The 500 Calorie Meal Plan

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So, I know a lot of us are on this whole 1200 calorie a day thing so we can be skinny minnies by summertime, but I just can't with that. I definitely fall closer to 2000 calories a day, and because of that I like to divide up my 3 meals a day into 500 calorie ones, then allow myself 500 more calories in snacks and in-between meals. Eating in this way - very measured but with pleasure - allows me to manage my weight as I get older and still get the fuel I need from food to exercise. Also, I'm a professional chef and LOVE food, so getting creative with these 500 calorie meals is a fun way to stay active in the kitchen. I like to focus on an animal protein, vegetables, and some kind of grain or carbohydrate to fill my plate. Half of it are vegetables, 1/4 animal protein, and 1/4 carb of some kind. I know you might freak out about carbs but they are the bodies preferred energy source - if you don't eat them, your body starts to break down other important elements and you simply don't function as well. 

That's not to say that the carbs I'm eating are like, white bread and pasta...no, no, no. I eat brown rice, quinoa, a little barley here and there - things like this. Most are gluten-free options, but not intentionally. I don't have any kind of gluten intolerance, I just know that brown rice is far more complex carbohydrate than say, a goldfish cracker. I'm simply choosing my energy sources properly.

It's pretty easy to count your calories and plan your meals this way. You can go the traditional route and read the labels on your ingredients and come up with the right ratio of veggies, to protein, to carb, or you can use any number of websites or apps to help you figure out the numbers. I'll also be posting great meal ideas once a week moving forward that are right around 500 calories, so TheLoDown can be a great weekly source for inspiration. I'll be breaking own the calories for each ingredient and letting you know what portion sizes are appropriate. I like to determine the calories for the carb and protein first and veggies have so few, and it's a good model for you as well.

With that being said, lets jump in to today's 500 calorie recipe (it's a breakfast meal): a Quinoa Bowl with Poached Eggs and Vegetables!

[recipe id="11799"]

Image via Yes, More Please.