Snacks under 200 calories


What does 100 calories look like?

Eat well

Comparing energy values: a visual guide

This guide shows energy values for 10 different foods. This will help you visualise what 100kcal (420kJ) looks like and manage the number of calories you consume.

This amount, 100kcal, represents just 5% of a woman’s daily reference intake (4% for men), but this quickly adds up when adding ingredients during cooking or when we reach for a snack.

High-fat foods have more energy because fat contains more than double the calories per gram compared with protein and carbohydrates.

Foods containing mainly water, such as vegetables, have even less.

This guide shows how quickly calories can add up in certain foods.

Some of the photos have household objects, such as a pack of cards, to help illustrate the size.

Calories in oil, mayonnaise and butter

All types of fat are high in energy. A gram of fat provides 9kcal, compared with 4kcal for carbohydrate and protein.

Oil and butter are almost pure fat, which is why 420kJ/100kcal is:

  • just a little over 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 level tablespoon of mayonnaise
  • just under 1 tablespoon of butter (a thick spread of butter on your bread)

A 100-calorie portion of olive oilA 100-calorie portion of mayonnaiseA 100-calorie portion of butter

Calories in cheese

Most cheese is high in fat, so 420kJ/100kcal is just under a 30g matchbox-sized piece of cheddar cheese.

A 100-calorie portion of cheddar

Calories in sugar

Calories in sugar can add up if not used sparingly, especially for people who drink tea or coffee with sugar throughout the day. Four heaped teaspoons of sugar is 420kJ/100kcal.

A 100-calorie portion of sugar

Find out how sugar affects your health

Calories in biscuits

A lot of biscuits are high in fat and sugar and low in nutrients, so 2 ginger nut biscuits add up to 420kJ/100kcal.

Other biscuits may be higher in energy, such as those covered in or filled with chocolate.

A 100-calorie portion of ginger nut biscuits

Calories in crisps

Crisps, which are often high in fat and salt, can quickly add up to 420kJ/100kcal.

For example, the 190g tube of crisps featured in this picture contains nearly 1,000 calories, so just 10% of a tube (9 crisps) equals 420kJ/100kcal.

A 100-calorie portion of crisps

Calories in meat and fish

The kind of meat you eat could make a big difference to the amount of energy you consume.

For example, this is what 100kcal of steak looks like:

A 100-calorie portion of steak

On the other hand, turkey and fish are both low in fat and lower in energy, so 420kJ/100kcal is about 3 slices of turkey or a few spoonfuls of plain large prawns.

A 100-calorie portion of turkey A 100-calorie portion of prawns

Calories in dried fruit

For 420kJ/100kcal, you’ll get just over a 30g portion of raisins.

A 30g serving of dried fruit counts as 1 of your 5 A Day, whereas an 80g serving of fresh fruit, such as grapes or cherries, counts as 1 of your 5 A Day.

100-calorie portions of cherries, grapes and raisins

Calories in fresh fruit

For 420kJ/100kcal, you can tuck into any of the following:

  • a large apple
  • a banana
  • 1.5 grapefruit

100-calorie portions of fresh fruit

These all count towards your 5 A Day, which should include a variety of fruit and vegetables.

Calories in vegetables

Vegetables are generally low in calories, while bringing the added benefits of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

To illustrate this, 420kJ/100kcal is equal to:

  • 3 whole cucumbers
  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • 3 carrots weighing around 120g each

100-calorie portions of veg

You’d be hard-pressed to find a food as versatile as peanut butter: Slather it on burgers, slap it between two slices of bread, or spoon it up straight from the jar. Whether it’s serving as a snack to get you through the rest of your ride, or it’s waiting patiently for you to devour when you return home famished, peanut butter has probably earned a spot on your must-eat-now food list.

There’s no question it tastes delicious, but chances are, you’ve heard it talked up for its protein, too. So all that probably made you wonder: Is your favorite, take-anywhere snack really good for you?

To help us break it down, we spoke with Molly Kimball, R.D., sports dietitian with Ochsner Fitness Center in New Orleans.

