500-Calorie Dinners Meal Plan: Week 3

We've got 5 healthy, satisfying dinners planned for you.

It’s finally warming up here in northern Vermont and I was all excited about that—until I took off my winter clothes and had to admit to myself that months of hibernation had not been particularly kind to the old physique. That’s why I’m grateful to have a dinner plan for the week that will help me fit back into my shorts. This plan of five 500-calorie dinners helps you organize complete meals every night, including your main course recipe, side dishes, desserts and drinks—all for 500 calories!

—Wendy Ruopp, Managing Editor

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Caldo Tlalpeno

Pictured Recipe: Caldo Tlalpeño

Monday: Caldo Tlalpeño

Although there are many variations of this Mexican chicken soup, spicy chipotle chiles are always part of the broth. Finish the menu with Mixed Lettuce Salad with Cucumber Herb Vinaigrette? and Fast Strawberry Frozen Yogurt?.

TOTAL: 466 calories

Tuesday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin Marinated in Spicy Soy Sauce

Crisp on the outside and buttery-tender on the inside, these sweet and spicy soy sauce-marinated pork tenderloin medallions make for a delicious, healthful and elegant entree. Serve with a couple sides: Steamed snow peas (½ cup) with a splash of reduced-sodium soy sauce? and Wild Rice with Shiitakes & Toasted Almonds?. For dessert you get to have Orange Crisps with Citrus Fruit Salad.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Marinated in Spicy Soy Sauce
170 calories
• Steamed snow peas (½ cup) with a splash of reduced-sodium soy sauce
35 calories
Wild Rice with Shiitakes & Toasted Almonds
158 calories
Orange Crisps with Citrus Fruit Salad
128 calories

TOTAL: 491 calories

Turkey & Tomato Panini

Pictured Recipe: Turkey & Tomato Panini

Wednesday: Turkey & Tomato Panini

A creamy spread full of Parmesan and fresh basil cozies up to turkey and summer-ripe tomato slices for a savory hot sandwich that will quickly become a go-to mealtime solution. To go with it, make Simple Sautéed Spinach? and Quick Pickled Beets?. Top off the meal with a refreshing (and low-calorie) tangerine.

Turkey & Tomato Panini
285 calories
Simple Sautéed Spinach
68 calories
Quick Pickled Beets
44 calories
• Tangerine (1 medium)
47 calories

TOTAL: 444 calories

Thursday: Indian Wok-Seared Chicken & Vegetables

Stir-frying sears meat and vegetables beautifully. The cooking happens quickly, so it’s a good idea to measure out and prepare all the ingredients in the recipe before you fire up the wok. You’ll want to cook up some brown rice with a squeeze of lime? to serve with the stir-fry—get that started first. Have a salad of mixed greens with Buttermilk Dressing to round things out.

Indian Wok-Seared Chicken & Vegetables
271 calories
Brown rice (3/4 cup) with a squeeze of lime
164 calories
• Mixed greens (1½ cups) with 2 Tbsp. Buttermilk Dressing
34 calories

TOTAL: 469 calories

Friday: Linguine with Escarole & Shrimp

Lots of tangy lemon flavors this pasta dish. Don’t be put off by 16 cups of escarole; it cooks down to a fraction of that amount and is buttery-tender in this dish. Serve the linguine with fresh (practically calorie-free) mixed greens dressed with Champagne Vinaigrette? and savory Roasted Squash & Fennel with Thyme?. Treat yourself to an early taste of summer and finish up with fresh blueberries.

Linguine with Escarole & Shrimp
271 calories
• Mixed greens (1½ cups) with 2 Tbsp. Champagne Vinaigrette
120 calories
Roasted Squash & Fennel with Thyme
66 calories
• Blueberries (½ cup)
42 calories

TOTAL: 499 calories