Delicious 500-Calorie Dinners to Help You Lose Weight
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: High-Protein 500-Calorie Meals
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 that maps everything out for you.
Give it a Try: 30-Day 500-Calorie Dinner Challenge
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
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.
• 1 serving Rosemary & Garlic Breadsticks (77 calories)
Total: 492 calories
Related: 500-Calorie Dinners: Chicken
Slow-Cooker Vegetable Soup
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.
- 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
Related: 500-Calorie Dinners: Vegetarian
Shrimp Scampi Zoodles
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.
• One 4-inch piece whole-wheat baguette, toasted (235 calories)
Total: 521 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.
• 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
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
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.
• 2 Tbsp. hummus (52 calories)
• 6 seeded crackers (65 calories)
Total: 507 calories
Crispy Oven-Fried Fish Tacos
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.
• 1 serving Pineapple & Avocado Salad (186 calories)
Total: 482 calories
White Turkey Chili
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.
• 2 cups mixed greens (18 calories)
• 2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinaigrette (145 calories)
Total: 514 calories
Greek-Roasted Fish with Vegetables
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.
• 1 serving Basic Quinoa (104 calories)
Total: 526 calories