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25 Low-Calorie Restaurant Meals Under 500 Calories

Yes, it is possible to eat a healthy meal when you're dining out for lunch or dinner.

It might be easier to treat yourself to a night out, but if you've been trying to eat healthier and at low-calorie restaurants, it can be overwhelming to scan the menu that's filled with endless possibilities and little guidance on what's good for you. Even when you think you're making a better decision by eating at a sit-down restaurant, their menu options aren't always that much healthier than their fast-food counterparts. It gets confusing!

Luckily, the following restaurants allow you to customize most meals to your liking, which means the calorie-cutting power is in your hands. To help keep you stay fit and trim, or even keep you on your weight loss plan, we rifled through the nutrition information at all of your fast casual locations, so all you have to do is sit back, relax, and eat.

To make sure we recommended the absolute best dishes and meal combos for your waistline, we kept all orders to a maximum of 500 calories and 1,500 milligrams of sodium. And why not try out any of these 14 Surprisingly Healthy Fast-Food Orders, According to Dietitians while you're making these smarter meal choices?


Chipotle Chicken Paleo Salad Lifestyle Bowl

Chipotle Lifestyle Bowl
Courtesy of Chipotle
450 calories, 29 g fat (7 g saturated), 1,090 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (8 g fiber, 5  g sugar), 35 g protein

Chipotle is the frontrunner when it comes to fast casual dining. They use no artificial ingredients or preservatives, their products are always fresh, and their protein contains no hormones, making them a great candidate for low-calorie restaurant options. In 2019, the company launched its Lifestyle line, an array of different bowls packed with nutrients and fresh ingredients that meet your specific dietary goals. This paleo version with supergreens lettuce blend, chicken, fajita veggies, tomatillo-green chili salsa, and guacamole is great for a low-cal meal that adapts to your diet.


Panera Bread Asian Sesame Chicken Salad

Panera asian sesame chicken salad - healthy restaurants low calorie meal options
Courtesy of Panera
410 calories, 21 g fat (3 saturated fat, 0 trans fat), 700 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (6 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 30 g protein

This simple salad from Panera is tasty and has a great balance of fat, carbs, and protein. No wonder it's one of the healthiest Panera picks!


Red Lobster Perfectly Grilled Fish-Rainbow Trout

red lobster rainbow trout
Courtesy of Red Lobster
490 calories, 22 g fat (4.5 saturated fat, 0 trans fat), 170 mg sodium,  <1g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 67 g protein

Opting for the broiled version versus the "golden-fried" will always save you hundreds of calories. If you like to pair your fish with a condiment, we recommend opting for cocktail sauce over tartar sauce. To discover more satisfying eats that will help you trim down, check out these best carbs for weight loss.


Outback Steakhouse Victoria's 6-ounce Filet Mignon

Outback steakhouse victoria filet - low calorie restaurant orders under 500 calories
Courtesy of Outback Steakhouse
440 calories, 21.5 g fat (9 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 880 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 50 g protein

We know it's hard to believe, but Outback, home of the 2,000-calorie Bloomin' Onion appetizer, does have some healthy meal options. One of the best cuts of meat you can get from the popular steakhouse is the 6-ounce Victoria Filet because it is low in fat. Even better, the side of asparagus is rich in potassium, a nutrient that helps the body flush out water and sodium.

RELATED: 11 Healthy High-Protein Lunch Recipes for Weight Loss


Applebee's Blackened Cajun Salmon with Steamed Broccoli

Applebee's Salmon
Courtesy of Applebees
340 calories, 18 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 1,060 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (4 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 39 g protein

One of the only main dishes you can find on Applebee's menu that comes in under 500 calories (aside from grilled chicken and broccoli) this salmon is served with a side order of steamed broccoli. That's right, we said one of the only few dishes!


Panda Express Broccoli Beef

healthiest restaurant dish panda express beef and broccoli
Courtesy of Panda Express
150 calories, 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 520 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (2 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 9 g protein

A Chinese meal that won't break the calorie or sugar bank? It is possible, and this meal is proof! Along with the 9 grams of hunger-busting protein comes a solid hit of immunity-boosting vitamin A and folic acid (a vitamin that helps the body break down, use, and create new proteins) from the broccoli.


Popeyes 8-Piece Chicken Nuggets, No Sauce

Popeyes Chicken Nuggets
Courtesy of Popeyes
380 calories, 24 g fat (11 saturated, 1.5 g trans fat), 880 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 22 g protein

When you go to Popeyes, we know you're looking for some fried chicken. Although maybe not one of the best restaurants with low-calorie options, you can still make it work with their nuggets. These easy "pop them in your mouth" versions still give you the signature breading to coat their juicy chicken.


