8 Healthy Instant Pot Recipes Under 400 Calories a Serving

by Carla Henderson

In a meal rut? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. According to a July 2021 survey conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), 34 percent of survey respondents reported that they cooked at home less this year compared to previous years. With Postmates, Uber Eats and other delivery services available nowadays, it’s easier for some to click a button than cook. Totally understandable!

However, ordering out can lead to unhealthy choices and certainty isn’t easy on your wallet. When you cook at home, you’re able to see exactly what goes into each meal and be in total control of your nutrition. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart, either! It is possible to cook meals at home without complicated, time-consuming recipes.

Enter: the Instant Pot.

This multicooker unit is one of the best modern appliances on the market today. In full disclosure, I may be biased since I wrote the Instant Pot Cookbook For Dummies, but I did that as a gift from my heart for all busy females out there trying to eat healthy while juggling a million hats!

With functions that allow you to pressure cook a fork tender roast in under an hour, steam veggies in a matter of minutes, bake a cake, and serves as a slow cooker for those classic recipes your grandma handed down, there’s very little the Instant Pot can’t do.

Plus, the Instant Pot keeps your electricity bill down during the winter months since you don’t need to spend hours with your oven on to make that Shepherd’s Pie or Pork Loin.  

If you were on the Instant Pot trend of 2018 (A Prime Day record was broken with over 300,000 Instant Pots sold over 36 hours!) and you haven’t yet taken it out of its Amazing box, this is your invitation to do so. Here are eight delicious recipes we’ve rounded up for you.

8 Healthy Instant Pot Recipes for Your Fall Menu 

Pumpkin Chili (Photo: Shaw Simple Swaps)

1. Pumpkin Chili 

Craving a cup of chili? Then cuddle up with a bowl of this seasonal Pumpkin Chili! Fiber filled canned pumpkin adds a creamy, smooth texture to this turkey and white bean chili. In just under 20 minutes you can be noshing on this veggie loaded, protein packed chili as a wonderful dinner or leftover lunch option. Serve with a side salad to get even more veggies in! 

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 179 | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 583mg | Potassium: 644mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 11664IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 3mg

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Pork Tenderloin (Photo: Photo By Lemons + Zest)

2. Pork Tenderloin with Apples and Rosemary

Say it with me, “Lean meats, like pork, can fit in a balanced, healthy diet!” This Pork Tenderloin with seasonal apples comes together in just under 15 minutes and delivers 48 grams of complete protein. Plus, this beauty packs 1111mg of potassium, an important electrolyte that helps with everything from muscle contractions to regulating fluid balance. 

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 396 | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 423mg | Potassium: 1111mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 74IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 3mg

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Red lentil soup (Photo: Chelsea Dishes)

3. Red Lentil Soup

Looking to eat more plant-based? Then this Red Lentil Soup needs to be on your menu. With a whopping 14 grams of dietary fiber and 18 grams of protein, the red lentils in this steal the show and show you that eating plant-forward can pack a punch of protein too. Plus, this beautiful bowl is filled with energy yielding carbohydrates, making it a great addition to fuel your longer workouts. But, beware, with the high fiber content you do not want to eat this the night before a long run unless your body is used to a higher fiber diet! 

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 344 | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 18.3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2.1g | Sodium: 465mg | Potassium: 686mg | Fiber: 13.9g | Sugar: 18.7g

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Chicken Vindaloo (Photo: The Gourmet RD)

4. Chicken Vindaloo

This spicy and savory dish is comfort in a bowl. While it does require a little bit more time to make the flavor shine through by toasting the spices, it’s 100-percent worth it when you taste the end result! Pair this dish with a whole grain pita or brown rice for a complete meal. 

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 240 | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 400mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g 

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(Photo: Haute Healthy Living)

5. Butternut Squash Soup 

Creamy soup that’s dairy free… Can this be true?! Why yes, yes it can when you whip up this Butternut Squash Soup! Thanks to the versatile texture of butternut squash, this season vegetable combines perfectly with coconut milk to make a completely vegan creamy soup. Plus, thanks to that butternut squash, this recipe is loaded with vitamin A and filling fiber too. 

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 199 | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 153mg | Potassium: 762mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 20889IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 109mg | Iron: 2mg

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Sweet Potato Pie (Photo: Shaw Simple Swaps)

6. Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie 

Classic Shepherd’s Pie gets a seasonal twist in this sweet potato inspired recipe. The beauty of this Shepherd’s Pie? It’s packed with vitamin A, lower in saturated fat than a traditional recipe that uses ground lamb, and its easy to customize depending on your flavor preference. Plus, you can easily prep two and use the other for a great freezer dinner to take out midweek!

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 186 | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 479mg | Potassium: 355mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 3693IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 1mg

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Soup (Photo: The Gourmet RD)

7. Beef and Barley Soup

Beef and Barley Soup in under 25 minutes of cook time? Sign me up! This seasonal classic not only packs the big 10 nutrients found in beef (I’m looking at you iron, zinc, and choline to name a few), but it’s also filled with produce to show how you really can eat plant-forward while enjoying meat if you so choose. The best of both worlds… I think  so!

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 300| Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 730mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g 

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Stuffed Chili Sweet Potatoes

8. Stuffed Chicken Chili Sweet Potatoes 

Perhaps the best thing about the Instant Pot is that if you choose the right recipe, you’re literally only using one pot from start to finish. A no mess (or minimal mess) clean up… that’s a win-win for any busy lady. This recipe combines the love for stuffing the orange spud with a plethora of veggies and protein to create a loaded potato that packs a nutritional punch. 

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 322  Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 524mg | Potassium: 1352mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 18804IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 83mg | Iron: 3mg

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