Griddled tuna with olive and parsley salad

Best healthy low calorie recipes

Our easy recipes all under 500 calories, perfect if you're on the 5:2 diet. In fact, most are under 300 calories, so you have an extra 200 calories to play with! Lighter versions of classics, healthy soups and low cal Asian dishes, there's plenty to choose from

Looking for low calorie meals? Try our low calorie recipes for healthier pasta, curries and stews as well as low calorie dinner classics such as colourful soups and vibrant salads.

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Also known as the Fast Diet, the 5:2 diet is a popular weight loss plan that involves eating normally for five days each week, and reducing your calorie intake to 500 calories on the other two. Not sure if you could manage on such a restricted plan? Read on to discover our tastiest and most filling low calorie recipes that are full of flavour, quick and easy to whip up, and high in protein to keep you satisfied on fasting days. 

Check out our easy 5:2 diet recipes, all with under 500 calories (most come in at under 300 calories so you have 200 calories left to play with). Thai chicken noodle salad for an easy packed lunch, our Asian lettuce wraps that swap the floury wrap for crunchy, low carb lettuce, and our Paleo diet-friendly chicken piccata. Looking for a low calorie veggie option? Our vegan fajita bowl with cauli rice ticks all the boxes, switching carb-rich rice for blitzed cauliflower. 


Three easy ways to cut down on calories…

1

Reduce your oil usage

1 tbsp of oil is 110 calories! So reducing this to 1 tsp reduces this by 1/3, saving you calories from something that has little nutritional benefit. A good tip for greatly reducing your oil intake is to use water instead of oil when roasting or frying. Often when frying you are looking to soften the ingredients, which can be done just as well with water. One of the benefits of roasting with water, is that as this evaporates at the start of cooking, it softens the ingredient, and once fully evaporated can then get nice and crisp.

If you are going to use oil when roasting, try adding the ingredient to a bowl first, before pouring in a little oil and tossing well. You’ll find that a little oil goes a long way when done like this. Putting the ingredient into the tray first, then drizzling with oil often leads to an excess of oil being used.

2

Cut down on carbs

Keeping your carbohydrate intake down also helps as these are calorie-rich foods. Try swapping carbohydrates for something a little healthier. Most supermarkets now stock butternut squash sheets, which are great in lasagnes. Try swapping pasta and spaghetti for courgetti as it’s lower in calories, or white rice for cauliflower rice. Use more wholewheat pastas and brown rice, these have a much higher nutritional benefit, and are much better for you.

3

Watch your portion size

Portion sizes are also key when eating healthy. The recommended servings are much smaller than most people think, meaning that your healthy meal soon becomes less so, due to the amount you’re eating. Just 80g of cooked rice is a portion and 70g for lean meat – the size of a deck of cards. Learning these and then bulking a meal out with salad or veg can keep a meal healthy.


Healthy low calorie recipes

Low-calorie pad Thai

This recipe for pad Thai is packed full of authentic Thai flavours but without the high calorie count as we’ve used courgette instead of normal noodles. It’s really easy to make, ready in under 30 minutes and well under 300 calories, perfect for midweek.

Frying pan full of healthy Pad Thai with prawns

Chicken saag

One of your favourite recipes, our chicken saag recipe proves that you can eat healthily without having to miss out on your favourite foods. This comes in at under 500 calories and is ready in under an hour. Try our low calorie curry ideas here…

Chicken Saag Recipe

Courgetti with pesto and balsamic tomatoes

Who needs pasta when you can have spiralized courgette? Try our easy ‘courgetti’ recipe, made with baby plum tomatoes, garlic, pesto, pine nuts and a lot of courgette noodles.

Courgetti Recipe with Pesto and Tomatoes

Penna alla norma

Check out this easy gluten free tomato pasta with aubergine topped with fresh basil. This simple recipe is veggie friendly and low in calories.

Penne Alla Norma Recipe

Chicken satay noodle salad

Check out our easy chicken satay noodle salad recipe with red cabbage, shredded carrots and roasted peanuts. This vibrant crunchy salad is low in calories and ready in an hour.

