What Do 300-Calorie Meals Really Look Like?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Wonder what 300 calories looks like? 300 calories look drastically different when you're eating in instead of dining out. Choosing healthier, more nutritious foods--at home and away--means you can eat much more food and still lose weight. Check out these 18 meal comparisons to see for yourself, then forward this post to your friends!

Breakfast: 300-Calorie Meals & Portions
Here are three morning meals that each weigh in at 300 calories. Healthy and quick homemade meals (left column) pack whole grains, fresh fruit, and protein--a filling combination that will keep you fuller longer. You could only eat a fraction of the comparable restaurant meals (right column) for the same number of calories. Get more healthy breakfast ideas here.

Lunch: 350-Calorie Meals & Portions
These midday meals contain 350 calories each--the perfect amount to keep you going without wrecking your diet. Packing one of the homemade lunches on the left doesn't take long, and look at all those low- cal and filling veggies you'll get! Notice how seemingly healthy options like the restaurant foods on the right can be very misleading! Those 350-calorie portions are pretty small. Pack a healthier lunch with these tips.

Dinner: 400-Calorie Meals & Portions
Many people consume a larger meal at night, so we picked 400-calorie dinners here. By combining whole grains with lean protein and vegetables, these homemade dinners (left column) are a snap to prepare--and they'll keep the late-night munchies at bay! In contrast, the high-fat and high-calorie meals on the right don't offer much in the way of nutrition or volume. Get thousands of healthy dinner ideas at SparkRecipes.com!

The bottom line is that you can eat more and lose weight when you know how to pick the right foods and the right portions. Use the images and portions above as a guide to create your own healthy, diet-friendly and nutritious meals every day!

Are you surprised by how much (or little) you can eat for the calories, depending on which foods you choose? Which meal was most shocking to you?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


wow this a great article. It helps to see what you can have with lower calories. It is about a life style change. Report
This was very enlightening, a real eye opener. Report
I really loved the visuals in this article, it really breaks it down to reality. Thanks so very much! Report
I liked this article. It was very imformative. By light bread, I'm assuming they mean calorie reduced, such as Weight Watchers brand. Report
This is great, but what is light bread?!? Report
Beautiful pictures! GREAT comparison! Report
Nice! Visuals really make the point! Report
THIS IS AN INFORMATIVE BLOG! I learned so much! Thank you! Report
Wow!!!! Thanks. Really puts some insights on "my" meals versus eating out. Forget you Panera Bread, Ihop, Ruby Tuesday and others that try to sell you the low carbs/low calorie diets on their menus Report
Really frozen burger, frozen pizza, frozen spinach? Report
Wow! All the meals on the left look fantastic! Report
great post! Report
I sure liked the picture comparisons, but unfortunately I am gluten free, soy free, sugar free, egg free and MSG free , vegetarian. When I see the recipes in all the books most including meat, I feel sad. I do not want to eat meat and eggs anymore because since I took this path all my arthritis is mostly disappeared. It is OK for everyone else, but not for me, but I still liked to see the comparison pictures. Thanks. Report

While I kind of missing ordering pizza and getting take out, just because it's so mindless and takes no time, there really is a certain satisfaction to making your own ww pizza crust from scratch, and baking it with the kids, loaded with healthy toppings.
And then there's a HUGE satisfaction to eating a normal-sized serving of it, feeling full afterwards, knowing it was all organic and nutritious, and enjoying every delicious bite!

One more example of how you have to work for all the really good stuff, but it's so totally worth it. Report
Thanks!! Very helpful!
This was so helpful! Report
one of my favorites to read. I always come back to it when I need a reality check. Report
Love the picture comparison. It gave me some great ideas. I also liked it because it showed an entire meal not just a receipt for one item. I like suggestions and options for side dishes to go with the entree. I am putting this in my favorites. Best article I have seen in the last 30 days. Report
Awesome! Thank you! Report
Wow, this really shows that it makes a difference to cook your own food because you know what goes in them! Thank you for providing this! Report
Hey everyone! I have just started a blog http://under300calories.typepad.com
/ that features a ton of filling, healthy recipes for 300 calories or less. It will also track workout tips, motivational tips, and anything you could possibly want to help you lose weight and live a healthy life! Stop by, please! Report
I'm just starting out on this adventure again and was feeling sorry for myself until I saw this visual. With a little bit of planning a person can actually have a nice meal. WooHoo! Report
Wow who will eat 1/3 of a piece of pizza? Not this girl. Thankyou for the eye opener. Report
the eyes are open now thanks Report
Thanks for this! Report
Thanks for the information. Love the side by side pictures. Report
This has been very helpful to me. I needed the visual Report
The visuals are very helpful tools. Report
I loved this blog and it certainly was a great reality check! Report
This was awesome and really needed for most people here! Thanks for such and eye opener! Report
Awesome! Love visual cues. . . Report
The difference in serving are so off. Won't be eating out again no time soon!! Eye-opening article Report
Eye-opener! Report
Very informative. The pictures tell the story. Report
This came out just in time. My hubby just brought home some Marie Calendar pot pies. He said they will be good for when we don't feel like cooking. Guess what I'm going to go and get me some lean cuisine and they who can afford all those calories can have the pot pies. Report
Wow! The Chinese food picture gives me motivation to do more stir fry at home! Report
Now I really really liked this one...the saying a picture is worth a thousand words really shows here. Presentation because we eat with our eyes before our stomachs comes to mind. Thanks for all the great ideas...nice to SEE other ideas for meals. Report
Thank you this is actually quite helpful! Report
This is very helpful !!! Report
Astounding! I lol'ed at the Sbarro pizza. My boyfriend worked at a Sbarro's in a mall, and we ate soooo much greasy, fattening pizza that semester. And that same semester, he worked across the street at a Panera Bread. I could never eat Sbarro's nastiness again and be happy, but I DO love me some Panera . . . mmm . . .

Sorry to go off on a tangent. Thank you for this article so much! You've strengthened my resolve to cook more at home so I know for SURE what I'm getting into! Report
Wow! The pictures sure make an impact! Unbelievable! Report
I'm new to Sparkpeople and this helped a lot. My biggest problem is coming up with a variety of things to eat. There's only so much hard-boiled eggs and tuna that one can eat. Also, a question: Why don't more diet plans include tomato juice with breakfast or as a snack? Low in calories and tomatoes are supposed to be so good for you. Report
Super article, it helps seing the servings sid by side. t Report
This is great. My personal favorite comparison is the Dunkin Donuts Coffee Cake muffin. I used to love these. Practically stopped by DD on the way to work every day to get one. Then I found out that 1 muffin contains 580 calories. Wow. Especially considering I'd get a hot chocolate on the side too sometimes. Was it any wonder that I'd ballooned up to 200+ lbs.? Great read. Thanks. Report
Wow... Great reminder of calories and portion sizes. Report
That is so crazy, I remember when trying to order from Friday's one night with my husband the salads had more calories than some of the regular entrees it is very hard to eat out so I try to avoid it and only do it on special occasions. Report
Oh my gosh! The muffin comparisson one is hillarious. I guess I never realized how much I was actually consuming until I read this. Holy moley! I think I will try the pasta one though. That looks delicious! So does everything else though. :D Report
I'm going to eat more waffles! the special K strawberry are another good choice for waffles! Report
wow i love this....picturesof what real food is to look like...yes real food...the kind I cook now. I could use about 600 more pictures of how these meals are suppose to look, my kids would love to look at them as well.
thanks so very much for this. I appreciate this more than you know. Report