spring with kale and carrots, move into zucchini and tomatoes in the summer, savor Brussels sprouts and mushrooms in fall, and finish strong with beets and winter squash. In-season produce from the grocery store or farmer's market can help you fill up at dinnertime without all those calories.

Discover all-time favorites or venture into new dishes that will keep you feeling great inside and out. This collection of low-calorie dinners will keep any diet feeling new, exciting and most of all, easy peasy all year long!

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1 Seared Salmon with Charred Green Beans
low calorie seared salmon with charred green beans meal
Mike Garten

Here's what you need for this recipe: salmon, green beans, garlic, capers, and red chile. That's it!

Get the recipe for Seared Salmon With Charred Green Beans »

RELATED: 11 Surprising Health Benefits of Salmon

2 Broccoli "Steaks" with Spicy Tomato Jam
low calorie  broccoli "steaks" with spicy tomato jam meal
Mike Garten

Seared on a skillet like steak and topped with crispy breadcrumbs, this is broccoli you eat with a fork and knife.

Get the recipe for Broccoli "Steaks" with Spicy Tomato Jam »

RELATED: 7 Impressive Broccoli Health Benefits, According to Registered Dietitians

3 Air Fryer Squash Soup
low calorie air fryer squash soup meal
Mike Garten

Ever tried soup in an air fryer? The even heat roasts squash, carrots and aromatics perfectly before blending.

Get the recipe for Air Fryer Squash Soup »

4 Sheet Pan Fish and Vegetables
low calorie sheet pan fish and vegetables meal
Mike Garten

Try a whole piece of cod or halibut (rather than fillets) for an impressive dinner that takes less than half hour to make.

Get the recipe for Sheet Pan Fish and Vegetables »

5 Spicy Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
low calorie shrimp lettuce wraps meal
Mike Garten

Set out a tray of healthy shrimp lettuce wraps made with veggies and fresh herbs for dinner tonight!

Get the recipe for Spicy Shrimp Lettuce Wraps »

6 White Bean and Kale Toasts
low calorie white bean and kale toasts meal
Mike Garten

Not just for breakfast, toast is a totally acceptable dinner when topped with creamy beans and tender kale.

Get the recipe for White Bean and Kale Toasts »

7 Good Housekeeping's Low Calorie Big-Flavor Cookbook

150+ recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and snacks—all 500 calories or less per serving!

8 Garam Masala Roasted Chicken and Cauliflower
low calorie garam masala roasted chicken  cauliflower meal
Mike Garten

Garam masala adds warming heat and lots of flavor to this simple chicken-and-veggies meal.

Get the recipe for Garam Masala Roasted Chicken and Cauliflower »

9 Roasted Cauliflower Tacos
low calorie roasted cauliflower tacos meal
Mike Garten

It's (vegetarian) taco night! With chili, coriander and cumin-spiced cauliflower as the filling, you won't miss the meat.

Get the recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Tacos »

RELATED: 50 Easy Vegetarian Recipes for the Whole Family

10 Best-Ever Marinated Flank Steak
low calorie marinated flank steak meal
Mike Garten

Fresh orange and lime juice helps tenderize and season this steak without a ton of excess sugar or oil.

Get the recipe for Best-Ever Marinated Flank Steak »

11 Balsamic Glazed Pork with Roasted Butternut Squash
low calorie balsamic glazed pork with roasted butternut squash meal
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

Add a sweet-sour touch to juicy pork tenderloin with an easy balsamic, honey and thyme glaze.

Get the recipe for Balsamic Glazed Pork with Roasted Butternut Squash »

12 Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
low calorie sheet pan chicken fajitas meal
Danielle Daly

Try fajitas on a sheet pan for easy prep and even easier cleanup.

Get the recipe for Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas »

RELATED: 18 Easy Sheet Pan Dinners That Make Cleanup a Breeze

13 Shrimp Ceviche
low calorie shrimp ceviche meal
Mike Garten

Packed with citrus juices, honey, shallot, jalapeño and ginger, this refreshing light dinner or appetizer is big on flavor.

Get the recipe for Shrimp Ceviche »

14 Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Almond-Thyme Gremolata
low calorie creamy cauliflower soup with almond thyme gremolata meal
Mike Garten

Slice, toasted almonds, garlic, parsley and thyme make a tasty, crunchy topper to the silkiest-ever soup.

Get the recipe for Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Almond-Thyme Gremolata »

15 Fiery Pork Lettuce Wraps
low calorie fiery pork lettuce wraps meal
Mike Garten

Gochujang adds impressive heat to juicy pork tenderloin. Cool it down with crisp lettuce and cooked rice.