Satay Chicken Noodle Salad Recipe

15-minute mushroom stroganoff

This super-quick and easy mushroom and tarragon stroganoff makes for a great, healthy midweek meal, ready in just 15 minutes and under 300 calories.

Easy Stroganoff Recipe with Mushroom and Tarragon

Roast sweet potatoes with zhoug

Check out these roasted sweet potatoes topped with crumbly feta, juicy tomatoes and zhoug – a spicy herb sauce. This veggie recipe is super easy to make, packed with plenty of flavour and low in calories.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic and Herb Sauce

Chilli-salt salmon with chopped salad

Check out this quick and simple marinaded chilli-salt salmon. This colourful recipe is not only easy to make but it’s low in calories, too.

Chilli Salmon Recipe with Chopped Salad

One-pot paprika cod and chickpeas

Check out our punchy paprika cod one-pot with juicy tomatoes. This simple tray bake is an easy, low calorie midweek meal for when you’re short on time but still want something healthy.

Cod and Chickpea One-Pot Recipe

Chargrilled tuna with crunchy lemon bulgar salad

Looking for a low calorie fish recipe? Try our easy tuna steak with zingy lemon bulgar wheat salad. Ready in 30 minutes, this low calorie recipe is a quick midweek meal for two.

Tuna Steak Recipe with Bulgur Wheat

Spiced carrot and lentil soup

Need a warming yet low calorie dinner? Make our simple red lentil soup recipe with lightly spiced curried carrots. This veggie soup is easy to make and under 300 calories.

Spicy Carrot and Lentil Soup

Vegan quinoa and black bean chilli

Try our quick and easy vegan chilli. This quinoa and black bean chilli recipe is high in protein, low calorie and vegan – but still tastes impossibly creamy. Try our vegan one pot, or click here to see our other vegan recipes.

Easy Vegan Bean Chilli Recipe with Quinoa

Paleo chicken piccata

Our recipe for paleo chicken piccata is fast, healthy and easy to freeze. Serve with a green salad or cauliflower rice to keep things paleo diet-friendly and low calorie. Try one of our top healthy chicken recipes under 500 calories, here.

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Szechuan prawn noodles

These hot and spicy Chinese-style noodles only take 15 minutes to whip up, so they’d make a super quick and easy midweek meal if you’re stuck for time or craving some healthy, low calorie fast food. Try our other 15 minute meal ideas here.

Cheat’s chicken mole

Our recipe for cheat’s chicken mole uses a clever product to mean it’s ready in less than an hour but still filled with fresh flavour and under 300 calories – perfect for a healthy midweek treat for the 5:2 diet.

Cheat's chicken mole

Vegan fajita bowl with cauli rice

Stay on-trend while doing the 5:2 diet with this vegan fajita bowl with cauli rice. It’s quick and easy to make as well as being vegan, low calorie and 5:2-diet friendly, but still delivers on flavour. Check out our vegan recipe ideas here.

Vegan Fajita Bowl with Cauliflower Rice Recipe

Spring greens shakshuka

A fab brunch recipe under 300 calories. Shakshuka, traditionally a North African dish, is typically comprised of spices, eggs and tomatoes, but here we’ve decided to mix things up a little… make it green and healthy with asparagus tips and broad beans.

Spring Greens Shakshuka

Open-faced omelette with garlic mushrooms and taleggio

Want an easy lunch recipe? Make this quick and simple grilled omelette with garlicky mushrooms and soft melted taleggio, ready in just 20 minutes and under 400 calories.

Easy Omelette Recipe with Mushroom and Cheese

Tuscan pork steaks

Our 5:2 diet recipe for Tuscan pork steaks ticks all the boxes. It’s low calorie, low fat, low sugar, low salt and high in protein to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

tuscan pork

Smashed broad beans on toast

Not a fan of the classic beans on toast? Try our greener, healthier version, broad beans on toast. This recipe is quick and easy to rustle up, ideal for when you’re short of time and on a diet. Here are our favourite broad beans recipes to try.

