500-Calorie Dinners Meal Plan: Week 4

Cajun Crab Croquettes

Pictured Recipe: Cajun Crab Croquettes

Sandwiches, crab cakes, salads and more (peach popsicles!) are all part of this week’s plan.

Does the thought of dieting make you crabby? I have just the recipe for you: Cajun Crab Croquettes. (If puns make you crabby, too, I apologize.) These easy, zesty crab cakes are what you get to eat for dinner Monday night on this week’s plan. And that’s not all: you also get to have a spinach salad, Southwestern Calico Corn and a peach popsicle—all that for just 502 calories. This week’s plan of five 500-calorie dinners won’t feel like dieting at all. You’ll be eating well and improving your mood along with your waistline.

—Wendy Ruopp, Managing Editor

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Cajun Crab Croquettes

Pictured Recipe: Cajun Crab Croquettes

Monday: Cajun Crab Croquettes

Crab cakes get a Louisiana spin with Cajun spice and corn. Although any type of crab works here, we prefer the texture of lump crabmeat. Serve with a baby spinach salad dressed with Spicy Mediterranean Vinaigrette and Southwestern Calico Corn that you made while the croquettes were baking. All that and you still get dessert: Chunky Peach Popsicles, just 33 calories each.

Cajun Crab Croquettes
246 calories
• Baby spinach (1½ cups) with 2 Tbsp. Spicy Mediterranean Vinaigrette
125 calories
Southwestern Calico Corn
98 calories
Chunky Peach Popsicles
33 calories

TOTAL: 502 calories


Tuesday: Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken with Pepián Sauce

Tomatillos and pepitas form the basis for pepian sauce—one version of Mexican mole—to top easy sautéed chicken breasts for tonight’s dinner. Steam some broccoli to go with it (jazz it up with lime juice and hot sauce) and make brown rice to soak up any extra sauce.

Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken with Pepián Sauce
314 calories
Steamed broccoli (1 cup) with a squeeze of lime and a dash of hot sauce
44 calories
Brown rice (½ cup) with a pinch of chili powder
109 calories

TOTAL: 467 calories


Wednesday: Lamb Chops with Lebanese Green Beans

Mmm, lamb chops—and in just 45 minutes. For tonight’s dinner, simple pan-roasted lamb chops are served alongside deliciously spiced stewed green beans and tomatoes in a riff on a Lebanese favorite, lubiyeh. Make Whole-Grain Rice Pilaf to serve on the side and, for dessert, Raspberry Applesauce.

Lamb Chops with Lebanese Green Beans
327 calories
Whole-Grain Rice Pilaf
97 calories
Raspberry Applesauce
67 calories

TOTAL: 491 calories


Bistro Flank Steak Sandwich

Pictured Recipe: Bistro Flank Steak Sandwich

Thursday: Bistro Flank Steak Sandwich

A sandwich for dinner can be a nice change-up of the routine, and you can make this bistro-style sandwich, sauce and all, completely on the grill. If you’re in a hurry, just grill the steak and garlic and substitute jarred roasted red peppers for the grilled bell peppers. Use those beets from your CSA share to make a quick Borscht (have a cup tonight and take some for lunch tomorrow) and finish the meal with summery fresh blueberries.

Bistro Flank Steak Sandwich
294 calories
Borscht
160 calories
• Fresh blueberries (½ cup)
42 calories

TOTAL: 496 calories


Friday: Ginger, Split Pea & Vegetable Curry

Protein-rich yellow split peas combined with fresh vegetables yields a hearty, stewlike curry. Try any combination of vegetables—sweet potatoes, squash and spinach create a sweeter offering. Don’t be alarmed by the number of chiles—the vegetables and split peas bring the heat level down. Here’s what’s in the plan to complete tonight’s under-500-calorie menu: a salad of baby spinach with Buttermilk Dressing?, a piece of toasted whole-grain baguette and a special Friday night treat: Hot Fudge Pudding Cake.

Ginger, Split Pea & Vegetable Curry
161 calories
• Baby spinach (1½ cups) with 2 Tbsp. Buttermilk Dressing
35 calories
• Toasted whole-grain baguette (2 inches)
132 calories
Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
142 calories

TOTAL: 470 calories