The Claim:

Peanut butter is a good source of protein, and its heart-healthy monounsaturated fats make it a smart addition to most meals—in addition to serving as a tasty preride or midride fuel.

The Evidence:

One serving—or two (unsalted) tablespoons—of the popular nut butter contains the following:

  • 191 calories
  • 7 grams of protein
  • 7 grams of carbs
  • 16 grams of fat (13 grams of monounsaturated fat, 3 grams of saturated fat)
  • 1.6 grams of fiber
  • 3.4 grams of sugar

Carbs are your body’s main source of fuel—the glucose found in carbs turns into glycogen, which provides energy to your muscles, allowing you to ride harder and longer. Protein is important for building and maintaining muscle, and monounsaturated fats can help reduce your risk of heart disease and may even help you lose weight. (In fact, previous research has shown eating a diet high in healthy fat can actually help you lose weight and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.)
Peanut butter also has minerals that are essential to cyclists such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Calcium helps keep your bones and muscles strong, both magnesium and phosphorus help your muscles contract and also help convert the food you eat into energy that powers your rides, and potassium helps regulate your fluids, nerve signals, and muscle contractions.

The Verdict:

While it’s clear that peanut butter has many nutritional benefits, “there’s a misconception people have that it’s high in protein,” Kimball says. It actually contains far more body-smart fats than protein and carbs.

In order for a food to be considered high in protein, it should contain at least 15 grams of protein. So if you do want to use peanut butter as a good protein source, you would need to double up your serving size to four tablespoons. That being said, two servings would add up to nearly 400 calories—which isn’t always necessarily a bad thing, according to Kimball.

“You have to look at how much bang for your buck you’re getting,” she says. “Some people could use the extra calories in their diets, but others might not want them. It all depends on your goals.”
Still, when you’re considering how to fit peanut butter into your eating plan, it’s probably best to have it filling the role of heart-healthy fat—not a protein source. Sure, peanut butter will give you some protein, but that’s the minority of its nutrients. If you’re looking for a straight-up protein source, you are better off with options like egg whites or Greek yogurt, which have way more protein than any other macronutrient.

Take 100 calories worth of egg whites (seven large whites) for example: They contain 25 grams of protein, 0 grams of fat, and 2 grams of carbs. One tablespoon of peanut butter—which clocks in at 96 calories—provides just 3.5 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, and 3.5 grams of carbs.
But just because peanut butter is not the protein powerhouse you may have thought doesn’t mean you should skip it. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

“Peanut butter is one of my favorite snacks for cyclists,” she says. “There are only so many gels you want to eat, so eating something like a peanut butter fold-over is a nice change.”

Pic’s Peanut Butter $11.99 The combination of being high in fat with a hit of protein, carbs, and fiber makes peanut butter super satiating and helps stave off hunger for a while—perfect for a long ride.
Just make sure you’re choosing natural peanut butter brands, which contain minimal ingredients (peanuts and salt, ideally) and no added sugar, Kimball cautions.

A pro tip? Since peanut butter is relatively low in sodium—especially since some natural kinds contain no added salt—you may need to add some salt to it if you are eating it by itself as a fuel source, according to Kimball. Eating a peanut butter fold-over, like Kimball suggests, would be a more balanced option, since the bread will provide you with the sodium you need.

The bottom line? While it’s not must-have in your diet—there are plenty of other ways to get your daily dose of heart-healthy fats—peanut butter is convenient, portable, and tasty. What more could you ask for, really?

Danielle Zickl Associate Health & Fitness Editor Danielle specializes in interpreting and reporting the latest health research and also writes and edits in-depth service pieces about fitness, training, and nutrition.

WiseGEEK conducted a very visual and informative study and presented a photo series, which compares what 200 calories actually look like in different foods. You’d think that even with the bikini season coming up, a handful of gummy bears couldn’t hurt much, right..? Well, it turns out, just 51 gram of those gives you the same amount of calories as nearly 600 grams of broccoli or 3 whole eggs would. And now be honest – which of those amounts sounds more like a proper and filling 200 calorie meals to you?

