Low calorie meals

37 Low-Calorie Dinner Recipes on the Table in 30 Minutes

Instead of ordering takeout, you can whip up a delicious dinner with these low-calorie dinner ideas. These recipes are packed with protein and vegetables to create a well-rounded meal that’s on the table in 30 minutes or less. Recipes like Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl and Beef and Bean Chile Verde are flavorful and fast.

50 Low-Calorie Meals That Don’t Taste Like Diet Food

Herbs, spices and sauces go a long way in making these lighter meals taste amazing.

low calorie sheet pan fish and vegetables meal

Look no further for low-calorie meals that actually taste delicious: We rounded up our healthiest dinner winners, including juicy salmon, silky soups, flavorful shrimp recipes, vegetarian favorites and more. Find weeknight-friendly options that you can make in less than 30 minutes or centerpiece-worthy dishes that are packed with nutrients. Learn to love vegetables that you may not have appreciated before, thanks to recipes that put them front and center. Find green beans fired up with fresh red chilies, seared broccoli paired with tomato jam, butternut squash soup topped with smoky pepitas and more.

What’s the secret to showstopping flavor without an abundance of cals? “Load up on colorful veggies and other fiber-rich ingredients like whole grains to help keep you full and provide a rainbow of nutrients,” says Good Housekeeping Nutrition Lab Director Stefani Sassos. “Lean proteins are also important to make the meal satiating. A little healthy fat, like avocado or olive oil, can go a long way to help keep you full too.” Don’t forget about seasonings — a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of your favorite spice blend or a dash of hot sauce can seriously lift even the healthiest dish.

Any one of these recipes can be served on their own, or with one or two healthy side dishes or healthy desserts (or both) for a heartier meal. Having a low-calorie weeknight dinner that fits into your diet plan just got a whole lot easier.

Seared Salmon with Charred Green Beans

low calorie seared salmon with charred green beans meal

Mike Garten

Here’s what you need for this recipe: salmon, green beans, garlic, capers and red chile. That’s it!

Broccoli “Steaks” with Spicy Tomato Jam

low calorie broccoli

Mike Garten

Not only is Broccoli one of our favorite low-calorie foods, but it’s incredibly versatile as well. Seared in a skillet like steak and topped with crispy breadcrumbs, this is broccoli you eat with a fork and knife.

Air Fryer Squash Soup

low calorie air fryer squash soup meal

Mike Garten

Ever tried soup in an air fryer? The even heat roasts squash, carrots and aromatics perfectly before blending.

Sheet Pan Fish and Vegetables

low calorie sheet pan fish and vegetables meal

Mike Garten

Whether you’re sticking to a 1,200 calorie diet plan or just trying to incorporate more fish into your dinners, this easy sheet pan fish is light, flavorful perfection.

Spicy Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

low calorie shrimp lettuce wraps meal

Mike Garten

Set out a tray of healthy shrimp lettuce wraps made with veggies and fresh herbs for dinner tonight!

White Bean and Kale Toasts

low calorie white bean and kale toasts meal

Mike Garten

Not just for breakfast, toast is a totally acceptable dinner when topped with creamy beans and tender kale.

37 Low-Calorie Dinner Recipes on the Table in 30 Minutes

Lisa Valente is a registered dietitian and nutrition editor. She studied at the University of Vermont, where she completed her undergraduate studies in nutrition, food science and dietetics, and attended the dietetic internship program at Massachusetts General Hospital to become a registered dietitian. She went on to earn a master’s degree in nutrition communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. She was a nutrition editor at EatingWell for eight years. Prior to EatingWell, Lisa worked as a research dietitian at Griffin Hospital in Connecticut and also taught cooking and nutrition classes. She was a featured speaker at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) in 2017.


Instead of ordering takeout, you can whip up a delicious dinner with these low-calorie dinner ideas. These recipes are packed with protein and vegetables to create a well-rounded meal that’s on the table in 30 minutes or less. Recipes like Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl and Beef and Bean Chile Verde are flavorful and fast.

Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl


This chipotle-flavored burrito bowl recipe is even better than takeout and just as fast. Loading it with vegetables and using quinoa in place of rice adds nutrition for a healthy dinner.

General Tso’s Chicken

General Tso's Chicken

In this healthy version of a General Tso’s Chicken recipe, we cut the fat and sodium in half from the original version by not frying the chicken and by using half as much soy sauce in this Chinese-takeout favorite. Serve with steamed baby bok choy or sautéed spinach and steamed brown rice.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap


This chicken Caesar salad wrap recipe is elevated by the irresistible smoky flavor of grilled chicken and grilled romaine. Whisk together this easy Caesar salad dressing, toss with the grilled chicken and romaine and wrap it all together for a delicious lunch or dinner.

Five-Spice Turkey and Lettuce Wraps


Based on a popular Chinese dish, these fun wraps also make appealing appetizers for entertaining. Make it a meal: Serve with chile-garlic sauce and rice vinegar for extra zip; toss diced mango and strawberries with lime juice for a quick dessert.

