200 calorie meals: 18 easy and delicious dinners under 200 calories

From noodles to curry, from chilli to burgers, here are the best 200 calorie meals to whip up on a diet…

Recipes under 200 calories
Steak and chicory salad, Spanish-style prawns, a butternut squash and spinach tortilla, and green miso noodles
(Image credit: Future)

These low calorie meals under 200 calories are the perfect inspiration for those on the 5:2 diet or who are counting calories and watching what they eat.

Counting the calories in your meals is a great way of keeping control of how much food you are eating, but where do you begin? We've gone through all of our recipes to pick out the best meals for just 200 calories or less – so you don't have to. 

Women are recommended to eat 2,000 calories a day, so allocating just 200 calories for a main meal is quite a task – but it can be done. These dishes are filling and full of flavour, so you won't feel like you're missing out, plus they’re all well balanced and made from fresh ingredients, so you are getting a healthy range of nutrients.

“This collection of recipes can be great for anyone following the 5:2 diet, which research shows can be effective for weight loss, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and managing Type 2 Diabetes,” says nutritionist Natasha Evans. “I'm always interested in the quality of food, rather than just the quantity, which is what calories are a measure of. What I like about these recipes is that they're all made from scratch using real food. If you want to make them more substantial, double portion sizes and or add some extra protein (ie, meat or fish) or healthy fats like avocado to keep you fuller for longer.”

Meals under 200 calories

Meals under 200 cals

Lower the carbs and calories, and up the vits, by replacing spaghetti with spiralized courgettes

1. Mushroom ragu with courgetti

Calories: 125 | Fat: 2.9 | Protein: 10.8g | Carbs: 11.6g

Swapping spaghetti for spiralized courgettes has become a popular hack to reducing the old carbohydrate consumption in recent years, while cleverly increasing your nutrient intake – courgettes are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. The sauce, meanwhile, is low fat, vegan and a nutrient powerhouse to boot, with carrots, onions, celery and Quorn mince mixed with herbs and passata, plus a healthy dose of blitzed mushrooms for a meaty, umami flavour.

Get the recipe: Mushroom ragu with courgetti

Green miso noodle bowl

Crammed with five types of veggies, this is food for the soul

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

2. Green miso noodle bowl

Calories: 198 | Fat: 2g 

“There is lots of vegetable diversity in this dish to support a thriving and diverse gut microbiome, which research shows can benefit your energy, skin, mood and weight,” says Natasha Evans. “Go for an unpasteurised miso paste to add some probiotic benefits, to further support gut health.” Indeed, this divine noodle soup is also ready in a mere ten minutes and will be doing some serious work towards achieving your five a day, as it’s packed with asparagus, peppers, broccoli, courgettes and sugar snap peas.

Get the recipe: Green miso soup bowl

Vietnamese prawn curry

Wonderful southeast Asian flavours, without the high cal and fat count

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

3. Vietnamese prawn curry

Calories: 192 | Fat: 4g 

Replacing high fat coconut milk with regular semi skimmed is a clever way to get those Thai curry flavours you crave without the hefty calories. Lemongrass, chillies and fish sauce bring the South East Asian flavours, the prawns are delicious and high protein and the pak choi is packed with A, B and C vits.  This fiery prawn curry can be on your dinner table in only 15 minutes – just add a small bowl of rice.

Get the recipe: Vietnamese prawn curry

Chinese vegetable chow mein

An easy, light and plant-based noodle dish

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

4. Chinese vegetable chow mein

Calories: 170 | Fat: 7g | Protein: 6.1g | Carbs: 27.1g

This easy, vegan dish is packed with four different types of veggies and makes a brilliant, easy, quick lunch or dinner. It would be a good idea to also add in some lean protein to keep you fuller for longer, and help build muscle mass. Stir in some tofu, tempeh or edamame beans to keep it plant based or, for carnivores, some prawns, salmon, chicken or lean beef steak would work a treat.

Get the recipe: Chinese vegetable chow mein

Roasted ratatouille

Doing some sterling work towards your five a day, and warming and comforting, too

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

5. Roasted ratatouille

Calories: 26 | Fat: 15g 

This isn’t just any old ratatouille, this is a posh ratatouille, worthy of serving to guests while you’re watching the cals. These beautifully displayed veggies  include courgettes, aubergines and bell peppers – which, along with the chopped tomatoes, count handsomely towards your 5-a-day, and can be served just as they are, or as a side dish to some simple grilled fish or steak. 

