Top 15 Tasty Dinner Recipes Under 600 Calories

March 10, 2014

People battling to lose weight often fight back by cutting calories. The average individual’s diet should consist of 2,000 calories each day, but a lot of people easily exceed this by consuming meals packed with fat, sodium, carbohydrates and other ingredients that send their daily intake past 2,000 calories.

The following dishes all offer flavor, spice and zest while still coming in at fewer than 600 calories. With these dishes, people can eat healthy without sacrificing flavor.

1. Black Bean & Zucchini Quesadilla (400 calories)

quessadila

A twist on the traditional Mexican quesadilla, this healthy dinner recipe substitutes steak, chicken or beef for black beans and zucchini. In addition to being a healthy alternative to traditional quesadillas, this meal can be made in as little as five minutes. The key ingredients are chopped zucchini, black beans (rinsed and drained), 2TBSP olive oil, 1TSP cumin, whole wheat tortillas, shredded cheese and salsa.

2. Curried Plum & Green Bean Stir Fry (394 calories)

Stir fry meals are not commonly associated with healthy menus, but this twist on chicken and beef stir fry meals will knock your socks off with flavor while keeping the calorie count down. The main ingredients include plums, halved green beans, sliced bell pepper, cashews, vegetable oil, salt and coconut milk. Pair it with a side of brown rice and you’ve got a well-rounded meal that is healthy and less than 600 calories.

3. Bean Margherita Penne (399 calories)

Italian meals that are rich in olive oil and fresh vegetables without overdoing it on thick pasta sauces are incredibly healthy. Pair a fresh Italian dish like this Bean Margherita Penne with whole wheat pasta and you’re left with a tasty winner that is less than 600 calories. The main ingredients in this dish are canned white beans, whole wheat penne pasta, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil.

4. Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry (301 calories)

stir-fried-shrimp

Another way to put a healthy twist on stir fry is by substituting chicken and beef as the main ingredient in favor of seafood. This shrimp stir fry provides a leaner meat source in the shrimp with traditional ingredients such as red, yellow and green bell peppers. The added red-pepper flakes that bring spice to this dish have also been shown to provide a boost to the body’s metabolism.

5. Florentine Chicken & Goat Cheese Flatbread (534 calories)

Flatbread pizzas are an increasingly popular,and healthy alternative to traditional pizzas. With a thinner, lighter crust often made of healthier ingredients, flatbread pizzas pack less of a caloric and carbohydrate punch and offer more creative toppings than your local pizza delivery joint. This particular flatbread requires baby spinach, 2TSP of olive oil, garlic, whole grain flatbread, chopped chicken and crumbled goat cheese.

6. Quinoa Stir Fry with Vegetables and Chicken (254 calories)

This low calorie stir fry dish leaves the traditional chicken in the ingredient list and substitutes out the standard choice of white rice. Quinoa is an excellent source of iron (boosting energy) and amino acids (protein building blocks) that make this dish healthier than most stir fry dishes. The key ingredients to this dish are quinoa, grilled/chopped chicken, snow peas, garlic, ginger, carrots and red bell pepper.

7. Lemon Basil Pasta with Summer Squash (497 calories)

lemon-pasta

Another fresh and zesty Italian dish, Lemon Basil Pasta with Summer Squash utilizes fresh ingredients and a variety of healthy vegetables to provide a low calorie treat that is delicious. The key ingredients include whole wheat penne, chopped zucchini, chopped yellow squash, white beans and a topping sauce made with lemon juice, olive oil and basil.

8. Spicy Tofu and Lemongrass Stir Fry (342 calories)

Stir fry might be appearing on this list too much for some, but like it or love it, stir fry is an easy meal to whip up and can be extremely healthy. Serve this dish over brown rice and you’ll have a fiber-packed dish with rich flavors. The main ingredients in this dish are tofu, lemongrass, ginger, Vietnamese chili paste, lime juice, rice wine, shitake mushrooms and broccoli florets.

9. Grilled Chicken Sausage with Italian Tomato & Cucumber Salad (490 calories)

This dish is one of the heavier meals on the list, but rest assured it comes in under 600 calories and is packed with flavor. The main course to this dish is the chicken sausage on a whole grain bun. Chicken sausage is a lean alternative to traditional sausage with less sodium. The fresh salad on the side offers a crisp offset to the sausage. Ingredients include chicken sausage link, whole grain bun, chopped tomato, chopped cucumber, fresh basil and pine nuts.

10. Thai Beef Stir Fry (313 calories)

fried-beef

A healthy beef option for stir fry fans, the bulk of this stir fry dish consists of a variety of healthy vegetables that play nicely on the tenderloins richness. The beef is seasons with red pepper flakes, brown sugar and soy sauce to give the beef a savory punch. Ingredients in this dish consist of beef tenderloin, red pepper flakes, cilantro, olive oil, brown sugar, green onions, broccoli, yellow peppers, snow peas and cherry tomatoes.

11. Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos (496 calories)

If you’ve never had fish or seafood tacos, you don’t know what you’re missing. A fresh and healthy alternative to chicken and beef tacos, this Cilantro Lime Shrimp taco dish is flavorful and zesty without packing on fat. The main ingredients for this dish include sliced onions, bell peppers, olive oil, minced garlic, shrimp, chopped cilantro, lime juice and whole grain tortillas.

12. Barbecue Salmon with Herbed Couscous and Asparagus (500 calories)

Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which are important for brain and heart health. The addition of asparagus gives the dish crispness while the couscous is a great whole grain fiber source. The key ingredients in the dish are salmon, barbecue sauce, asparagus spears, olive oil, couscous, chopped basil and chopped chives.

13. Italian Sausage and Veggie Pasta (565 calories)

sausage-pasta

This healthy Italian dish has the right balance of savory and healthy flavors courtesy of the sausage and veggie combination. As long as the amount of spaghetti sauce used on the dish doesn’t exceed ½ cup, you’ll have a tasty Italian dish without a heavy calorie count. The main ingredients include whole wheat pasta, Italian-style chicken sausage, minced garlic, chopped onions, mushrooms and chopped zucchini.

14. Stuffed Chili and Cheese Potato (499 calories)

The baked potato with chili makes for a wonderfully warm meal on a cold day, but it can also pack a huge caloric punch with the wrong ingredients. This recipe substitutes traditional chili for a healthier vegetarian or turkey chili option. The key ingredients in this savory dish include one medium potato, ½ cup of turkey/vegetarian chili, 2 cups broccoli and ¼ cup shredded cheese.

15. Cajun Chicken with Dirty Rice (498 calories)

There are few meals that feel as guilty as Cajun Chicken with Dirty Rice, without actually being bad for your health. Most people associate Cajun cooking with deep fried goodness that is nothing but trouble for your health. In reality, most Cajun cooking utilizes fresh herbs and vegetables to create a flavorful palate. The main ingredients to this dish are Cajun seasoning, 4oz. chicken breast, olive oil, minced garlic, chopped onion, green bell pepper, tomato paste, tabasco sauce and brown rice.


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