Dinner Ideas Under 20-Minutes: 5 Easy Low Calorie Meals

Last Updated on 3 years by Eva

When you have a baby to jump around ( and another older kid or more), it can be a challenge to cook and eat a decent meal. Who does have time for that, right? You are glad you made it out of your pajamas before lunch and managed to make yourself (and your older) some breakfast – like me, today. My baby boy is teething so I didn’t get a proper sleep for 3 nights in a row (by “proper” I mean at least 3 hours uninterrupted :), so I spend my days just aimlessly wandering around the house, carrying the baby. My body is sleep-deprived and all I want to eat is SUGAR. And pizza. Luckily I have some super easy low calorie meals that are soo yummy and will save you tons of time and calories. Most of them are ready within 20 minutes or less and provide you with nourishment and energy that your body desperately needs.

I love creating easy meals. Although they might not be a top culinary experience, they’re tasty, satisfying and healthy. So do yourself a favor today: instead of ordering that pizza, try one of my recipes! Oh and of course they are breastfeeding friendly! ๐Ÿ™‚


1. Tuna “risotto”

This is actually not the Italian style risotto, but I didn’t know what else to name it. Great lunch, full of lean protein, healthy fats slow burning carbs. You will need:

  • rice – cookedtuna risotto
  • canned tuna in water or olive oil – drained
  • frozen peas (or any vegetable of your choice)
  • mushrooms
  • leek
  • Parmesan – grated

1 serving (250g) = 450 Kcal

Boil the rice with a pinch of salt. If you want to have a super-healthy meal, opt for a brown rice. But keep in mind that brown rice takes a lot longer cook than white rice, so it is better to have it prepared beforehand. I cook my rice in a rice cooker – it’s a lifesaver! You just put your rice inside, pour water, press the “cook button” and forget it. It cooks the rice and when ready, it keeps heating it for another 24hrs. So you can prepare it even overnight and it will be fresh for your lunch. You don’t even have to be at home when your rice is cooking.

While the rice is cooking, simmer the vegetables for a couple of minutes in salty water – if not using peas, cut your veggies into small pieces, this way a quick simmering is enough. You can also use a microwave for this. Cut mushrooms and a piece of leak into pieces and put fry them on a heated pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper. After 2 minutes, add the cooked veggies, mix together with the mushrooms and turn off the heat. Add the rice and drained tuna, add some more salt or seasoning of your choice and your lunch is ready!


2. Leek soup

I am a soup person. My mom used to serve the soup with every meal. She said warm soup helps your stomach to get ready for the next course. If you are in a hurry and you need a satisfying, healthy meal you can eat with just one hand (because you are carrying your baby with your other hand), a creamy, thick soup is a great choice. You will need:

  • 1 leek
  • 2 small sweet potatoes (or regular ones)creamy leek soup
  • chicken or vegetable broth
  • butter
  • 2 spoons of red lentils
  • salt, pepper

1 serving (250g) = 250 Kcal

Cut the leek including the green part into pieces and fry it with a piece of butter. Add chopped potatoes, red lentils, salt and pepper and let fry for another minute. Add water/broth just to cover the vegetables and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Mix with a blender until creamy. If the soup is too thick, add some more hot water. Add some more seasoning of your choice if desired (I use a herb soup mix seasoning). Serve with fresh parsley leaves, a mix of seeds or croutons, and drizzle with pumpkin seed oil. Yum!

3. Roasted veggies with cottage cheese dip

This one is super easy. I love roasted meals because you just put them inside the oven and you can do something else until it’s finished (the only downside is that you can easily forget you are cooking something ๐Ÿ™‚ For this recipe, you can use basically any veggie that is suitable for roasting, e.g. eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, beets, cauliflower..etc. I personally love this meal with pumpkin and sweet potatoes: Here is how I do it:

  • 1/2 butternut squash or Hokkaido pumpkin – peeledroasted veggies with cottage cheese
  • 1 bigger sweet potato
  • 1 cottage cheese
  • olive oil, salt
  • herbs: parsley, chives, garlic, thyme

1 serving (300g veggies + 150g cottage) = 320 Kcal

Peel the pumpkin and cut out the seeds. Cut it into slices. Peel the potato and cut it into thick chips. Put the veggies in the bowl, drizzle with olive oil, add some salt and thyme. You can also add rosemary if you like its taste (I don’t). Mix the veggies thoroughly so they are well covered in oil and seasoning. Put them on the roasting sheet and bake for approx 15-20 minutes (depends on your oven). The veggies should be slightly brown on the top when ready. To prepare the dip, mix cottage cheese with salt, fresh parsley, chives and crushed garlic.

