10 Surprising Low-Calorie Dinner Ideas

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Beef Stew? Chili? Chicken Enchiladas? These 10 dinner ideas are not only delicious, but surprisingly are less than 400 calories per serving! I am always on the lookout for recipes that will please my family yet fit into my food tracking lifestyle.

food tracking momma 10 low calorie dinners

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1. Instant Pot Chili con Carne– 285 calories per serving

food tracking momma instant pot chili con carne

This is a delicious chili made with ground beef and beans that is easily adaptable to the tastes of your family. The recipe calls for 90% lean ground beef and the beef flavor is enhanced with bone broth. And because it is cooked in the Instant Pot, this low-calorie meal is ready in a short time and infused with great flavor. Click here for the recipe!

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2. Oven Baked Chicken Breast– 286 calories per serving

Recipe Tin Eats oven baked chicken breasts

This recipe is a new favorite of my family. My toddler is not a picky eater, but he tends to eat less animal protein than anything else on his plate. Well, he gobbled up this chicken! The spice rub is sweet with just a touch of heat. And the chicken breasts were the most moist oven-baked chicken breasts I’ve ever eaten! Click here for the recipe (photo credit:

3. Instant Pot Ham Balls– 359 calories per serving

food tracking momma instant pot ham balls

This recipe is so delicious and only takes 10 minutes of pressure cooking time! The ham balls are salty and moist while the sauce is sweet and sour. It’s the perfect combination of flavors. This low-calorie recipe always brings back good memories of my Grandma who would always make them for family gatherings. Click here for the recipe.

4. Sweet Potato and Black Bean Veggie Burgers– 380 calories for burger and bun

cookie and kate veggie burger

When my family first tried a veggie burger, we made it to “be good” and eat a healthy meal. But after tasting the burger, we were amazed at how much we enjoyed it! In fact, in the summer (although it can be any time), veggie burgers make a regular appearance at our house. This recipe is 180 calories for the veggie burger and I allotted 200 calories for a large hamburger roll. Click here for the recipe (photo credit:

5. The Best Crockpot BBQ Chicken– 342 calories per serving

family fresh meals best crockpot bbq chicken

I love, love, love this recipe. It is so quick and easy to make. You will have it put together in your slow cooker in less than five minutes! The picture above shows it as a sandwich, but this bbq chicken is just as good served straight with a side a vegetables. The calories are for the bbq chicken only (no hamburger roll). Click here for the recipe (photo credit

6. Shrimp Tacos with Creamy Taco Slaw– 158 calories per serving

well plated shrimp tacos with creamy taco slaw

My husband and I like fish tacos, but even more we love shrimp tacos. I do have to admit, my toddler won’t eat the spice in these, but I am able to adapt his serving so his shrimp and sauce is not spicy (simply saute in butter and ranch dressing for him). This low-calorie recipe is so delicious and the calories are so low, I know you will enjoy it! Click here for the recipe (photo credit:

7. Chicken Enchiladas– 194 calories per serving

skinny taste chicken enchiladas

Chicken enchiladas make a frequent appearance as a dinner entree in my house because they are a great, low-calorie meal. The seasonings add dimensions in flavor and the part-skim (low fat) cheese and sour cream help cut calories. Serve with a side of Spanish rice and you have a complete meal for under 400 calories! Click here for the recipe (photo credit

8. Pumpkin Sausage Lasagna– 332 calories per serving

food tracking momma pumpkin sausage lasagna

The first time I had pumpkin ravioli, I was at a fine-dining restaurant and it was so delicious! I committed to finding and replicating that recipe. Although I love to cook, I’m just not a fan of making homemade ravioli. Enter this recipe! The sausage balances the taste of the pumpkin which is then smoothed with the cheeses. Add in the taste of sage and you have the perfect Autumn bite that even your children will enjoy. My toddler ate his entire piece! And you can enjoy it knowing that this lasagna is less than 350 calories! Click here for the recipe!

9. Slow Cooker Tangy Beef Stew– 364 calories per serving

food tracking momma slow cooker tangy beef stew

This is the slow cooker beef stew recipe I pull out whenever my family is hungry for a hearty, all-in-one beef dinner. Yes, it is possible to eat beef stew yet stay under 400 calories. The beef is just enough to satisfy and the additional veggies help fill you up. The highlight of this low-calorie recipe is the sauce! It is so good and my family has to be served bread with this stew just to help sop up the sauce. Click here for the recipe.

10. Spinach Stuffed Shells with Meat Sauce– 234 calories per serving

pop culture spinach stuffed shells with meat sauce

I love anything pasta (I get my love for carbs from my mom). So I allow myself to eat carbs but still stay within my daily calories for the day. This recipe is perfect. The slight bitter of the spinach is balanced with the creaminess of the cheese. And then top it all with the tang of the meat sauce and you have a balanced dinner. And you get to enjoy your carbs too! Click here for the recipe (photo credit:

If you enjoyed this post or tried any of these recipes, let me know! I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks, Andrea
The Food Tracking Momma

3 thoughts on “10 Surprising Low-Calorie Dinner Ideas”

  1. The black bean burger recipe looks super yummy and you don’t have to feel guilty if you eat the bun!

    1. My family has even picked that over a traditional cheeseburger! It’s so good. Let me know if you try it.

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