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5 Best Weight-Loss Dinners That Are 500 Calories or Less

These recipes don't require a ton of prep work and are perfect for weight loss.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

If you are trying to lose weight and feel like salad and boiled chicken are all you should eat, think again! Weight-loss meals don't have to be boring and tasteless, and they also don't have to require numerous ingredients and hours of prepping and cooking. We have you covered with inspiration for simple weight-loss dinners that are 500 calories or less. But before we get there, here are some tips for creating healthy weight-loss meals at home.

Each dinner should contain protein, veggies, healthy fats, and fibrous carbs. There are endless ways to combine these nutrients into a meal, so you can add tons of variety to your dinners. Next, you'll want to practice portion control. To encourage weight loss, fill half of your plate with veggies, one-quarter of your plate with protein, and the other quarter with carbs. Your healthy fat can be used to prepare veggies, like using salad dressing or olive oil, or it can top your protein. Sliced avocado and pesto can add tons of flavor to your protein with minimal effort.

With these tips in mind, you'll be well on your way to meeting your weight loss goals. If you need more specific ideas to prepare healthy, calorie-conscious dinners, we have five simple recipes to get you started. Here are the best weight-loss dinners that are 500 calories or less. Read on to learn all about these tasty picks, and when you're done updating your shopping list, check out the 10 Best Frozen Foods To Buy at Whole Foods for Weight Loss.

Shrimp Tacos

shrimp tacos

489 calories, 23 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 1173 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (12 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 26 g protein

Tacos may not automatically come to mind when thinking of weight loss meals, but they can be made in a way that serves your goals. Shrimp is a lean protein and helps this meal provide nearly 30 grams of this filling nutrient. Pack your shrimp in whole-wheat tortillas that are loaded with fiber for a well-rounded meal. Add diced tomato and chopped spinach for additional veggies and nutrients, and consider tossing your shrimp with low-sodium taco seasoning for additional flavor.


½ Tbsp olive oil (63 calories)
3 oz shrimp, deveined (72 calories)
¼ cup salsa (19 calories)
2 Whole wheat tortillas (about 41 g a piece) (254 calories)
1/4 avocado, sliced (81 calories)


Heat your oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add your shrimp, and cook thoroughly. Toss the cooked shrimp in salsa, and serve the mixture in tortillas topped with avocado.

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Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce

eggs baked in tomato sauce

460 calories, 25 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 421 mg sodium, 59 g carbs (12 g fiber, 30 g sugar), 25 g protein

Eggs are a great source of protein and take less time to cook than meat. This vegetarian dish has a great balance of nutrients and is loaded with flavor. Choose a low-sodium, no-added-sugar sauce to keep this dish healthy, and add additional spinach for a nutrient boost. Top with salt and pepper for a little extra flavor, and enjoy this warm, low-prep dish!


½ Tbsp olive oil (63 calories)
2 cups spinach leaves, raw (14 calories)
8 oz marinara sauce (131 calories)
2 eggs, large (143 calories)
1 slice whole grain bread (109 calories)


Heat your oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add in the spinach, and allow it to wilt. Add the marinara sauce, and bring to a simmer. Make two wells in the sauce, and crack one egg into each well. Transfer the pan to a 350F oven, and bake until the eggs are soft—about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve eggs and marinara over toasted bread.

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Gnocchi with Pesto and Chicken

gnocchi with pesto and tomatoes

443 calories, 26 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 1134 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (3 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 30 g protein

This dish packs an impressive 30 grams of protein and takes only a few minutes to prepare. Although it is lower in fiber than other dishes on this list, you can boost this nutrient by comparing gnocchi brands and choosing the options with the most fiber. Some options are made with cauliflower and will pack more fiber than traditional gnocchi. Additionally, you can increase your portion of kale, and top your dish with halved cherry tomatoes for even more fiber.


1 cup kale, raw, chopped (9 calories)
1 cup potato gnocchi (254 calories)
1 Tbsp pesto (58 calories)
3 oz of rotisserie chicken breast, meat only, shredded (122 calories)


Spray a pan with cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat. Add the kale, and sauté until soft. Meanwhile, cook your gnocchi per the box instructions. Once your gnocchi are ready, add it to the pan with the kale, and toss with pesto and chicken. Heat thoroughly and serve.

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BBQ Chicken Sweet Potato

sweet potato

476 calories, 17 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 915 mg sodium, 47 g carbs (7 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 29 g protein

It doesn't get much simpler than a four-ingredient meal. Even better, this dish packs plenty of fiber and protein to create a hearty dish that will no doubt be satisfying. Boost nutrients in this meal by adding steamed broccoli to your potato or serving on the side. Make sure to pick up no-added-sugar BBQ sauce to limit empty calories in your dish.


1 sweet potato, medium (135 calories)
3 oz of rotisserie chicken breast, meat only, shredded (122 calories)
2 Tbsp BBQ sauce, low sugar (58 calories)
1/2 avocado, sliced (161 calories)


Bake your sweet potato in a 425F oven until tender, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, combine your shredded chicken and BBQ sauce in a pan, and heat. Once your potato is ready, slice it open lengthwise and load in your chicken mixture. Top with avocado.

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Ground Turkey and White Bean Soup

white bean soup

460 calories, 15 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 1862 mg sodium, 43 g carbs (8 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 33 g protein

Soup is a comforting food that can pack tons of nutrients into one convenient dish. Ground turkey incorporates plenty of protein into this meal, and the beans add a boost of this important nutrient, plus fiber. Although this meal is higher in sodium than others on this list, this can be remedied by choosing a low-sodium broth and beans. Double or triple the recipe to have plenty of leftover servings for easy dinner meals.


½ Tbsp olive oil (63 calories)
4 oz lean ground turkey (167 calories)
1 leek, white & light green parts, thinly sliced into rounds (54 calories)
16 oz vegetable broth (26 calories)
½ cup white beans, canned, drained (150 calories)


Heat your oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground turkey, and cook thoroughly. Add in the sliced leeks, and cook until they soften. Pour in the broth, and bring to a boil. Add in the beans, and simmer for five minutes. Serve warm.

Kelsey Hampton Abdullah, MS, RDN
Kelsey is a Texas-based dietitian and professor who specializes in sports nutrition. Read more about Kelsey
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