When you’re trying to lose weight and sticking to 1,200 to 1,500 calorie-a-day diet, a 500-calorie meal for dinner is just what you need. EatingWell’s food editor, Jessie Price, shows you how to cook an easy, delicious 500-calorie meal— including Lemon Chicken Stir-Fry and a simple strawberry frozen yogurt for dessert—that can help you lose weight.
“A 500-calorie dinner is a good amount to eat if you are trying to lose weight and sticking to a diet of just 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day,” says Jessie. “The main course in this 500-calorie meal is Lemon Chicken Stir-Fry.”
To make the low-calorie Lemon Chicken Stir Fry, Jessie starts by making the sauce. She whisks together lemon juice, reduced-sodium chicken broth, reduced-sodium soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl and sets that aside while she starts the stir-fry. “I put cubed lean chicken breast in my skillet with a little bit of heart-healthy canola oil and cook it, stirring it around for a couple of minutes until it's cooked through. Then transfer it to a plate, and we're on to our veggies. Mushroom and carrots go in first.” Want to substitute some other veggies? Check out these 4 tips for quick stir-fries.
When the mushrooms and carrots are mostly cooked through, Jessie adds in snow peas, scallion whites, minced garlic and lemon zest. “Continue to stir-fry for about 30 seconds until that's nice and fragrant and then we're ready for that sauce,” says Jessie. “Whisk it up and pour it into the pan. Stir it around until it's nice and thick. Then add in the cooked chicken and your scallion greens. Mix it all together. Your stir-fry is done!”
“You're going to want to round out your 500-calorie meal with a whole grain, either brown rice or whole-wheat spaghetti,” recommends Jessie. Cooking a whole grain to serve with your stir-fry gives you fiber and nutrients that you won’t get from white rice. Feeling adventurous? Mix it up by trying whole-wheat couscous, polenta, wild rice and more. Get more ideas for whole grains and find out the best way to cook them.
This Lemon-Chicken Stir-Fry plus the whole-grain side provides around 400 calories, so you have about 100 more calories to play with to complete this 500-calorie dinner. “You could have a glass of white wine,” says Jessie, “or if you have a sweet tooth, you could have this amazing, instant strawberry frozen yogurt.” To make this super-quick, low-calorie dessert, you just take frozen strawberries and a little superfine sugar and process in your food processor. Stir together nonfat plain yogurt and lemon juice and pour that down through the feed tube of the processor as it's running. Scrape down the sides and keep processing until it's smooth and creamy. And in just minutes, you have made delicious strawberry frozen yogurt to round out your 500-calorie dinner.
Get the recipe: Fast Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
Ready to plan some more 500-calorie meals for dinner? Try these great low-calorie dinner recipes and diet meal plans:
EatingWell’s 500-Calorie Dinners
30-Minute 500-Calorie Dinners
500-Calorie Dinners: Chicken
EatingWell's 5-Week 500-Calorie Dinner Challenge
30-Minute Healthy Stir-Fry Recipes
26 Low-Calorie Dinner Recipes
20-Minute Low-Calorie Dinner Recipes
Buy the Book: EatingWell 500-Calorie Dinners
Download a FREE Low-Calorie Dinner Recipe Cookbook