What Do 300 Calorie Meals Look Like?

Need help visualizing appropriate portion sizes? This guide will help.

photo credit: AmySelleck via photopin cc

Breakfast Meals

English Muffin Breakfast – 394 Calories

English Muffin Breakfast

1 whole wheat English muffin
2 pats low fat butter
1 hard boiled egg
1/2 cup of fruit
8 oz fruit juice
8 oz water

Cereal – 300 Calories

Cereal Breakfast

1 cup of cereal
8 oz 2% milk
1 banana
1 coffee or tea

Oatmeal – 345 Calories


1 cup (cooked) oatmeal with raisins
½ cup of fruit
1 cup coffee or tea
1 small banana

Scrambled eggs – 360 Calories

scrambled eggs

2 scrambled eggs
2 strips of turkey bacon
1 piece whole wheat toast
1 pat of low fat butter
1 coffee or tea
8 oz water

See our recipe for power eggs here.


Baked potato – 305 Calories

Baked Potato

1 medium baked potato
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons salsa
1 cup sliced melon
12 oz water

Roasted Veg. Salad – 373 Calories


3 cups mixed greens
1 cup sweet potato
1 cup eggplant
1 cup red bell pepper
3 Tbs lite honey mustard

Soup – 350 Calories


1 bowl of soup
1 small tossed salad
2 tablespoons reduced fat oil and vinegar dressing
12 oz water
4 saltine crackers

Chicken Salad – 350 Calories

Chicken Salad

1 large tossed salad
2 tablespoons reduced fat oil and vinegar dressing
6 oz sliced chicken
1 cup of low fat wheat thin crackers
12 oz water

MORE: Quick Lunches for under 400 Calories


Chicken – 345 Calories


6 oz of chicken
1 cup of green beans
2 pats of low-fat butter
1 small tossed salad
2 tablespoons reduced fat oil and vinegar dressing
12 oz water

Grilled Eggplant – 323 Calories


1 cup egg plant
1/4 avocado
Asparagus (10 spears)
3 whole wheat crackers
1 Tbsp olive oil and seasonings

See our low calorie eggplant parmesan recipe here.

Fish – 365 Calories

Fish Dinner

6 oz broiled white fish
1 cup of mashed potatoes
1 pat of butter
1/2 cup of peas
8 oz diet iced tea

Tortellini – 366 Calories


3/4 cup tortellini
1/2 cup marinera
1 cup mixed vegetables

See our easy eggplant primavera recipe here.

Chicken and Rice – 395 Calories

chicken and rice

6 oz cooked chicken
2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce
1 cup of mixed vegetables
1/2 cup of brown rice
1 small tossed salad
2 tablespoons reduced fat oil and vinegar dressing

Stuffed Butternut – 376 Calories


1/2 small butternut squash (2 cups)
1/2 cup quinoa (prepared)
1/2 cup red bell pepper
1/2 cup onion
curry seasoning
1/4 cup lite coconut milk

Think you can estimate calorie amounts?

I can’t. It’s too hard.

It’s one of the reasons why it is so hard to eat healthy.  Most meals you buy out are far more calorie-dense that what you thought.

Hot Choccy from StarbucksIf you don’t believe me – here’s a standard Starbucks Hot Chocolate.

It’s 440 Calories. Even you ask them to hold the whipped cream, it’s still 360 Calories.

What happens when you combine that with a snack? Maybe a small chocolate croissant.

Ouch! That’s another 340 Cals.

Looking for some easy ways you can save a lot of calories in your everyday cooking? Look here.

The Challenge

Most of these photos are from a doctor who had prepared a diet for his patients. He felt it was easier to show them the pictures.

I think the doctor’s done great here. Although there are some items I don’t like. Low-fat butter? What is that? Reduced fat oil?

I don’t like frankenfoods. Better to have the real thing, but in moderation.

What do you think?

Did you spot some meals that didn’t quite fit?

The ones with the colorful plate.

They were made by one of our writers here – Ted. I think they are much more enticing than the doctors photos. You can see all his recipes here.