The study compares 71 different foods and is originally organized going from low to high calorie density. You can tell how the quantities of these 200 calories snacks are getting smaller towards the end of the list! Statistically, an average adult needs 2000-2500 calories a day, but this, of course, differs depending on how physically active you are. So for those who don’t hesitate to sweat in the gym, a spoonful of peanut butter is a lot less of a sin! And if you are wondering how to count calories in the food you eat, this infographic is here to help.


Apples (385 grams / 13.5 oz)

Butter (28 grams / 0.98 oz)

Broccoli (588 grams / 20.7 oz)

Snickers Chocolate Bar (41 grams / 1.45 oz)

Cooked Pasta (145 grams / 5.11 oz)

Hot Dogs (66 grams / 2.33 oz)

Kiwi Fruit (328 grams / 11.6 oz)

Jack in the Box Cheeseburger (75 grams / 2.6 oz)

Eggs (150 grams / 5.3 oz)

Celery (1425 grams / 50.3 oz)

Blackberry Pie (56 grams / 1.97 oz)

Mini Peppers (740 grams / 26.1 oz)

Canned Black Beans (186 grams / 6.56 oz)

Werther’s Originals Candy (50 grams / 1.76 oz)

Jack in the Box Chicken Sandwich (72 grams / 2.5 oz)

Glazed Doughnut (52 grams / 1.8 oz)

French Sandwich Roll (72 grams / 2.5 oz)

Avocado (125 grams / 4.4 oz)

Canned Sweet Corn (308 grams / 10.9 oz)

Baby Carrots (570 gram / 20.1 oz)

Canned Green Peas (357 grams / 12.6 oz)

Canned Pork and Beans (186 grams / 6.56 oz)

Doritos (41 grams / 1.44 oz)

Dried Apricots (83 grams / 2.9 oz)

Jack in the Box French Fries (73 grams / 2.6 oz)

Fried Bacon (34 grams / 1.2 oz)

Fruit Loops Cereal (51 grams / 1.8 oz)

Grapes (290 grams / 10.2 oz)

Splenda Artifical Sweetener (50 grams / 1.8 oz)

Gummy Bears (51 grams / 1.8 oz)

Hershey Kisses (36 grams / 1.27 oz)

Honeydew Melon (553 grams / 19.5 oz)

Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (54 grams / 1.9 oz)

Ketchup (226 grams / 7.97 oz)

M&M Candy (40 grams / 1.4 oz)

Red Onions (475 grams / 16.75 oz)

Sliced Smoked Turkey (204 grams / 7.2 oz)

Coca Cola (496 ml / 16.77 oz)

Canola Oil (23 grams / 0.8 oz)

Smarties Candy (57 grams / 2 oz)

Tootsie Pops (68 grams / 2.4 oz)

Whole Milk (333 ml / 11.3 fl oz)

Balsamic Vinegar (200 ml / 6.8 fl oz)

Lowfat Strawberry Yogurt (196 grams / 6.9 oz)

Canned Chili con Carne (189 grams / 6.7 oz)

Canned Tuna Packed in Oil (102 grams / 3.6 oz)

Fiber One Cereal (100 grams / 3.5 oz)

Flax Bread (90 grams / 3.17 oz)

Blueberry Muffin (72 grams / 2.5 oz)

Bailey’s Irish Cream (60 ml / 2.02 fl oz)

Cranberry Vanilla Crunch Cereal (55 grams / 1.9 oz)

Cornmeal (55 grams / 1.94 oz)

Wheat Flour (55 grams / 1.94 oz)

Peanut Butter Power Bar (54 grams / 1.9 oz)

Puffed Rice Cereal (54 grams / 1.9 oz)

Puffed Wheat Cereal (53 grams / 1.87 oz)

Brown Sugar (53 grams / 1.87 oz)

Salted Pretzels (52 grams / 1.83 oz)

Medium Cheddar Cheese (51 grams / 1.8 oz)

Potato Chips (37 grams / 1.3oz)

Sliced and Toasted Almonds (35 grams / 1.23 oz)

Peanut Butter (34 grams / 1.2 oz)

Salted Mixed Nuts (33 grams / 1.16 oz)

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When it comes to calories, it’s common knowledge that the average woman needs around 2000 a day to maintain her weight and energy levels – but it’s how you ‘spend’ those calories that can be a more difficult concept to swallow.

