Healthy Dinners Under 500 Calories
There are a number of factors involved in weight loss (and weight maintenance), and calories are one of the most important. Regardless of whether you eat healthy foods or fill up on junk foods, and whether you exercise regularly or have a more sedentary lifestyle, you need to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight. Eat more calories than your body burns — even if the calories are from healthy foods — and you'll gain weight. Fortunately, you don't have to go crazy counting calories or keeping track of every bite of food you eat to lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight. There are some easy ways you can trim calories and move toward a healthier body.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that the average American has access to more than 3,400 calories per day. This certainly does not mean that all Americans eat that many calories daily, but when you consider that the average (moderately active) man and woman need about 2,900 and 2,200 calories per day respectively, it’s easy to see why losing weight (or maintaining a healthy body weight) can be a challenge.
The average cheese pizza, for example, has almost 300 calories per slice. If pizza delivery is part of your weekly routine, consider swapping two slices of pizza with a 500-calorie-or-less dinner option; it can save you 100 calories. Trim just 100 calories each day and you’ll lose about 10 pounds over the course of a year.
We have a few lower-calorie recipes to help you get started. They rely on fiber-rich vegetables and whole grains as well as protein-packed meat, beans, and eggs to keep you feeling fuller longer (which can prevent excess calories from late-night snacking) and bold flavors to make these meals delicious and satisfying. So, if you're ready to give up the occasional slice of pizza (and a few extra pounds of body fat), check out these healthy and delicious recipes.
Apricot Chicken Wings and Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Salad
These sweet and spicy chicken wings are just 233 calories per serving. Add a side of flavorful pasta salad for another 208 calories and you’re well on your way to a healthier dinner. Click here to see the chicken wings recipe. Click here to see the pasta salad recipe.
Baked Chicken with Spinach, Pears, and Blue Cheese
If you’re looking for ways to eat more leafy greens, this sweet and salty chicken dish is your new go-to recipe. And, with just a handful of ingredients, this easy-to-make recipe is perfect for those busy weeknights when you’re tempted to order take-out. Click here to see the recipe.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.