14 Amazing Dinner Recipes You Won’t Believe Are Under 400 Calories Per Serving

When it comes to weight management, most of us have heard the saying, “Calories in – calories out.” While what foods you eat is just as important, making sure you don’t overeat calories is critical. It’s a delicate balance that can take a little bit of planning. But knowing ahead of time that the meal you are making has a certain number of calories per serving can make meal planning much easier. Especially if you have more than just yourself to feed. These seventeen dinner recipes are wonderful family meals that are under 400 calories per serving, and nobody else will count those calories because they’ll be too busy eating.

1. Baked Ziti

A fork hold a bit of baked ziti over a plateful.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

This cheesy baked ziti recipe is a classic comfort food you won’t be able to resist after a long day. It’s flavorful, comforting, and filling, yet each serving clocks in at only 264 calories. Serve this with a green side salad to round out the meal, and if you have some calories left over for the day, add a slice of crunchy, homemade garlic bread to go with it.

2. Healthy Tuna Patties

Freshly cooked, clean eating tuna patties sit on a plate with a lemon wedge, ready to eat.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Healthy tuna patties are one of the quickest options on the list. They’re literally just canned tuna, egg, and some seasonings, so they’re as easy to make as you might imagine. Plus, they’re high in protein, so they will keep you full for hours. Serve these with a green salad to complete the meal.

3. White Bean Soup

A white bowl sits filled with white bean soup.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

White bean soup is a light meal that you can add some meat to if you wish. It’s well under 400 calories per serving, making it a great soup to enjoy any time of year. This can also be served as a side dish or first course to a pasta dinner, or you can serve this with some homemade garlic bread.

4. Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken served over quinoa and garnished with jalapeno pepper slices, lime slices, onions and black beans.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Slow cooker cilantro lime chicken will cook while you do other things. Prepare a few low-calorie toppings and enjoy this for dinner tonight. The leftovers are great for a lunch wrap the next day or for tacos or burritos the next evening. This is one dish that definitely will not go to waste at the back of the fridge.

5. Orzo Salad With Pesto

An overhead view of a white bowl filled with orzo pasta with pesto sacue.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Orzo salad with pesto is a wonderful, simple meal you can put together quickly and easily. It’s full of fresh, summery flavor and pairs well with a green salad, garlic bread, or a brothy cup of soup. Leftovers are just as good the next day and wonderfully easy to pack up for lunch on the go.

6. Avocado Pasta Salad

A close up of a large mixing bowl filled with Avocado Pasta Salad.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Avocado pasta salad Is a light but filling summer pasta salad that pairs well with chicken if you care to add it. Otherwise, it’s a delicious plant-based meal, just as it is. Serve this with a side salad for extra veggies and a light dressing that will compliment the pasta.

7. Buffalo Chicken Pizza

An overhead view of a half-sized buffalo chicken pizza.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Buffalo chicken pizza, made on whole-grain pita bread, is perfect for one but can also be made in multiples to feed more people. This is a great option for portion control because you get to eat the whole darn pizza for just 295 calories, leaving you some room for extras if you want to add them to your meal.

8. Creamy Garlic Mushroom Chicken

The finished Creamy Garlic Mushroom Chicken Recipe in a skillet.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Creamy garlic mushroom chicken is an easy way to make chicken thighs for dinner tonight. You can make it dairy-free by using dairy-free yogurt or regular yogurt for a dairy-based sauce. Either way, it’s wonderful as is, or you can serve it over rice. Feel free to stir in a few extra veggies, too, if you want the extra nutrition.

9. Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

A bowl of Butter Chicken on a cutting board.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you love butter chicken, this slow cooker butter chicken is a super tasty and authentic-tasting dinner. Plus, you can freeze leftovers or simply take them for lunch the next day. You can enjoy this with pita bread or naan (garlic naan is excellent here), or serve this over rice if you want to bulk up the meal a bit.

10. Shrimp And Avocado Salad

An overhead view of a white bowl filled with shrimp and avocado salad.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Shrimp and avocado salad is a great low-carb option for lunch or dinner. The lean protein is paired with healthy fats and fiber from the avocado and other veggies, and if you are serving others, you can easily mix this with rice or pasta and toss it with a bit of vinaigrette. A dinner roll or garlic bread will go well with this.

11. Mushroom Tacos

A row of mushroom tacos on a dark gray surface.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

These mushroom tacos are plant-based, but you can easily add meat if you wish. Top them with your favorite salsa and dig in. Pickled onions are the secret ingredient here, and homemade guacamole really puts these over the top. If you opt for adding meat, either steak strips or shredded chicken are delicious options and can either be added to these or used as a substitute for the mushrooms. Your choice.

12. Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

A hand holds a fork and reaches for a fork full of Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Vegan fettuccine alfredo is delicious and satisfying without using any animal products at all. But shhh… nobody will know because of how creamy this is. It’s great for a Meatless Monday dinner or for any random weeknight when you just want to get dinner on the table. A side salad and garlic bread will round out the meal for everyone.

13. French Onion Chicken

An overhead view of french onion chicken in a white bowl.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.com

French onion chicken is a wonderful dish for anyone on a low-carb or keto eating plan. It will still keep your calories in check while giving you the low-carb balance you want. For anyone eating with you who is not eating low-carb, you can serve some cooked rice or some garlic bread with this. Garlic bread would be the classic choice here because French onion soup is typically served with a large crouton or crusty bread on top.

14. Oven-Baked Chicken Thighs

A black, cast iron skillet holds this just-cooked, Oven-Baked Chicken Thighs Recipe With Veggies
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Oven-baked chicken thighs are a simple meal that you start on the stovetop to brown the meat but finish in the oven to actually cook everything. It’s an easy way to prepare dinner tonight, and the dishes will be minimal because everything gets cooked in one pan. You can add a side of cooked rice to this to round out your meal. Leftovers are great the next day, and this is relatively easy to pack up in a container to take along.

15. Quick And Healthy Spaghetti With Meat Sauce

An overhead view of a white plate filled with a nest of spaghetti.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

This quick and healthy spaghetti with meat sauce is a family meal that everyone will devour. It has all the wonderful flavor you expect from a good bowl of spaghetti but cuts down on calories, too. A classic pairing is garlic bread or an Italian chopped salad on the side.

16. Best Greek Chicken Salad

An overhead view of a mixing bowl with tongs in it, filled with The Best Greek Chicken Salad.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Yes, this is the best Greek chicken salad you’ll eat all week. Make it ahead and portion it out into single servings for easy lunches, or serve it in a large bowl to feed the family. To bulk up the meal, you can easily toss it with pasta or rice. A green side salad would be delicious here, too.

17. Chickpea Curry

An overhead view of a wood bowl filled with Chickpea Curry and garnished with fresh cilantro and a lime wedge.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you like Indian flavors, this Indian-style chickpea curry has wonderfully warm and aromatic spices that will fill up your belly and soothe your soul. Enjoy this as is, or add some rice for extra bulk. This makes an easy Thermos lunch for work the next day. Enjoy this with pita bread or naan.

More From The Gracious Pantry

A dutch oven with a cooked whole chicken topped with rosemary twigs.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Need more dinner ideas? These can help. Chicken and turkey are very versatile foods that can be used to create an unlimited number of dinners. Here are 118 ideas to get you started.

Author: Tiffany McCauley

Title: Food and Travel Journalist

Expertise: Food, cooking, travel


Tiffany McCauley is a nationally syndicated journalist and an award-winning cookbook author and food blogger. She has been featured on MSN, Huffington Post, Country Living Magazine, HealthLine, Redbook, and many more. Her food specialty is healthy comfort food recipes.

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