Which is why has broken down exactly what a 500 calorie snack looks like, regardless of its nutrional value.

Disclaimer: images are only an approximate guide.

Snickers chocolate bar

41 grams = 200 calories

Cosmopolitan UKGetty Images


385 grams = 200 calories

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125 grams = 200 Calories

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Hard boiled eggs

150 grams = 200 calories

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Sesame Seed Bagel

70 grams = 200 calories

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Ready salted crisps

37 grams = 200 calories

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Gummy bears

51 grams = 200 calories

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Llindt Lindor balls

30 grams = 200 calories


Peanut butter

34 grams = 200 calories

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40 grams = 200 Calories

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Blueberry muffin

72 grams = 200 Calories

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1425 grams = 200 Calories

Getty Images

If you want to break bad habits, try these healthy food swaps and if you’re on a weight loss mission but don’t want to sacrifice your sweet snacks, check out these 150 calorie treats.

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Dusty Baxter-Wright Senior Entertainment & Lifestyle Writer Dusty Baxter-Wright is Cosmopolitan’s Senior Entertainment and Lifestyle Writer, covering celebrities, movies, TV and books as well as travel, interiors, food and drink on a daily basis.

Revealed: What 200 calories looks like in different foods ¿ and the results are very surprising


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20 ‘zero-calorie’ foods to snack on guilt-free

It sounds almost too good to be true: tasty snacks that contain no calories.

But health experts have identified a variety of super-healthy treats that supposedly take more energy to digest than they provide in calories.

For those embarking on a New Year diet, the theory is that you can lose weight by eating lots of these zero calorie foods.

Celery is often cited as an example because it’s mainly water and fiber; however strawberries, apples, and apricots have also been heralded as guilt-free options.

Watercress, cucumber, beetroot, onions and lemons have also been unveiled as go-to foods for those looking to shed a few pounds.

However, not all nutritionists agree that negative-calorie foods exist.

Lisa Moskovitz, a food expert, told Greatist: “A basic rule of nutrition is ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it is’.”

“The rumor about negative calorie foods is based off the idea that the body burns more calories to digest a food than it actually contains.”

Apricots are another food that supposedly contains no calories.

“So, to eat 20 calories worth of veggies the body uses over 30 calories for digestion which means there’s a deficit of 10 calories, right? Unfortunately, no.”

“The truth is that while some foods, such as celery stalks which are very low in energy (14 calories per serving), may produce a negative calorie balance, the amount is negligible.”

“And there’s also the fact that eating celery all day won’t be doing the body any favors.”

“At the end of the day, you’ll likely be left ravenous, desperately seeking the most calorie-filled food around. Did someone say ice cream?”

But Dr. Donald Hensrud, from the Mayo Clinic, believes these so-called negative-calorie foods can aid weight loss.

He said: “Foods that contain few calories, such as celery and other non-starchy vegetables, provide a small number of calories but still require energy to digest.”

“That means it is theoretically possible to have a negative-calorie food, but there are no reputable scientific studies to prove that certain foods have this effect.”

Apples might effectively contain zero calories.

“However, even if non-starchy vegetables are not negative-calorie, they are still low-calorie, and a smart choice to include in a predominantly plant-based diet.”

He added: “The bottom line: Following extreme diets that promote eating only a few foods can cause you to miss out on important nutrients.

“The key to successful weight loss is adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise.”

