How many calories should a meal roughly contain?

I am trying to eat more healthily in general and reducing portion sizes - what sort of calorie intake is right per meal, if I am eating 3 meals a day?
Asked by Judy-J

14 answers

Top answer
Instead of calorie counting, try another approach. Calories are accumulative. What this means that the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for a woman is 2000 calories. But getting hung up on this means that you are negotiating with yourself on a daily basis but it's the accumulation of calories that make a difference with weight management / weight loss. Taking in an extra 100 calories each day would equal a stone of weight over a year.
Also eating three times a day isn't in flow with hunger's natural cycle. Think of the way babies eat, frequent and often. I'm sure you've heard of celebrities doing this as well. Hunger is important as it tells you it's time to eat. Diets tell you that hunger is bad, because diets are about deprivation. Mindful eating is about eating when hungry and stopping when satisfied. This may mean you eat 7 times a day smaller amounts.
Try this practice:
How to develop mindful eating practice:
Step 1: Enquire: Are you hungry? How hungry?
Step 2: Awareness. When eating give it 100% focus
Step 3: Slowly chew and savor flavors and textures
Step 4: Be curious how many chews it takes before it is swallowed effortlessly
Step 5: Notice the food travelling down to your stomach
Step 6: Enquire: Am I satisfied? How satisfied?
Step 7: Repeat if necessary
For more information about mindful eating and weight loss program that works visit my website at - you can download the free guide to the Six Principles of Effortless Weight Loss
Let me know if you have any further questions.
Best wishes,
Brenda Bentley
Mindful Weight Coach
Cognitive Hypno-Psychotherapist


Thanks Brenda, this is really useful! I'm not dieting as such but just trying to eat a little healthier - I do snack a little between meals though as otherwise my sugar levels drop so I definitely need regular food.
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If you are healthy eating already and trying to reduce portion sizes its useful then its all dependant upon what your outcomes are fitness wise!! If you are clinically obese and eat healthfully it means you'd have to increase your calorie burn rate through intensity of exercise. For you, as mentioned it would be important to address what your goals are physically. Againb as mentioned as long as you are reaching your requirements (RDA) Reccomended daily Allowance then 3 meals or even 5 sdmaller meal daily should help reach this calorie goal you are seeking. My advice as a fitness coach is try to enjoy food generally and remember that 'Balance' is the key. hope this helps!
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If you are active and exercise then you can eat as much as
you burn calories, whilst exercising.
If you want to loose weight, then calculate how many calories
you burn off whilst exercising, then calculate how many calories
you should eat less. Better to eat less calories than you burn off.
This way, you will loose weight.
Log onto my website a use the calorie counter
to see what your calorie intake should be in order to meet your goals then take away 20% for snack and low sugar drinks then divide the remaining across the three main meals.
Good luck
Hi Judy. If u like to maintain ur weight, u can eat 1500 cal a day taking into consideration other factors to help like protein, water and vitamin from the food u eat, and exercise. I provide free wellness evaluation and u can book it in my website . Hope this helps
Hi Judy
Wow, you have incredible bone structure.
Beautifully slender. Is your main goal with the reduction of portion size, weight loss and being slimmer?
I work successfully with weight loss and stress, the major factor in weight gain. That and bad breathing posture. Wow. Breathing from the diaphragm will take any build or figure, and upscale the circulation to your muscles - instantly more lean, sexy and healthy. The key is relaxing your voice and tummy. Stress is trying to be many things with effort and not switching off... even when it doesn't feel difficult to do so. If you get this issue, get clear on your emotions, and go back to voice.
1. Where is your breath tense.
2. Is your whole belly expanding like a pregnant lady when you breathe in, which is the only known way for those muscles to find the flat-tummy core that we all love so much, when you breathe back out.
Calories are the fuel for movement, so the required number depends on what you are expending them on - marathon runners will use more, the sedentary potatoes less. But then the lower the number in and the number expended, the more stress, and statistically the less fun the person is having. Also, the lower muscle mass, means more fat kept in the body with each portion. The body thinks it may not have plentiful food later, so it gets clingy with the fat.
But getting too keen on analysing the numbers can lose all the fun, take it all with a pinch of salt. The best path to lighten up is to first find calm and then trust your non-obsessing intuition with foods choices and how much you want that meal. Paul McKenna's book is pretty much all you need to know.
My addition to that would be, be self expressed, and use your voice and dance in every arena you move through x you will be happy, lean, lithe, confident, and powerful xxxxx
Start with your gender, age, height, current weight and activity level. Input into RMR calculator (for example on this website). Take something off to create a calorie deficit (anything from 15% if you're ultra-cautious, to 1000 calories if you're impatient and hoping for 2 lbs a week). Now divide by 6 and these are your small meals - roughly every 3 hours.
hi Judy,
there is basic calculation for daily meal intake ( 24 x your current weight so ) you can redeuce 1000kcal from there ,
also you must have smal portion ( how ) get a smaller plate that make you eat less and there are low cal food but high nutritions food which u need to search on google and make sure always have snacks and plenty of water before every meal and when u wake up
no alchol, no sweet, no salt so you willl lose lot of weight
Murat gecmen
As a health conscious female that leads a relatively active lifestyle you can afford 1500-1750 calories per day. The more exercise you do, the more calories you will have to digest for sustained health and energy. I would suggest an average of 350 calories per standard 3 meals a day and allow for 450 calories in healthy snacking throughout your day. JC
Calorie intake will vary greatly from person to person depending on how active a lifestyle you lead.
Eating regular healthily balanced meals with healthy snacks in between keeps your metabolism high and stops you experiencing cravings and energy slumps.
To get an accurate average calorie intake for you rather than for an 'average' person you should consider having a body composition analysis. Using a small electric current (which is totally painless) it measures your muscle, fat and water percentage. This combined with your weight, height, age, waist and hip measurements and your level of activity allows the device to calculate your average daily calorie requirement.
This reading is usually relatively inexpensive and it provides a great deal of information which is very useful for benchmarking fat weight loss or muscle gain programs or useful to ensure your body composition is remaining within a set parameter.
Calorie intake recommendations are based on your height and current weight (BMI). If you do a lot of exercise, then you would increase it. Little and often, eating foods containing a mixture of complex carbohydrates and protein, will help you balance your sugar levels throughout the day, making a big emphasis on a healthy breakfast :-) If you'd like guidelines on what different healthy types of food you can have throughout the day without having slumps of energy, sugar cravings, you can email me on or register your details on
Best of health
Jo x
To consider calories is not just misleading it is completely the wrong approach, however rather than go on here with an extended explanation as to why this is, it would be far simpler for you to read one of several articles I have written on this subject. I have placed a link to this below. If you need any further information please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Depends what your goal is?
The best way to work it out is the average calorie consumption for a women is 2,000 calories. So really each meal should be around 650 calories, hope this helps and good luck.