What Do 300-Calorie Meals Really Look Like?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  724 comments   :  267,226 Views

Wonder what 300 calories looks like? 300 calories look drastically different when you're eating in instead of dining out. Choosing healthier, more nutritious foods--at home and away--means you can eat much more food and still lose weight. Check out these 18 meal comparisons to see for yourself, then forward this post to your friends!

Breakfast: 300-Calorie Meals & Portions
Here are three morning meals that each weigh in at 300 calories. Healthy and quick homemade meals (left column) pack whole grains, fresh fruit, and protein--a filling combination that will keep you fuller longer. You could only eat a fraction of the comparable restaurant meals (right column) for the same number of calories. Get more healthy breakfast ideas here.

Lunch: 350-Calorie Meals & Portions
These midday meals contain 350 calories each--the perfect amount to keep you going without wrecking your diet. Packing one of the homemade lunches on the left doesn't take long, and look at all those low- cal and filling veggies you'll get! Notice how seemingly healthy options like the restaurant foods on the right can be very misleading! Those 350-calorie portions are pretty small. Pack a healthier lunch with these tips.

Dinner: 400-Calorie Meals & Portions
Many people consume a larger meal at night, so we picked 400-calorie dinners here. By combining whole grains with lean protein and vegetables, these homemade dinners (left column) are a snap to prepare--and they'll keep the late-night munchies at bay! In contrast, the high-fat and high-calorie meals on the right don't offer much in the way of nutrition or volume. Get thousands of healthy dinner ideas at SparkRecipes.com!

The bottom line is that you can eat more and lose weight when you know how to pick the right foods and the right portions. Use the images and portions above as a guide to create your own healthy, diet-friendly and nutritious meals every day!

Are you surprised by how much (or little) you can eat for the calories, depending on which foods you choose? Which meal was most shocking to you?

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    one of my favorites to read. I always come back to it when I need a reality check. - 11/11/2011   10:32:28 PM
    Love the picture comparison. It gave me some great ideas. I also liked it because it showed an entire meal not just a receipt for one item. I like suggestions and options for side dishes to go with the entree. I am putting this in my favorites. Best article I have seen in the last 30 days. - 7/13/2011   7:25:27 PM
  • PATTIE441
    Awesome! Thank you! - 6/3/2011   1:21:33 PM
  • 671
    Wow, this really shows that it makes a difference to cook your own food because you know what goes in them! Thank you for providing this! - 4/6/2011   12:47:38 PM
  • UNDER300
    Hey everyone! I have just started a blog http://under300calories.typepad.com
    / that features a ton of filling, healthy recipes for 300 calories or less. It will also track workout tips, motivational tips, and anything you could possibly want to help you lose weight and live a healthy life! Stop by, please! - 1/26/2011   4:59:55 PM
  • 669
  • 668
    I'm just starting out on this adventure again and was feeling sorry for myself until I saw this visual. With a little bit of planning a person can actually have a nice meal. WooHoo! - 1/8/2011   12:01:53 PM
  • 667
    Wow who will eat 1/3 of a piece of pizza? Not this girl. Thankyou for the eye opener. - 9/21/2010   3:19:17 PM
  • 666
    the eyes are open now thanks - 6/26/2010   8:30:27 AM
  • 665
    Thanks for this! - 5/28/2010   7:40:31 AM
  • 664
    Thanks for the information. Love the side by side pictures. - 5/28/2010   6:00:54 AM
  • 663
    This has been very helpful to me. I needed the visual - 5/24/2010   6:41:49 PM
  • ROSE6040
    The visuals are very helpful tools. - 5/24/2010   3:33:32 PM
  • 661
    I loved this blog and it certainly was a great reality check! - 5/24/2010   2:30:34 PM
  • 660
    This was awesome and really needed for most people here! Thanks for such and eye opener! - 5/24/2010   2:08:32 PM
  • 659
    Awesome! Love visual cues. . . - 5/24/2010   11:12:11 AM
  • 658
    The difference in serving are so off. Won't be eating out again no time soon!! Eye-opening article - 5/23/2010   8:04:42 PM
  • 657
    Eye-opener! - 5/17/2010   9:42:59 AM
  • 656
    Very informative. The pictures tell the story. - 2/27/2010   11:25:52 AM
  • RONIE11
    This came out just in time. My hubby just brought home some Marie Calendar pot pies. He said they will be good for when we don't feel like cooking. Guess what I'm going to go and get me some lean cuisine and they who can afford all those calories can have the pot pies. - 2/19/2010   2:48:55 PM
    Wow! The Chinese food picture gives me motivation to do more stir fry at home! - 2/9/2010   8:21:59 AM
    Now I really really liked this one...the saying a picture is worth a thousand words really shows here. Presentation because we eat with our eyes before our stomachs comes to mind. Thanks for all the great ideas...nice to SEE other ideas for meals. - 1/30/2010   5:24:40 PM
  • 652
    Thank you this is actually quite helpful! - 1/29/2010   6:37:50 PM
    This is very helpful !!! - 1/29/2010   2:00:41 AM
    Astounding! I lol'ed at the Sbarro pizza. My boyfriend worked at a Sbarro's in a mall, and we ate soooo much greasy, fattening pizza that semester. And that same semester, he worked across the street at a Panera Bread. I could never eat Sbarro's nastiness again and be happy, but I DO love me some Panera . . . mmm . . .