The 20 foods that contain zero calories

  1. Apples
  2. Apricots
  3. Beetroot
  4. Broccoli
  5. Cauliflower
  6. Celery
  7. Watercress
  8. Cucumber
  9. Garlic
  10. Grapefruit
  11. Green beans
  12. Kale
  13. Leeks
  14. Lemons
  15. Lettuce
  16. Onions
  17. Raspberries
  18. Strawberries
  19. Rutabaga
  20. Watermelon

A dietitian’s photo of the same dishes with different calories will show you how to build a healthier meal

  • People often think that cutting calories means eating less or giving up our favorite foods.
  • But there are plenty of ways you can slash calories without drastically changing what you eat.
  • To show this, dietitian Paula Norris posts photos of the same meals to Instagram— one of which has nearly half the calories of the other.
  • Her tips for cutting calories from meals include reducing portions, cooking with less oil, and adding more non-starchy vegetables to dishes.

Cooking at home allows you to control exactly what’s going into your food, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune to mistakes. There are a number of ways you could be consuming more calories than you think, even if you’re eating “healthy” foods.

To point out some of the most common “mistakes” that add extra calories, dietitian Paula Norris makes high- and low-calorie versions of the same meal. She then shares photos of the meals on social media and explains how they differ.

Even if you’re not trying to cut calories, Norris’ photos can provide some helpful lessons and make you rethink how you’re cooking. Here are some of her meals and her favorite tricks for reducing calories.

Eliminate fatty dressings and excess protein to build a healthy, filling salad.

Norris replaced a mayonnaise-based dressing for a combination of natural yogurt and Dijon mustard, and cut down on protein. Courtesy of Paula Norris

Protein is important, but Norris said one of the most common mistakes she sees is people consuming too much meat because they don’t understand how much protein they need. The higher calorie salad uses 300 grams of chicken — more than twice as much as the 120 grams of chicken used in the salad on the right. “100 grams of chicken or red meat in a meal is plenty from a protein perspective but main people eat upwards of 200 grams per meal,” Norris told INSIDER.

Read more: 9 fast food salads that have more calories than a Big Mac

The salad on the left has 300 grams of chicken breast fried in one teaspoon of oil, mayonnaise dressing, bacon, croutons baked in one teaspoon of oil, and 15 grams of Parmesan cheese. The salad on the right only has 120 grams of chicken grilled without oil, croutons baked without oil, homemade dressing (one tablespoon of yogurt, one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and garlic), plus red onion and cherry tomatoes. Both salads have the same amount of lettuce and anchovies.

Pay attention to the amount of healthy fats from foods like avocados.

The salad on the right uses less cooking oil and meat with the fat trimmed off. Courtesy of Paula Norris

Norris told INSIDER that one of the most common mistakes she sees is people overdoing foods rich in healthy fats, such as avocados. “People will easily consume half an avocado, a tablespoon of olive oil, or half a cup of nuts and pass it off for being healthy,” Norris told INSIDER. Although foods like this are packed with nutrients, they’re also extremely calorie dense.

The salad on the left uses 180 grams of untrimmed steak cooked in one teaspoon of oil, two cups of lettuce, four red onion rings, 50 grams of avocado, one cup of cooked rice noodles, 30 grams of cucumber, two cherry tomatoes, two teaspoons of sesame oil, two teaspoons of lime juice, and one teaspoon of soy sauce.

Read more: 12 healthy ingredients you should be adding to your salad

The salad on the right, however, has 100 grams of trimmed steak grilled without oil, two cups of lettuce, four red onion rings, 25 grams of avocado, half a cup of cooked rice noodles, 50 grams of cucumber, four cherry tomatoes, half of a medium carrot, one teaspoon of sesame oil, two teaspoons of lime juice, and one teaspoon of soy sauce.

Measure portion sizes to cut calories without changing what you eat.

The bowl on the right uses less cheese, quinoa, sweet potato, and chicken, and adds more veggies. Courtesy of Paula Norris These bowls have the same ingredients, but different portion sizes.

In addition to watching portion sizes of meat and healthy fats, Norris told INSIDER that you can quickly cut calories by reducing the portion size of starchy carbs, like she did with quinoa and sweet potatoes in this recipe. To retain the bulk of the meal, Norris likes to add non-starchy vegetables, as she did here with zucchini, tomatoes, and capsicum.

