Your Low-Calorie Meal Plan for October

Updated: Apr. 22, 2024

Looking for something healthy to dig into this fall? Try our low-calorie October meal plan—every recipe is 350 calories or less!

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October 1: Pressure-Cooker Tequila Salsa Chicken

I had this dish at a local Mexican restaurant when celebrating a friend's birthday. I fell in love with the spicy, smoky flavor from the tequila and decided to try Instant Pot salsa chicken at home. Boy, was it a success! It's also great stuffed into flour tortillas or for making nachos. —Trisha Kruse, Eagle, Idaho

Goes great with: Avocado Salsa

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October 2: Easy Butternut Squash Soup

When the weather turns cold, get cozy with a bowl of this butternut squash soup. The cream adds richness, but if you're looking to cut calories, it can be omitted. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

Goes great with: Basic Homemade Bread

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October 3: One-Dish Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet

I'm still settling in to married life and learning how to balance our busy schedules. This quick one-dish ground turkey sweet potato skillet helps keep us on track throughout the week. —Shannon Barden, Alpharetta, Georgia

Goes great with: Wild Rice and Squash Pilaf

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October 4: Caribbean Chipotle Pork Sliders

Our favorite pulled pork sliders combine the heat of chipotle peppers with a cool tropical coleslaw. The robust flavors make these a big hit with guests. —Kadija Bridgewater, Boca Raton, Florida

Goes great with: Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Olives

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October 5: Spicy Chicken Pumpkin Pizza

Think pizza and pumpkin can’t go together? This chicken pumpkin pizza will change your mind. The sweetness of the pumpkin paired with the spice of the chipotle peppers makes for a delicious, balanced sauce. I love that this recipe incorporates healthy ingredients in a fun, family-friendly way. —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland

Goes great with: Eggplant Fries

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October 6: Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice

This healthier take on kimchi fried rice is one of my favorite recipes because it's customizable. If there's a vegetarian in the family, leave out the bacon and add your favorite veggies. —Stefanie Schaldenbrand, Los Angeles, California

Goes great with: Baked Egg Rolls

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October 7: Comforting Tuna Patties

My grandmother and mother made these tuna patties on Fridays during Lent. I'm not the biggest fan of tuna, but it's perfect in this dish. These patties are even good cold the next day, if there are any leftovers. —Ann Marie Eberhart, Gig Harbor, Washington

Goes great with: Honey Butter Peas and Carrots

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October 8: Taco Skillet Pizza with Cornbread Crust

Our family loves taco pizza, and I have made so many versions of it. This recipe is like a deep-dish skillet pizza. It is a hearty meal and can be served straight out of the pan. —Pamela Shank, Parkersburg, West Virginia

Goes great with: Green & Gold Salsa

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October 9: Pressure-Cooker Caponata

This Italian eggplant dip preps quickly and actually gets better as it stands. Serve it warm or at room temperature. Try adding a little leftover caponata to scrambled eggs for a savory breakfast. —Nancy Beckman, Helena, Montana

Goes great with: Classic Cobb Salad

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October 10: Pressure-Cooker English Pub Split Pea Soup

This family favorite is the same recipe my grandmother used. Now with the magic of today's appliances, I can spend 15 minutes putting it together, walk away for a bit and then it's "soup's on!" Finish it with more milk if you like your split pea soup a bit thinner. —Judy Batson, Tampa, Florida

Goes great with: Hearty Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

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October 11: Slow-Cooked Ropa Vieja

I traveled to Cuba a few years back and had some of the best food imaginable. One staple dish stuck out more than the rest, and that was ropa vieja. I had multiple variations of it, and when I returned home, I began to experiment. I went through roughly five trials before coming to this recipe. —Joshua Boyer, Traverse City, Michigan

Goes great with: Cilantro Lime Rice

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October 12: Mushroom and Sweet Potato Potpie

The last time I was in the U.S., I had an amazing mushroom and beer potpie at a small brewpub. It was so rich and comforting. I tried numerous versions when I got home and I think I've come pretty close! —Iben Ravn, Copenhagen, Denmark

Goes great with: Zesty Garlic Green Beans

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October 13: Butternut Squash Burrito Bowl

This butternut squash burrito bowl is an easy-to-prep dinner that combines fresh ingredients with wholesome convenience foods. It comes together in just minutes and can be customized with everyone’s favorite toppings. —Patricia Kukuc, Clearwater, Florida

Goes great with: That Good Salad

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October 15: Pressure Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

