Getting Healthy 500 Calorie Dinners #1 – Chicken Soft Tacos

Back in December I looked at a picture of myself and realized that I was ‘pushing maximum density,’ at a weight that was 12 lbs over what I consider to be the max (150lbs).  The reason I set 150 at my personal max is because 148 lbs is the high end of normal according to standard BMI tables.  My BMI (calculator found here) was 26.1 – officially overweight. Something had to change and I got motivated.  I started the Couch to 5K program the day after Christmas.  This time I was serious, I was going to make a change!  I also signed up for the free calorie counter My Plate which I highly recommend.

For the first 8 weeks I did great! I set my calorie goal so that I would lose 1 pound per week, giving me a 1316 calorie limit unless I exercised.  In February we went on a long weekend trip, I didn’t do the Couch to 5k, we ate crap on the road, I fell off the bandwagon.  I didn’t get back to running right away and my weight plateaued at 154 lbs.  During Lent I didn’t eat white flour or sugar, which helped me maintain my weight, but I didn’t lose any more.  Over the following 5 months I continued to track my calories and didn’t gain the weight back, but didn’t keep losing it either.  So here I am in July, looking back and wondering “What happened?”  If I had stayed on track with 1 lb per week I would currently weigh 137, within 2 lbs of my target weight.  But alas I am still stuck at 154 lbs, 4 lbs above my maximum, 19 lbs above my goal weight of 135 lbs.

To help re-motivate myself I am going to be posting recipes for meals under 500 calories per serving (my goal for dinner).  To lose 1 lb per week my calorie intake should be no more than 1316 at my current weight.  For me breakfast and lunch are easy because I am only responsible for making my own meals. A typical day of eating (without exercise) is made up of the following:

Breakfast – Greek Yogurt – 110 calories

Morning Snack – Granola Bar – 100 calories

Lunch – Salad with tomatoes, cucumber, deli turkey or ham, blue cheese and light dressing – 250 calories

Afternoon Snack – Granola bar or Yogurt – 100 calories

Dinner – Under 500 calories

If you add all those up it only comes to 1060 calories, well below my goal.  Like most people I have weaknesses and so the extra calories are reserved for that piece of chocolate mid afternoon, a glass of wine after dinner or an occasional trip to TCBY for a kids size yogurt.  When I give myself a little wiggle room I don’t feel so deprived or guilty when I slip up.

I do most of the day to day dinner cooking in our house and find it hard to stay within a reasonable calorie count without starving my husband.  These 500 calorie meals will be easy to make in multiple servings so that you can stay within your goal, but other members of your family will not feel deprived eating what you cook.  Some of these meals will be meatless (not necessarily vegetarian) which my husband has agreed to eat once a week (Yay!). I hope you enjoy this recipe series!

We eat some variation on this dish almost every week.  If you like spice I recommend adding a serrano or jalapeno pepper to the onion and pepper mix.

Chicken Soft Tacos – 490 Calories per serving                                                         Makes 4 servings                         Calories: 490 per serving           



  • 2              Chicken Breast
  • 2 C           Onions&Peppers (Diced) Garlic (Minced)
  • 1 Can       Diced tomatoes
  • 1 C           Mexican Cheese Blend
  • 1               Avocado
  • 1 Tbsp      Lemon Juice
  • 1 C           Homemade Salsa
  • 4               Soft Taco Tortillas
  • 1 Tbsp      Cumin
  • ½ Tbsp     Paprika
  • 2 tsp         Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp         Onion Powder
  • 2 Tbsp      Olive Oil


  1. In a large sauté pan heat olive oil on medium heat.  Add onions, peppers and garlic to pan.  Saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add diced tomatoes with juices.  Reduce heat to simmer.
  2. Cut chicken breast into bite sized pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add spices and chicken breast to pot.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or longer.

4.While chicken and vegetables are cooking, mash avocado with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

5.Serve on Soft Taco size tortillas with cheese, avocado and chicken and vegetable mixture.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s