Less than 400-calorie meal ideas

Written by sarah dewitt ince
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Less than 400-calorie meal ideas
Cooking methods and types of oils used also determine the caloric total. (salmon image by cherie from Fotolia.com)

A full lunch or dinner consists of a main dish and at least one side dish or a large salad topped with protein such as chicken or salmon pieces. A full breakfast contains a combination of fruit and fibre or fibre and protein. However, some people wonder how you can pack a full meal into less than 400 calories. This is possible if you choose the right types of foods and pay attention to portion sizes. Nutritionist Natlie Butler says a healthy portion of meat and a side dish is about the size of a deck or cards or the palm of your hand. However, salads are the only exception because dark leafy greens are low in calories. Feel free to eat as much salad as you like, but go easy on the dressing.

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Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal

Power up for the day by eating a breakfast that contains both fibre and fruit. Cook 1/2 cup of dried oats with pure water and stir until the oats are finished cooking. Cook the oats for a few minutes until you reach your preferred consistency. Mix in 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and add 1/2 cup of raspberries. The ingredient amounts in this meal are enough to feed one person. According to "Prevention" magazine, this meal contains 419 calories with 1 full cup of raspberries; however cutting your raspberries down to 1/2 cup instead of a full cup brings the meal down to 389 total calories.

Salmon Salad

A salad with chopped salmon pieces on top works well for dinner or lunch. Steam a fist-sized amount of salmon in a tier steamer. Most steamers require three cups of water in the bottom to provide enough steam to cook food. Spread 1 tsp of olive oil on the top of the salmon. Cover your steamer with the lid and allow the fish to cook for 15 minutes or until fully done. While your salmon is cooking, boil 1/2 cup of broccoli for 10 minutes. Drain the broccoli and allow it to cool. Chop salmon into bite-sized squares. Prepare a salad that contains broccoli, 2 tbsp of pomegranate seeds, 1 tbsp of pumpkin seeds, 1/4 cup of chopped romaine lettuce and 1/4 cup of chopped watercress. Place salmon pieces on top of salad and garnish with lemon wedges. This serves one person. According to the BBC Good Food website, the total calories in this meal is 320 calories.

Pasta Bolognese

"Prevention" magazine says pasta bolognese contains less than 400 calories when prepared a certain way. This dish is a full meal because the pasta, sauce and meat are basically three side dishes in one. To make this recipe, pour four quarts of water in a large pot and place on the stove. Set the stove on high heat and put 1 tbsp of olive oil in the water and bring to a boil. Add five dried porcini mushrooms to the water and pour one cup of pasta shells or zita pasta in the pot. Allow the pasta and mushrooms to cook for 10 minutes or until fully cooked. Use a strainer to drain the noodles when it's done cooking.

Cook 1/2 pound of extra lean minced meat in a skillet on the stove. Add 1 tsp of dried basil 1 tsp of chilli powder to the meat and stir. Then add 1 tbsp of finely chopped yellow onions. Add one pinch of ground black pepper and strain all the fat from the meat. Continue cooking until the meat is fully done. Then add one can of (salt-free) tomato sauce. Add 2 tbsp of ricotta cheese and serve. This recipe serves two people. This meal also works well for lunch or dinner. According to "Prevention" magazine, the total calories in this meal is 399.

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