10 Dinners Under 500 Calories

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You can have your calories and eat them, too
Crunchy Baked Ginger-Dill Salmon With Greens

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This recipe uses a marinade of lime juice, chile paste, dill, and ginger, and a light coating of breadcrumbs to give the salmon a hint of spice, acid, and crunch. 

It’s easy to find a low-calorie breakfast wrap, snack bar, or salad, but finding a hearty dinner that’s less than 500 calories per serving — that’s not so easy. When trying to cut calories, dinner is often the meal that suffers the most, and after a long day of work the last thing we want to sit down to is a restrained salad, a dehydrated turkey burger, or a low-calorie frozen dinner. Fortunately, there are an abundance of recipes that allow you to eat fantastic, flavorful, filling dinners without breaking your calorie budget.

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The secret is all in the seasonings. Dried spices, fresh herbs, and citrus juices add a brightness and complexity to normally bland foods that makes us want to go in for another bite. A normally tasteless carbohydrate like brown rice or a simple baked potato is elevated by a sprinkle of cumin, a squeeze of lime, a chiffonade of tarragon, or a squirt of sriracha.

And if you’re thinking carbohydrates are the enemy, think again. Not all calories are created equal, and the 161 calories from a baked potato provide much more nutrients and satiating fiber than the 229 calories derived from a small serving of McDonald’s French fries.

If any of these recipes seem incomplete on their own, simply add to your plate a bed of salad greens, a side of steamed or lightly sautéed vegetables, or a complex carbohydrate like brown rice, a potato, a sweet potato, or a chunk of whole-grain bread.

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Here are 10 dinners under 500 calories.