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12 Budget-Friendly Holiday Dinner Dishes Under 450 Calories

5 Surprising Holiday Diet Busters
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Host a special holiday feast without breaking the bank. These clever main dishes will help you save money on meals without sacrificing taste or nutrition — and we have options for both meat eaters and vegetarians.

FOR THE MEAT EATERS

1. 5-INGREDIENT SWEET POTATO TURKEY CHILI | PINCH OF YUM

This hearty meal is ready to eat in three easy steps! Sweet potatoes, black beans and ground turkey give this chili plenty of body while taco seasoning, chili powder and cayenne deliver a punch of flavor. Control your sodium levels by opting for reduced-sodium black beans and broth, then salt to taste. And to lower the total fat and calories even more, use ground turkey breast instead of regular ground turkey, which is made using dark meat and skin. Recipe makes 5 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 408; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 6g; Cholesterol: 101mg; Sodium: 811mg; Carbohydrate: 36g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 34g

2. HONEY-GLAZED SPICED PORK TENDERLOIN | THE MOST DECADENT DIET

Sweet and spicy honey-glazed pork tenderloin uses pantry spices and other ingredients you likely have on hand (like honey, garlic and olive oil) to create a quick yet memorable meal! For speedier prep, marinate your pork ahead of time. Recipe makes 4 servings at 5 ounces pork tenderloin each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 209; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 84mg; Sodium: 362mg; Carbohydrate: 8g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 27g

3. GREEK CHICKEN SHEET PAN DINNER | SKINNYTASTE

If you’re rushing to whip up a flavorful and inexpensive holiday dinner, try this Greek chicken recipe. It’s a complete meal made on a baking sheet! Simply toss ingredients together, and dinner is ready in 30 minutes. And to lighten it up even more, opt for skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1 chicken thigh and 1/4 veggies each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 335; Total Fat: 13g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 117mg; Sodium: 650mg; Carbohydrate: 28g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 28g

4. CHICKEN & BROCCOLI RICE CASSEROLE | COOKING LIGHT

This delicious cheesy chicken and broccoli rice casserole combines simple ingredients for a winning family meal. And since this version uses brown rice, more vegetables, and skips the condensed cream of chicken soup, this recipe contains half the fat and 3 times as much fiber as the traditional recipe. Recipe makes 4 servings at 2 cups each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 432; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 5g; Monounsaturated Fat: 4g; Cholesterol: 68mg; Sodium: 668mg; Carbohydrate: 52g; Dietary Fiber: 6g; Sugar: 9g; Protein: 27g

5. MEXICAN CHILI BEEF PASTA BAKE | CLEAN EATING

This hearty, nutritious meal packs in 9 grams of fiber and 30 grams of protein per serving! Ancho chili powder gives this dish a hint of smoky heat without being overly spicy, but if you don’t have it on hand, regular chili powder works equally well. Make this dish in advance, store in the freezer and bake when you’re in need of a tasty, time-saving meal this holiday season. Recipe makes 8 servings at 1 1/2 cups each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 433; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 8g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 55mg; Sodium: 475mg; Carbohydrate: 46g; Dietary Fiber: 9g; Sugar: 5g; Protein: 30g

FOR THE VEGETARIANS

6. VEGAN LENTIL “MEAT” BALLS | OH SHE GLOWS

These lentil mushroom balls are festive, filling and a great vegan protein option for your next holiday meal. Paired with a cranberry-pear sauce, these meatless balls make for a delightful sweet and savory combo in every bite. Prepare these in advance for a less hectic dinner prep. Recipe makes 7 servings at 2 balls each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 327; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 254mg; Carbohydrate: 45g; Dietary Fiber: 9g; Sugar: 24g; Protein: 11g

7. SWEET POTATO CRANBERRY QUINOA STUFFING | WITH STYLE AND GRACE

This elegant and simple holiday centerpiece takes less than 20 minutes to prep, but it gives guests the illusion that you spent hours in the kitchen. Cumin, cranberries, toasted pecans and parsley are mixed with sweet potatoes and quinoa for a dish that’s bursting with winter colors and flavors. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 386; Total Fat: 12g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 168mg; Carbohydrate: 65g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 20g; Protein: 8g

8. MEDITERRANEAN BAKED SWEET POTATOES | MINIMALIST BAKER

This Mediterranean twist on a holiday classic tops baked sweet potatoes with a creamy garlic-herb sauce and spiced chickpeas for a vegetarian main that’s anything but boring. For under 300 calories, this wholesome dish provides an impressive 14 grams of fiber and 10 grams of of protein — you’ll be pleasantly satisfied and nutritiously stuffed this holiday! Recipe makes 4 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 286; Total Fat: 7g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 136mg; Carbohydrate: 40g; Dietary Fiber: 14g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 10g

9. BRUSSELS SPROUTS & TOFU WITH HONEY-SESAME GLAZE | COOKIE AND KATE

Roasted Brussels sprouts with extra crispy tofu and brown rice are topped with an irresistible sweet-and-spicy glaze for a filling Asian-inspired holiday meal. It’s also worth noting that tofu is an excellent choice when it comes to plant-based protein since it contains all 9 essential amino acids, and therefore qualifies as a complete protein. (Serve sauce on the side so dinner guests can season to taste and keep salt levels in check.) Recipe makes 4 servings. (Sauce not included.)

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 337; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 7g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 269mg; Carbohydrate: 40g; Dietary Fiber: 5g; Sugar: 2g; Protein: 11g

10. BUTTERNUT SQUASH ALFREDO BAKED SHELLS | GIMME SOME OVEN

Topped with a lightened creamy Alfredo sauce, these butternut squash-stuffed pasta shells are a beautiful addition to your holiday fare. Italian-spiced breadcrumbs give this baked dish a nice, crunchy finish. Recipe makes 6 servings.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 323; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 8mg; Sodium: 490mg; Carbohydrate: 30g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 6g; Protein: 12g

11. STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH | DIETITIAN DEBBIE DISHES

This Mediterranean-inspired recipe features baked butternut squash boats filled with fluffy quinoa, Brussels sprouts, olives and feta cheese. It’s a terrific option for meatless meals. Recipe makes 4 servings at 1/4 squash each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 321; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 6g; Monounsaturated Fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 22mg; Sodium: 299mg; Carbohydrate: 45g; Dietary Fiber: 7g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 7g

12. VEGETARIAN SPAGHETTI SQUASH BOATS | LOVE & ZEST

These spaghetti squash boats are a meatless comfort food stuffed with budget-friendly ingredients like beans, cheese, broccoli and onions. With plenty of fiber and vitamins A and C, we’re wishing you a bon voyage in the cooking of this dish. Easily multiply recipe size based on how many guests you have. Recipe makes 2 servings at 1 boat each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 384; Total Fat: 14g; Saturated Fat: 7g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 25mg; Sodium: 395mg; Carbohydrate: 52g; Dietary Fiber: 10g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 19g

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