Low-Calorie Make Ahead Recipes

Find healthy, delicious low-calorie make ahead recipes, from the food and nutrition experts at EatingWell.

Staff Picks

Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl

Rating: Unrated
10
Quinoa and chickpeas pack this vegetarian grain bowl with plenty of plant-based protein. Whip up a batch of these Mediterranean meals and pack in containers with lids to stash in the fridge for easy, healthy grab & go lunches all week long.

Shrimp Cauliflower Fried Rice

Rating: Unrated
2
Cut down on carbs and amp up your veggie servings with this healthy cauliflower fried rice with shrimp, broccoli, bell peppers and garlic. Everything is cooked in one wok or skillet, but in stages, so each element keeps its integrity in the finished dish instead of being all mushed together--it may seem fussy, but it's worth it and actually quite easy. Resist the urge to stir the cauliflower rice right away; letting it cook undisturbed for a few minutes allows it to brown and develop sweet, nutty flavors. This better-than-takeout healthy dinner comes together in just 25 minutes, so it's perfect for busy weeknights.

 Spicy Weight-Loss Cabbage Soup

Rating: Unrated
25
Based on a popular weight-loss plan, this healthy cabbage soup recipe gets tons of flavor and a metabolism-boosting kick from spicy chiles.

Baked Banana-Nut Oatmeal Cups

Rating: Unrated
15
Muffins meet oatmeal in these moist and tasty grab-and-go oatmeal cups. Feel free to swap out the pecans for any other nut--walnuts would be great--or omit them altogether. Make a batch on the weekend and keep them in your fridge or freezer for quick and easy breakfasts all week. Reheat in the microwave for about 40 seconds.

Cabbage Diet Soup

Rating: Unrated
4
Loaded with cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, tomato and plenty of seasoning, this healthy vegetable soup packs in lots of flavor and is ultra-satisfying. This easy recipe makes a big batch for lunches or veggie-packed snacks all week. If you want to bump up the satisfaction factor even more, top with a little cheese or avocado.

Veggie & Hummus Sandwich

Rating: Unrated
11
This mile-high vegetable and hummus sandwich makes the perfect heart-healthy vegetarian lunch to go. Mix it up with different flavors of hummus and different types of vegetables depending on your mood.

Middle Eastern Chicken & Chickpea Stew

Rating: Unrated
21
This quick, protein-rich chicken stew recipe gets great flavor from cumin, lemon juice and garlic. Make a double batch and freeze it for a quick healthy dinner. Serve the stew with couscous and steamed broccoli.

Cauliflower Rice-Stuffed Peppers

Rating: Unrated
6
Slash the calories and carbs of traditional stuffed peppers by swapping white rice for cauliflower "rice." The riced cauliflower is hearty and won't turn to mush during baking. Use an assortment of red, yellow, orange and green peppers to make an appealing presentation.

Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Chicken & Chickpea Soup

Rating: Unrated
13
This set-it-and-forget-it slow-cooker recipe simmers away all day so you come home to a warm and healthy dinner the whole family will love. Using bone-in chicken is the key to making rich soup without adding broth.

Lemon-Garlic Chicken Penne with Pesto and Spinach

Fresh pesto brilliantly compliments the lemon and garlic flavors of this juicy chicken dinner.

Flat-Belly Salad

Rating: Unrated
3
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. To meal-prep these for lunch throughout the week, pack the dressing and the salad separately and make sure your veggies are thoroughly dried before packing them together.

Baked Penne Florentine

Rating: Unrated
2
This comforting and flavorful vegetarian dish is packed with protein.

Inspiration and Ideas

Quinoa-Summer Squash Casserole

As this layered slow-cooker squash casserole recipe cooks, the liquid from the tangy tomatillo salsa and summer squash is absorbed by the quinoa.

Roasted Three-Chile Salsa

This hot salsa recipe is typically made in a large molcajete (lava-rock mortar and pestle), but this recipe calls for a food processor to make it easier.

Vegan Superfood Buddha Bowls

Rating: Unrated
3

This nutrient-packed vegan Buddha bowl recipe comes together in 15 minutes with the help of a few convenience-food shortcuts like prewashed baby kale, microwavable quinoa and precooked beets. Pack these ahead to keep on hand for easy meal-prep lunches or dinners on busy nights.