The flavors of this Indian-style entree keep me coming back for more. The dish isn’t fancy, and it’s simply spiced—but it’s simply amazing. —Jaclyn Bell, Logan, Utah

Goes great with: Homemade Guacamole

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October 16: Spicy Lime Chicken

I've been turning this spicy lime chicken into tacos for years, but it was my son Austin who put it on cooked rice with all his favorite taco toppings. A family favorite was created out of leftovers! —Christine Hair, Odessa, Florida

Goes great with: Texas-Style Spanish Rice

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October 17: Beef Roast Dinner

Because this healthy dish is slow-cooked, you can use less expensive roasts with results as mouthwatering as the more costly cuts. Change up the veggies for variety, nutrition or to suit your tastes!—Sandra Dudley, Bemidji, Minnesota

Goes great with: Easy Beans & Potatoes with Bacon

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October 18: Chicken Jambalaya

This is a great easy chicken jambalaya recipe. It’s great to serve at parties and it reheats well after! —Lynn Desjardins, Atkinson, New Hampshire

Goes great with: Yogurt Cornbread

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October 19: Fall Vegetable Sloppy Joes

I make this dish in the fall and sneak grated vegetables into the sloppy joe mixture, which is especially good for children who don’t like to eat their vegetables! Just walk away and let the slow cooker do all the work. Top the filling with a little shredded cheese before serving. —Nancy Heishman, Las Vegas, Nevada

Goes great with: Garlic Corn on the Cob

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October 20: Pressure-Cooker Kielbasa and Cabbage

My grandmother was Polish and made this dish often. It’s an excellent one-pot meal. We enjoy our veggies soft, but if you like them a bit crisp, cook them for 5 minutes. Also, you can sub any precooked sausage for the kielbasa. —Beverly Dolfini, Surprise, Arizona

Goes great with: Homemade Polish Pierogi

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October 21: Best Lasagna

Want to know how to make lasagna for a casual holiday meal? You can't go wrong with this deliciously rich meat lasagna recipe. My grown sons and daughter-in-law request it for their birthdays, too. —Pam Thompson, Girard, Illinois

Goes great with: Chive Garlic Bread

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October 22: Chicken and Lentil Chili

I like to make a simple, hearty slow-cooked recipe at least once a week. You can mix this up the night before and throw it into the crock on your way out the door. Use hotter tomatoes and chiles or salsa if you like more zing. —Laurie Stout-Letz, Bountiful, Utah

Goes great with: Garden Vegetable Cornbread

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October 23: Luau Pork Lettuce Wraps

I first made this recipe when our family took a trip to a beach house in Florida. On my night to cook, I did a luau theme and used this recipe as the appetizer. These are still a favorite today! —Joyce Conway, Westerville, Ohio

Goes great with: Tasty Marinated Tomatoes

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October 24: Turkey & Pork Meatballs

Treat yourself to homemade meatballs, already simmering in sauce, at the end of a busy day. —Suzanne Wagg, Madison, Maine

Goes great with: Oven-Roasted Asparagus

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October 25: Arugula Pizza

This arugula pizza is great served as an appetizer for get-togethers with family or friends. My girlfriends and I love it because it has that sophisticated gourmet touch, and it's healthy, too! This also serves four as a main course. —Annette Riva, Naperville, Illinois

Goes great with: Best Ever Stuffed Mushrooms

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October 27: Grandma's Pressure-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

I've made this soup weekly since I modified my grandma's recipe for the pressure cooker. Chicken soup, especially this one, is quick to make and budget-friendly for any large family. —Tammy Stanko, Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Goes great with: Best Ever Breadsticks

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October 28: Pressure-Cooker Sauerbraten

One of my all-time favorite German dishes is sauerbraten, but I don't love that it normally takes five to 10 days to make. Using an electric pressure cooker, I think I've captured that same distinctive flavor in less than two hours. —James Schend, Dairy Freed

Goes great with: Roasted Tater Round with Green Onions & Tarragon

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October 31: Pressure-Cooker Smoked Salmon Pasta

I love making one-pot pastas in my pressure cooker. Every noodle soaks up the flavors of the delicious ingredients. I tried a version with some leftover smoked fish and fresh dill, and boom—this smoked salmon pasta was born. It's now a staple in our house because the dish is on the table in a half hour and the kids love it! —Shannon Dobos, Calgary, Alberta

Goes great with: Baked Parmesan Breaded Squash