    Sorry to go off on a tangent. Thank you for this article so much! You've strengthened my resolve to cook more at home so I know for SURE what I'm getting into! - 1/29/2010   1:32:30 AM
  • 649
    Wow! The pictures sure make an impact! Unbelievable! - 1/23/2010   11:29:07 AM
    I'm new to Sparkpeople and this helped a lot. My biggest problem is coming up with a variety of things to eat. There's only so much hard-boiled eggs and tuna that one can eat. Also, a question: Why don't more diet plans include tomato juice with breakfast or as a snack? Low in calories and tomatoes are supposed to be so good for you. - 1/15/2010   10:19:05 AM
  • 647
    Super article, it helps seing the servings sid by side. t - 1/14/2010   9:37:44 AM
  • 646
    This is great. My personal favorite comparison is the Dunkin Donuts Coffee Cake muffin. I used to love these. Practically stopped by DD on the way to work every day to get one. Then I found out that 1 muffin contains 580 calories. Wow. Especially considering I'd get a hot chocolate on the side too sometimes. Was it any wonder that I'd ballooned up to 200+ lbs.? Great read. Thanks. - 12/9/2009   6:00:59 AM
  • 645
    Wow... Great reminder of calories and portion sizes. - 11/9/2009   8:32:26 PM
  • 644
    That is so crazy, I remember when trying to order from Friday's one night with my husband the salads had more calories than some of the regular entrees it is very hard to eat out so I try to avoid it and only do it on special occasions. - 9/17/2009   10:58:30 AM
    Oh my gosh! The muffin comparisson one is hillarious. I guess I never realized how much I was actually consuming until I read this. Holy moley! I think I will try the pasta one though. That looks delicious! So does everything else though. :D - 9/17/2009   10:40:08 AM
  • 642
    I'm going to eat more waffles! the special K strawberry are another good choice for waffles! - 9/17/2009   10:36:45 AM
  • 641
    wow i love this....picturesof what real food is to look like...yes real food...the kind I cook now. I could use about 600 more pictures of how these meals are suppose to look, my kids would love to look at them as well.
    thanks so very much for this. I appreciate this more than you know. - 9/10/2009   6:18:48 PM
    I've learned so much about how much food a person can actually EAT while staying under target by eating the Flat Belly Diet. I also love Hungry Girl's 200 Under 200 Cookbook (200 recipes under 200 calories). The recipes posted here look great, too!