P.F. Chang's Buddha's Feast (Steamed)

Buddha's Feast Steamed PF Changs
Courtesy of P.F. Chang's
200 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 trans fat), 250 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (11 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 17 g protein

Some dishes at P.F. Chang's can climb as high as 3,840 mg sodium (Pad Thai Shrimp, we're looking at you). That's almost two days' worth of sodium in one sitting! Save your heart by ordering the lowest sodium content item on the menu: Buddha's Feast Steamed. This steamed dish is loaded with baked tofu, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, and carrots, and tossed in soy sauce.


Olive Garden Herb-Grilled Salmon with Garlic-Herb Butter and Parmesan-Garlic Broccoli

olive garden herb-grilled salmon
Courtesy of Olive Garden
495 calories, 29 g fat (8 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,145 mg sodium, 15 g carbs (9 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 49 g protein

A dish from Olive Garden that's under 1,200 milligrams of sodium and with no trans fat? Sign us up! Home of the never-ending breadsticks, Olive Garden's oversize portions of carbs can put the dietary discipline of any mindful diner to the test. Instead of losing more than a day's worth of carbs and sodium to their pasta dishes, order this Herb-Grilled Salmon instead. Just make sure to ask for the fatty butter on the side because the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid-packed salmon already has enough of it!


Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Chick-fil-a grilled sandwich
Courtesy of Chick-fil-a
380 calories, 12 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 760 mg sodium, 43 g carbs (3 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 28 g protein

Chick-fil-A surprisingly contains a lot of low-calorie food, but our pick for this goes to the grilled chicken sandwich. Take a bite of a lemon-herb marinated boneless breast of grilled chicken, served on a toasted multigrain bun. For some extra freshness, a tomato and green leaf lettuce are squished between the buns.


Boston Market Quarter White, Skinless Rotisserie Chicken Steamed Vegetables and Garlic Dill Potatoes

Boston Market Quarter Chicken
Courtesy of Boston Market Facebook
300 calories, 9 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 780 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (7 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 46 g protein

If you didn't think comfort food could be low in fat, take a look at this entree from Boston Market. This chicken and veggie plate should be your go-to on your busy weeknights out. It carries just nine percent of the day's recommended fat, which isn't too shabby for a fast-food cheat meal! If you're worried this combo won't pack big enough flavor, ask for a side of their tangy, fat-free Poultry Gravy. Even if you polish off the entire lot, it will only add 10 calories and 85 milligrams of sodium to your order. Throw in the cornbread that comes with the meal as well, and you're looking at an additional 160 calories—still under 500!

RELATED100+ Best-Ever Comfort Food Recipes


TGI Fridays Caesar Salad with Breadstick with Caesar Dressing

tgi fridays caesar salad
Courtesy of TGI Fridays
480 calories, 34 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 900 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (3 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 10 g protein

The closest you're going to get to an under 500-calorie meal at TGI Fridays is this salad with no options for sides because most entrees at the chain are over 1,000 calories.


Arby's Classic Roast Beef Sandwich

Arby's Roast Beef Sandwich
Courtesy of Arby's
360 calories, 14 g fat (5 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 970 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 23 g protein

Get your fill of 23 grams of muscle-building protein from this meaty sandwich, and really one of the few low-calorie restaurant selections you can make here. Really, even the "market fresh wraps" all come in at over 500 calories. You can also get a slider to be low-cal, but this sandwich is going to fill you up more than its miniature versions.


Hardee's Small Hamburger

hardees small hamburger
Courtesy of Hardee's
250 calories, 9 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 570 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 11 g protein

When it comes to fast-food burgers, there is never anything wrong with going the classic route. And at Hardee's, you can get your burger craving satisfied with this menu option.


Jack in the Box Chicken Fajita Pita with No Salsa

healthiest restaurant dish jack in the box chicken fajita pita
Courtesy of Jack in the Box
320 calories, 9 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 670 mg sodium, 34 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 27 g protein

Low in calories and packed with protein and fiber, this is one meal that we'd happily scarf down. The best here? The whole grains in the pita bread. We love whole grains because they contain all three parts of the grain, including the ones that are nutrient-rich and full of fiber to keep your hunger at bay.


Sonic Classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich

sonic grilled chicken sandwich
Courtesy of Sonic
470 calories, 22 g fat (4 g saturated), 1,340 mg sodium, 39 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 30 g protein

Steer clear of those Footlong dogs and over to this classically simple grilled chicken sandwich at Sonic. A ciabatta bun packed with 10 grams of whole grain and tender grilled chicken sync up with a host of veggies and light mayo to create this flavorful diet-friendly order.


