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31 Delicious Meals Under 400 Calories

Sad salad? Boring plain chicken breast with steamed broccoli? Er…definitely not! Not in these delicious meals under 400 calories. There is no need to sacrifice flavor and eliminate all your faves.

We have everything from soup meals to comfort food to meat, chicken, fish and veggie meals with low calories, good nutrition and big flavors. Light, filling, vibrant and delish.

How to cut calories, not flavor

We’re not giving diet advice here. Just a few basic common sense ideas from the professionals:

  • Cut down your portions. Eat less. I know no one wants to hear this – especially my husband! But this is one of the easiest ways to reduce calories (ok, easy for the cook, not the eater).
  • Include more vegetables and less protein on your plate. Change the ratio.
  • Eat less fast foods, high saturated fat foods, highly processed foods and high calorie snacks like chocolate, candy, chips, fries, sour cream.
  • Stick to low carb foods or at least ‘good carbs’ such as quinoa, black beans, sweet potatoes, fruit, whole grains like oats, butternut squash, brown rice.
  • Check nutrition information on food labels. Sugar hides everywhere.

What you’ll find in our 400 calorie dinners

  1. Main dishes under 400 calories per serving (several are under 300 and even 200 calories per serving).
  2. Low calorie meals with healthy ingredients that are loaded with fresh vegetables, fiber and nutrients. If you read our blog, you know that we add baby spinach in everything possible to boost nutrition and color.
  3. Soup meals that will give you leftovers for the next day or two. These are great low calorie meal prep ideas.
  4. Tasty dinners that are stand-alone (no other sides needed). For those that aren’t, we suggest lower calorie side dishes.
  5. Light recipes that are also quick, prepared in 30 minutes or less.
  6. As always, our recipes include:
    • easy to follow instructions
    • shortcuts where possible
    • make ahead, prep ahead and freezer instructions
    • lots of variations and substitutes to tailor meals to your taste and what you have on hand.
    • For this post, you will see a calorie counter under the recipe picture as well.

What you will not find

  1. Diet or weight loss advice
  2. Appetizers, desserts, breakfast items and side dishes (except for suggestions with certain recipes). We’re focusing on main dishes.

Bottom line: We hope you will find a delicious, low-calorie meal or two to add to your rotation that the whole family will enjoy.

Low calorie soup recipes (400 calories or less)

All these hearty, nutritious soups are complete meals in a bowl. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, they make a great lunch too.

Red Lentil Soup with Vegetables
Red Lentil Vegetable Soup
Calories per serving: 273
Prep Time: 7 min
Total Time: 45 min
# Servings: 5
What to serve it with: Nothing needed. Or if you want, serve with a small side salad (with a low fat dressing) or some plain crackers.
Get the recipe
Easy Egg Drop Soup With Vegetables
Egg Drop Soup with Vegetables in a bowl f
Calories per serving: 236
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 16 min
# Servings: 4
What to serve it with: For a more substantial meal, add tofu, chopped leftover chicken or cooked shrimp. Or make vegetable rice paper rolls (121 calories per roll)
Get the recipe
Root Vegetable Soup
bowl of root vegetable and barley with croutons
Calories per serving: 226
Prep Time: 8 min
Total Time: 1 hour
# Servings: 6
What to serve it with: Nothing needed. If you like, serve with a piece of multigrain bread, croutons or crackers
Get the recipe
Vegetable Beef Barley Soup
beef barley vegetable soup in a bowl with toasted bread for dipping
Calories per serving: 259
Prep Time: 8min
Total Time: 1 hour 18 min
# Servings: 6
What to serve it with: Nothing needed. If you like, serve with a side salad, crackers or a piece of lower calorie or multigrain bread.
Get the recipe

Sausage and Bean Soup
Sausage and bean Soup in a bowl f
Calories per serving: 321
Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 35 min
# Servings: 6-8
What to serve it with: nothing needed
Get the recipe
Vegetable Wonton Soup
vegetable wonton soup in a pot f
Calories per serving: 382
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 22 min
# Servings: 4
What to serve it with: Nothing needed, especially if you add cooked chicken, shrimp or tofu cubes. Or any leftover meat. 1 cup/140 grams shrimp is 170 calories.
Get the recipe
Vegetable Barley Soup
Vegetable Bean and Barley Soup in bowl with bread and butter f
Calories per serving: 306
Prep Time: 7 min
Total Time: 1 hour 7 min
# Servings: 8
What to serve it with: Nothing needed other than a piece of multigrain bread for dunking.
Get the recipe
Ground Beef Vegetable Soup Recipe
bowl of beef vegetable soup beside pot
Calories per serving: 306
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 45min
# Servings: 5-6
What to serve it with: Nothing needed, but as a treat, try some homemade easy naan (186 calories for a large piece)
Get the recipe

