10 Dinners Under 500 Calories Slideshow
January 4, 2017
You can have your calories and eat them, too
Apricot Chicken Wings and Chicken Vegetable Pasta
Chicken wings are synonymous with football, cheap beer, and stained pants, but this recipe redefines chicken wings as a low-calorie dinner option. These wings are baked in the oven, not fried; and rather than being drowned in a buttery “wing sauce,” these beauties are glazed with apricot preserves, hot pepper sauce, and apple cider vinegar. To complete the meal, serve the wings with a side of vegetable pasta salad.
Baked Mustard-Lime Chicken
Baking is a healthier way to cook chicken than pan-frying because it eliminates the use of extra oil. Marinating the chicken breast in lime juice, cilantro, olive oil, and mustard adds an herbaceous, citrusy pop without the added calories of a heavy sauce.
Braised Bison Sirloin Steak
Bison is one of the leanest cuts of meat available. A six-ounce portion contains a little less than 200 calories, while beef has almost three times the calories per gram. Because bison has so little fat, it only becomes tender after hours of braising. Rich flavors develop during the hours of cooking, and the drippings make for a decadent sauce that can be drizzled on a side of roasted potatoes.
Crunchy Baked Ginger-Dill Salmon With Greens
Salmon is the ideal weight-loss protein. A four-ounce portion provides more than 50 percent of the recommended daily value of selenium, vitamin B3, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, vitamin D, and protein. 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. When paired with a bed a spinach greens, this dinner is less than 200 calories per serving.
Grilled Veggie Kabobs
Kabobs make a terrific dinner because they’re customizable to your own preferences. This recipe calls for zucchini, red bell pepper, mushrooms, and red onion, but you can use any quick-cooking vegetable. A stick of roasted vegetables might not sound inviting on its own, but the flavor of these kabobs is amplified with a creamy and tangy “green goddess” dressing of chives, tarragon, lemon juice, and avocado. Kabobs are traditionally cooked on the grill, but you can make them inside on a stovetop grill pan.
Prawn Green Curry
Here, red bell pepper, peas, and spring onions are briefly simmered in a sauce of curry paste, vegetable stock, and coconut milk for around five minutes. The short cooking time preserves the vegetables’ texture and nutrients. The shrimp and pak choi (Chinese cabbage) take almost no time to cook, and the seasoning of lime juice, basil leaves, and coriander adds a pop of acid and a cool herbal note. A serving of this dish is only 250 calories.
Seared Tuna and Brown Rice Chirashi
If you want to treat yourself for dinner, consider buying a sushi-grade tuna steak and making this healthier version of a classic Japanese lunchtime favorite. These beautiful cuts of tuna can be eaten raw, but they also benefit from a brief sear in a thin layer of hot sesame oil. Tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help preserve neurological functioning, and also contains 28 grams of protein per four-ounce serving.
Simple Salmon Burger
Canned salmon needs to be added your pantry. This shelf-stable ingredient is easy to work with (it comes pre-cooked) making it a no-hassle way to incorporate salmon into your diet. These salmon burgers taste incredible and are also rich in protein, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. Best of all, they’re easy to make.
Turkey Pot Pie
Pot pies are famous (or infamous if you’re watching your calories) for their buttery and flaky crusts, but this recipe side-steps the indulgent topping by only calling for a thin layer of dough to top the pie. This classic comfort food is surprisingly heavy in vegetables, using celery, carrots, onion, potatoes, and peas. Low-sodium chicken stock and diced, roast turkey make this a low-calorie dinner option.
You don’t need pounds of ground beef to make a chili taste delicious. This recipe, authored by renowned chef Bill Telepan, uses cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, and minced jalapeño to add a calorie-less kick to the chili. To add some textural contrasts, try using different types of beans such as kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, or chickpeas. A scoop of chili on top of a bowl of brown rice makes for a great meal way under 500 calories.