The truly correct answer is to not worry about calories, but to eat when you are truly "hungry" (rather than have an "appetite", aka "head hunger). Most medical research nowadays have shown that there is no "minimum" number of calories you need to take in. Yes, you want to try to have calories in matching calories expended, but research has shown that the body adapts to what it can take in. Which is how virtually all species work. It's why lions (and our prehistoric ancestors) ate large meals whenever they had a successful kill, and then basically lay around and ate grass and berries and virtually calorie-free food until the next time they were "hungry" and needed to kill something for substantial nutrition. The problem with society today is that where our ancestors would kill a wooly mammoth, eat it, and then pretty much go without eating for an extended period of time, with the help of McDonalds, other fast food, and high-fructose corn syrup (which has plenty of calories and creates supresses hunger by zilch), and the like - your typical human nowadays eats the equivalent of a wooly mammoth at each meal every day.
All that said ... 3 meals forms a pretty good basis, supplemented by between meal "mini-meals", "additional meals", "snacks" is a pretty good idea. Again, don't eat just because it's "time to eat". If you're not hungry, you're actually better not eating. Not being "hungry" is your body's way of telling you it does NOT need food at the moment.
Just as a point of reference of where I'm coming from - I had lap-band surgery 4 years ago. It doesn't affect my digestion or intake of nutrients, it just limits how much I can eat at a single sitting. I walk/jog/run, uphill, on a treadmill for almost 2 hours every day - burning anywhere from 1500-2000 calories alone in that time. Then add in the calories normally burned in the other 22 hours. I probably (mathematically, according to all the guides) burn 4000+ calories a day. I typically eat 1500 calories daily. My weight, after it dropped from 320 to 170ish) has remained basically the same in the 3 years I've been doing this.
So read all the health and food guides posted by the FDA (and here on SP, etc..) with a leery eye. Medical reality, and how adaptable our bodies are, is a whole lot different from what we've been told for years and years.
"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!"
"Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels."
My key to success: Follow *most* of the guidelines, *most* of the time.
| current weight: 197.4