One of the best ways to monitor your calorie intake is to work out how many calories you want to consume daily and divide it into three. So if you’re eating 1,500 calories per day, you should aim to be eating around 500 calories per meal.
It’s easier than you’d think to prepare meals at only 500 calories, mainly it involves limiting the consumption of carbs like bread, rice, and pasta as these foods have a lot of calories per serving.
We’ve compiled a list of 25 500 calorie meals so you can see how easy it is to stick to, no matter which meal of the day you are prepping. Some recipes, like the shrimp skewers, come in at half that much so free feel to load up on two!
A vegan tofu stir fry on a list of meals under 500 calories? This doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone. What will come as a surprise though, is that it’s actually super delicious! Lose Weight By Eating knows that by putting the right foods into your body, you’ll burn them off much more efficiently. And that it’s all about flavoring the foods in a way that makes you want to eat them. This meal clocks in at a mere 195 calories per serving.
Erin Lives Whole changes out tofu and opts for a tempeh recipe. A bit more dense of a recipe, it comes in at 476 calories per serving, giving you a bit more substance to fuel you. Again with the flavors, sesame, and ginger are a pretty delicious combo no matter what they are seasoning.
Another shocker, tofu and cabbage! But this isn’t the soggy cabbage that tastes like someone’s passed gas in your mouth. No, Simple Veganista keeps it crunchy so you feel like you’re eating something more than mulch. Chewing up your food helps slow down your eating as well, helping your body naturally monitor its satiety level. At only 250 calories per serving, you could even have a second helping.
4. Buddha Bowl
This Buddha bowl from Happy Healthy Life is a bit more calorific, at 857 calories per serving. However, the serving sizes are pretty generous, a half portion would be perfect for lunch, keeping it at 450 calories.
This salad recipe from Julia’s Album has such a delicious flavor thanks to the basil pesto dressing. It only comes in at 246 calories per serving, which is great news because it means you could potentially add a bit of chicken or fish to the salad to increase the protein content to transform it from a side or lunch to a dinner.
Fat and carbs are where a lot of the calories tend to come from in our meals. Therefore, opting for lean meats and vegetables to form the bulk of your meal reduces the calories hugely but also leaves you with plenty of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Craving Small Bites gives a tasty recipe for cooking chicken and vegetable kabobs in the air fryer, leaving you with a 191-calorie per serving meal.
A modern classic salad combination, Wonky Wonderful brings us a lovely strawberry and spinach salad that rounds out at 491 calories per serving. They add in some feta to give it more substance as well as that delightful salty flavor.
Inside Bru Crew shakes up the spinach and strawberry combination by adding in chicken and orange, giving it more tang as well as more protein. It’s actually a pretty smart move nutritionally because the vitamin C from the orange helps your body absorb the iron found in the spinach more effectively. It ends up as 391 calories per portion.
The Cafe Sucrefarine shares a recipe for roasting vegetables in a traditional Mediterranean way, which basically means drizzles of olive oil and tons of fresh and flavorful herbs. It’s then paired with pearl pasta which looks like giant couscous, giving you more volume but fewer calories than if regular pasta was used. It ends up at 296 calories per serving.
Everyone knows the recipe for a regular Caprese salad, but the Reluctant Entertainer shares how to take the essence of a Caprese salad and use seasonal summer fruits in it as well. The blackberries and peaches are delicious and surprisingly tasty with the balsamic glaze.
A lasagna at under 500 calories per serving? Did you hear that right? It’s a far cry from a tofu and cabbage stir fry, but yes Pinch of Yum found a way to serve up a portion of lasagna for 326 calories. They had to get rid of the meat… but it’s still a lasagna in the layered pasta sense. It uses ricotta and spinach and is worth every one of those 326 calories.
Okay confession time, this recipe from BBC Good Food comes in at 511 calories per portion so you’re going to have to leave that last mouthful on the plate if you’re sticking to 500 calories! It was too delicious not to share, and too close to 500 calories. Prawns are very low-calorie, so a perfect meat add-in. Harissa is brimming with spicy flavor, most of the calories are coming from the spaghetti here.
After just saying that shrimp is very low-calorie, here is another great recipe. Life Made Sweeter doesn’t use any carbs like the spaghetti above so it comes in at only 250 calories, demonstrating what a great health food shrimp is. Lemon and garlic are the main flavors in this grilled delight, which are tasty and pretty much zero calories.
14. Margarita Shrimp
A margarita can clock in at over 500 calories of absolutely zero nutritional value. Which is a darn shame! But you can still enjoy the flavor of a margarita with this shrimp recipe clocking in at only 220 calories. A Farm Girl’s Dabbles knows the importance of enjoying the simple things in life, and we’re eternally grateful for this recipe creation.
