These low calorie meals are filling, healthy, and all have less than 400 calories per serving! Perfect for dinner and easy to make in advance, there are over 40 recipes and ideas to try!
For anyone who follows a low calorie diet or is trying to shed a few pounds, meal times can sometimes be a little tricky.
You may have been on track all day, with breakfast, lunch, and snacks, only to throw everything out the window with a high calorie dinner or main meal. This is a common theme amongst many dieters, and can ultimately be what is stopping them from achieving their weight loss goals.
Luckily, with some simple planning and preparation, you can have a plethora of low calorie meals at your fingertips. Meals that can be prepared in advance, or take less than 10 minutes to whip up. They are delicious, filling, and will NOT derail you from your health goals!
What is the lowest calorie meal?
The lowest calorie meal depends on the individual and their dietary needs. A meal between 400-500 calories ticks the boxes. My favorite high volume and low calorie meal is a dinner bowl. This involves lean protein, fresh vegetables, a grain, and some healthy fats. This combination promotes satiety and also is incredibly delicious. Here is how to make it.
- Grilled chicken– My go-to protein source when I’m monitoring my calories. Chicken breast is low in calories but packed with protein and barely any fat. It acts as a blank canvas and tastes delicious when grilled.
- Avocado– Adding a healthy fat with every meal ensures that you’ll be completely satisfied and the meal will be more filling. Avocado is a fantastic option, as it also adds extra fiber.
- Vegetables– Sweet corn, tomatoes, spinach, and red onion.
- Rice OR cauliflower rice– Steamed jasmine or basmati rice provides complex carbs and keeps the meal at under 500 calories. If you want to lower the calories even more, cauliflower rice can be used.
- Low calorie seasonings and flavorings- soy sauce, fresh lime juice, sea salt, and pepper all add tons of flavor without affecting calories.
Start by preparing your chicken by grilling it for 4-5 minutes each side, and until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F. While the chicken is cooking, assemble the dinner bowl. Add your rice, followed by your favorite vegetables, then your avocado. Season with soy sauce and fresh lime juice and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Add your grilled chicken then serve immediately.
Storing, freezing, and reheating instructions
- To store: The chicken and the rice are the two elements of the meal that require pre-preparation and storage. Both will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five days.
- To freeze: Place the cooled chicken into ziplock bags and the cooled rice into an airtight container. Store them both in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Reheating: Microwave the chicken and the rice for 30-40 seconds, or until warm. Assemble the bowls then enjoy immediately.
Low calorie meals that are filling
These are the BEST low calorie meals and ideas to provide plenty of variety, while keeping the calories down. You’ll find pizzas, pasta, stir-fries, casseroles, and more. Each recipe is easy to make and requires minimal preparation. They can also be batch cooked as part of a dinner meal prep. Not only are they simple to prepare, but they are incredibly delicious too, and all have five star ratings.
Every single recipe has less than 400 calories per serving, which makes it a fantastic bench mark to assess your own caloric needs. If your calorie needs are higher, you can add some bread, tortillas, or a healthy dressing on the side. Alternatively, you can enjoy the meal as is and then treat yourself to a healthy dessert after (like low calorie cookies or brownies!)- The option is all yours!
Low calorie dinners
Low calorie pizza
Low calorie pasta
Baked chicken thighs
Grilled chicken breast
Egg roll in a bowl
Cloud bread pizza
Frequently Asked Questions
You should always honor your cravings, and there are plenty of low calorie options for popular and delicious dinners. If you’re craving pizza, have some low calorie pizza. If it’s pasta you are after, you can have that too.
A healthy meal should be between 400-600 calories, depending on your caloric goals. If you are just starting out, 500 calories is a fantastic benchmark for your three main meals.
Try one of these healthy dinner ideas to get some inspiration for a healthy dinner.
- 2 large chicken breasts grilled * See notes
- 2 cups brown rice cooked ** see notes
- 2 large avocadoes halved
- 1/2 cup corn
- 2 large tomatoes chopped
- 1/2 cup baby spinach packed
- 1 small red onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce gluten free, if needed
- 1/2 large lime juiced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper to taste
Prepare your grilled chicken as instructed. Once cooked, slice them into strips.
Add half a cup of cooked rice into four bowls. To each bowl, add half an avocado, 2 tablespoons of corn, 1/4 cup of diced tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons red onion.
Drizzle soy sauce and lemon juice over each of the bowls, then season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
** Basmati, jasmine, and white rice can be used. For a lower calorie option, use cauliflower rice.
TO STORE: The chicken and the rice are the two elements of the meal that require pre-preparation and storage. Both will keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five days.
TO FREEZE: Place the cooled chicken into ziplock bags and the cooled rice into an airtight container. Store them both in the freezer for up to 6 months.
TO REHEAT: Microwave the chicken and the rice for 30-40 seconds, or until warm. Assemble the bowls then enjoy immediately.
Serving: 1low calorie meal | Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 15g | Sodium: 545mg | Potassium: 1321mg | Fiber: 11g | Vitamin A: 1346IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 2mg | NET CARBS: 28g