If you’re not watching the carbs, you could dip some crusty bread into those juices, too. “You get plenty of plant diversity in this ratatouille, as well as some healthy fats in the homemade pesto which will help keep you fuller for longer,” says Natasha Evans. 

Get the recipe: Roasted ratatouille

Mediterranean vegetable chilli

The mince is replaced with stacks of wholesome veggies in this warming chilli

6. Mediterranean vegetable chilli

Calories: 190 | Fat: 7g 

A vegetable chilli in the purest sense – there’s no mince substitute here, just stacks of chopped veggies, including aubergines, spinach, courgettes and cherry tomatoes. Teaming the veg with spices, this is a slightly different approach to the usual sauce, which would be flavoured with chilli powder – it uses Mexican spice mix instead (like you might use for fajitas or tacos). Top with low-fat yoghurt, and perhaps some guacamole, and you could serve with rice or a small jacket potato.

Get the recipe: Mediterranean veggie chilli

Fast fish burger

Fish blitzed with lemon and capers is delicious and low fat

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

7. Fast fish burger

Calories: 141 | Fat: 5g 

“This fish burger makes for a nice protein-based meal, which will increase feelings of satiety after eating. I'd recommend having these fish burgers with some mixed veggies or a salad,” says Natasha Evans. All you need to do is blitz together the fish with capers, lemons, seasoning and herbs and mould it into patties. You might want to add a wholemeal burger bun, and perhaps top with a low-fat sauce, like a garlicky tzatziki.

Get the recipe: Fast fish burger

Baked aubergine

Flavoursome aubergines are fabulous with Indian spices

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

8. Baked aubergine

Calories: 90 | Fat: 4.9g | Protein: 2.8g | Carbs: 9.6g

Asian cuisine knows a thing or two about what to do with an aubergine and this Indian inspired dish makes the best use of an awesome veggie that is wonderful at taking on flavour. Packed with fenugreek, turmeric, cumin and chilli, and sharpened up with some lemon juice, it could be a meal on its own, or served alongside some grilled meat marinated in spices.

Get the recipe: Baked aubergine

Butternut squash and spinach tortilla

Replace potatoes with more nutritious squash in this tasty tortilla

9. Butternut squash and spinach tortilla

Calories: 196 | Fat: 7.6g | Protein: 14.1g | Carbs: 19g

Eggs are the most wonderful protein-packed option for a quick meal there is, and this is a novel way to serve them, swapping out the traditional potato of a Spanish tortilla and replacing with a more nutritious butternut squash. The addition of some Dijon mustard in the mix makes it super tasty, and the spinach adds iron and B vitamins. 

Get the recipe: Butternut squash and spinach tortilla

Spiced butternut squash and veg tagine

A Morocco inspired dish packed with protein-rich chickpeas and veggies

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

10. Spiced butternut squash and veg tagine

Calories: 150 | Fat: 4.5g | Protein: 6.1g | Carbs: 27.1g

Cooking your vegetables into a tagine is a delicious way to pack them with flavour. This Moroccan-style casserole is made with protein-rich chickpeas which will keep you nice and full, and an incredible amount of vegetables – swede, cauli, squash, peppers, carrots and even parsnips. You could serve it solo, or with a side of couscous, one of the best carbs to opt for for weight loss.

Get the recipe: Spiced butternut squash and veg tagine

Vegetable balti

A simple, speedy curry for a midweek dinner delight

11. Vegetable balti

Calories: 131 | Fat: 4g 

A great one if you’re craving a curry but avoiding calorific Friday night takeaways, or even just to make as a speedy midweek dinner (baltis are traditionally cooked speedily over a high heat in much the same way as a stir fry). This one is simple, using shop-bought balti paste and tinned tomatoes, so dinner will be ready in a flash, and it’s packed with a very decent range of veggies, too.

Get the recipe: Easy vegetable balti

Chinese dumplings

Steamed dumplings are a great low-fat starter, or addition to a noodle soup

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

12. Chinese dumplings

Calories: 63 | Fat: 2g | Protein: 6.1g | Carbs: 27.1g

These light, but very tasty, dumplings are also very fun to make – you could get the kids involved – and make for a brilliant starter to a meal, or an addition to a ramen, a highly nutritious, low-fat noodle soup from Japan. Steaming them is a very healthy oil-free way to cook, and you could swap out the pork meat for chicken, or just keep them veggie, should you wish. 

