Delicious 500-Calorie Dinners to Help You Lose Weight

By: Victoria Seaver, M.S., R.D., Digital Meal Plan Editor

These delicious 500-calorie dinners will keep you full throughout the evening, kicking late-night snack attacks to the curb so you can meet your weight-loss goals.

Veggie & Hummus Sandwich

There are lots of ways to approach eating for weight loss, but the most successful strategies are the simple ones. By choosing one thing to focus on, rather than trying to change everything about your diet all at once, you'll set yourself up for weight-loss success. These 500-calorie dinners are a great place to start. Why 500 calories? Most people can lose weight eating 1,500 calories a day and when we break down the calorie totals by meal, 500 calories is a healthy amount to have at dinner to stay satisfied throughout the evening. In addition to controlling for calories, we made sure these meals provide healthy amounts of fiber and protein, both of which help to keep you feeling fuller for longer, which is especially helpful when cutting calories to lose weight.

Related: What Does a 1,500-Calorie Day Look Like?

Once you master the 500-calorie dinners, move on to finding healthy breakfast, lunch and snack recipes to fill out the rest of your 1,500-calorie day. Shoot for 250 to 300 calories at breakfast, 300 to 350 calories at lunch and two 50- to 100-calorie snacks in between meals or simply follow along with one of our healthy meal plans for weight loss.

Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowls

Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowls

Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowls

Quinoa and chickpeas pack this vegetarian grain bowl with plenty of plant-based protein, while a creamy sauce of roasted red peppers and spices adds a burst of flavor and color to this Mediterranean-inspired dinner. Pack up leftovers or plan to make extra to take for lunch later in the week.

Total: 479 calories

 

Roasted Chicken & Winter Squash over Mixed Greens

Roasted Chicken & Winter Squash over Mixed Greens

Roasted Chicken & Winter Squash over Mixed Greens

415 calories

This hearty dinner salad with a whopping 31 grams of satisfying protein comes together easily, since the squash and chicken can roast together on the same sheet pan. A quick marinade flavors the chicken and squash for roasting and a simple dressing coats the greens to complete this flavorful dinner combo.

Serve with:

• 1 serving Rosemary & Garlic Breadsticks (77 calories)

Total: 492 calories

 

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup

Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup

175 calories

Make a big batch of low-calorie veggie-packed soup with ease in this load-and-go crock pot recipe. This weight-loss vegetable soup fills you up without a lot of calories (thanks to all those low-cal veggies and broth), plus it's an easy way to eat more vegetables. Portion out leftovers into individual serving containers and store in the fridge or freezer for fast and healthy ready-to-eat meals.

Serve with:

• One 4-inch piece whole-wheat baguette, toasted (235 calories)
• 2 tsp. olive oil (84 calories)
• Pinch each coarse salt and pepper

Drizzle olive oil over bread and season with salt and pepper.

Total: 495 calories

 

Shrimp Scampi Zoodles

Shrimp Scampi Zoodles

Shrimp Scampi Zoodles

286 calories

Classic garlicky shrimp scampi gets a makeover in this fresh and light dinner recipe. Zucchini noodles serve as a healthy low-calorie alternative to traditional pasta—they mimic the texture of pasta while taking on the flavor of whatever sauce you serve them with. Topped with shrimp, shredded Parmesan cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, this veg-heavy take on a classic pasta dish is sure to please.

Serve with:

• One 4-inch piece whole-wheat baguette, toasted (235 calories)

Total: 521 calories

 

Taco-Stuffed Zucchini

Taco-Stuffed Zucchini

Taco-Stuffed Zucchini

367 calories

These stuffed zucchini boats are filled with all your favorite taco ingredients like seasoned meat, cheese and avocado. A delicious alternative on taco night, you'll save some calories and get in an extra serving of vegetables by using the zucchini instead of tortillas.

Serve with:

• 3 Tbsp. pico de gallo (15 calories)
• 1 serving whole-grain tortilla chips (about 7 chips; 140 calories)

Total: 522 calories

 

Spaghetti Squash & Chicken with Avocado Pesto

Spaghetti Squash & Chicken with Avocado Pesto

Spaghetti Squash & Chicken with Avocado Pesto

Give pesto pasta a healthy makeover with this easy recipe that combines low-calorie spaghetti squash with high-protein chicken breast. Top this powerhouse combo with homemade basil pesto that gets a creamy upgrade from ripe avocados to complete this mouthwatering chicken dinner.

Total: 497 calories

 

Flat-Belly Salad

Flat-Belly Salad

Flat-Belly Salad

390 calories

This salad is a helpful tool for weight loss because it provides a good balance of fiber, protein and healthy fats from loads of veggies and beans, all tossed in a tangy apple-cider vinaigrette. A great idea for a refreshing dinner, this hearty salad will hit the spot.

Serve with:

• 2 Tbsp. hummus (52 calories)
• 6 seeded crackers (65 calories)

Total: 507 calories

 

Crispy Oven-Fried Fish Tacos

Crispy Oven-Fried Fish Tacos

Crispy Oven-Fried Fish Tacos

296 calories

You don't need to give up your favorite foods when trying to lose weight. Instead of deep-frying these tasty fish tacos, we oven-fry the fish by coating it in a seasoned whole-grain breading and spritzing it lightly with cooking spray before baking on a rack until golden brown. The result is a crispy exterior with moist and flaky fish inside—for fewer calories.

Serve with:

• 1 serving Pineapple & Avocado Salad (186 calories)

Total: 482 calories

 

White Turkey Chili

White Turkey Chili

White Turkey Chili

350 calories

One bowl of this mouthwatering white turkey chili with zucchini and you'll be hooked. More than just the flavor, this satisfying dish will leave you feeling full throughout the evening. In addition to lean ground turkey, white beans do double time, adding both protein and fiber, and mixing in bulgur adds even more fiber while helping to thicken the chili.

Serve with:

• 2 cups mixed greens (18 calories)
• 2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinaigrette (145 calories)

Total: 514 calories

 

Greek-Roasted Fish with Vegetables

Greek-Roasted Fish with Vegetables

Greek-Roasted Fish with Vegetables

422 calories

In this Mediterranean-inspired dinner recipe, a herb-infused dressing coats fresh vegetables, which roast alongside salmon on a single sheet pan. This full-flavored dinner comes together easily, with cleanup being just as simple. Served over a bed of fluffy quinoa, this delicious dinner has everything you need in a balanced meal—filling protein, a high-fiber whole grain and nutrient-rich vegetables.

Serve with:

• 1 serving Basic Quinoa (104 calories)

Total: 526 calories

 

WATCH: How to Make Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup

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