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TOPIC: How many calories should each meal be?

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October 6, 2012 6:11 PM
i've read places that meals should not be larger than 300 calories but it's hard to eat that little per meal and feel full... tonight i had an 800 calorie dinner once all the fruits were counted up that i ate along with dinner (i decided to eat a large dinner bc i was feeling really weak and cramped at the gym). geez... so how many calories do YOU think each meal should be, personally?

also how many calories ARE your meals?
Edited by stines72 On October 6, 2012 6:11 PM
October 6, 2012 6:13 PM
I think you should base this entirely on personal preference and gym performance.
October 6, 2012 6:18 PM
What I've done is take my daily # of cals I am allotted and divide them by four. I am a snacker and I can't give that up. If I do I am bound for failure. Believe me, I've tried (past diets, etc). Anyway, what I do is divide the cals by 4. 1/4 for breakfast, 1/4 for lunch, 1/4 for dinner and 1/4 for my snacking throughout the day (mid-morning, mid-afternoon and after dinner usually). It's not an exact amount, as there are times I'll have a lighter breakfast and lunch so I can have my "guilty" dinner (anything over 500 cals usually). If I come in a bit under par for that meal, I know I can spread it a bit more through the rest of the day.

By all means, it's nothing exact. Often, I find eating a lighter breakfast and mid-sized lunch means I don't snack as much though. Since I am trying to keep my portion sizes small, snacking between meals works better for me in that regard.
October 6, 2012 6:22 PM
I really have to have one meal every day that is more than 600 calories. So I usually have a 400 cal breakfast, some little snacks through the day and then a big meal about four hours before bed. Otherwise I never feel full and happy.
October 6, 2012 6:23 PM
I like to use 200-250 for breakfast to get going. Lunch I generally have as a series of snacks, such as a fruit at noon, then a yogurt at two. Maybe string cheese somewhere in there. Then dinner is whatever is left over. I especially need this if I'm going out. Other times I spend dinner to see what I can get away with. Sometimes it's avocado on toast and other times it's a couple of plums and a hard-boiled egg.
October 6, 2012 6:26 PM
i have my day set up by time frames (6-8 am, 8-11, etc.) since I'm more of a snacker than a meal eater. I tend to eat between 1700-2000 calories per day (depending on exercise), so I try to keep each time frame around 300-400 calories. Some are over and others under. It just depends on the day. Some times I'll have a big meal if we go out or something, but they are almost always under 500. I find that if I eat 300 calories or so every three hours (ish) then i don't get REALLY hungry at all.

You have to do what works for you:-) There are a million ways to make this work and what works for one person may not work for you:-)
October 6, 2012 6:28 PM
Small for breakfast (133), a snack at mid-morning (100), lunch at noon (400), snack at 3 (200), and dinner (500-600). And most days, a snack before bed (140).

Sometimes more sometimes less--and usually with a tablespoon of peanut butter (95) during lunch making time.
October 6, 2012 6:28 PM
I don't like the feeling of being really full, so I divide my total calories for the entire day by 6 ~even meals. Ends up somewhere between 300 and 400 each. I also try to compensate from one meal to the next, eating more or less depending on what I ate for the previous meal. Everyone is different though.
October 6, 2012 6:30 PM
I try to have a large breakfast (450-500), medium lunch (350-400) and a small-ish dinner (300-400). It all depends on how many calories I burn. I have 3 snacks a day and each can range from 50-250 cals each. I lose consistently. I hope this helps.
October 6, 2012 6:36 PM
I usually do three larger meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and two snacks. I find that if I spread it out over the day I seem to feel less hungry. I also seem to have more energy. I've noticed since switching to the smaller meals I now can't eat a bigger one without feeling sorta bloated and nasty.
October 6, 2012 6:49 PM
tahnks so much for your input everyone. it really is hard to make meals fit a specific calorie goal like 300... i think i'll try the dividing thing
October 6, 2012 6:52 PM
I just aim for a daily total. Losing weight is hard enough without turning every meal into a mathematical equation.
October 6, 2012 7:17 PM
I tend to go to bed in the early hours so my breakfast is before bed, as a bedtime snack and I then don't tend to eat until late afternoon when I have worked out, usually just a few snacks. Then I have a proper dinner. My before bed meal averages around 400-500 calories, my daytime snacks come to around 400-600calories, and my dinner is between 400 and 600 calories. I am on maintenance.I don't plan out how many calories I will have, I would find that too taxing and inhibiting.
Edited by Graelwyn75 On October 6, 2012 7:18 PM
October 6, 2012 8:33 PM
This is my struggle - to be at my max calories for the day I should be eating no more than 300 per meal, but it is so hard! My family has started making dinner too which makes it worse because my dinners are now much higher than I would cook so I need to cut down my breakfast and lunch even more.

I took my total cals and divided by 4 to see what I should have per meal - 300 per meal max and 2 150 cal snacks...
Edited by Ready2Rock206 On October 6, 2012 8:33 PM
October 6, 2012 8:35 PM
It doesnt matter. As long as you reach your macros for the day.
October 6, 2012 8:36 PM
I just had. 3,100 calorie dinner. Does that mean I wasted my money on 2,800 calories worth of food?
October 6, 2012 8:43 PM

Get big.
October 6, 2012 8:47 PM

I think you should base this entirely on personal preference and gym performance.


I do intermittent fasting because I really like to eat one or two big meals and a few little snacks, or some days like today, I literally ate all my calories in 2 big meals (with a coffee shake that barely counts separately). That's what makes me feel best!
October 6, 2012 8:49 PM
I eat 1700-1900 calories a day. I sometimes compete with one of my male pals on meal size. My proatmeal breakfast has almond butter in it and clocks in around 700 calories. I can knock out 1K+ EASILY if I go to Chic-Fil-A.

Daily cals (that is actually not true, it is more of trend range over time), but let's just say DAILY cals, not per meal. Maintain a deficit= you're fine.
October 6, 2012 8:53 PM
Having a big breakfast helps your metabolism for the day. So it could be eggs, bowl of cereal with yogurt, or whatever you like to eat for breakfast. And for lunch, it should be something healthy, enough to get you to dinner, along with a good snack. But for dinner, I heard it should be small. But depending what is it.
October 6, 2012 8:53 PM
Breakfast/lunch/tea 350 and morning and afternoon snack 150 each
October 6, 2012 8:55 PM
I have pretty much the same breakfast every day & it comes in around 300. Lunch and dinner vary. I like to have a beer with dinner so I try to leave the bulk of my calories for dinner. We mostly eat at home but if we do go out it is usually for dinner. I might have 300 breakfast, 300 lunch, 950 dinner and 250 snacks.
October 6, 2012 8:55 PM
Edited by staceyleew On October 6, 2012 8:57 PM
October 6, 2012 8:56 PM

I just aim for a daily total. Losing weight is hard enough without turning every meal into a mathematical equation.

i like your thinking
October 6, 2012 8:57 PM
I think it depends on you and your preferences. I typically have 200 for breakfast, 300 for lunch, 500-600 for dinner and then about 200-300 left over for snacks. That works fine for me. My 200 breakfast gets me to lunch and my lunch gets me to dinner. That is my average, not a set number.

I have never been a breakfast person and prefer to be awake a few hours before eating. However, with my current job I don't have any break to eat until lunch time so I just keep it small to make it to lunch. That's the only reason my breakfast is small.

On weekends, I really only eat twice a day so breakfast/lunch is bigger and dinners about the same but I have more snacks...


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