Healthy and Simple Meal Ideas Under 500 Calories

Want to eat something low in calories that isn’t just chicken and broccoli? You’ve come to the right place.

Balsamic lamb feta salad

Protein oat bowl

Chicken pesto penne pasta

I always detest visiting recipe web-pages or blog posts where they have a two thousand word essay about the history of the meal they prepared before showing the recipe. They often go into so much detail and descriptive analysis that by the time I’ve scrolled down through the abundance of advertisements and emotional storytelling about a chicken curry, I’ve lost interest.

So I will keep this nice a short and say that I am by no means a chef or a cooking expert, I am however an expert at consuming food. I like to eat lots of food, all the time so I try to keep my meals under 500 calories. So here are ten really simple meal ideas, most with high protein, that are under 500 calories.

1. Protein Pancakes

Ingredients and Method:

  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 tbsp oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk of your choice
  • 1//4 cup water
  • 10g chocolate chips
  • 1/2 banana
  • 3 strawberries
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  1. Heat non-stick fry pan (important that it’s a good pan otherwise your pancakes will be an absolute mess) on low-medium heat.
  2. Mix together protein powder (I use Optimum Nutrition cookies and cream flavour), oat flour and baking powder.
  3. Add milk, water and choc chips.
  4. Pour into pan and cook for 1-2 minutes each side.
  5. Top with strawberries, bananas and maple syrup.

CALORIES: 350
PROTEIN: 24g
SERVES: 1

2. Chicken Pesto Penne

Ingredients and Method

  • 400g chicken breast
  • 200g pasta
  • 5ml olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 20g parmesan cheese
  • 150ml light thickened cream
  • 10g unsalted butter
  • 1 tube of basil paste
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper

CALORIES: 450 (PER SERVING)
PROTEIN: 26g (PER SERVING)
SERVES: 4

  1. Boil pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Cut chicken breast in small cubes and coat with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat frypan on medium-high heat. Put butter and oil in pan.
  4. Coat chicken in butter and oil and cook until light-brown.
  5. Pour in thickened cream, basil paste, 15g parmesan cheese and chicken stock. Simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Once pasta cooked, drain and toss in frypan.
  7. Top with 5g parmesan and fresh basil.

3. Beef Burrito Bowl

Ingredients and Method

  • 500g extra lean beef mince
  • 4 tbsp taco sauce
  • Taco seasoning
  • Cos lettuce
  • Half a tin of corn
  • 75g avocado
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • 15 cherry tomatoes
  • 125g cooked brown rice
  • 50g light mozzarella

CALORIES: 300 (PER SERVING)
PROTEIN: 14g (PER SERVING)
SERVES: 5

  1. Boil brown rice in pot.
  2. Heat frying pan on medium-high heat and add small amount of olive oil.
  3. Add mince. Break apart and cook until browned.
  4. Add taco seasoning according to packet instructions, and 1 tbsp of taco sauce. Simmer for a couple of minutes.
  5. Cut and assemble salad ingredient and cheese.
  6. Once meat has absorbed the sauce and rice is cooked, add to salad. Add serving of taco sauce to salad.

4. Balsamic Lamb Salad

Ingredients and Method

  • 400g lamb steaks
  • 300g broccolini
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cups spinach leaves
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 100g fat-reduced feta
  • 4 tsp balsamic vinegar dressing
  • 420g lentils
  • Dash of Praise Dressings Balsamic Italian Fat Free dressing

CALORIES: 420 (PER SERVING)
PROTEIN: 20g (PER SERVING)
SERVES: 4

  1. Add olive oil to frying pan over medium-high heat. Add carrot, broccolini and capsicum and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add lamb steaks and balsamic vinegar to pan, cooking for 2-3 minutes each side.
  3. Cut lamb into pieces and add to salad. Top with feta and balsamic vinegar dressing.

5. Tuna Pasta

Ingredients and Method

  • 2 tins of tuna in olive oil
  • 100g pasta
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 brown onion
  • Mixed herbs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 40g parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley leaves

CALORIES: 420 (PER SERVING)
PROTEIN: 23g (PER SERVING)
SERVES: 2

  1. Boil pasta in pot.
  2. Add onion and garlic to fry-pan and cook over medium heat.
  3. Add mixed herbs and chopped tomatoes to pan. Simmer for several minutes.
  4. Once pasta is cooked, add to sauce. Drain tuna and add. Add in parmesan.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and parsley leaves.