    Thank you for the article! - 9/8/2009   9:33:36 PM
  • 639
    no wonder im over weight!!! - 9/7/2009   8:04:00 PM
  • 638
    In Washington state the resteraunts have to provide calorie and nutrition information if you ask. I ask. I get the book, and figure out what I'm going to have. I was shocked at some of the calories of my favorite salads, but I also found a lot that I can have. - 9/7/2009   2:17:42 PM
  • 637
    I have to agree with morgen1217. Part of living a healthy lifestyle is to be able to eat out. I know that is one thing I will eventually have to tackle. I never like to eat out because of the pictures illustrated above, but I know if I ever want to date in the future, I need to be able to tackle this scenario. It would have been better if there were more healthy food restaurant comparrisons. I think eating more food at home is definitely the way to go, not even for your waist line, but your pocket book too, but every time I looked at the picture on the right, my stomach started growling again. LOL! - 8/24/2009   5:05:37 AM
    There's this great book, Picture Perfect Weight Loss which is filled with pictures like this. It's amazing how much you can eat, when you're eating the right things. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Shapiros-Pict
    - 8/21/2009   9:01:38 AM
  • KIERA09
    I eat veggie burgers when I go out. It's my fall back meal w/ a veggie. Why the one at the restaraunt worse than the home one? - 8/20/2009   10:04:24 PM
  • 634
    wow! awesome article and great reminder of calories and portions! leave it to coach nicole to focus like a laser on the fine points of incorporating and mastering the art and skill of good eating habits. coach, you rock my world! you are a SPARKSUPERHERO! nancy - 8/18/2009   8:28:54 AM
    It is especially difficult when I go out to eat with friends! I try to stick to dinner salads but that can be difficult to do when everyone else's food smells sooooo good! :) Whenever I go out to eat, I order an entree and small salad (side salad or half portion salad ordered with the dressing on the side). I immediately pack up half (or more - depending on what it is) of my entree. I fill up on the salad first and then eat the rest of my entree. That way, I feel full and satisfied without overdoing it. An added bonus - the leftovers make a great lunch the next day! I also read this tip once: Dip the tip of your fork into the dressing with each bite. This way you get dressing with every bite and you control the amount of dressing too! - 8/7/2009   9:51:44 PM
    Wow! It makes you think twice. - 7/29/2009   4:09:03 PM
    I've tried to find something within my calorie range when eating out and it is near impossible, as the pictures point out so well. The "at home" meals taste great and make me feel so much better because I know I'm accomplishing my weight Ioss goal one meal at a time. Now, I don't really enjoy or look forward to going out anymore but sometimes I'm required to by the people I'm with. Each time I have gone out I come home to enter what I ate and I always feel awful afterwards because I know it just killed my efforts. I've tried to plan ahead of time but that isn't easy either. Some of those restaurant salads have more than 800 calories!!! SP has been great at providing information on dining out so I know I will get better and better at making good choices. - 7/27/2009   12:47:46 PM
  • 630
    They are so shocking! It's already good to see how many calories the low calorie items are at the restaurant. - 7/27/2009   11:52:32 AM
  • 629
    good to know!!! - 7/26/2009   8:37:36 PM
  • 628
    Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words! Great idea! - 7/24/2009   11:10:02 PM
  • 627
    My family was going out to eat tonight but before we left we checked the nutrition info. on-line and were shocked, some of the meals I thought were healthy were ourageous in calories, sodium, and carbs. we ended up cooking up a great and filling meal at home and when I did the calorie count it was right on target. Thanks for the visuals, it reinforced what we saw on-line earlier today. Stay home, it's cheaper, more filling and actually lighter for you! - 7/24/2009   8:39:27 PM
  • 626
    What a terrific comparison. Thanks for the visuals. It really makes me think again about eating out. - 7/24/2009   7:23:32 PM
  • JULIE0309
    Eating out can be difficult if you don't look up the restaurant's nutrition guide before you go (many restaurants do not have this available). I love the comparison side by side. Thanks! This helps. - 7/24/2009   6:40:01 PM

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