Any better ideas?

MORE – 10 Quick Snacks for under 200 Calories

  • Mellissa

    Low fat butter is usually whipped
    – the air in the butter makes it lower-calorie. I think.

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      Yes, I think you are right.

  • Mellissa

    ps pictures are not appearing?

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Sorry! Teething problems with the new site. Should be showing now.

      • Mellissa

        That’s why I mentioned it. Figured you might not realize. They are there now, looking good! Good luck with the new venture.

  • spectra311

    I think this is a great idea. I think it’s so much easier for people to look at a picture and duplicate the portion size at home than to read something and try to interpret it the way they think it should be. It also shows people how much food you can get if you load up on veggies–I’d much rather have that roasted veggie salad than a calorie-filled Frappuccino. One of my favorite go-to lunches that is around 300 calories is a quinoa salad—I mix cooked quinoa with halved cherry tomatoes, diced chicken breast, spinach, and mushrooms and toss it with a light vinaigrette. I don’t have a picture of what a 300 calorie portion is, but it’s pretty satisfying.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Next time you have that quinoa salad (which sounds really tasty), take a photo of it and upload (the disqus comments system allows uploading of images in the comments).

  • LuckyK7777 .

    Krusteaz has these great fat free muffin mixes with 130 calories a muffin. All you do is add water, mix, and bake. If you just must have the hot chocolate that could go with it.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      130 Cals is certainly less than your typical muffin – but I worry what’s in some of baking mixes.

  • Sue Knorr

    Here’s one of my favorites, chicken with veggie “noodles” (julienne cut veggies) in peanut sauce (peanut butter thinned with water, add soy sauce and seasonings).

    • Tanjie Vanderburg

      can I get this recipe?? It looks wonderful!!!

      • Sue Knorr

        Hi Tanjie, it’s one of my own creations in the kitchen, and I like to keep it simple. I’ve been practicing the anti-inflamatory Zone Diet and lifestyle for close to twenty years and all of my meals are designed based on Zone principles. To make this recipe, sauté bite sized pieces of skinless chicken breast in a very small amount of olive oil, (adding a little water helps to prevent sticking). In another skillet sauté julienne cut yellow summer squash, zucchini, red bell peppers and yellow bell peppers in a little water, not for too long, you want them to retain a little crispness. In a small bowl thin 2 teaspoons of peanut butter with water to create a sauce consistency, add soy sauce (I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, it’s like soy sauce), onion powder, garlic powder and a few pinches of cayenne pepper to taste. Combine the chicken with the veggies and sauce, and heat on the stove top for another minute or two. Serve immediately.

        • Maria.H

          Thankyou for that lovely recipe going to make tomorow!!

  • Mckenzie

    some of the breakfast items aren’t accurate? I would like to believe this if how much a person can eat, but 1 cup oatmeal alone (without raisins) is 300 cal. Am i wrong, i would like to know so that im not worrying over what i eat.


    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      A good question, and depends which source you go to. According to the USDA nutrient database (http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/1941)

      oats, instant, fortified, with raisins and spice, prepared with water = 211 Calories per cup (so remember this is 1 cup of COOKED oats).

      Add in a banana – around 100 Cals (http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calories_in_a_banana.htm) and we have around 310.

      Plus half a cup of say blueberries = 40 cals.

      • Mckenzie

        Oh so your saying dried oats with raisins and spice, all in one adds up to 211. But if you had I cup of dried oats alone, what would that be? I think I’m starting to understand a little more. I just need a little more clarification.
        Really appreciate it.

        • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

          1 cup of dried oats (uncooked) would be 300 calories . :-)

          • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

            Looks like we’ve got a disagreement on our hands. According to the USDA db 1 cup of oats (uncooked) = 607 cals. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/6386

            Ted – what’s your source?

          • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

            That’s really strange.. I looked on the back of the package and also here. http://www.calorieking.com/foods/calories-in-breakfast-cereals-to-be-cooked-oats-regular-or-instant-dry_f-ZmlkPTY4MjIz.html

            607 seems way too high for a cup of uncooked oats

          • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

            Ok I think I figured out the error. The USDA database is saying that 1 cup of dry rolled oats is 156 grams. A cup is a measurement of volume and grams is a measurement of mass these are not interchangeable nor standardized. 1 cup of quick rolled oats is more like 80 grams because it is light and fluffy which takes up more space with less mass involved. It also makes a difference whether it’s instant, quick, regular rolled oats, or steel cut when it comes to measuring calories using “cups” All these methods change the volume/mass ratio.

            This is what America should be using the metric system! ;-)

          • Mckenzie

            Ya! That’s what I was thinking.

        • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

          I eat oats every morning, and just HALF a cup of dried oats once cooked greatly increases in volume. I need a rather large bowl to eat my half cup.

          However the sachets you can buy are a smaller amount than this.

          • Mckenzie

            Great Thanks!!! This helped so much. I’ve stretched my stomach maybe a little to much due to an illness and I eat 1 cup dried oats cooked and still have hunger pains after that. Its so hard to find low calorie meals that give me that full but not to full satisfaction.

          • Meili Belmont

            I was confused by this, too! One cup of (uncooked) oatmeal when its cooked is like one huge bowl of cooked oatmeal since it absorbs water a lot. Cooked and uncooked have to be measured differently.

  • Muller

    This looks great and im going to try it out. All the meals look soo appetizing. ive also tried this paleo diet it works as well cook it was reccomend from my grandmother http://3e7dfgidt2zpf4bgwfyzra2k7k.hop.clickbank.net/

  • Wendy Schwartz

    I thought many of these meals were too high in carbs and woulld lead to blood sugar spikes and hunger. The frankenfoods need to go too.

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Noted (and interesting that most of these were from a doctor helping his patients).

      Would love to see any ideas. What’s your favorite low-calorie meal?

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      I would tend to disagree. The only thing that would be a “frankenfood” would be the turkey bacon and most of the carbs featured are complex and wouldn’t spike blood sugar.

      • Wendy Schwartz

        The oils that are manufactured are all frankenfoods. The bread that is bromated is frankenfood as well. But I really don’t have the energy to argue with you. The truth will become evident within the next 20 years and is already showing up in research. No worries on my end.

        • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

          You’ll get no argument from me. I only eat coconut oil and butter for the most part and do try to avoid foods with those oils more for their inflammatory properties than anything else. I also seldom eat breads. However, the meals above are a good start for someone new to eating healthy and portion control. I personally didn’t eat healthier overnight, but gradually made more healthy changes to my diet as I went along. Was it the same for you?

    • Meili Belmont

      That is what most internet “experts” say yet I have found this to be not true. have diabetes and check my blood sugar before and after meals. The type amd amount of carbs shown here (one bagel, two slices of bread, half a cup of rice) do not make my blood sugar spike at all. I’ll go with what my doctor told me (almost exactly like these photos) since it does totally work.

  • Wendy Schwartz

    Is that why you deleted my entry with an appropriate meal that included avocado, tomato, and egg?

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      No Wendy, we didn’t delete anything from you and welcome other suggestions and alternatives as well as respect your opinion :-) Could you post it again please?

      • Wendy Schwartz

        Glad you didn’t delete my comment. No need to post the URL. I don’t make money off my website so it is not a promotional thing for me to recommend the menu ideas.

        • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

          We are happy to post useful links and yours is. Nice blog btw :-) We’ll check the settings to make sure great comments like yours don’t slip through the cracks. I’m glad you said something. Do you want to send us a couple pictures and descriptions of 300 calorie paleo meals? We’ll include them above and link to your site as attribution.

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      I actually just found your post in the spam folder. It was flagged automatically because of the link.

  • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

    Awesome, and you are right about the satiety factor. If you ever feel like making any meals like this and sending the photo to us – we would LOVE to put it up on this page.

  • yadi

    This is my brunch on those weekend days that I sleep in. This equals about 361 calories. 2 Nutrigrain whole grain eggos, 1 tbsp of organic peanut butter, 4 egg whites and a cup of strawberries.