Get the recipe for Fiery Pork Lettuce Wraps »

16 Air Fryer Stuffed Chicken
low calorie air fryer stuffed chicken meal
Mike Garten

Creamy goat cheese and crispy prosciutto add lots of flavor — but few calories — to this weeknight wonder.

Get the recipe for Air Fryer Stuffed Chicken »

17 Spring Panzanella
low calorie spring panzanella meal
Mike Garten

Toss toasted bread cubes in a green, herby salad for a healthy meal that still feels filling.

Get the recipe for Spring Panzanella »

RELATED: 30 Spring Recipes That Make the Most of This Season's Produce

18 Roasted Salmon with Green Beans and Tomatoes
low calorie meals roasted salmon with green beans and tomatoes
DANIELLE OCCHIOGROSSO DALY

Salmon and colorful veggies are the perfect pairing for a meal that will keep you full all-day.

Get the recipe for Roasted Salmon with Green Beans and Tomatoes »

19 Spiced Fresh Tomato Soup with Sweet and Herby Pitas
low calorie meals spiced fresh tomato soup with sweet and herby pitas
DANIELLE OCCHIOGROSSO DALY

If you're a fan of sweet and salty, you're going to love this combo of savory soup and coconutty pita bread.

Get the recipe for Spiced Fresh Tomato Soup with Sweet and Herby Pitas »

20 Vegetable Ramen with Mushrooms and Bok Choy
low calorie meals vegetable ramen with mushrooms and bok choy
DANIELLE OCCHIOGROSSO DALY

If you have 25 minutes, you can have homemade ramen — complete with shiitake mushrooms, snow peas, and bok choy.

Get the recipe for Vegetable Ramen with Mushrooms and Bok Choy »

RELATED: 50 Surprisingly Healthy Super Bowl Recipes That Are Irresistibly Delicious

21 Grilled Steak Tortilla Salad
MIKE GARTEN

You'll instantly forget you're having a salad with the grilled steak mixed in. Plus, the jalapeños add an unexpected kick.

Get the recipe for Grilled Steak Tortilla Salad »

22 Cauliflower Pizza
low calorie dinner recipes   cauliflower pizza
Danielle Occhigrosso Daly

A quarter of this delicious pizza barely feels vegetarian let alone healthy. But this lunch-friendly idea clocks in at under 340 calories (gruyère for the win!).

Get the recipe for Roasted Cauliflower Pizza »

RELATED: 65 Healthy, Tasty Lunch Ideas That Will Power You Through Any Afternoon

23 Striped Bass with Radish Salsa Verde
low calorie striped bass with radish salsa meal
Mike Garten

This fresh radish salsa is the perfect thing to warm you up on a chilly night; the fish fillet itself is just the bright spot of flavor you've been looking for.

Get the recipe for Striped Bass With Radish Salsa Verde »

24 Korean Pineapple Beef Lettuce Wraps
low calorie meals korean pineapple beef lettuce wraps
MIKE GARTEN

This isn't your usual lettuce wrap. Bring your steak to life with a special marinade and top it off with chopped peanuts before eating.

Get the recipe for Korean Pineapple Beef Lettuce Wraps »

25 Vegan Black Bean Soup
low calorie bowl black bean soup meal
MIKE GARTEN

Many vegan recipes are indeed low in calories, but this soul-warming soup doesn't feel lacking at all — especially with its velvety avocado topping.

Get the recipe for Vegan Black Bean Soup »

26 Honey-Ginger Cedar Plank Salmon
Mike Garten
27 Traditional Chicken Curry
low calorie dinner recipes   traditional chicken curry
Mike Garten

White rice can be part of a healthy dinner! This 220 calorie meal is proof, and you'll add it to your weekly rotation in no time.

Get the recipe for Traditional Chicken Curry »

28 Hawaiian Tuna Bowl
low calorie tuna poke meal
Mike Garten

Sushi-grade tuna is insanely flavorful, easy to pick up and prepare, and probably the most diet-friendly protein on this list. With creamy avocado and tangy rice, this bowl doesn't break 200 calories.

Get the recipe for Hawaiian Tuna Bowl »

29 Chipotle Lentil Chili
Mike Garten

This guilt-free chili is the perfect addition to your game day feast.

Get the recipe for Chipotle Lentil Chili »

RELATED: 40 Super Easy Chili Recipes That Are Perfect for Cold Winter Days

30 White Wine Mussels
low calorie recipes   mussels
Mike Garten

Because they're so low on calories (this entire bowl clocks in at just 280 calories), you can pair these delicious morsels with a side of your pleasing — or even treat yourself with a bit of bread for dipping.

Get the recipe for White Wine Mussels »

31 Crispy Tofu Bowl
low calorie crispy tofu meal

Who said that fried food isn't healthy?! Crisp tofu proves otherwise, especially when paired with a medley of zesty zucchini and the crunch of toasted cashews.