Broad Bean Toast

Moroccan veg and chickpea tagine

Our Moroccan veg and chickpea tagine is vegan, low-fat and really easy to make. This recipe makes enough for four, but the leftovers freeze well – perfect for midweek meals where you’re pressed for time but still want to keep things healthy.

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Courgette, pea and artichoke salad with pistachio pesto

Ideal for vegetarians on the 5:2 diet. This recipe for courgetti, pea and artichoke salad with pistachio pesto is full of green goodness as well as being vegan, low calorie, gluten free and ready in just 20 minutes.

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Tofu steak with beetroot noodles and dukkah

Once you’ve mastered the art of courgetti, branch out and try spiralising different vegetables! This quick and easy tofu steak with beetroot noodles and dukkah is a great vegetarian meal for one, ready in half an hour, and under 500 calories.

Tofu with beetroot noodles and dukkah

Squash toast with feta, sumac and poached egg

Try this squash toast with feta, sumac and poached egg for a healthy vegetarian brunch for one under 300 calories. Ready in less than half an hour and packed with interesting flavour, what better way to start your weekend? We are big fans of toast and have lots of great toast topper ideas.

Squash toast with feta, sumac and poached egg

Tandoori lamb steaks with chilli-spiked slaw

This recipe for tandoori lamb steaks with chilli-spiked slaw ticks all the boxes as it’s low cal, low fat, low sugar, low salt and high in protein. Plus, it’s really easy to make.

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Lentil ‘meatballs’ with fresh tomato sauce

Lentils are a great way to make a meal vegetarian. Swap these for your usual meatballs and your family will hardly notice the difference. Plus, they’re low cal and ready in just 40 minutes – perfect for during the week.


Fiery chickpea and harissa soup

On the table in 20 minutes, this fast and easy spicy soup is made with chickpeas. Our vegetarian recipe gets its heat from harissa, the hot chilli pepper paste from Morocco.


Lamb koftas with kale salad

Super easy to put together, lamb koftas make the best 5:2 diet-friendly weeknight supper. Here we’re serving them with a healthy Brussels sprouts and kale salad for a delicious low-carb dinner.


Chermoula tomato and fish tagine

A simple, speedy tagine made for sharing. It’s full of flavour but doesn’t need hours in the pot. Giant couscous and harissa give it texture and heat and the preserved lemon makes it more authentic. Serve to a crowd at a party or as a dinner-party main course.

Chermoula Fish Tagine Recipe

Butternut and sage risotto

This butternut and sage risotto feels indulgent, but is easy enough for weeknights and low in calories. Ready in just half an hour, it definitely hits the spot when you need Italian comfort food!

Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto Recipe

Griddled tuna with olive and parsley salad

This quick recipe for tuna makes for an easy and healthy midweek meal, with oily fish packed with vitamins and omega 3. Serve with a green olive salad and new potatoes on the side.

Griddled tuna with olive and parsley salad

Broccoli and roasted red pepper frittata 

This broccoli and roasted red pepper frittata makes for a quick, healthy and delicious midweek meal. It’s on the table in just 20 minutes, plus it’s low cal and 5:2 diet-friendly. We’ve got many more omelette and frittata recipes to try here.

Broccoli and roasted red pepper frittata

Grilled cod with salsa rossa

Simple but packed with flavour from the garlic, chilli and cinnamon, this colourful recipe for grilled cod with salsa rossa is quick and easy to make as well as being low in calories.


Chicken madras

Our recipe for chicken madras is a really easy way to feed the family. Lower in calories and fat than creamy alternatives, this classic chicken curry packs a flavour punch and is full of satisfying protein. Looking for a healthy curry recipe? Here are a few ideas.

Chicken Madras Curry Recipe

Pork fillet with pepper stew

Our recipe for pork fillet with pepper stew feeds 4 in less than an hour and comes in at under 200 calories – perfect for the 5:2 diet. Plus, you can freeze any extra – why not make extra at the weekend for easy midweek lunches and dinners?

Pork Stew Recipe with Peppers

Need more healthy inspiration? Take a look at our favourite courgetti recipes now

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