The Roasted Root shows to make a satisfying salad, filled with protein and iron but only comes in at 276 calories per bowl. It even has dressing. Hello? What are you waiting for?
16. Cajun Shrimp
There aren’t many flavors more delicious than cajun. Or maybe it’s literally the best flavor? Either way, Chili Pepper Madness created this insanely tasty recipe for cajun shrimp that’ll only set you back 240 calories. This gives plenty of options for a double serving or adding in a side salad to accompany it.
Garden in the Kitchen manages to create a cajun shrimp skillet recipe versus the skewers above and add in cauliflower rice for even fewer calories. Okay, only by one, but still. If you can’t eat protein on its own and always crave an accompanying carb, cauliflower rice is a good food to trick your body into thinking you’re loading up on regular rice because the texture is almost identical.
Another one from Garden in the Kitchen, this time cooking up shrimp with corn in the skillet. It’s a simple recipe but very tasty. The corn adds a nice sweetness and crunch, which complements the shrimp well. The flavor is very light, so you won’t feel sluggish after.
That time of year when you always seem to have an abundance of zucchini in the fridge. Diethood offers up a creative recipe to use a bunch of it up by grilling it to perfection and tossing it with charred corn and tomatoes, arugula, and feta, before mixing it all up with low-cal dressing options including lemon juice, garlic, and oregano. Only 346 calories per serving!
Breakfast is a good meal to keep under 500 calories, so it leaves you with more room to play with for the rest of the day! This hash brown casserole is only 315 calories and fills you up on potato, egg, and cheese, to fuel you all morning.
Breakfast casseroles are an easy way to make sure you are eating properly at the start of the day. This one is only 158 calories per serving because it’s mainly eggs and finely chopped vegetables, showing you can pack in a ton of nutritionally dense foods into minimal calories,
Smoothies are a fantastic way of consuming healthy foods quickly if you don’t have time to sit down. Smoothie bowls, however, are perfect for smoothie lovers who have the time to sit down and enjoy them. Eating Bird Food makes a fantastic 360-calorie smoothie bowl using blue spirulina to give a beautiful bright blue hue, and topping it with fruit, grains, and protein.
Just ignore your gag reflex, we promise this cauliflower smoothie bowl is nothing short of exceptionally delicious! The cauliflower gives the smoothie a creamy texture without having to add that calorific ingredient. This recipe from Love + Chew is mint chocolate chip flavor and either you love this or you are thinking, why would I want to eat toothpaste-flavored cauliflower for breakfast? Well if you’re the latter, try out one of the alternative flavors on the list…
Munchkin Time has created a smoothie bowl recipe every member of the family is sure to love. The banana makes the smoothie creamy, but the almond milk keeps the calories down. Almond milk gives smoothies a much lighter taste as well, it won’t weigh your belly down as much as a dairy smoothie would.
Okay, so you can’t eat that peach pie on a healthy living kick. You can, however, enjoy foods inspired by the flavors of peach pie. Spoonful of Flavor has created a yummy peach smoothie and suggests topping it with ingredients reminiscent of peach pie, like crunchy granola oats, sliced almonds, and big juicy slices of more peaches.
And I'll leave you with one of my favorite low calorie recipes, healthy hash brown casserole.
25 Deliciously Simple 500 Calorie Meals
- 1 lb fat free ground turkey
- Dash of salt & pepper
- 2 teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 3 cups frozen hash browns *to compare my brand you can see my product reviews week 1
- 6 slices center cut bacon cooked, drained and crumbled
- ¾ cup reduced fat shredded cheese I used a 3 cheese blend
- 10 eggs
- ½ cup milk *I used 1%
- Diced green onions *optional
- Preheat the oven to 350F and spray a 9x13 casserole dish with some nonstick cooking spray.
- In a pan on the stove, cook the ground turkey, and add in the salt, pepper, sage, and oregano. You can cook the bacon at the same time in a different pan if you haven't already done so. Drain the turkey and place it in a large mixing bowl.
- Add in the frozen hash browns and crumbled bacon and mix well.
- Place the turkey and potato mixture into your casserole dish. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.
- In a bowl or Pyrex measuring cup, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add in a dash of salt and pepper. Pour the eggs over the turkey and potato mixture. Top with diced green onion and I added a pinch of dried oregano on top.
- Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Let the casserole cool for 5 minutes then cut into 6 equal servings. Each serving weighs 8-9oz. Enjoy!