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4 Mega Sized Meals for Under 500 Calories

Sometimes I prefer to get my meals in “compact” form (if I’m wearing a fitted outfit and have to give a presentation, for example). But some days, I really like to fill my belly! Fortunately, large portions don’t always equal more calories. Here are four examples that provide a whole lotta bites for fewer than 500 (visual – 1 cup is about the size of a baseball):

Breakfast:
A large smoothie made from 1 cup frozen blueberries, 6 oz organic soy milk and 2 Tbsp almond butter
Total: whips up to about 2 cups for 345 calories

Lunch:
1 cup lentil soup served with a large salad made from 3 cups field greens tossed with 1 sliced plum tomato, 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, one Tbsp fresh lemon juice and a quarter cup pine nuts
Total: nearly 5 cups of food for 385 calories

Dinner:
3 cups raw veggies (like onions, mushrooms and peppers) sautéed in 1 Tbsp peanut oil tossed with a half cup edamame, served with a half cup wild rice
Total: 4 cups of food for 485 calories

Snack:
6 cups air popped popcorn sprinkled with chipotle seasoning
2 cups raw veggies with a half cup hummus for dipping
Total: over 8 cups of food for 400 calories

Portion control is important when you’re reaching for foods that pack a lot of calories per bite, like a cookie, but it’s perfectly OK to pump up your plate with generous servings of fruits and veggies when a petite sized meal just won’t do it for you.

Here are a few calorie/volume comparisons:

For 100-150 calories you could eat:
15 Lay's Baked Potato Crisps Original
OR
1 small Russet potato, thinly sliced, lightly misted with extra virgin olive oil spray and dusted with fresh rosemary or cracked black pepper, baked in your oven at 450 degrees for about 15-20 minutes

For 150-200 calories you could eat:
One half cup (one quarter of a pint or about the size of half a baseball) Ben & Jerry's Frozen Yogurt Low Fat Cherry Garcia
OR
1 cup 0% Greek yogurt mixed with one half cup frozen, thawed cherries and 2 Tbsp chocolate chips

For about 200-250 calories you could eat:
One quarter cup peanut m&ms (about the size of a golf ball)
OR
1 cup sliced strawberries drizzled with 2 Tbsp melted chocolate chips, sprinkled with 2 Tbsp crushed peanuts

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