Whether you’re keeping a check on your weight or trying to be an all-round healthier eater with a balanced diet, these 300 calorie meals are sure to inspire.
Brilliant if you’re calorie counting, following the 5:2 diet (opens in new tab), or just generally trying to cut back, these low calorie meals (opens in new tab) include a variety of dietary options including something for vegetarians and vegans. From Moroccan tomatoes to a broad bean and rice salad, these recipes work for all the family – plus you can always add a side of extra carbs for those who aren’t calorie conscious.
“These dishes are all perfect calorie-wise. All healthy meals should prioritise good quality protein, contain nutrient-rich carbs, and a dollop of healthy fat. These not only give us the nutrients we need, they keep us full and balance blood sugar so it stays steady, leaving us energetic, calm, and productive,” says The Functional Foodie (opens in new tab) Jane Hutton, a chef and nutritionist.
“Freshly cooked whole foods are ‘good’ calories, chemically laden/processed ingredients are ‘bad’ calories. Imbalanced hormones, a less than well functioning gut, and eating too much sugar and not enough protein and healthy fat will all result in weight gain, so overall diet is crucial. Eat enough of the right foods (protein, healthy fat, veg, fruit, fibre, and some complex carbs) and you’ll get your body working and your weight what it should be for you as an individual,” explains Jane. “Just control your portion sizes and snacking. Protein, healthy fats and fibre will keep you full, preventing snacking.”
Healthy 300 calorie meals
1. Prawn and chorizo stir fry
Calories: 270 | Fat: 17g
If the combo of juicy king prawns and chorizo doesn’t transport you to your favourite tapas bar (with a jug of sangria on the table, of course), we don’t know what will. This simple pan fried recipe includes a generous helping of cavolo nero, kale’s exotic Italian relative (it translates as black cabbage, but that really doesn’t sound quite so exciting, does it?) which is packed with B vits. Add in some flaked almonds for extra protein and a bit of crunch, and some jarred or charred peppers, and you’ve got yourself a delicious, light Mediterranean meal. Add in some rustic bread to mop up the tasty, tangy juices (thanks to the balsamic), or maybe a side of patatas bravas (opens in new tab) if you’re not watching the cals too strictly.
“If you were to ask me for a top 5 of nutrient superstars, then nuts, seafood and dark leafy greens would be in there,” says Jane Hutton. “This delicious juicy jumble provides folate, zinc, omega 3 and 6, B6, magnesium, and B12 and feeds hormone health, balances mood and brain function, strengthens immunity, give the gut some serious support and fights inflammation.The ratio of protein to carb and healthy fat is also spot on. 10 out of 10!”
Get the recipe: Prawn and chorizo stir fry (opens in new tab)
2. Moroccan rice-stuffed tomatoes
Calories: 211 | Fat: 9g
These Moroccan rice-stuffed tomatoes are so simple to make and cooked in just 25 mins. Each beefsteak tomato makes a little edible pot stuffed with courgette, pine nuts, red onion, spices and plenty of rice. The key ingredients are the North African spice mix ras el hanout, the sweetness of some chopped dried apricots (dates could work in this dish, too) and a scattering of finely chopped fresh mint. It’s completely vegan, too.
Get the recipe: Moroccan rice-stuffed tomatoes (opens in new tab)
3. One-pot Italian-style mussels
Calories: 270 | Fat: 17g
This delicious one-pot Italian-style mussels recipe is really easy to whip up. Bursting with flavour, thanks to the anchovies, olives and garlic, it’s very low in saturated fats. Delicious as it is without any additions, if you’re not watching the cals too closely, we of course recommend serving with skinny chips or a hunk of bread to dip in the sauce. And if you are, you could always make some low-cal oven chips, with one-cal spray oil.
Get the recipe: One-pot Italian-style mussels (opens in new tab)
4. Pork pittas with mango and pomegranate salsa
Calories: 222 | Fat: 6g
Chunky pork meatballs and a fruity salsa is a fresh and summery spin on a low-calorie meal. The lean pork is flavoured with cumin for a spice hit that combines beautifully with the zesty, tropical, vitamin-filled salsa made from mango, pomegranate and lime. The pitta bread is not included in the calorie count but if you do fancy some carb, you could opt for a wholemeal wrap.
