Finding recipes that are both approachable and tasty is difficult enough. Add that they need to be low in calories, and it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. But while counting calories can be tedious and frustrating, keeping a general pulse on your calorie intake can be helpful when you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight.
To get the most nutritional bang for your buck, it’s wise to choose foods that have a low calorie density — or, foods that deliver a burst of nutrients for relatively few calories. Because foods like many fruits and vegetables are lower in calories, you can also eat more of them while keeping your daily intake within a healthy range. That means you’ll often find that recipes made with low calorie density foods are more satisfying than those that chip away at your calorie budget too quickly.
To help get you started, we’ve rounded up 12 recipes for you to test drive in your own kitchen. All of the recipes listed here contain fewer than 500 calories. Bonus? They’re also packed with important nutrients and delicious flavor, so mealtime is anything but boring.