Healthy dinners that are low in calories do not have to be bland or leave the diner hungry. Changing the components of the meal will allow you to adjust from a higher calorie dinner to one with fewer calories and more nutrients. See the resource links for hundreds of recipes beyond these suggestions.
Choose Healthy Cooking Techniques
Steam, bake, grill, stir fry or broil food rather than deep frying or using added oil or butter in the cooking. Use parchment paper to create a pouch wrapped around meat or fish and vegetables. For example, place a fish fillet in the center of a square of parchment. Add sliced vegetables and fresh herbs of your choice on top of the fish. Fold the parchment over the ingredients and crimp the edges to create a closed pouch. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until the fish is opaque and flakes easily with a fork. Aluminum foil can be used instead of parchment paper. (See reference 1.)
Choose Lean Meats or Vegetarian Options
Rather than beef or sausage, prepare pork or poultry white meat, fish, shellfish, beans or tofu. These lower-fat foods have fewer calories. When cooking poultry, remove the skin before cooking. This decreases the fat and calorie content of the meat further. Grill or broil chicken breasts by brushing with barbecue sauce and grilling or broiling for 3 minutes per side over high heat. Move away from direct heat and continue to cook for 10 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted into the thickest portion of the meat. (See reference 2.)
Make Meat and Starches the Side Dishes
Serve smaller portions of meats and starches such as rice or potatoes and make vegetables and fruits the main portion of the meal. Since they have fewer calories, including more vegetables will decrease the total number of calories in the dinner and increase its healthfulness. Make a large salad topped with a small amount of lean meat rather than having a large steak with a small salad. Another option is to cook a pot of vegetable soup with a small amount of chopped, cooked chicken or turkey breast.