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      Wow, that’s a lot of food for 361 calories. thanks for sharing :-)

    • http://keemji.blogspot.com/ keemji

      This looks very delicious!

    • Rayca

      That really is a lot of food. I always thought you could only eat tons of veg. to keep cals. low. That’s why I’m here. I’m all for veg but come on, I need to eat more of the other macros. Now I want some whole grain eggos.

  • Lindsay

    So what is the recipe for the stuffed butternut squash? I would like to make it but not sure how. Do you make the quinoa first then mix with the veggies and coconut milk and then bake it inside of the squash? Thanks

    • http://www.energyfiend.com/ Ted

      Hi Lindsay, yes but slightly undercook it as it will continue to cook while it is baking in the squash. You also have to cut out a little more of the squash to make room for the filling. I cubed what I cut out and mixed it in the quinoa filling. I’m gonna do this full recipe for the site soon. :-)

  • maria.h

    The paleo diet is very dangerous as is the atkins south beach etc anything that mainly concentrates on protein puts too much stress on the nephrons in the kidneys and is inflammatory in the body. The emphasis should be on high coloured foods with lots of antioxidants. Your plate should be full of complex carbohydrates some fat and a small amount of protein…All this protein hype is finally hitting the wall…the emphasis on protein over the last 10 years has influenced the excessive amount of protein being consumed by millions of people worldwide. Increasing green house gasses cruelty to animal production etc…it is a well known scientific fact that people who eat protein as their staple live the shortest lives. Vegetarians live the longest and that is because our bodies are made to break down plant foods. Excessive protein has been linked with obesity and look at what is happening around the world with the emphasis of a high protein diet!! Get back to basics fruit veges and a little protein in moderation…stop putting steaks on the plate!!

    • http://energyfiend.com/ JamesF

      Maria, I would suggest that very high protein diets may not be healthful for certain people (but definitely not everybody). AS research continues, what we are seeing is that both diet AND exercise have remarkably different outcomes for different people.

      Probably one of my reservations about a high-meat diet is that it is simply not sustainable for planet earth, and the human race living on it. We cannot support everyone in the world gulping down piles of meat – or for the vanity of a wealthy elite who want to have big muscles.

    • http://www.healthyeater.com/ Dan Bolton

      Hey Maria, Thanks for your thoughts! I’ve personally found, through research and experience, that Paleo style diets can be incredibly beneficial for health, physique and, in a lot of cases, curing auto-immunity issues and metabolic damage (http://robbwolf.com/paleo-testimonials/). Have you come across any studies or research claiming the opposite? Would love to check them out! Totally agree with you and James around the enviromental affects of high meat consumption, though. We definitely need to re-think our current strategy as it seems unsustainable.

  • http://www.lembestlechon.com/ Lembest Lechon

    Nice details on the plate and its nutrition facts :) you see may blog too if you wish some Asian chicken recipe. – paul

  • http://keemji.blogspot.com/ keemji

    Thanks for sharing this! I now have ideas :)

  • Jefferson

    I need 1000 calories per meal. I eat 4 lbs of fruit, nuts, and veggies, drink 1/2 gallon of milk, and eat 1lb of meat a day. it may seem excessive to some but I am a marathon runner and power lifter. My BMI says I’m obese but I have less than 15% body fat.

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Sounds logical to me. I would just keep a close eye on your blood levels from consuming a lot of milk. Not sure what kind you drink and I’m all for a lot of fat in the diet but milk fat isn’t always the healthiest. After all, milk is designed by nature for growing baby cows. Yes, BMI isn’t a good measure of fitness at all and you are the perfect example.

  • Meili Belmont

    Meh, your ideas about diabetes is based on old research. Newer studies have shown that diabetes is not caused by eating at all. You should visit my endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes. I was very surprised myself that most of his patients are quite thin since most people think diabetes is caused by overeating or eating carbs/sugar.