The bowl on the left has 50 grams of feta cheese, 200 grams of sweet potato, four cherry tomatoes, half a cup of baby spinach, one-fourth a cup of capsicum, one-sixth of a medium zucchini, one cup of cooked quinoa, 180 grams of poached chicken, and a dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

The bowl on the right has 25 grams of feta cheese, 100 grams of sweet potato, eight cherry tomatoes, one cup of baby spinach, half of a small capsicum, one-third of a medium zucchini, half a cup of cooked quinoa, 120 grams of poached chicken, and balsamic vinegar for dressing.

Limit portions of calorie-dense foods, such as dried fruit.

The bowl on the right uses less muesli, no dried fruit, and uses reduced-fat yogurt instead of full-fat. Courtesy of Paula Norris

Although 170 calories might not seem like a huge difference, cutting a small amount of calories across the day can be the difference between weight gain, maintenance, and loss. The main differences between these breakfast bowls are that the one on the right uses reduced-fat instead of full-fat yogurt, less muesli and dried fruit, and more mixed berries.

Similar to how Norris bulks up her meals with veggies, adding more fruit can ensure you’re still getting a filling breakfast. Berries are also a great option because they’re low-sugar and packed with antioxidants.

Read more: 14 ‘diet’ foods that seem healthy but actually aren’t
The bowl on the left uses three-fourths a cup of muesli, 100 grams of full-fat yogurt, one tablespoon of sultanas, one-fourth a cup of mixed berries, one tablespoon of chia seeds, and one teaspoon of pomegranate seeds.

The bowl on the right uses half a cup of muesli, 100 grams of reduced-fat yogurt, three-fourths a cup of mixed berries, two teaspoons of chia seeds, and one teaspoon of pomegranate seeds.

Eliminate cooking oil to gets rid of calories you might not have even considered.

The fried rice on the right uses less cooking oil and chicken, and more veggies and cauliflower rice. Courtesy of Paula Norris Cooking with too much oil is a common “mistake” that Norris sees people make. One of the biggest differences between these fried rice dishes is that Norris eliminates cooking oil in the later. If you can’t completely eliminate oil, Norris said using spray oil or simmering ingredients in water are good alternatives.

The fried rice on the right also uses less brown rice than it’s higher-calorie counterpart. Norris told INSIDER that using a 50:50 combo of regular rice and cauliflower rice, as she did in this recipe, is one of her favorite ways to cut calories without having to drastically change recipes.

Read more: 5 cooking mistakes that are making your ‘healthy’ meals unhealthy

The fried rice on the left uses one and a half cups of brown rice, one-fourth a cup of capsicum, one-fourth a cup of peas, half a cup of corn, half of an egg, two tablespoons of soy sauce, one-fourth of a carrot, 180 grams of chicken, and two teaspoons of oil.

The option on the right combines half a cup of brown rice with half a cup of cauliflower rice, and uses half a cup of capsicum, half a cup of peas, half a cup of corn, half of a carrot, half of an egg, eight green beans, two teaspoons of soy sauce, and 100 grams of chicken.

Use a 50:50 ratio of vegetables and wheat-products to slash calories without compromising the taste.

The bowl of pasta on the right used a combination of spaghetti and zucchini noodles. Courtesy of Paula Norris

Using zucchini noodles in place of regular noodles doesn’t affect how filling your meal is, but it does affect how many calories you’re consuming. The main difference between these dishes is that Norris used a 50:50 combo of wheat and zucchini noodles in the dish on the right, less Parmesan cheese, and leaner meat. She also eliminated cooking oil and noted that mincemeat has fat to begin with so you don’t need oil to cook it.

Read more: 10 foods to try if you want to cut down on carbs

The bowl on the left is made with 180 grams of regular mincemeat, one teaspoon of oil for cooking, 15 grams of Parmesan cheese, and one cup of cooked pasta. The bowl on the right cuts down on calories by replacing half a cup of pasta with zucchini noodles (while still keeping half a cup of pasta), 120 grams of extra lean mincemeat, five grams of Parmesan cheese, one grated carrot, one tomato, extra grated zucchini, and eliminated cooking oil.

Substitute veggies for wheat products.