Starbucks Turkey Bacon, Cheddar, Eggwhite Breakfast Sandwich

starbucks' turkey bacon, cheddar, and egg white sandwich
Courtesy of Starbucks
230 calories, 5 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 560 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 17 g protein

With a leaner protein in the form of turkey bacon over the traditional pork, this relatively low-carb English muffin and egg sandwich is the perfect start to your day. It packs a powerful nutritional punch of 13 grams of protein for a mere 230 calories. This promising info makes it another all-day breakfast item we're cool with getting behind.


Au Bon Pain Classic Oatmeal (Medium)

oatmeal cinnamon
260 calories, 5 g fat (0.5 g saturated, 0 g trans fat), 10 mg sodium, 47 g carbs (6 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 10 g protein

Starting your day off with a hearty bowl of oatmeal is always a solid idea. You can go ahead and enjoy a medium-size bowl from Au Bon Pain, too!


Long John Silver's Southwest Grilled Salmon Rice Bowl

Grilled Salmon Bowl
Courtesty of Long John Silver's
420 calories, 15 g fat (3 g saturated fat, 0 trans fat), 1,230 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (3 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 26 g protein

Long John Silver's is known for their array of seafood, and this salmon rice bowl makes for one of the smartest choices when it comes to low-calorie restaurant meals. Even though the chain has eliminated trans fats from the deep fryer, the breading and oils still pile on a hefty dose of fat, and that's why we recommend this dish. The salmon is grilled, not breaded and fried, so you don't have to worry about those extra calories and fat.


Carl's Jr. Charbroiled BBQ Chicken Sandwich

Carl's Jr. Chicken Sandwich
Courtesy of Carl's Jr.
370 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,210 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (2 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 33 g protein

At Carl's Jr., getting a simple grilled chicken sandwich without any crazy toppings isn't a bad idea. Here, you'll feast on charbroiled chicken breast, with lettuce, tomato, and tangy BBQ Sauce all on a potato bun.


Ruby Tuesday 8 oz. Top Sirloin with Steamed Broccoli and Grilled Zucchini

Ruby Tuesday Steak
Courtesy of Ruby Tuesday
440 calories, 14 g fat (4 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 935 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (5 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 48 g protein

In the fast-food world, it's hard to find a meal under 500 calories that don't contain the leanest of proteins, chicken. That's why this Ruby Tuesday's steak option is even more special!


Sbarro NY Cheese Pizza Slice

sbarro ny cheese pizza slice
Courtesy of Sbarro
430 calories, 15 g fat (7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 970 mg sodium, 51 g carbs (3 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 21 g protein

On any given day, one in eight Americans will reach for a slice. When you're at Sbarro, be sure to go for the plain cheese slice. The Sbarro slices are extra large slices giving you a little extra than normal but leaving room for a nice, fresh side salad for an added boost of satiating fiber.


Moe's Southwest Grill Homewrecker Jr. with Chicken, Pinto Beans, Lettuce, Guacamole, on a Flour Tortilla

Moe's Wrap
Courtesy of Moe's Southwest Grill
394 calories, 14 g fat (6 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 619 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (11 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 24 g protein

Yes—that is a burrito under 500 calories, and with all the fixings! Moe's Southwest Grill manages to fit all your favorite burrito fillings into this Homewrecker Jr. by using a 2-inch smaller tortilla round than Chipotle.


Jimmy Johns Slim #4 Turkey Unwich

Jim John's Turkey Unwich
Courtesy of Jimmy John's Facebook
70 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 540 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 14 g protein

This turkey breast sandwich from Jimmy Johns is a sight for sore eyes. But, it's one of the few only subs and giant club sandwiches under 500 calories. Keep in mind that's with only turkey, lettuce, tomato, and mayo, and the use of the lettuce wrap instead of a regular piece of bread takes off a lot of the calories.


KFC Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast with Sweet Kernel Corn and Green Beans

kfc grilled chicken green beans
Courtesy of KFC
305 calories, 7.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,010 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (3 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 41 g protein

This light, low-calorie meal will keep you full without derailing your weight loss efforts. One of the better low-calorie restaurant options, a Kentucky Grilled Chicken Breast is great to turn to when you find yourself at KFC. Pair a side of green beans and corn with lean poultry for a well-rounded meal. that's still "finger-licking good."

Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is the Managing Editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more about Olivia