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

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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