You’ll love these 500 calorie meals that are healthy, satisfying, and delicious. Choose from easy sheet pan meals (my personal favorite!), skillet and stir-fry meals, one-pot meals, vegetarian meals, and more! All of the recipes are gluten-free.

Overhead photos of a 500 calorie meal in a white bowl with brown rice, veggies, tofu, and avocado.

All these gluten-free recipes are 500 calories or less, and most contain 20-30+ grams of protein. They are perfect for lunch or easy dinners. Or breakfast if you prefer to start your day with a savory meal. I’ve tried to focus on easy, simple recipes featuring lean protein, fresh vegetables, and gluten-free whole grains.

Depending on your health goals (sustainable weight loss vs. weight maintenance) and overall daily calorie intake, you may enjoy the recipes as is or round out your meal with a side salad, whole gluten-free grains, or fresh fruit and still have room to satisfy your sweet tooth with a post-dinner healthy treat!

500 Calorie Meal FAQ

Yes-for most people. While everyone’s calorie needs are different, for someone consuming a calorie range of 1500-2000 calories/day, a 500 calorie meal will help promote weight loss (if desired). In addition, a well-balanced 500 calorie meal should also provide optimal protein to prevent loss of muscle mass, enough calories to help fill you up, and a wide variety of micronutrients for optimal health benefits.

No. While 500 calories are suitable for a meal, it’s considered a very-low-calorie diet, and I do not recommend cutting calories below 1200-1500/day for most people. While you may lose weight quickly, it’s hard to sustain a diet of fewer than 1200 calories per day (hello, hangry!)

It’s also hard to consume enough protein and macronutrients at this level. And, without adequate protein, you’ll lose lean body mass, which can slow your metabolism. Read: How to Boost Your Metabolism.

Absolutely! If you are trying time-restricted eating or intermittent fasting (i.e. 16:8 fasting) and eat 3 meals/day, 500 calories/meal is a good goal to aim for to support weight loss-again, if that is your goal. If you eat more than 1500 calories per day, research suggests eating more calories earlier in the day may be better for weight loss and metabolic health, and may help with appetite reduction. (1, 2, 3)

In addition, if you have heartburn, eating a smaller meal at dinner, and at least 2-3 hours before bedtime can help with reflux.

But, I wouldn’t stress out about it too much. If you’re eating half (or more) of your daily calories at dinner, I suggest adding more calories to breakfast and lunch, gradually cutting back on dinner calories, and assessing your health parameters and how your feel.

40 500 Calorie Meals

Check out all the 500 calorie meals recipe categories & descriptions below, including calorie count information. I’m sharing links to the individual recipes, or jump to the bottom of this post and download all the recipes in a cookbook! If you’re using a calorie tracker like My Fitness Pal or Chronometer, all nutrition information is provided for each recipe in the ebook.

Sheet Pan & Casserole Meals

Chicken thighs, carrots, potatoes, and brussels sprouts on a sheet pan.

Skillet & Stir Fry Meals

Close up photos of a stir fry with lots of vegetables.
  • Maple Miso Chicken Skillet, 217 Calories. If you’re extra hungry, you can double up the servings in this easy skillet meal featuring chicken breasts, yellow and red bell peppers, and miso paste-a gut-healthy fermented food rich in probiotics!
  • Ginger Peanut Pork with Carrots & Radishes, 349 Calories. Peanut butter, ginger, lime juice, and gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos are whisked together for a delicious sauce tossed over lean ground pork, daikon radish, and carrots.
  • Orange Beef Stir Fry, 437 Calories. Get your cruciferous veggies on with this easy beef and broccoli stir fry served over brown rice.
  • Beef & Cauliflower Skillet, 301 Calories. Looking for a high protein, low carb meal? Make this easy skillet meal with ground beef, zucchini, cauliflower rice, lemon juice, and Italian seasoning. Add a side salad and dinner is served!
  • Pork & Coleslaw Skillet, 360 Calories. Easy and delicious-like an egg roll in a bowl! Make this with ground chicken or turkey if you don’t eat pork.
  • Ginger Beef Stir Fry, 417 Calories. Make this easy stir-fry with grass-fed beef, snap peas, and shiitake mushrooms (or other mushrooms) for a delicious Asian-inspired meal!
  • Lemon Turkey Quinoa Skillet, 355 Calories. This comforting 1 skillet meal features ground turkey, quinoa, olives, and spinach, infused with garlic lemon sauce. So easy!
  • Chicken, Broccoli, & Cashew Stir Fry, 399 Calories. Any meal with cashew nuts gets my vote! This recipe does require a few cooking methods, but the final product is worth it!

One Pot Meals, Bowls, Salads, & More!