Get the recipe: Pork pittas with mango and pomegranate salsa (opens in new tab)
5. Spring chicken tray bake
Calories: 273 | Fat: 16g | Protein: 17g | Carbs: 14.5
Our spring chicken tray bake is really simple to make because it cooks all in one pot – and it’s incredibly good for you too. Made with chicken thighs (though you could swap for breast meat to make it even less calorific and more low fat), the veg quota is high, thanks to the tenderstem broccoli and the sugar snaps, and the herby, sticky, oregano and lemon-infused flavours transport us to a Greek island. You could serve with an olive, tomato and cucumber salad, with a light crumbling of salty feta.
“A perfect lunch or light supper that is as tasty for the eyes as it is for the tummy,” says Jane Hutton. “The chicken, new potatoes, onions, broccoli and peas cover that brilliantly, and the addition of herbs, olive oil and lemon give more than just zing – they add valuable nutrient profiles of their own. Quick, easy and very healthy.”
Get the recipe: Spring chicken traybake (opens in new tab)
6. Celeriac, carrot and pearl barley bake
Calories: 281 | Fat: 8g
Like a British answer to a risotto (albeit one that is oven baked and doesn’t involve stirring in ladles of stock for hours on end) pearl barley is a filling ingredient without the calories of white rice. The start of the show here is the celeriac, a tasty, under-rated veg that adds real depth of flavour, along with the tangy but sweet wholegrain honey mustard. This dish can be made more summery with the addition of a peppery watercress and rocket salad to add even more flavour oomph.
Get the recipe: Celeriac, carrot and pearl barley bake (opens in new tab)
7. Baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms
Calories: 250 | Fat: 21g
Breakfast for dinner is one of life’s little joys, especially when it’s as protein packed as this one. These creamy, rich eggs are served with iron-rich spinach leaves and soft mushrooms and the recipe is a little decadent thanks to the addition of double cream, but we recommend you swap that out for natural yogurt, Turkish style. They look super cute in their mini ramekins and definitely good enough to serve to your friends for brunch. A side of roasted cherry tomatoes with some dried herbs would complement this perfectly.
“Eggs make the world go round. You can’t find a tastier, more versatile or more nutritious protein source for any meal, from breakfast to bedtime. Adding a green element is always a health winner, and spinach is very mild and easy to wilt into anything. Mushrooms are one of the very few food sources of vitamin D, as are eggs, and the mushrooms and spinach provide the K2 needed for the body to actually use vitamin D, plus the other ingredients give us the magnesium and calcium to complete that process within the cells. A total mood food win.”
Get the recipe: Baked eggs with spinach and mushrooms (opens in new tab)
8. Prawn and squash curry
Calories: 291 | Fat: 13.5g
You might not naturally put them together but soft butternut squash and tender prawns make a delicious combo, in a coconut and balti-spiced sauce. Serve with a small portion of brown rice. Perfect for when you’ve got a Friday night curry craving but are watching the cals. You could add more veg in, too – green beans would work perfectly for some greenery.
Get the recipe: Prawn and squash curry (opens in new tab)
9. Sole tapenade twists
Calories: 283 | Fat: 17g
These fishy twists are really simple to make and full of deep flavour thanks to the salty tapenade, the tangy mustard and the fresh tarragon. Sole is an underused fish that is low-fat, protein packed and really takes on these wonderful flavours. Perfect served with a punchy spring onion mash and a side of steamed greens.
Get the recipe: Sole tapenade twists (opens in new tab)
10. Chicken, root and barley soup
Calories: 259 | Fat: 1.6g
Is there anything that a bowl of chicken soup can’t fix? Soup for dinner may not always sound like the most filling option, but it really depends on what you put in it, and this hearty broth is filled with protein-rich chicken, wholesome veg and barley – a grain that will definitely fill you up. Add a dollop of fresh yogurt on top and sprinkle over some fresh herbs. You could even add a chopped red chilli to liven things up. Like a food hug.