Get the recipe for Crispy Tofu Bowl »

32 Pomegranate-Honey Glazed Chicken and Squash
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

Give your weeknight chicken dish a taste of the season with squash and pomegranate seeds.

Get the recipe for Pomegranate-Honey Glazed Chicken and Squash »

RELATED: 60 Healthy Chicken Recipes That Your Family Will Eat on Repeat

33 Shrimp Packets with Kale Couscous
low calorie shrimp packets with kale couscous meal
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

No mess, no fuss over this foil packet that is baked to perfection. You'll have plenty of fresh veg, tender shrimp, and satisfying couscous at under 350 calories.

Get the recipe for Shrimp Packets With Kale Couscous »

34 Pressure Cooker Winter Squash and Lentil Stew
Mike Garten
35 Soy-Glazed Cod and Bok Choy

The sweet vinaigrette glaze is dangerously delicious.

Get the recipe for Soy-Glazed Cod and Bok Choy »

36 Zesty Lemon-Herb Baked Flounder
low calorie lemon baked flounder meal
Danielle Occhiogrosso

The only meal you might be able to seriously entertain thirds, as this easy one-dish meal contains just 190 calories per serving.

Get the recipe for Lemon-Herb Baked Flounder »

37 Seared Scallops with Lentil Salad
low calorie seared scallops and lentil salad meal
Mike Garten

Lentils are packed with flavor and essential nutrients, full of antioxidants that benefit us in many ways. Pillowy scallops just sweeten the deal.

Get the recipe for Seared Scallops with Lentil Salad »

38 Harvest Flatbreads with Italian Sausage
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly
39 Chicken Souvlaki Skewers
Anna Williams

Because eating chicken on skewers is way more fun.

Get the recipe for Chicken Souvlaki Skewers »

40 Speedy Eggplant Parmesan
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

Maximize the crispy factor and minimize the carb count with this simple pasta dish.

Get the recipe for Speedy Eggplant Parmesan »

RELATED: 30 Healthy Pasta Recipes That Will Keep You Full All Night

41 Roasted Baby Vine Tomato Grilled Chicken
Pernille Loof

Roasted cherry tomatoes are nature's candy. Take our word for it.

Get the recipe for Roasted Baby Vine Tomato Grilled Chicken »

42 Grilled Asparagus & Shiitake Tacos
Mike Garten

Master the art of the fresh, vegetarian taco and you'll never have to hit the drive-thru again.

Get the recipe for Grilled Asparagus & Shiitake Tacos »

RELATED: 50 Easy Vegetarian Recipes for the Whole Family

43 Salmon with Grilled Eggplant and Chickpea Croutons
low calorie salmon with grilled eggplant and chickpea croutons meal
Mike Garten

It's rare to get an entire plate at under 450 calories, but this salmon dinner does it in style.

Get the recipe for Salmon With Grilled Eggplant and Chickpea Croutons »

44 Soy-Braised Beef & Tomato-Mint Salad
Mike Garten

Dump all the ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning and come home to a tasty dinner.

Get the recipe for Soy-Braised Beef & Tomato-Mint Salad »

RELATED: 33 Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes That Basically Make Themselves

45 Sausage-Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Mike Garten
46 Roasted Shrimp & Poblano Salad
Mike Garten

Not all salads are low in calories, but this fiery avocado one certainly is.

Get the recipe for Roasted Shrimp & Poblano Salad »

RELATED: 53 Ways to Use Avocado So That Your Next Meal Is Extra-Nutritious

47 Spring Minestrone
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

This big bowl of comfort is a must-have after a trip to the farmer's market.

Get the recipe for Spring Minestrone »

48 Mediterranean Baked Cod
Mike Garten

When it comes to counting calories, seafood is a lifesaver.

Get the recipe for Mediterranean Baked Cod »

RELATED: 30+ Healthy Fish and Seafood Recipes to Make Tonight

49 Light Chicken Parmesan
low calorie light chicken parmesan meal
Emily Kate Roemer

Ditch all the calories and saturated fat! Double down on this 280-calorie breaded cutlet and a robust side salad.

Get the recipe for Light Chicken Parmesan »

50 Tofu Pad Thai
low calorie tofu pad thai meal
Danielle Occhigrosso Daly

You can have this takeout-classic and eat it, too; swap out heavy oils and tons of meat for lean tofu and a gentler fry.

Get the recipe for Tofu Pad Thai »

51 Lamb Sausage with Confetti Couscous
Danielle Occhiogrosso Daly

Sweet peppers, carrots and mint add some color to this easy weeknight dinner.

Get the recipe for Lamb Sausage with Confetti Couscous »

RELATED: 60+ Super Cheap and Easy Dinner Recipes for Every Night This Week

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