Rustic looking bowl filled with turkey vegetable soup.
  • Turkey & Vegetable Soup, 142 Calories. What’s more comforting than a hot piping bowl of turkey soup on a cold winter’s night? Feel free to add some rice, pasta, or other gluten-free grains for a light yet satisfying meal.
  • One Pot Taco Pasta, 369 Calories. Calling all pasta lovers! This one-pot meal with lean beef, creamy black beans, corn, and red pepper will satisfy all your pasta cravings! (You may also like: 30 Gluten-Free Pasta Recipes That Are Actually Good For You!)
  • One Pot White Fish and Rice, 401 Calories. This Mediterranean-diet-inspired meal is so easy to make! Pair cod (or your favorite white fish) with sweet cherry tomatoes, olives, basil, and seasonings, and dinner is served!
  • One Pot Creamy Chicken & Artichoke Stew, 263 Calories. This one-pot stew features chicken, veggies, and coconut milk is the ultimate comfort food for a cozy weeknight dinner.
  • Shepherd’s Pie Bowls, 339 Calories. Mashed potatoes and cauliflower are paired with ground turkey, veggies, and seasonings for a tasty meal prep recipe to enjoy throughout the week!
  • Roast Beef Lettuce Wraps, 257 Calories. Make these easy Roast Beef Lettuce Wraps with apple slices and horseradish mayo when you’re craving a yummy low-carb meal.
  • Chicken Salad with Lemon Garlic Tahini Dressing, 354 Calories. This crispy, crunchy salad provides 36 g of protein. Dress it with spicy tahini dressing for a light yet satisfying meal. Serve with high-fiber gluten-free crackers, like Mary’s Gone Crackers, for extra fiber and crunch!
  • Citrus Spiced Turkey Bowls, 311 Calories. Get your daily dose of vitamin C in this zesty citrus turkey bowl. Bean greens add a satisfying crunch to this flavorful meal!
  • Deconstructed Sushi Bowl, 492 Calories. This sushi bowl is packed with protein and heart-healthy omega-3s and is so easy to make. Top it off with spicy mayo for a delicious 500-calorie meal.
  • Strawberry Arugula Salad with Chicken & Strawberry Lemon Vinaigrette, 509 Calories. Technically this salad is just over 500 calories, but I had to include it because it’s a family favorite and jam-packed with nutrition. Want to cut back on calories? Omit the goat cheese, and you’re good to go!
  • One Pot Shrimp & Brown Rice, 266 Calories. Smoked paprika does its magic in this super easy one-pot meal with shrimp, brown rice, peas, and bell peppers.
  • Turkey Taco Lettuce Wraps, 433 Calories. Make a large batch of turkey filling and eat these yummy protein-packed wraps on repeat all week long!

500 Calorie Vegetarian Meals

Overhead photo of shakshuka with eggs and oregano in a cast iron skillet with a wood background.
  • Easy Shakshuka with Chickpeas, 331 Calories. Chickpeas simmered in a spicy tomato sauce and topped with eggs make for the most delicious healthy comfort food! Soak up all the sauce with a little gluten-free bread. SO good!!!
  • Slow Cooker Lentil Chili, 307 Calories. Lentils and beans are a healthy option for low-calorie meals, as they’re rich in fiber to support satiety and gut health. Top this plant-based chili with creamy avocado and cilantro for a satisfying meal!
  • Sticky Sheet Pan Tofu Stir Fry, 182 Calories. Trying to eat more tofu? You’ll love this easy plant-based dinner with simple yet delicious flavors. Add a gluten-free whole grain, like Forbidden Rice, quinoa, fonio, sorghum, or buckwheat, to round out your meal!
  • Easy Chickpea Stir Fry, 345 Calories. This simple recipe is high in fiber and rich in plant-based (non-heme) iron to boot!
  • Tofu & Broccoli Salad with Peanut Sauce, 330 Calories. Need a good reason to eat peanut sauce? This tofu broccoli stir fry is the most delicious way to enjoy it, and so easy to make!
  • Easy Vegetable Frittata, 144 Calories. This Fritatta recipe is a great way to use up leftover veggies, cheese, and herbs. Pair a couple of slices with fresh fruit or a salad for a satisfying and delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
  • Chickpea Omelet with Asparagus, 452 Calories. Love omelets, but not eggs? Whip up this yummy chickpea omelet topped with pan-crisp asparagus and creamy avocado. So good!
  • Healthy Mediterranean Grain Bowl, 354 Calories. Whole grain, gluten-free sorghum serves as the base for this grain bowl. Add your favorite Mediterranean-inspired toppings, and drizzle the yummiest Avocado Tzatziki on top for a quick and easy meal everyone will love!
  • Sweet Potato & Black Bean Salad, 315 Calories. Tantalize your taste buds with this yummy MIND diet-friendly salad featuring sweet potatoes, black beans, and a creamy tahini dressing.
  • Veggie Ramen, 413 Calories. This gluten-free veggie ramen topped with hard-boiled eggs and loaded with veggies makes healthy eating easy and delicious!
  • Breakfast Protein Bowl, 483 Calories. This “breakfast for dinner” meal (lunch or breakfast-lol!) is just under 500 calories. Scrambled eggs are paired with quinoa, veggies, and creamy avocado. Top it off with hot sauce if you like things spicy as I do!
  • Hummus Pasta, 340 Calories. This plant-based pasta has over 20 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber. Serve it with fresh fruit for an easy, healthy meal.
Free Instant Download!

40 500 Calorie Meals Recipe Book

You’ll love this free recipe book featuring all 40 easy, healthy, and delicious 500 calorie (or less!) meals including sheet pan recipe, skillet meals, vegetarian entrees, and more! Click the link below to instantly download the book!

Let’s Chat! Which of these 500 Calorie Meals will you make first??? If you enjoyed this post, please pin it or share it on social media, or share it with your family and friends. And, be sure to sign up for my newsletter, Delicious News, to get new recipes, integrative nutrition news, free meal plans, and more delivered straight to your inbox. Thanks so much for your support!

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