Get the recipe: Chicken, root and barley soup (opens in new tab)
11. The Hairy Bikers’ Thai chicken and coconut curry
Calories: 283 | Fat: 13.5 | Protein: 33.9 | Carbs: 20.4
You cannot beat those hirsute Georgie lads when it comes to creating stomping good recipes that are high on flavour while still cutting the cals – and it works for them because they lost six stone between them while eating them. This Thai curry is a takeaway classic, reimagined for the health conscious, using reduced fat coconut milk and chicken breast meat and packed with colourful peppers and mangetout.
Using shop-bought Thai curry paste rather than the labour intensive method of making your own, this can easily be made as a speedy midweek dinner. We recommend keeping a bag of kaffir lime leaves (found in Asian supermarkets) in the freezer, scrunching them up to release the flavour and adding to a dish like this – there’s no fragrance and taste quite like it.
Get the recipe: The Hairy Bikers’ Thai chicken and coconut curry (opens in new tab)
12. Japanese broth with udon noodles
Calories: 250 | Fat: 6g
A good ramen soup is like food for the soul, and this one feels a little bit special, thanks to the addition of juicy, tender strips of fillet steak (though if you’re not a red meat person, they could be swapped out for salmon, prawns or tofu). An important ingredient here is the miso paste (which can be found in the world food aisle of most supermarkets), as well as the fish sauce, and it’s packed with mushrooms (fancy varieties, or good, honest button types, whatever you fancy), mangetout and spring onions for flavour. You could also add some greens such as bok choi or even regular cabbage in the mix, and top with a sliced hard boiled egg for extra protein.
“The Japanese know a thing or two about healthy food. One Japanese island population has the highest longevity rate in the world – almost all adults live to be over 100! So what’s their secret? Their consumption of veg, good protein sources like meat, seafood and proper tofu, their excellent stocks, and wild mushrooms,” says Jane Hutton. “Garlic and miso are fantastic gut boosters, additionally helping support hormones and the immune system when eaten regularly.”
Get the recipe: Japanese broth with udon noodles (opens in new tab)
13. Moroccan root tagine with couscous
Calories: 300 | Fat: 4.8g | Protein: 16.8 | Carbs: 48
This vegan tagine is super simple to knock together for a midweek dinner, and it’s such a nutritional winner – lean protein from the chickpeas, healthy carbs from the couscous, and stacks of vits and minerals from the root veg. Leeks are a great source of magnesium and vitamins A, E and K, while both carrots and courgettes are packed with vit C, beta carotene and antioxidants.
Get the recipe: Moroccan root tagine with couscous (opens in new tab)
14. Moroccan tomatoes
Calories: 221 | Fat: 18g
It could be breakfast, it could be lunch, it could be dinner… This dish is easy, protein packed, low fat, and given a North African twist with the addition of ras el hanout spices (did you know that, in Arabic, this means top of the shop, meaning a blend of the best spices from the spice market seller?). Pick the best quality tomatoes you can find – ideally plum, or those still on the vine for maximum flavour and, when in season, choose British asparagus, always a winning combination with eggs. A great dish when you’re cutting carbs, or with some flatbread or a slice of crusty wholemeal when you’re not.
Get the recipe: Moroccan tomatoes (opens in new tab)
15. Roasted vegetable couscous
Calories: 280 | Fat: 7g
A speedy dinner with the couscous cooked by simply adding a flavoursome stock, this could even be knocked together for a quick lunch. Keeping it vegan, add some canned chickpeas for protein, or some grilled chicken or halloumi (you could always opt for the reduced fat variety) for a non-vegan version. Adding more couscous to your diet is an all-round winner – it’s lower in calories and carbs than white rice or pasta, and has more protein, vitamins and minerals, too. Plus, it couldn’t be easier to prepare – all you need to do is add boiling water to it, Pot Noodle style, and fluff it up.
Get the recipe: Roasted vegetable couscous (opens in new tab)
16. Quick-fry lemon sole with shrimp and caper butter
Calories: 280 | Fat: 15g
A classic fish dish. The simple lemon sole (who named it when it doesn’t taste of lemon, we have no idea – unless you add lemon, which is always a good idea, of course) is elevated to new heights with the addition of potted shrimps and sharp capers. Served with some new potatoes and a side of tenderstem broccoli or steamed green beans, this one feels special enough to cook for dinner guests, but isn’t at all tricky to put together.
