Note that I didn’t say ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods. Any food can fit your calories, depending on the amount you have. Take peanut butter, popular in the fitness world for its protein and healthy fats, but it’s also very high calorie. But a tbsp. is only around 100 calories, so as long as you’re not spooning glugs from the jar, it’s fine.
Even ‘junk’ like a cheap chocolate biscuit. An Oreo cookie is only 55 calories! So it’s not the cookie per se that’s the problem. More that it isn’t very filling, and they’re very moorish, so eating 6 in one go can easily happen, and you still will be starving for your next meal soon after.
Intermittent fasting is popular with some people because it allows them to eat more food in one sitting. A big, hearty, calorific meal, only once or twice a day, can be very satisfying both mentally and physically, but won’t necessarily put you over your calorie allowance.
However I find such people to be in the minority and most people prefer somewhere between 3-6 meals a day, or more specifically 3 meals and 3 snacks (morning, afternoon, bedtime).
You likely know already which you are, but if not, simply experiment and see how you feel – are you hungrier and grumpy and overeat at your next meal if you miss a snack? Or is snacking just not something you feel you need and it just adds calories since you don’t eat any less later?
I’m in the snack camp. I don’t often have a mid-morning snack but if I do it will be fruit or veg sticks. An afternoon snack is a must, and a protein rich bedtime snack will always help me sleep better, personally.
But when your calorie needs aren’t particularly high (I need around 1800 as though I’m active I’m only 5’2), if I wasn’t careful 3 meals and 2-3 snacks could easily add up to more than that.
So I keep my meals on the lower end, allowing wriggle room for my beloved snack + cup of tea a few times a day, and for me, this is how I feel and perform best, have better mental clarity, more energy, and I don’t keep gaining excess weight either.
If you’re a snacker then these 300 calorie meal ideas will help you keep within your calorie needs. Obviously adjust to suit your personal energy needs – some may need more, some less, but knowing how to knock up a tasty low calorie meal even occasionally can be useful after a day of indulgence too. All are high in vegetables and protein, making them as filling as possible while still not being high calorie.
As an example, 3 x 300 meals plus 2 x 200 snacks = 1500, about right for many women who don’t exercise much, have a sedentary life or job, and need to lose weight. Tall, or more active women, likely need more.
Swirl 1 tbsp. peanut butter into 200g fat free Greek Yoghurt, plus a little stevia (e.g. Nutri-Nick Vanilla Stevia Drops Natural Sugar-Free Zero Calorie Flavoured Stevia Sweetener for Baking Hot and Cold Drinks 50 ml ) to sweeten if you want. Top with 150g chopped strawberries. (262 calories)
Another ‘make the night before’ time saver, these overnight oats would be delicious topped with a large handful of raspberries. (191 calories plus raspberries)
Preheat the oven to 180°c. Bake 2 Portobello mushrooms on a baking tray for 5 minutes, then crack an egg into each and top with a handful of spinach, and 2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for a further 12-15 minutes and serve. (310 calories)
Make this yoghurt chia bowl the night before to save time. The whole recipe will serve 2 as a decent breakfast, and use blueberries only to top. (309 calories)
Whisk one egg with 15g ground almonds, 25g protein powder such as Awesome Supplements whey or vegan powder, and a pinch of baking powder. Pour into a hot non-stick frying pan and heat until cooked. Top with 100g berries. (300 calories)
Whisk two eggs and pour into a hot non-stick pan. When almost cooked, sprinkle on 100g cooked, chopped, lean ham and fold over. Slide the omlette onto a plate and serve with 2 sliced beefsteak tomatoes (260 calories)
Beetroot is so good for us, did you know studies have shown it’s as effective as medication in some people for reducing blood pressure and improving blood flow? That makes it great before exercise too, as the improved blood flow will energise you. This salad allows two whole beets per person. (291 calories)
Fry 200g chicken with a crushed garlic clove until cooked, adding 100g mushrooms and 2 chopped spring onions half way through. Stir through 1 tbsp each of hoisin and soy sauce, and serve wrapped in large lettuce leaves. (291 calories)
Simmer 200g tinned chopped tomatoes with 200ml stock, ¼ tsp each garlic powder and oregano, one finely diced onion, and one chopped pepper, until the vegetables are soft. Add 125g mixed beans (from a tin, drained) and stir through until hot. Top with 1 tbsp. grated cheddar cheese. (298 calories)
Stir fry a medium (150g) salmon fillet with a pack of konjac pasta and 200g tenderstem broccoli. Season and sprinkle with a tbsp. Parmesan cheese. (310 calories)
Coat 130g sliced lean flank steak in 1 tbsp. soy sauce and some black pepper. Steam 200g broccoli. Heat a large non-stick pan and stir fry the steak with 1 clove crushed garlic until cooked. Stir in the broccoli and serve. (280 calories)
Chickpeas (and all pulses for that matter) contain a specific type of fibre called Resistant Starch, which is very filling. Serve this curry with extra veg; cauliflower rice would be perfect. (236 calories plus extra vegetables)
Cook 2 Quorn sausages according to packet instructions. Meanwhile boil 220g cauliflower florets until soft, then mash with salt and pepper. Serve with low calorie gravy (optional). (308 calories)
Good news! This recipe is so low calorie you get to eat double this aubergine pizza recipe and it still comes in at under 300 calories! All that veg is very nutritious too, and counts as at least 2 portions of veg.
A classic tasty combo. (170 calories)
Pulsin’ do various bars but these are the highest in protein, and are so tasty and filling for just over 200 calories each. Get 20% off orders over £20 with code PTC20 at the checkout.
So much nutritious goodness in these convenient little nuts. Choose raw, unsweetened or salted nuts in their skins. (172 calories)
Blend 2 scoops (50-60g) with low calorie liquid such as water or almond milk, and ice. Use less liquid and more ice for thicker shakes, or vice versa. My current favourites are Awesome Supplements whey or vegan powder.
Dip 150g carrot sticks into 4 tbsp. (65g) reduced calorie sour cream dip. (159 calories)
Dip ¼ cucumber cut into sticks into 60g reduced fat hummus (150 calories)
25g pack of beef jerky plus a handful of pepper strips. (125 calories)
Lower in protein and quite small in size, at least dark chocolate (80-90% cocoa ideally) has lots of antioxidant goodness when you need a chocolate fix! (165 calories)
200g fat free cottage cheese with pineapple (usually found already with the fruit in). A grown up take on the kid’s party combo! (150 calories)
Calling all crisp lovers! Crisps made of egg whites sound gross, but are anything but as my review of Chirps crisps shows here. And at 110 calories per bag of almost pure protein, what’s not to love?