Low Calorie Meals


5 from 36 votes
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Never run out of inspiration with these 25+ low-calorie meals. Each one is easy to make, requires zero compromise, AND has less than 400 calories per serving!

general tsos chicken recipe.

When I’m watching my weight or hoping to shed a few pounds, I’m always on the hunt for new low calorie recipes to cook. Of course, it’s sometimes a task easier said than done, and we get stuck in a routine of making the same dishes on repeat. 

Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you’re vegan, keto, or gluten-free, plenty of options make losing weight easy. To make sense of all the recipes we’ve created, I compiled an extensive list of my (and your) favorite low calorie meals. 

Table of Contents
  1. Tips for coming up with low calorie meals
  2. Easy weeknight dinner ideas
  3. High-protein, low-calorie recipes
  4. Low-calorie plant-based meals
  5. Gluten-free low-calorie recipes
  6. Low-carb, low-calorie recipes
  7. Low-calorie comfort foods
  8. More healthy recipe roundups 
  9. 25+ Low Calorie Meals (Recipe Card)

Tips for coming up with low calorie meals

There are a LOT of tips and tricks out there for losing weight, but at the end of the day, it always comes down to calories in and calories out. 

As someone who’s tried and tested just about every tip in the book, here are the ones I’ve found the most helpful.

  • Plan ahead. Meal planning is your friend when it comes to staying low-cal. If you wait until you’re starving, you’re more likely to go overboard. I like coming up with a week’s worth of dinner ideas, grocery shopping, meal prepping if possible, and saving the leftovers for lunch.
  • Make easy compromises. I enjoy lettuce wraps as much as the next guy, but nothing satisfies me as much as a massive sandwich. So, I swap regular bread for low-calorie bread, and I don’t have to compromise. 
  • Keep things interesting. Trust me, monotony is the quickest way to fall off the rails. Keep this list handy so you can always try new and exciting recipes. 
  • Enjoy a bit of everything. I’m an “everything in moderation” kind of guy, so I try not to cut out entire swaths of my diet when I’m losing weight. That way, I never feel like I’m missing out. 

Easy weeknight dinner ideas

After a long day, the last thing I want to do is spend hours in the kitchen working on dinner. These low-calorie dinner recipes come together in under 30 minutes, making for an easy lunch the next day. 

  • Chicken Florentine– Turn basic chicken breast on its head with this decadent dish. Chicken pieces are simmered in a rich cream sauce alongside wilted spinach, all in under 25 minutes. 
  • Chicken adobo– Featuring delicately braised chicken thighs enveloped in a flavorful, savory, and tangy glaze. 
  • Salmon bowl– The perfect combination: flaky salmon served atop fluffy rice, crisp veggies, and an addictive spicy mayo sauce. 
  • 4-ingredient potato soup– Deceptively easy to make, all you need are potatoes, half-and-half, cheese, and green onion. And yes, you get all that for under 400 calories. 
  • Shrimp fajitas– With perfectly seasoned shrimp and caramelized peppers and onions piled high on tortillas; this is WAY better than the restaurant version. 
salmon rice bowl.

High-protein, low-calorie recipes

In all my years of dieting, protein is the key to losing weight while staying full and satisfied. Each of these recipes are high in protein yet surprisingly low in calories. 

  • Egg white salad– One egg white has almost 4 grams of protein for just 17 calories. Paired with some crunchy vegetables, enjoy it as is or piled high in low calorie wraps.
  • No bean chili– Skip the beans, and you’ll still get a fiber, protein-packed dish that’s easy to customize and tastes even better the next day. 
  • Healthy meatloaf– Made with classic ingredients and a few healthy swaps, this meatloaf has 26 grams of protein for under 250 calories. 
  • Hunan beef– Savory stir fry made with tender steak strips and perfectly cooked broccoli. No sugary sauce or excess oil needed. 
meatloaf healthy.

Low-calorie plant-based meals

Coming up with low calorie vegan recipes may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how so many vegan dishes can get carried away with copious amounts of oil and carbs. These recipes steer clear of unnecessary ingredients so you can keep in a calorie deficit. 