Get the recipe: Quick-fry lemon sole with shrimp and caper butter (opens in new tab)
17. Crispy Asian sea bass
Calories: 277 | Fat: 9g
Sea bass is up there as a king of fish, if you ask us, and it particularly lends itself to Asian flavours, like the ginger, chilli and sesame oil it is cooked with here. You could buy the whole fish for a dramatic table centrepiece, but it’s cooked here with fillets. The key here is to get the skin nice and crispy, which is done by making sure it’s dry when you fry it and getting the oil super hot first, because no one wants flabby skin, do they? Serve with a small portion of steamed rice if you want carbs, and a side of stir fried veg.
Fish is the perfect source of protein and sure to keep you fuller for longer. Not only that, but it’s bursting with omega-3 fatty acids which are really good for your skin. Infused with sesame oil, ginger and chillies, you can’t really go wrong with this healthy dish.
Get the recipe: Crispy Asian sea bass (opens in new tab)
18. Basque seafood stew
Calories: 233 | Fat: 6g
The Basque country region of south west France and north west Spain (including the foodie haven of San Sebastian) is a fish lover’s paradise. This simple stew features prawns and sea bass but, really, you could use any mix of seafood – squid, mussels, cockles – and any kind of fish – cod, sea bream, even salmon. It’s tomato based so not at all creamy and calorific, and the paprika and cayenne pepper give it a subtle kick. The potatoes and peppers make it a pleasing one-pot meal, too.
Get the recipe: Basque seafood stew (opens in new tab)
19. Zingy rice and prawn salad
Calories: 225 | Fat: 5g
An excellent one for a healthy dinner and a cold packed lunch for the next day, the flavour key here is the chilli flakes, paprika and sun-dried tomato paste. The baby corn and spring onions provide the veg quota, though we recommend serving with a generous helping of peppery watercress, too.
Get the recipe: Zingy rice and prawns (opens in new tab)
20. Broad bean and brown rice salad
Calories: 211 | Fat: 5.5g
Broad beans are a great choice for summer salads, as they’re in season until September (though the frozen variety also suffice perfectly well). Seasoned with cumin, paprika, garlic and lemon, this is a flavoursome salad that serves as a whole meal with healthy carbs, and could also be a side dish to some grilled lamb chops for carnivores, or with a chunk of feta and/or some warm falafel.
“Beans and rice aren’t necessarily foods you might associate with weight management, but in fact, both are important parts of any eating regime that looks to maintain a healthy weight. Brown rice is a source of fibre, perfect for keeping the gut working well, but it also contains two crucial fat burning nutrients, B6 and zinc. On top of that, it sweeps excess oestrogen out of the gut, and provides a full tummy for less calories. All kinds of beans do a similar job when it comes to making us feel full, due to their protein content,” says Jane Hutton.
Get the recipe: Broad bean and brown rice salad (opens in new tab)
21. Stuffed tomatoes with feta and couscous
Calories: 232 | Fat: 21g
Stuffing vegetables such as peppers or tomatoes is a marvellous way to make a low-calorie meal. You’ll need the substantial beefsteak varieties for this Mediterranean veggie recipe, so there’s plenty of space to fill with couscous, feta cheese and the sliced black olives, all flavoured with lemon zest, chopped fresh mint and spring onions. Ditch the feta to make it vegan friendly, and add some chickpeas for protein.
Get the recipe: Stuffed tomatoes (opens in new tab)
22. Chicken taco bowls
Calories: 288 | Fat: 6g
If you’ve ever wondered how to turn a corn tortilla into a bowl, wonder no more, as this recipe reveals exactly how, before teaching you how to fill it with the best flavours. The perfect way to use up leftover meat from a Sunday roast, these tacos can also be made with pork or beef. Topped with fresh corn and jalapenos, you could also whip up a fresh low cal, low fat tomato salsa (opens in new tab) to serve alongside. Far lower in calories and saturated fats than your average taco, thanks to the use of lean chicken breast, rather than fattier thigh meat, and the omission of cheese/sour cream. You could up the vitamins and healthy fats by adding some homemade guacamole (opens in new tab).
Get the recipe: Chicken taco bowls (opens in new tab)