300 Calorie Mini Meals: Eat less but often

Low calorie diets and mini meals were made for each other. If you are on a 1200 to 1500 calorie diet, making each calorie count matters. The best way to ensure nutritional balance and to keep from feeling hungry is to spread your meals and snacks throughout the day.



Try to eat something nutritious every 3 hours or so. Most or all of your calories are best consumed from breakfast through supper. If you follow this system you won’t have many calories, if any, left for the evening. Choose nutrient dense foods that are a good source of fiber whenever possible.

Eating small meals often helps keep your metabolism running smoothly, which assists you in burning fat (see note that follows). Mini meals also provide you with a steady influx of important nutrients. Here are some sample plans of how your calorie breakdown might work.

[Note: For the BEST fat burning information you will find anywhere read my review of Tom Venuto's book "Burn the Fat". I don't anyone who knows more about burning fat with healthy eating (no diet pills or supplements) and exercise than Tom.]

1200 calorie diet

3 main meals (breakfast, lunch, supper) about 300-350 calories each
2 snacks of about 100-150 calories each

Or

3 main meals of 300 calories each
3 snacks of 100 calories each

1500 calorie diet

5 mini-meals (breakfast, lunch, supper, plus 2 snacks) of about 300 calories each

Or

3 main meals (breakfast, lunch, supper) of about 350-400 calories each
3 snacks throughout the day of 100-150 calories each

Today I’m sharing eight 300-calorie mini-meal possibilities for breakfast, lunch, supper, or snacks. Some of these come from 1200 calorie sample menus I’ve already provided but other examples are new.

I hope these samples give you an opportunity to think about the many ways you can mix and match mini-meals for a nutritious daily menu of your own. Keep in mind that each mini-meal will not necessarily be nutritionally balanced by itself.

That’s why it’s important to have a sense of how each of your choices fits in a nutritionally balanced plan for the day. If you would like to see how well you are doing with your choices, refer to the 1200 or 1500 calorie diet plan on this website for a checklist.

You might also want to try a membership with MyFoodDiary.com (see my review of their service) to better assess your overall nutritional balance for a day. I’ve been a member for quite a while now and I have found the nutrient database they provide and the system for checking nutritional balance to be invaluable whenever I create 1200 to 1500 calorie sample menus.

To give you a variety of choices I will be sharing more mini-meals over time. I will include samples to meet different needs. Some will require a little cooking, others are heat and serve, and others can be purchased on the run from a grocery store or restaurant. Keep in mind that pre-prepared foods whether canned or packaged from a grocery store or meals from a restaurant tend to be high in sodium. Image via Wikipedia

Mini-meals for Breakfast:

2 Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes 178
1/2 Tbsp. Land O’Lakes Light Butter made in part with Canola Oil 25
2 Tbsp. Light Syrup 48
4 oz. Orange Juice 52

303 calories total

1 Large Egg Scrambled with 2 tsp. margarine or butter 137 *
1 Slice Whole Wheat Bread 90
1/2 Tbsp. Jam 25
4 oz. Orange Juice 52

294 calories total

    *[Or choose to use 1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) of an Egg Substitute for fewer calories--about 30 calories for the egg and 67 calories for 2 tsp. butter totaling 97 calories for the scrambled eggs.

    That brings the total calories to 254 giving you a chance to add 1/2 glass of milk or some low fat yogurt (about 40-50 calories) to add some protein and calcium to round out the nutritional balance.]

Mini-meals for Lunch:

1 cup Vegetable Soup by Health Valley 55
1/2 Sandwich (or have an open-faced sandwich with one slice of bread)

    1 Slice 100% Whole Wheat Bread 90
    6 Slices Honey Ham 70
    1 Slice Reduced Fat Mozzarella Cheese 60
    1 tsp. Mustard 3
    1 Slice Tomato 13

291 total calories

1 Martha’s Vineyard Salad from Arby’s 277
4 oz. Skim Milk 40

317 total calories

Mini-meals for Supper:

1 cup Four-Cheese Whole Wheat Ravioli 256
1/4 cup Low Sodium Marinara Pasta Sauce 20
1/2 cup Steamed Broccoli 26

302 Total Calories

1 Spa Lean Cuisine Classics Salmon with Basil 230
8 oz. Skim Milk 80

310 Total Calories

Mini-meals for Snacks:

1 oz. (about 1/4 cup or 28 nuts) whole natural plain almonds 170
1 medium Apple 80
1 small square of Dark Chocolate 50

300 Total Calories

1 cup Low-fat 1% Cottage Cheese 160
(1/2 cup 2% Cottage Cheese has about 100 calories)
1/2 cup blueberries 41
Drizzle a LITTLE (1 Tbsp.) real Maple Syrup over the blueberry-topped cottage cheese 50
2 Whole Grain Crackers (such as Crispbread Rye Crackers) 72

293 Total Calories

Hope this helps!

Have a great week, watch those calories, and stay healthy!

  • queena September 20, 2012, 6:32 pm

    hey thanks so much for the mini meal examples but do you have any meals like this thats kid friendly

    • Lori September 21, 2012, 7:00 am

      Hi Queena,

      Thanks for asking about kid-friendly mini meals. What I am wondering is if you are wanting to prepare the same food for both you and your kids? If so, that would be useful for many women! On the other hand the limited calorie meal suggestions I make are intended for women on a low calorie diet and not kids.

      So yes, that would be a good challenge to come up with ideas that would allow Mom’s to eat the same food they are serving their kids. (Again, the portion size/calorie restriction would be for the mothers and not the kids.) I’ll have to see if I can come up with some ideas! Thanks for asking.

      Lori

  • Alicia April 17, 2011, 8:03 pm

    I love your 300 cal menu ideas. It helps a lot! I think the calories on the cottage cheese depends on the brand though because the one I have in my fridge is one percent as well but contains 100 cals per half cup. Other than that everything looks fantastic!

    • Lori April 19, 2011, 7:21 am

      You make an excellent point. It is important to check the nutrition label for the food products you buy. Cottage cheese and many other products will vary in calories depending on the precise ingredient makeup. Just because the percentage of fat is the same in two different brands does not mean the calorie count will be the same.

      Thanks for sharing.

  • Devon October 20, 2010, 11:20 pm

    I think you have a typo on the mustard calories.

    • Lori October 21, 2010, 5:55 am

      THANK YOU!! Yes, absolutely the mustard calories should be 3 NOT 60. Going to change that right now. Thanks again.

  • Lori June 18, 2010, 1:00 pm

    Veronica, So glad you found the sample menus to be helpful. I have more mini-meal ideas in More Nutritious 300 Calorie Mini-Meals

  • Veronica June 17, 2010, 8:00 pm

    Thank you for posting these sample menus. Very helpful!