Spaghetti Squash Lo Mein


Swap regular noodles for veggie “noodles” in this low-calorie, healthy spaghetti squash recipe. For a fun presentation, serve the lo mein in the hollowed-out spaghetti squash boat. If you like it hot, serve with extra Sriracha.

Hawaiian Steak Fajitas with Grilled Pineapple Salsa


Prepeeled pineapple, presliced peppers and onions and fresh pico de gallo help this quick, healthy dinner recipe come together in a flash. Chicken tenders are a good substitute for the steak if you prefer. Blend up some margaritas and call it a party.

Garlic Shrimp with Cilantro Spaghetti Squash


Garlicky shrimp are served on top of buttery, cilantro-flecked spaghetti squash in this quick, healthy dinner recipe inspired by shrimp scampi. Pair with a side of sautéed greens, such as kale, collards or spinach.

Thai Chicken Stir-Fry with Basil and Cashews


This quick chicken stir-fry recipe is flavored with classic Thai ingredients: savory fish sauce balanced with tangy lime juice and plenty of fresh basil. Have all the ingredients prepared and ready to add to the wok before you turn on the heat. Serve with brown rice.

Szechuan Tofu and Green Bean Stir-Fry


This spicy vegetarian stir-fry is a great way to use green beans when they’re bountiful and inexpensive at the supermarket. You can also try it with other vegetables, such as broccoli or peppers, just make sure to cut them into small pieces so that they cook quickly. Coating the tofu in cornstarch before you cook it gives it a light crust.

Easy Miso-Chicken Ramen


Warm up a chilly evening with this healthy chicken-and-vegetable ramen noodle bowl recipe. For a little spice, top with hot sauce, such as Sriracha. Look for dried curly Chinese-style noodles near other Asian ingredients in most well-stocked supermarkets. For a substitute, try whole-wheat angel hair pasta and cook for a few minutes longer.

Vegetarian Spinach Enchiladas


This vegetarian enchilada recipe is weeknight-fast when you skip the step of filling and rolling the enchiladas and make a stacked enchilada casserole instead. Just layer the tortillas, sauce and cheesy spinach filling the way you would lasagna and have the casserole in the oven in 20 minutes.

Steak Burritos


Here’s a burrito inspired by San Francisco’s super burritos that come packed with meat, beans, rice, cheese, guacamole and salsa. We’ve kept this home-style version a bit simpler to make and a whole lot healthier with brown rice, whole-wheat tortillas and a more reasonable serving size. We recommend wrapping it in foil–the traditional way to serve it–so you can pick the burrito up and eat it without it falling apart, peeling back the foil as you go. Serve with a cold beer and vinegar-dressed slaw.

Peanut Noodles with Shredded Chicken and Vegetables


If you can’t find a bagged vegetable medley for this easy noodle bowl, choose 12 ounces of cut vegetables from your market’s salad bar and create your own mix.

Tandoori Tofu


A tandoori-inspired spice rub and smokiness from the grill flavor these tofu “steaks.” While you’re there, grill some vegetables, too, to serve alongside. Serve with: Grilled eggplant and cherry tomato skewers and brown basmati rice.

The EatingWell Taco


Building the perfect taco is a very personal task–cheese under meat, cheese on top, no cheese at all? This is just our recommendation.

Beef and Bean Chile Verde


Chile Verde, usually a slow-cooked stew of pork, jalapeños and tomatillos, becomes an easy weeknight meal with quick-cooking ground beef and store-bought green salsa. Make it a Meal: Serve with fresh cilantro, red onion and Monterey Jack. Add cornbread on the side and your favorite hot sauce.

Vegetarian Tikka Masala


In this vegetarian tikka masala recipe, we combine crisp tofu pieces and vegetables in a spiced tomato sauce to make a healthy and flavorful dish. If you like spicy food, increase the amount of crushed red pepper. Serve with steamed brown rice for a healthier take on a classic takeout dish.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Corn-Tomato Relish


Corn, tomato and basil scream summer, but simplicity makes this easy dinner recipe perfect for the season. Serve the grilled skirt steak and relish with salad greens for a quick and healthy dinner you’ll want to make over and over.

Chicken Tomato Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tomato Tortilla Soup

Transform canned tomato soup by adding chicken, black beans and corn for a filling and quick lunch or dinner. Garnish with your favorite toppings, such as sour cream, avocado and tortilla chips.

Philly Cheese Steak Sloppy Joes


Two of our favorite comfort-food sandwiches join forces in these family-friendly dinner sandwiches. We found that softer buns make this easier to eat, and it’s all the better when wrapped takeout-style in a sheet of foil.

3-Ingredient Chicken Salad Tostadas

3 ingredient chicken tostadas

For this three-ingredient dinner, a premade salad kit is the perfect shortcut because it has everything you need in one bag, including the dressing. Swap in canned black beans for the chicken to make this vegetarian.

California Turkey Burgers and Baked Sweet Potato Fries


Inspired by an option at the West Coast chain In-N-Out Burger, this turkey burger recipe keeps the carbs in check with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun. The side of sweet potato fries bakes while you prep the burgers, so this entire healthy dinner is ready in under 30 minutes.

