Low-Calorie Dinner Recipes on a Budget

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

Staff Picks

American Goulash

Rating: 4.73 stars
11
American goulash, also known as old-fashioned goulash, is the perfect economical family meal. The pasta cooks right in the sauce, so this satisfying dish can cook in just one pot.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

Rating: 4.52 stars
96
Make a double batch of this quick vegetarian chili, full of black beans and sweet potatoes, and eat it for lunch the next day or freeze the extras for another night. We love the smoky heat from the ground chipotle, but omit it if you prefer a mild chili. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread and coleslaw.

Vegetable Weight-Loss Soup

Rating: 4.46 stars
24
A big bowl of this veggie-packed minestrone will leave you satisfied for hours without consuming a lot of calories--plus it's an easy way to boost your vegetable servings for the day. Top with a dollop of pesto before devouring this delicious skinny vegetable soup.

Creamy Chicken, Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms One-Pot Pasta

Rating: 3.7 stars
20
You'll only have to dirty one pot in this easy pasta recipe that cooks chicken and vegetables right along with the noodles. Plus, by using the exact amount of water you need to cook the pasta, the starch that usually gets drained off with your pasta water stays in the pot, giving you delectably creamy results.

Roast Chicken & Sweet Potatoes

Rating: 4.55 stars
49
This sheet-pan dinner combines chicken thighs and sweet potatoes for a healthy dinner that cooks up fast in a very hot oven. Serve with a fall salad of mixed greens, sliced apples and blue cheese.

Easy Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Rating: 4.29 stars
7
Casseroles make perfect meal-prep dinners--this enchilada version is so easy to prep ahead. The whole casserole can be built and left to hang out in the refrigerator for up to three days. Then all you have to do is bake it off on a busy night and you have a healthy dinner on the table in a jiff. The quick homemade enchilada sauce in this recipe is great when you don't have any of the canned sauce on hand--just season crushed tomatoes with spices and salt for an instant enchilada sauce.

Kale & White Bean Potpie with Chive Biscuits

Rating: 4.67 stars
9
In this vegetarian white bean potpie recipe, kale and hearty white beans are topped with easy, homemade chive biscuits. If desired, add a little shredded Gruyère or Cheddar cheese to the biscuit dough.

Southwestern Vegetable & Chicken Soup

Rating: 4.5 stars
18
Who wouldn't want to eat their vegetables when they're tucked into a fragrant broth with bits of tasty chicken and spiked with a shot of fresh lime and cilantro? This healthy chicken vegetable soup seems even richer with the smoky flavor from roasted poblano peppers and garlic. Serve this healthy chicken soup recipe with tortilla chips.

Spaghetti with Quick Meat Sauce

Rating: 4.2 stars
15
Instead of opening a jar of sauce, try this easy spaghetti with meat sauce on a weeknight. Serve with steamed broccoli and garlic bread. The recipe makes enough for 8 servings. If you're serving only four for dinner, cook 8 ounces of spaghetti and freeze the leftover sauce.

Stuffed Sweet Potato with Hummus Dressing

Rating: 4.43 stars
14
Hearty yet simple to prepare, this stuffed sweet potato with black beans, kale and hummus dressing is a fantastic 5-ingredient lunch for one!

Middle Eastern Chicken & Chickpea Stew

Rating: 4.08 stars
24
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.

Mediterranean Chickpea Quinoa Bowl

Rating: 4.64 stars
11
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.
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Inspiration and Ideas

Four-Bean & Pumpkin Chili
Rating: Unrated
5
This healthy vegetarian chili has a fragrant touch of cinnamon for added flavor. Let diners top it with whatever suits their taste.
Lobster & Corn Chowder
Rating: Unrated
1
The trick to making this healthy lobster chowder recipe have tons of rich flavor is to start with great fish stock. (The best is often in the freezer case at the supermarket.) Then cook the lobsters in the stock to intensify its flavor. There is no flour added in this healthy soup, so it's lighter than a typical creamy chowder--plus it's gluten-free.

Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese

Rating: 2.78 stars
18

Fiber-rich sweet potato is used as the base for the cheese sauce in this healthy, homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. The bright orange color tricks your eyes into thinking this healthy macaroni and cheese recipe is loaded with cheese, but there's actually only about half as much cheese as compared to a traditional recipe.