Are you looking for dinner ideas low calorie? We offer dinner recipes for healthier pasta, curries, and one-pot meals as well as low-calorie lunch ideas like hearty soups and filling salads.
All of our complete dinner ideas low calorie meals are under 500 calories (and most are under 300 calories). To maintain a healthy lifestyle, we promote healthy eating.
We won’t tell you what to eat, and particularly not what to cut out – we’d rather give you all the information you need to decide for yourself what constitutes a balanced and nutritious diet that works for you.
We’re all about the joy of food, whether it’s a fudgy chocolate cake, a colorful salad, or a low-calorie curry with lots of flavors. Cook well and eat well!
Use a little less oil
You can usually use a lot less oil than described in the recipe – think teaspoons instead of tablespoons. The best tip is to use a non-stick frying pan because it makes things less likely to stick to the surface.
When frying ingredients like onions, water can also be used instead of oil. This softens the onion and then evaporates so that it can start to take on color.
When roasting, add the ingredients to a bowl first, then drizzle in some oil and toss. You’ll find that a little bit of oil goes a long way when done this way.
Use lighter carb alternatives
Having a balanced diet includes carbs, but if you wish to go lighter on the carbohydrates, try butternut squash sheets in lasagne, courgette in stir-fries or pasta dishes, or cauliflower rice with your favorite curry or chili.
You can also consume complex carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, lentils, beans, and oats – they take longer to digest, so they provide a more sustained source of energy.
Batch cooking and freezing
A few meals stashed away in the freezer may be helpful when you need an extra quick meal after a busy day. Many of these recipes can easily be doubled, so you can cook in bulk and freeze portions.
You’ll need to label your Tupperware so you know which is a chili sauce and which is pasta sauce.
These recipes will all freeze well, including chicken saag, beef bourguignon, lamb stew, and lentil Bolognese.
Dinner ideas low calorie
This red chili, ginger, and shredded chicken stir-fry are full of fresh, gingery flavors and low in calories. One of the best Dinner ideas low calorie.
- chicken stock 800ml
- skinless chicken breasts 400g
- dried soba noodles 200g
- rapeseed oil 2 tbsp
- ginger thumb-sized piece, grated
- garlic 2 cloves, crushed
- red chilli ½, deseeded and finely diced
- red onion 1, thinly sliced
- carrot 1, peeled and finely shredded
- green beans 150g, trimmed
- chestnut mushrooms 150g, sliced
- low-sodium soy sauce 1½ tbsp
- toasted sesame oil 1 tsp
- coriander ½ a small bunch, roughly chopped
In a wide, deep pan, simmer the stock over medium heat. Make sure the chicken is fully submerged before adding it. You should cook the chicken for at least 20 minutes, or until it is cooked through. Remove the chicken, leaving the stock in the pan. Chicken should be shredded and set aside.
In a pan of stock, add the noodles and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until just cooked. Drain, reserving approximately 100ml. Put the noodles aside.
The oil needs to be heated in a large wok or frying pan. Ginger, garlic, and chili should be stir-fried for 30 seconds. Add the onion, carrot, beans, and mushrooms, and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes. Combine the shredded chicken with the noodles, soy sauce, sesame oil, and 50ml of the reserved stock in the pan. If the noodles seem dry, add a splash more stock. Divide between serving bowls and serve with the coriander scattered on top.
Balsamic lentils with pork fillet
Balsamic offers a tartness to our vibrant pork dish. A well-balanced meal that is high in protein but low in calories and salt, so without a doubt it is another best dinner ideas low calorie.
- olive oil for frying
- onion 1, finely chopped
- carrot 1, finely diced
- celery 1 stick, finely diced
- rosemary a few sprigs, needles finely chopped
- pork tenderloin 400g, cut into 4
- cooked puy lentils 500g
- Little Gem lettuces 2, shredded
- lemon ½, juiced
- balsamic vinegar 3 tbsp
- flat-leaf parsley ½ a small pack, finely chopped
- In a deep frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and gently cook the onion, carrot, celery, rosemary, and some seasoning for 15 minutes, until really soft.
- During this time, heat a non-stick frying pan until medium-hot. Drizzle the pork portions with a little oil and season all over. You should cook each side for five minutes until it is golden. Put onto a plate and cover tightly with foil to rest for 10 minutes, then slice.
- Add the lentils, lettuce, lemon juice and balsamic to the onion mix, stir through and cook for 2-3 minutes until the lettuce has just wilted. Season and stir through the parsley and any resting juices from the pork. Spoon onto plates and top with the pork slices.