  • Bok choy stir-fry– Look to fibrous veggies (like bok choy) to keep you full for minimal calories. Bulk it up with air fryer tofu, or enjoy it as is. 
  • Cauliflower fried rice– A cup of cauliflower rice has just 27 calories, compared to regular rice, which has around 200 calories, making it a no-brainer when you’re craving pan-fried rice.
  • Vegan chili– Forget dirtying another dish with this easy one-pot vegan chili recipe. Made with buttery smooth sweet potatoes and hearty beans, all simmered in a rich tomato sauce. 
  • Eggplant curry– Tender eggplant delicately seasoned with cumin, mustard seeds, aromatics, and creamy coconut milk. 
best vegan chili.

Gluten-free low-calorie recipes

Skipping gluten doesn’t always equal to being low-calorie, but these recipes manage to tick all the boxes.

  • Cloud bread pizza– Say goodbye to regular pizza crust with this outrageous 4-ingredient cloud pizza crust recipe. 
  • Bacon-wrapped chicken– Yes, that’s right, stay full, lose weight, AND keep bacon in your life. 
  • Ground turkey soup– One of my favorite comfort soup recipes, made with tender ground turkey in a light creamy broth with tender veggies. 
  • Mediterranean bowl– Bowls are a great weight loss hack since you can customize them to suit your needs. Plus, they make great meal prep and can be enjoyed hot or cold. This bowl, in particular, features roasted chickpeas, veggies, quinoa, hummus, and feta cheese. 
mediterranean buddha bowl.

Low-carb, low-calorie recipes

Listen, I’ve got nothing against carbs, but when I’m trying to lose weight, I’ve found that cutting carbs makes calorie counting way easier. That’s where these delicious low-carb, low-calorie recipes come in. 

  • Keto meatballs– Transform basic meatballs with this healthy, low-carb version using ground beef, ground pork, and the perfect blend of spices. Oh, and don’t forget the low-carb bread crumbs
  • Keto tacos– Stuff taco-seasoned beef into addictively cheesy taco shells and pile on the toppings. You can thank me later!
  • Keto chicken parmesan– I love sharing this chicken parm with my family, even when I’m the only one on a weight loss journey. 
  • Keto egg roll in a bowl– My favorite dinner when I’m craving Asian flavors and only have 10 minutes to spare. Made with fresh garlic, ginger, ground pork, and tender cabbage, you can have as much as you want for just 245 calories per serving. 
meatballs in gravy.

Low-calorie comfort foods

I could never stick to a diet that didn’t allow comfort foods, so I’ve created healthy versions of my personal favorites. 

  • Low calorie pizza– Regular pizza comes in at over 285 calories per slice, but you can enjoy this entire pizza for under 400. My secret weapon? Effortless 2-ingredient pizza dough!
  • Low calorie pasta– When you’re looking to up the flavor of your pasta without going overboard on the calories, opt for low-calorie pasta noodles and use cottage cheese to bulk up the dish.
  • Air fryer fried chicken– Who said you can’t eat fried chicken? Not me! This healthy version uses half the excess fat and calories, yet you’d never know by how decadent it tastes. One serving has under 275 calories!
  • Keto sheperd’s pie– I got creative this time around and, by swapping potatoes for mashed cauliflower, made traditional shepherd’s pie with half the calories… and all of the flavor.
fried chicken air fryer.

More healthy recipe roundups 

low calorie dinners

25+ Low Calorie Meals

5 from 36 votes
Never run out of inspiration with these 25+ low-calorie meals. Each one is easy to make, requires zero compromise, AND has less than 400 calories per serving!
Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Total: 10 minutes


  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 2 cups brown rice cooked ** see notes
  • 2 large avocadoes halved
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2 large tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 cup baby spinach packed
  • 1 small red onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce gluten free, if needed
  • 1/2 large lime juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper to taste


  • Prepare your grilled chicken as instructed. Once cooked, slice them into strips.
  • Add half a cup of cooked rice into four bowls. To each bowl, add half an avocado, 2 tablespoons of corn, 1/4 cup of diced tomatoes, and 2 tablespoons red onion.
  • Drizzle soy sauce and lemon juice over each of the bowls, then season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.


Serving: 1low calorie mealCalories: 395kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 31gFat: 15gSodium: 545mgPotassium: 1321mgFiber: 11gVitamin A: 1346IUVitamin C: 30mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 2mgNET CARBS: 28g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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