Chicken Lemon Orzo Soup Thai Style
chicken lemon orzo soup in a bowl
Calories per serving: 257
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 30min
# Servings: 8
What to serve it with: Nothing needed.
Get the recipe
Hearty Ratatouille Soup
Ratatouille Soup is a low cal satisfying soup packed with healthy veggies
Calories per serving: 184
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 40 min
# Servings: 4
What to serve it with: Nothing else needed. Calories include the bread with melted cheese.
Get the recipe
Wedding Soup with Zest
Wedding Soup with zest in a bowl ff
Calories per serving: 285
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 30 min
# Servings: 6
What to serve it with: Nothing need as the soup as orzo pasta, veggies and meatballs for a complete meal in a bowl. Parmesan cheese is not included in the calorie count.
Get the recipe

Low calorie vegetarian meals (400 calories or less)

Easy Cast Iron Pizza (22 minutes)
finished pizza on cutting board
Calories per slice: 194
Prep Time: 7 min
Total Time: 22 min
# Slices: 6
What to serve it with: Add whatever toppings you like (with more calories) or serve the pizza with a side salad. Or go for two slices and call it a day!
Get the recipe
Mediterranean Pasta
Mediterranean pasta in bowl f
Calories per serving: 369
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 22 min
# Servings: 3
What to serve it with: Nothing needed. Note that Parmesan cheese is not included in calorie count.
Get the recipe
Squash Curry
Squash Curry over rice in bowl ff
Calories per serving: 302
Prep Time: 8 min
Total Time: 30min
# Servings: 3
What to serve it with: Nice with 1/2 cup/100 grams of cooked rice (130 calories). Or a piece of dipping bread like easy naan.
Get the recipe
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
piece of vegetarian shepherds pie on plate 2
Calories per serving: 394
Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 1 hour
# Servings: 5-6
What to serve it with: Nothing needed except a small salad if you like. A full satisfying meal made with plant-based meat topped with a root vegetable mash (regular ground beef or chicken can be substituted).
Get the recipe
Mexican Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Recipe
spaghetti squash with mexican veggie topping
Calories per serving: 389
Prep Time: 10min
Total Time: 40 min
# Servings: 4
What to serve it with: Nothing needed. The robust 'sauce' with Mexican flavors and cheese does it all.
Get the recipe

Chinese Vegetable Fried Rice
Chinese vegetable fried rice in a bowl
Calories per serving: 395
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 25 min
# Servings: 4
What to serve it with: Add chicken or tofu or lower calorie shrimp if you like. To reduce the per serving calories, use less rice and more veggies. Still delish!
Get the recipe
Lemon Asparagus Risotto (Instant Pot)
bowl of Lemon Asparagus Risotto side view f
Calories per serving: 294
Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 25 min
# Servings: 5
What to serve it with: You have some calorie room to add leftover cooked chicken (1/2 cup/70 grams is 74 calories), tofu (1/2 cup/120 grams is 94 calories) or cooked shrimp (1/2 cup cooked is 104 calories)
Get the recipe
Vegetable Strudel Recipe
Vegetable Strudel in puff pastry cut open on parchment paper
Calories per serving: 261
Prep Time: 12 min
Total Time:50 min
# Slices: 8
What to serve it with: A nice homemade creamy tomato soup or a light salad.
Get the recipe
Mushroom Spinach Pasta
mushroom spinach pasta in a bowl f
Calories per serving: 400
Prep Time: 7 min
Total Time: 37 min
# Servings: 4
What to serve it with: Nothing needed. It has pasta, a cheese sauce, mushrooms and spinach. Or opt for a crunchy cucumber, sliced bell peppers or tomato slices.
Get the recipe

Best non-vegetarian dinners (400 calories or less)