Quinoa and black bean chilli
This vegan chili is quick and easy to make. This dish is high in protein, low in calories, and vegan – but still tastes incredible. So, without hesitation, it is one of the best dinner ideas low calorie.
- onion 1, chopped
- garlic 2 cloves, crushed
- red chilli 1, chopped
- olive oil spray
- ground cumin 2 tsp
- hot smoked paprika 1 tsp
- chilli powder 1/2 tsp (optional)
- quinoa 200g, rinsed and drained
- vegetable stock 600ml
- chopped tomatoes 400g tin
- black beans 400g tin, rinsed and drained
- avocado 1 small, sliced
- coriander leaves to serve
- Fry the onion, garlic, and red chili in a spray of olive oil until soft, then add the spices, including chili powder if you like it spicy. Tip in the quinoa, stock, tomatoes, and black beans, and season well.
- Cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the quinoa is tender and the sauce has thickened. Top with a few avocado slices and coriander leaves to serve.
Stuffed butternut squash with feta ( dinner ideas low calorie)
Transform butternut squash into a colorful, low-calorie midweek dinner by stuffing it with rice, lemon zest, raisins, dill, pine nuts, and feta. Best dinner ideas low calorie.
- butternut squash 1 large
- olive oil 2 tbsp
- shallots 2 long, chopped
- garlic 2 cloves, crushed
- basmati rice 200g
- vegetable stock 400ml
- lemon 1, zested and juiced
- raisins or dried cranberries 4 tbsp
- oregano ½ small bunch, leaves picked and chopped
- dill ½ small bunch, chopped
- pine nuts 2 tbsp, toasted
- feta 100g
- winter greens or spinach 320g, steamed
- Set the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Squash should be cut in half through the middle, and seeds should be removed with a spoon. Rub with half the oil, season and put, cut-side up, on a baking tray. Cook for 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a medium pan. Shallots should be fried for 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then add the rice, cook for 2 minutes while stirring to ensure all of the shallots and oil are well coated.
- Pour in the stock, lemon zest and juice, and bring to a simmer. Stir in the raisins, most of the herbs and almost all of the pine nuts. Cook at medium-low heat, covered, for 12-15 minutes or until the rice is tender and the stock has been absorbed.
- Remove the squash from the oven after 40 minutes, then spoon out the flesh, creating a hollow structure (add the flesh to any left-over rice, or use in another recipe).
- Rice should be fluffed with a fork and stuffed into the squash’s hollowed-out centers. Crumble over the feta. For 10 minutes, bake the squash halves until the feta is crisp and golden. Preheat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Scatter with the remaining herbs and pine nuts, and serve alongside any remaining rice with the wilted spinach or winter greens.
Low Calorie Healthy pad Thai
Using fresh courgette instead of noodles, this Thai classic is low-calorie and delicious. This 20-minute stir-fry packs in prawns, mooli, beansprouts, and plenty of courgettes to help you on your way to your five a day. SO, this is another dinner ideas low calorie.
- sesame oil
- red chilli 1, diced
- ginger grated to make 1 tbsp
- garlic 1 clove, crushed
- spring onions 2, sliced
- egg 1, beaten with some seasoning
- mooli 1, shredded or spiralised
- courgette 2, shredded or spiralised
- beansprouts 50g
- cooked and peeled prawns 200g
- lime 1, juiced
- fish sauce 1 tbsp
- coriander ½ bunch, chopped
- roasted peanuts 2 tbsp, chopped
- In a wok, heat 1 tbsp sesame oil until very hot. Fry the chili, ginger, and garlic until fragrant. Add the spring onions for a few minutes before scraping everything to one side and adding the egg.
- Quickly stir-fry, and toss everything around in the wok to get scrambled eggs mixed with the spring onions and chili.
- Toss in the mooli and courgette noodles, and stir-fry for 4 minutes, then add the beansprouts and the prawns.
- Continue cooking for another 2 minutes until the prawns have warmed through and the water from the vegetables has evaporated. Lime juice and fish sauce should be added. Scatter with the coriander and chopped peanuts to serve
Chicken saag (Easy dinner ideas low calorie)
This chicken and lentil curry recipe show you can enjoy your favorite takeaway dish without sacrificing taste for less than 350 calories.
It is packed with fresh red chilies, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cloves, and spinach. In a word, the best dinner ideas low calorie.
- red chillies 2, seeded
- garlic 2 cloves
- ginger 4cm piece, peeled
- onion 1, chopped
- ground cumin 1 tsp of each
- ground coriander 1 tsp of each
- garam masala 1 tsp of each
- turmeric ½ tsp
- cloves 4
- skinless chicken breast 4, cut into large dice
- red split lentils 150g
- chopped tomatoes 400g tin
- spinach 260g
- rotis 4 small, warmed to serve
- Blend the garlic, ginger, onion, and chillies in a small blender to a paste. In a large pan, heat 1 tsp oil and fry the paste for 2 minutes, until fragrant.