Get the recipe: Chinese dumplings

Meals under 200 calories

A mildly spiced tomato sauce with protein-rich prawns is a low-calorie flavour sensation

13. Spanish style prawns

Calories: 169 | Fat: 8.9g | Protein: 7.5g | Carbs: 8.7g

“This tomato-based dish will provide plenty of vitamin C to support your immune system. You get some protein in here from the prawns, which will make the dish more satiating,” says Natasha Evans.  Large meaty prawns in a tasty paprika-infused tomato sauce takes us off to a world of sunny Spanish tapas restaurants. A clever ingredient here is the fennel, which brings a lovely, mild aniseed flavour, as well as providing vitamin C and fibre. 

Get the recipe: Spanish-style prawns

Quorn lunch bowl

Quorn is an excellent plant-based form of lean protein for low-cal recipes

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

14. Quorn lunch bowl

Calories: 177 | Fat: 2.3g | Protein: 11.1g | Carbs: 26.5g

An excellent lean protein vegetarian and vegan option (so long as you use veggie not chicken stock, of course), Quorn is much lower in fat and calories than meat which makes it the perfect healthy option for lunch. Mixed with tender green beans and soft spinach leaves, this recipe is infused with Asian flavours like fish sauce and mirin (substitute with sherry, or white wine vinegar and a sprinkling of sugar if you can’t get hold of any).

Get the recipe: Quorn lunch bowl

Steak, chicory and orange salad

This salad works wonders for the digestive system

15. Steak, chicory and orange salad

Calories: 180 | Fat: 9.5g | Protein: 1.0.8g | Carbs: 12.4g

Not all salads are made equal. This recipe combines tender steak slices with a tangy orange and Dijon mustard dressing, and handfuls of fresh rocket and red onion add to the flavour too. Plus, it’s posh enough to serve to dinner guests, while keeping your healthy eating plan on track. “I really like this salad - it contains plenty of bitter leaves (white & red chicory and rocket) which are great for our digestive system. Steak is really nutrient-dense and a great, complete source of protein, and then you get some healthy fats from the olive oil. It's a very well balanced dish,” says Natasha Evans.

Get the recipe: Steak, chicory and orange salad

Spring vegetable soup

A balanced meal in a bowl, this is a great one for batch cooking

(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

16. Spring vegetable soup

Calories: 130 | Fat: 1.4g | Protein: 10.6g | Carbs: 19.3g

What is more life-giving than a bowl of veggie soup? And the brilliant thing about this one is it's perfect for batch cooking and leaving out on the stove to dive into for a quick lunch (or even freezing for another time). It’s also a complete dish thanks to the baby new potatoes, and is loaded with the greens and fresh peas to give you a spring in your step, whether it’s actually spring in the air or not.  A fresh, homemade stock makes all the difference in this recipe, too. 

Get the recipe: Spring veg soup

Fruity prawn cocktail

A fruity riff on a traditional classic

17. Fruity prawn cocktail

Calories: 156 | Fat: 1.3g | Protein: 21.3g | Carbs: 16.4g

You could add that a classic prawn cocktail is a joy not to be messed with, but sometimes you can indeed improve on perfection, especially if it means getting a vitamin-packed version by adding fruit like apples and grapes. Perfect for a light lunch or a starter for a bigger dinner, the traditional Marie Rose sauce is replaced with a fat-free fromage frais dressing to lighten the calorie load.

Get the recipe: Fruity prawn cocktail

masala omelette

A wonderful, speedy egg-based breakfast, lunch or dinner

18. Masala omelette

118 calories/7g fat per portion

Calories: 118 | Fat: 7g 

“Eggs are a great source of nutrients and protein. The meal also provides plenty of plant diversity to support your gut microbiome, as herbs and spices count as plant points,” says Natasha Evans. This delicious Masala omelette recipe is a spicy twist on a classic, with plenty of punchy flavour from the spring onions and spices, and tons of vitamins in the fresh tomatoes and spinach. It's a great speedy dinner but it also works brilliantly for breakfast or lunch.

Get the recipe: Masala omelette

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Lara Kilner
Food Writer

Lara Kilner is a writer and editor with two decades of experience in national newspapers, magazines, and websites. She writes about food, lifestyle, travel, health and wellness, and entertainment, and regularly interviews celebrities and people with interesting life stories and experiences. Her foodie content has included interviews with Jamie Oliver, Rick Stein, Queer Eye’s food expert Antoni Porowski, the Hairy Bikers, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, Raymond Blanc, Andi Oliver, Paul Hollywood, Prue Leith, and Nadiya Hussain.