Chicken Meatloaf and Vegetables
Chicken Meatloaf with Vegetables
Calories per serving: 304
Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 45 min
# Servings: 5 (8-9 slices)
What to serve it with: grilled cabbage slaw, any other no mayo coleslaw or Chinese stir fry green beans
Get the recipe
Simple Herb Roasted Salmon (20 min)
Roasted Salmon Stuffed With Herbs on a plate f
Calories per serving: 331
Prep Time: 10 min
Total Time: 20 min
# Servings: 2
What to serve it with:  Thai mango salad and/or easy roasted bok choy recipe
Get the recipe
Roast Chicken Breast with Gravy
Roast Chicken Breast and Gravy on cutting board with small gravy boat on side and roasted onions
Calories per serving: 324
Prep Time: 10 min;
Total Time: 1 hour 5 min
# Servings: 3
What to serve it with: Lemon herb cauliflower rice or vegetable stuffing with quinoa
Get the recipe
Instant Pot Cabbage Rolls Unstuffed
Instant pot cabbage rolls unstuffed in bowl 2
Calories per serving: 193
Prep Time: 6 min;
Total Time: 35 min
# Servings: 6-8
What to serve it with: Nothing needed. A stand alone delicious meal and great as leftovers. Use a lean protein like ground white chicken instead of beef if you like.
Get the recipe
Mediterranean Grilled Chicken
Mediterranean marinated grilled chicken piece on a fork (close up) over chicken on plate with lemon
Calories per serving: 309
Prep Time: 10 min;
Total Time: 30 min (plus marinating time if you choose)
# Servings: 5
What to serve it with: How about a nice citrus salad or roasted baby cauliflower (129 calories per serving).
Get the recipe
Crispy Baked Fish (20 minutes)
plate of breaded baked fish with vegetables and lemon wedges
Calories per serving: 395
Prep Time: 5 min;
Total Time: 20 min
# Servings: 2
What to serve it with: vegetable quinoa stuffing or parmesan roasted cauliflower
Get the recipe

Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin Recipe – Maple Mustard
sliced sous vide maple mustard pork tenderloin with apples on cutting board f
Calories per serving: 318
Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 1 hour 50 min
# Servings: 5
What to serve it with: Easy roasted bok choy and homemade chunky applesauce
Get the recipe
Shrimp Lettuce Wrap with Mango Slaw
Shrimp Lettuce Wrap with Mango Slaw close up on tray
Calories per serving: 191
Prep Time: 14 min;
Total Time: 20 min
# Servings: 4
What to serve it with: This simple recipe would make a healthy dinner with the egg drop soup with vegetables (236 calories per serving) shown above.
Get the recipe
Sous Vide Burgers
half a sous vide burger on plate with pickle
Calories per serving: 263 (not including bun and toppings)
Prep Time: 8 min;
Total Time: 55 min
# Servings: 3
What to serve it with: Try charred onions on the grill. My trick with the buns is to slice off or gouge out some of the bread in the middle to make the bun thinner with less calories.
Get the recipe

Baked Fish Fillets with Cherry Tomato Sauce
baked cod fillets covered with cherry tomato sauce over cauliflower spinach rice
Calories per serving: 363
Prep Time: 6 min
Total Time: 18min
# Servings: 2
What to serve it with: I love it with  lemon herb cauliflower rice stir fry. I add fresh chopped baby spinach for extra nutrition and color. Or cauliflower rice recipe with pesto.
Get the recipe
Glazed Pork Tenderloin
sliced Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Maple Glaze and vegetables on plate f
Calories per serving: 394
Prep Time: 8 min
Total Time: 22 min
# Servings: 3
What to serve it with: 1 minute microwave snow peas and homemade chunky applesauce or BBQ sweet potatoes and apples
Get the recipe
Chicken Bulgogi Recipe
chicken bulgogi over rice on plate f
Calories per serving: 394
Prep Time: 8 min
Total Time: 3 hours (with marinating)
# Servings: 3
What to serve it with: 1/2 cup/100 grams of cooked rice (130 calories) or mango Thai salad Marinating time can be cut to 30 minutes at room temperature. 
Get the recipe

Low calorie side dishes (under 200 calories)

Here are a few good options for side dishes under 200 calories per serving to go with your low calorie meals.

2 Comments

  1. Hi Jenna and Cheryl.
    I have to say that although I’m new to your website I love your recipes. Also the way your recipes are set out , with alternate options, takes a lot of work on your part. I look forward to receiving more of your recipes. Thank you.

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