6. Chicken Tandoori Pizza

Ingredients and Method

  • 500g chicken thigh fillets
  • 75g tandoori paste
  • 140g Yo Pro natural yoghurt
  • 400g can chickpeas
  • 1/2 large red onion
  • 1 small cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Mango Chutney
  • 205g Light Mozzerella
  • Small Wrap or naan breads

CALORIES: 453 (PER SERVING)
PROTEIN: 30g (PER SERVING)
SERVES: 4

  1. Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees C.
  2. Combine tandoori paste, yoghurt and chicken.
  3. Place chickpeas and onion in a baking-paper lined pan.
  4. Place chicken, onion and cauliflower on top and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes and bake for another 10 minutes until vegetables brown and chicken cooked.
  6. Spread 1/4 cup yoghurt, 2 tsp tandoori paste and 1 tbsp mango chutney over pizza bases. Top with ingredients from oven once cooled and small amount of cheese.
  7. Place in oven for several minutes until cheese has melted.

7. Rice Paper Rolls

Ingredients and Method

  • 1 serving (62g) Vercimelli noodles
  • 12 rice paper rolls
  • 1 red capscium
  • 400g chicken breast
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp low salt soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 carrots
  • Mint leaves
  • Sweet chilli sauce (dipping sauce)

CALORIES: 400 (PER SERVING)
PROTEIN: 20g (PER SERVING)
SERVES: 4

  1. Cut chicken in small cubes and marinade in soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and olive oil for 20 minutes.
  2. Cook noodles according to packet.
  3. Cook chicken on medium-high heat in fry-pan until brown.
  4. Place one rice paper roll in hot water until ready.
  5. Carefully place roll flat on plate. add noodles, and other ingredients in middle of roll. Fold sides of roll and wrap carefully.
  6. Repeat until all ingredients used.

8. Prawn Pasta

Ingredients and Method

  • 200g prawns (fresh or frozen)
  • 100g pasta
  • 6 shallots, diced
  • Chilli flakes
  • 1/2 brown onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tin chopped tomato

CALORIES: 390 (PER SERVING)
PROTEIN: 30g (PER SERVING)
SERVES: 2

  1. Boil pasta according to packet instructions.
  2. Heat dash of olive oil over medium heat on frying pan.
  3. Add shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, ginger, chilli flakes and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and reduce heat to a simmer.
  6. After a couple of minutes, add in cooked pasta. Stir through.

9. Protein Oats Bowl

Ingredients and Method

  • 40g rolled oats
  • 1/2 scoop protein powder
  • 20g granola
  • 1/4 cup boiled water; 1/4 cup cool water
  • Cinnamon
  • 10g chocolate chips
  • 5g shredded coconut
  • 1/2 banana
  • 3 strawberries

CALORIES: 450 (PER SERVING)
PROTEIN: 16g (PER SERVING)
SERVES: 1

  1. Combine rolled oats and water in bowl. Cook in microwave for two minutes.
  2. Stir in protein powder.
  3. Top with all other ingredients.

10. Chicken Pad-Thai

Ingredients and Method

  • 400g chicken breast
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 brown onion
  • 125g Pad-thai noodles
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp garlic
  • For the sauce: 1 tbsp peanut butter; 2 tbsp honey; 2 tbsp lime juice; 1.5 tbsp rice wine vinegar; 1/4 cup fish sauce; 1/4 cup soy sauce

CALORIES: 400 (PER SERVING)
PROTEIN: 25g (PER SERVING)
SERVES: 4

  1. Cut chicken in small cubes. In pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken until browned.
  2. Cook noodles according to packet instructions whilst the chicken is cooking.
  3. Combine sauce ingredients and chop vegetables.
  4. Remove chicken from pan once cooked and set aside leaving oil in pan. Add in capsicum, onion, garlic carrot and cook for 10 minutes. Add bean sprouts and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Push vegetables to one side of pan and add egg. Scramble until cooked and combine with vegetables. Remove from pan and set aside. Don’t clean pan.
  6. Add sauce to empty pan and bring to boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly until thickened.
  7. Add chicken, vegetables and noodles and combine.

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