4. Tuna salad with apple

This is a fantastic summer dish that requires no cooking (apart from the eggs) and will keep you full for longer thanks to loads of proteins. I love the sweetness of an apple combined with onions and tuna. If you don’t breastfeed and are not allergic to nuts, switch pumpkin seeds for some walnuts. This combination is just heaven! You will need:

  • any green salad leaves or spinach leavestuna salad with apple
  • 1/2 of apple, diced
  • 1 canned tuna
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 1/4 avocado
  • red onion
  • pumpkin seeds or walnuts (only if you do not breastfeed)
  • olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar glaze

1 serving = 350 Kcal

Dice apple, avocado, onion and egg. Mix it with green leaves and drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top. Add some salt and fresh ground pepper to taste and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds or walnuts on top.


5. Pumpkin soup

This soup is just pure delight and you are done in 15 minutes. If you omit the intense seasonings, it is a great toddler meal too! I like to use Hokkaido pumpkin for this, but butternut squash will also do. Here is how to prepare it:

  • 1 pumpkin/squashpumpkin soup
  • 1/2 onion
  • butter
  • 1 medium potato
  • chicken or vegetable broth
  • salt, pepper, curry seasoning, paprika, cinnamon
  • pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil

1 serving (250g) = 300 kcal

Saute diced onion on melted butter. Add pumpkin and potato peeled and cut into small pieces. Fry together for 1 minute, then add the seasoning. Pour over the broth, just enough to cover the veggies (you can add some more broth or water later on, if too thick). Cook approximately 10 minutes, then mix with a blender until smooth. Serve drizzled with pumpkin seeds and oil.


So, what do you think? You can prepare yourself a decent, healthy and satisfying meal in less amount of time than it takes to deliver pizza ๐Ÿ™‚ Give your body some nutritious fuel to keep that metabolism working the right way.


Do you have your own favourite quick lunch or dinner recipe? I would love to know so I can try it! Just drop me a comment ๐Ÿ™‚



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11 thoughts on “Dinner Ideas Under 20-Minutes: 5 Easy Low Calorie Meals

  1. Nice recipes, I have made leek soup before. I took down your recipe so I can try a different spin on it. Thanks for all the great recipes.

  2. Honestly, I’m not a mom and I don’t have a baby. However, I am a twenty-something bachelor and that may qualify me as the biggest baby of all! I find these recipes to be delectable looking and the fact that they’re easy, quick, and healthy appeals to me as well! Tuna Risotto is on the menu for tonight! Gonna try it out for a week and then try one of your others, probably one of the soups. Thanks for making living on a budget healthier and simpler! You rock!

    1. So I went for the tuna risotto, and boy was it a modern masterpiece! I subbed out the mushrooms (because I can’t stand the flavor) and actually spiced it up a bit with some cumin and cayenne, since I like my food to have a little bite! Turned out great, took me all of 10 minutes and I was already eating. Keep these ideas coming, you’re a life saver!

      This also reminds me of in college when I used to legitimately cook all of my meals in a rice-cooker, which you mention in the article. Maybe you could write a future post about things that could be cooked in the rice-cooker other than rice? Just an idea! Have a great day!

  3. These would be amazing…if I didn’t hate the taste of everything presented. Darn it, this always happens. Either the food is made out of stuff I don’t like, or it’s really hard to get from where I live.

  4. I enjoyed this site. I myself am kind of a health nut. You may see that in my posts or site later on. I liked the whole ingredients and recipe ideas. The design is pretty cool too!!! Nice work, truly..

  5. Having those healthy and easy to prepare meals is such a cool idea. Actually, I did not have any easy meals when I had my kiddos. I just didnโ€™t think about it. My niece is having a baby in the next 3 months, so I will share this post with her. I am sure she will welcome those easy to prepare meals.

  6. Hi there Eva, fine article about the low calorie meals. Pizza, as good as it is, yeah, definitely horrendous nutritionally. That pumpkin soup looked delicious along with that tuna salad with apple! I’ll definitely try that recipe. Thanks.

  7. I haven’t had tuna risotto yet but i usually make pumpkin and leak soup. Both of these are very nutritious, you recipe looks super yummy, I will try this for sure and will let u know my feedback. I really love your website and posts. Thank you for sharing your work with us.

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