    “Studies of identical twins showed that twins have an 80% concordance for Type 2 Diabetes. In other words, if one twin has Type 2 Diabetes, the chance that the other will have it two are 4 out of 5. While you might assume that this might simply point to the fact that twins are raised in the same home by mothers who feed them the same unhealthy diets, studies of non-identical twins found NO such correlation. The chances that one non-identical twin might have Type 2 Diabetes if the other had it were much lower, though these non-identical twins, born at the same time and raised by the same caregivers were presumably also exposed to the same unhealthy diets.” – and other research shows that diabetes is actually genetic in origin.
    I think it’s true since if diabetes is caused by eating then every obese person you see would be diabetic.

  • http://caloriesinaday.com/ AshleyKaplan

    You have provide good information about different food items. Mostly my breakfast is just like English Muffin Breakfast, now I know how much calories I take in my breakfast. Is there any calorie calculator.? Which calculate how much calories I consume in a day.

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Great! Glad you found the list useful. myfitnesspal has a good calorie tracker.

  • Filipino Store

    Wonderful post

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Thanks, we’re glad you found it useful!

  • Marie

    I am looking for a diet for a female age 77 yrs. Little exercise as I have a back injury which does not allow it. I have already lost 80 lbs. Need to lose 50 more. What would my calorie intake need to be?

  • Laura

    Amazing post! love this!! I have been doing fitness shows for 5 years now and trying to teach my friends and colleagues healthy eating using measurements is difficult- love the visual aspect !!

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Thanks! Glad you liked it. Yes, much easier to judge portions if we have examples to follow.

  • Big Dave

    I like a toasted whole grain English muffin (110) with a pat of real butter (100), an over easy egg (70), and a thin slice of provolone (40). Makes for a tasty 320 calorie sandwich thats quick, easy, portable, and provides a pretty good energy kick. I have been trying to keep my regular meals under 400 calories, and between meal snacks (usually fruits and nuts) under 100 for the last few months and have dropped almost 30 lbs in the process by only changing my diet. Thanks for the ideas!

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Great job! and thanks for the great breakfast suggestion!

    • Rayca

      Yum. That does sounds good. I forgot all about English muffins. I’m sick of bagels.

  • Rayca

    Thanks for this post. I just want to know what it looks like. These are mostly foods I eat and now I know that I may be consuming a little more or less, depending on how many oz., or pats or type of veg., dressing, etc. Excellent visual.

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      You’re welcome! We’re glad you found it useful.

    • StoneDiesel

      I have been using Calorie Calculator bestcaloriecounter(dot)com, an app all about fitness and balanced diet.This information too aids well visually

  • klove

    Thanks for doing this! Helps me out a lot. Getting more aware on how my plate should look ;)

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      You are so welcome, we are glad it was useful for you and we wish you all the best with eating more healthfully.

  • Donna Freeman Cook

    Ok… this actually sounds doable…. Thank you for adding the pics… wish me luck…I’m using this as a guide starting tomorrow

    • JamesF

      Good luck! And please let us know of any other low calorie creations you come up with.

  • http://facebook.com/hellehairpin Jessica Hellaine

    Awesome list, thanks! :) Easy to make, see, AND helped make my grocery list a lot simpler, haha.

    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Glad it helped Jessica!

  • ceo

    Thanks! I have to a project for school on a 7 day healthy meal planner and this website sure worked :-D ^0^ :D ^3^ =)

    • Ceo


    • http://www.caffeineinformer.com/ Ted

      Glad we could help Ceo! All the best with your project!

  • Treacle234


  • http://harmoniouseating.wordpress.com Jorge Jurado

    Thanks for this post, deff have more ideas for breakfast now :-)

  • http://fitbodybuzz.com/ Fitbodybuzz

    Really useful list. These meals are good examples that a low calorie meal can be very delicious.

  • CurryDesignsHandmade Jessica C

    Love your recipes. I’m always looking for new ideas for low calorie meals. I made a website called http://300caloriemeals.blogspot.com just so that I can save my recipes and share them with everyone. They are very simple recipes.