- Cook for another minute after adding the spices. Add the chicken pieces and coat in the spices. Cook for 5 minutes before adding the lentils and chopped tomatoes with along with 1½ tins of water.
- Simmer for 25 minutes, season, then tip in the spinach and stir until wilted. Serve with rotis.
Courgetti with pesto and balsamic tomatoes
Never miss this spicy low-calorie recipe. It’s very easy to cook and delicious.
- baby plum tomatoes 8, 4 halved and 4 whole
- olive oil
- garlic 1/2 clove, crushed
- balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp
- courgette 1 large, spiralised or very thinly shredded into noodles
- fresh vegetarian pesto 2 tbsp
- pine nuts 1 tbsp, toasted
- Toss the tomatoes with 1 tsp oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar and some seasoning. Tip into a frying pan and cook for 5 minutes until the whole tomatoes start to burst and they are coated in the balsamic.
- Pour a kettle of hot water over the courgette spaghetti and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain really well, toss with the pesto and season well. Stir, coating the noodles, then add the tomatoes and toasted pine nuts to serve your courgetti.
Chicken satay noodle salad
Try this delicious chicken satay salad recipe with rice noodles, red cabbage, shredded carrots, and roasted peanuts.
This colorful, crunchy salad is low in calories and ready in an hour. This is spicy and the best dinner ideas low calorie.
- chicken thighs 2
- rice noodles 2 nests
- red cabbage ½ small, thinly sliced
- carrots 2, shredded
- red onion ½, thinly sliced
- mint a small bunch, leaves shredded
- roasted peanuts a small handful, roughly chopped
- crunchy peanut butter 2 tbsp
- red chilli 1, finely chopped
- ginger a thumb-sized piece, grated
- garlic ½ a clove, crushed
- limes 2, 1 zested and 2 juiced
- Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. On a baking sheet, spread the chicken thighs with seasoning. It is recommended that you roast the meat for at least 40 minutes to make the skin crispy and the meat tender.
- Remove from the oven, drain on kitchen paper and rest for 10 minutes on a plate. Remove the meat from the bones and shred.
- For the dressing, put the peanut butter into a large bowl and whisk with 3 tbsp of boiling water to loosen. Add the chili, ginger, garlic, lime zest, and juice, and mix again.
- Toss in the red cabbage, carrots, red onion, and mint, then add the noodles and toss well. Divide between 4 plates and top with the crispy chicken and peanuts.
- Cook the noodles following the pack instructions, then rinse really well with cold water and drain thoroughly.
Chilli-salt salmon with chopped salad
Try this quick and easy marinated salmon with chopped fresh salad and chili salt. Aside from being easy to prepare, this recipe is low in calories, too.
- salmon 500g piece
- Hot & Fiery Cornish Sea Salt 1 tbsp
- olive oil spray
- red wine vinegar 2 tbsp
- olive oil 2 tbsp
- yellow peppers 2, diced
- red onion 1, diced
- celery 4 stalks, diced
- cucumber ½, diced
- plum tomatoes 4, diced
- nocerella olives 16, pitted and quartered
- If you cut the salmon into quarters, you will have four fat pieces rather than four long, skinny ones. Then sprinkle the chili salt on top of the salmon and let it sit in the refrigerator for an hour.
- Whisk the red wine vinegar and olive oil in a bowl, and season. Add the salad ingredients and toss.
- Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and set the salmon, skin-side down, on top. After spraying with oil, bake for 10 minutes until just cooked through. You can serve it with salad.
Smashed broad beans on toast
Not a fan of the classic beans on toast?
Try this healthier, greener version of broad beans on toast. It is quick and easy to make, ideal for when you’re short on time. The last dinner recipe low calorie for today.
- broad beans 300g, blanched and double-podded
- rocket a handful
- garlic 1 clove
- pecorino or vegetarian alternative 30g, plus extra to serve
- lemon 1/2, tested and juiced
- extra-virgo olive oil 75ml
- sourdough 6 slices, toasted
- chilli flakes a pinch, optional
STEP 1: (dinner ideas low calorie)
- In a food processor blitz ¼ of the broad beans, all the rocket, garlic, pecorino, lemon zest and juice with the olive oil and some seasoning. Add the remaining broad beans and pulse a few times to leave it chunky.
STEP 2: (dinner ideas low calorie)
- Spoon onto the toast, sprinkle with chili flakes and drizzle with olive oil.