I like simple, easy to prepare, low calorie meals! As I’ve mentioned before I do cook and have some favorite recipes but I also enjoy eating meals that require little or no cooking at all. And yes, I like to eat nutritious well-balanced meals most of the time…
When my husband was out of town last week, I had fun on Friday evening poking around the grocery store looking for something different to eat for supper. I was in no mood to cook but I didn’t want to go to a restaurant either. Finding low calorie nutritious restaurant meals can be a challenge. Although I do have strategies that help (Cut Calories with Restaurant Meals and A Low Calorie Restaurant Food Guide).
I also didn’t want to spend much money. It became a game of sorts. I walked by the prepared foods part of the store. But nothing that evening was appealing. Too many foods with heavy sauces or mayonnaise. Pre-prepared chef salads that were more money than I wanted to spend. Too many fried foods. So I decided to check out the frozen foods and then the produce section.
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I found a frozen food product labeled “New” by Morningstar Farms for Southwestern Style Veggie Cakes in the frozen foods section. Made with black beans, roasted corn, peppers, real cheddar cheese and rice for only 130 calories per patty (veggie cake). Mmmm, looked good. The rest of the nutrient profile was good as well. No trans fat and only 1 gram of saturated fat per patty. The dietary fiber count was a little low but otherwise it seemed to be an O.K. product. I’d give it a try. Only $2.88 for 4 patties.
I wanted to keep the meal extra simple so I decided I would make myself 2 patties. (The veggie cakes are small.) Now I needed to round out the meal a little but see if I could keep the calorie count to less than 350 calories. I settled on a package of fresh blackberries for about $2.50 (on sale)! That was it. The blackberries would provide me with a significant source of fiber and other nutrients for very few calories.
Two veggie cakes and 1 cup of blackberries would be my supper. All together my little meal was about $4.00 or so (with 2 patties to save for another time.) And it turned out to be delicious as well as nutritious and filling. Only 321 calories!
I’ve added other foods to show you how this very easy supper might be part of an entire day of vegetarian foods for about 1200 calories. It is a lacto-ovo vegetarian sample menu meaning it includes milk and eggs.
Make hard-boiled eggs and keep them in the refrigerator for quick and easy meals. The hummus might be homemade or purchased.
Vegetarian Sample Menu for 1200 Calories
1 cup Frosted Shredded Wheat Cereal (180 calories)
1 Hard-boiled egg
4 oz. Skim Milk
Water, unsweetened tea or coffee
1 Orange (fresh)
1 Stick Mozzarella String Cheese (80 calories)
1 cup Fat Free Vegetable Barley Soup (by Health Valley, 90 calories)
1 Slice 100% Whole Wheat Bread (New England Brown Bread, 90 calories)
1 Slice Tomato
2 Tbsp. Hummus (52 calories)
1 8 oz. cup of Skim milk
1 Container Low fat Peachy Organic Yogurt (Stonyfield Farm, 130 calories)
2 Veggie Cakes (“patties” by MorningStar Farms, 260 calories)
1 Cup Blackberries
water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or diet soda
(Always remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.)
Total Calories = 1212
Total Fiber = 30.8 grams (Lots of fiber with this menu. The recommendation is for women to have 20-25 grams of fiber per day.)
Fat = 17%
Carbs = 62%
Protein = 21%
Calcium = 1076 mg (Women between 19 and 50 years need approximately 1,000 mg a day, 51+ need 1,200 mg a day)
Iron = 17.2 mg (Women 19 to 50 years need 18 mg of iron, 51+ need 8 mg)
1500 Calorie Diet Menu
Modify the 1200 Calorie Diet Menu to fit your needs.
This menu is simple yet fairly well-balanced for women of all ages. The fat is a little on the low side so go ahead and add something to this diet sample menu that contributes a little more fat. You could choose a yogurt for the snack that isn’t low fat. Or you might want to add a small dessert for lunch or supper. Whatever food or foods you choose, add 300 extra calories and enjoy!
Need more 1200 or 1500 calorie diet menus for ideas? (Scroll to the bottom of each page for links)
Questions? Be sure to ask. Comments? Feel free to share. Have a great week, watch those calories, and most importantly, stay healthy!