3-Ingredient Teriyaki Edamame Sauté

3 ingredient edamame salad

Whip up this high-fiber, plant-based stir-fry for a quick and convenient dinner. Look for bottled teriyaki sauce labeled less sodium or reduced sodium to cut back on the salt without sacrificing flavor.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos


These spicy shrimp tacos owe their kick to a smoky chipotle shrimp seasoning blend. Cooling avocado and tangy pico de gallo round out the flavor. This vibrant, easy dinner comes together in a flash, making it perfect for busy weeknights.

Scrambled Egg Curry


This mildly spiced Indian scrambled egg recipe makes a great light lunch or light dinner. Tuck the curried eggs into a warm whole-wheat tortilla or an Indian flatbread, like paratha, which can be found in the freezer case at Indian markets. Serve with a dollop of yogurt.

Honey Walnut Shrimp


Walnuts are given a brown sugar coating that pairs nicely with sweet and savory shrimp in our version of this popular restaurant dish. Serve the shrimp with rice and steamed veggies to make it a full, healthy meal. This ultra-quick dinner recipe is sure to become a new weeknight favorite.

Cheeseburger Stuffed Baked Potatoes


Skip the bun and serve all of your favorite cheeseburger ingredients–beef, cheese, tomatoes, red onions and lettuce–with baked potatoes for a hearty and easy dinner recipe that kids and adults will love. Feel free to swap out the ground beef for ground turkey or tofu crumbles.

Zucchini Noodle Primavera

Zucchini Noodle Primavera

This primavera recipe cuts carbs by swapping out the pasta for zucchini “noodles.” This quick vegetarian dinner is chock-full of colorful vegetables smothered in a light, creamy sauce. We like using prepackaged spiralized zucchini noodles to keep this recipe ultra-fast, but if you have a spiralizer and zucchini on hand, you can easily make your own.

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Broccoli

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Broccoli.jpg

This easy chicken and broccoli recipe makes a delicious, healthier alternative to Chinese takeout–and it takes just 20 minutes to make, so it’s ideal for an easy weeknight dinner. When toasted, ramen noodles make a tasty, crunchy topping for a stir-fry or salad.

Cauliflower Tikka Masala with Chickpeas


In this vegetarian riff on a popular Indian dish, we swap in cauliflower and chickpeas for the chicken in tikka masala. The cauliflower’s nooks and crannies are particularly good at soaking up all the intense flavors of the sauce. Serve over rice for an easy healthy dinner that’s ready in just 20 minutes.

Vegetarian All-American Portobello Burgers


Portobello mushrooms stand in for meat patties in this recipe for veggie burgers with all the fixings. Mushrooms are a source of glutamate, a naturally occurring compound that gives the fungi their umami flavor. But to really give these “patties” a savory boost, we brush them with steak sauce. Add a simple side salad or some grilled veggies for a satisfying and easy dinner on the grill.

Greek Salad Nachos

Greek Salad Nachos

This vegetarian nacho recipe is a fun combination of two favorites–nachos and Greek salad. It uses whole-grain pita chips instead of the tortilla chips used in traditional nacho recipes, and it’s loaded with the classic fresh vegetables in Greek salad as well as creamy hummus and salty feta cheese. And it doesn’t even need the oven! Easily doubled, this makes a great appetizer or light dinner.

Prosciutto Pizza with Corn and Arugula


This grilled prosciutto and arugula pizza makes the perfect summer dinner. If you have time, let the dough stand at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to make rolling it out easier in this 20-minute healthy pizza recipe. Thawed frozen corn works in place of fresh, just pat it dry before sprinkling it on the pizza.

Molletes (Cheesy Mexican Bean Sandwiches)


These hearty open-face sandwiches are ready in no time and can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They’re typically made with refried beans; here we use pureed black beans scented with cumin and oregano instead for a similar effect.

Beef Stir-Fry with Baby Bok Choy and Ginger

Chinese Ginger Beef Stir-Fry with Baby Bok Choy

All the ingredients for this easy beef stir-fry recipe are cooked in one wok (or skillet), so not only is the meal-prep fast for this healthy dinner, cleanup is quick too. Look for Lee Kum Kee Premium oyster-flavored sauce in the Asian-foods aisle of your grocery store. It has the most concentrated oyster flavor.

Chicken and Shrimp Alfredo


This easy pasta with creamy homemade Alfredo sauce, chicken and shrimp is your classic fettuccine Alfredo done one better–and it takes less than 30 minutes to make! Add a simple green salad and you have a family-friendly weeknight dinner that you’d be happy to serve to company.

Sheet-Pan Chili-Lime Salmon with Potatoes and Peppers


Busy weeknights beg for something simple like this salmon sheet-pan dinner. Like the name suggests, it’s all cooked on one pan. The potatoes get a head start, followed by sweet bell peppers and finally chili-coated salmon fillets. It’s a complete meal with easy cleanup!