The stir fry on the right contains cauliflower rice, less meat, less oil, and more veggies. Courtesy of Paula Norris

If you want to cut even more calories, you can completely replace white rice with cauliflower rice, as Norris did in the dish on the right. She also used less meat and eliminated pan oil. “You get fats in the meat and sauce, and a bit of water will be adequate if you’re using a nonstick pan,” she wrote on her Instagram.

The bowl on the right also has more low-starch veggies, such as broccoli, carrots, pepper, and zucchini. “There is no better way to remain satisfied and get plenty of nutrients and fiber in without going overboard with calories,” she told INSIDER. She said that some of her favorite lower calorie vegetables are broccoli, zucchini, carrot, tomatoes, capsicum, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, squash, spinach, kale, cauliflower, asparagus, bok choy, and peas.

The stir-fry on the left uses one cup of white rice, one tablespoon of sweet chili sauce, pan oil, and 180 grams of meat. The option on the right replaces the white rice with a cup of cauliflower rice, two teaspoons of Sriracha, no pan oil, 80 grams of meat, and adds lots of veggies.

Ditch starchy carbs altogether.

The “tacos” on the right use lettuce wraps instead of flour tortillas. Courtesy of Paula Norris

Replacing lettuce wraps for tortillas is an easy way to cut down on calories without compromising the bulk of your meal. Eliminating carbs entirely can leave you hungry, so Norris added red kidney beans to the dish on the right to keep it filling. Another big difference between the meals is that the right uses less avocado, no cooking oil, and leaner meat.

It also uses Parmesan cheese instead of cheddar cheese. Norris said this is one of her favorite swaps because Parmesan has a much sharper flavor so you can get away with much less.

The plate on the right uses three soft shell tacos, one teaspoon of cooking oil, half of a garlic clove, half of a brown onion, 200 grams of regular mincemeat, half a tin of tomatoes, taco seasoning, four cherry tomatoes, one-fourth of a small corn cob, 50 grams of avocado, and 40 grams of full-fat cheddar cheese.

The plate on the right replaces tortillas with lettuce leaves, uses a tablespoon of water instead of cooking oil, half of a garlic clove, half of a brown onion, 100 grams of extra-lean mincemeat, 70 grams of red kidney beans, one small grated carrot, half a tin of tomatoes, taco seasoning, eight cherry tomatoes, 25 grams of diced capsicum, one-fourth of a small corn cob, 25 grams of avocado, and 10 grams of Parmesan cheese.

Use smaller portions of starches.

The burrito on the right is made with a smaller wrap, less cheese, less avocado, no oil, and leaner meat. Courtesy of Paula Norris

The size of the wrap is one obvious change between these photos, and it accounts for about 100 calories difference. But the other changes can save you an extra 300 calories, Norris wrote on Instagram. Some other differences are that Norris eliminated cooking oil for the burrito on the left, used extra-lean meat, and less cheese.

Norris told INSIDER that she loves adding carrots, zucchini, or fresh and tinned tomatoes to tacos and burritos that use ground red meat. She also added black beans to make up for some of the meat she reduced from the higher-calorie burrito.

Read more: 12 foods you didn’t realize have carbs in them

The burrito on the left uses a large wrap, one teaspoon of cooking oil, half of a brown onion, 160 grams of regular mincemeat, taco seasoning, half a tin of tomatoes, one cup of lettuce, half of a tomato, 50 grams of avocado, and 40 grams of cheese.

The burrito on the right uses a medium wrap, no cooking oil, half of a brown onion, 100 grams of extra-lean mincemeat, 50 grams of black beans, one-third of a zucchini, half of a medium carrot, taco seasoning, half a tin of tomatoes, one cup of lettuce, half of a tomato, 25 grams of avocado, and 20 grams of low-fat cheese.

Bulk up your meal by adding more non-starchy veggies.

The bowl of pasta on the right contains less chicken, cheese, and pasta, and more veggies. Courtesy of Paula Norris

If you’re cutting down on the portion of the main ingredient in your dish, such as pasta, you can add more veggies to keep the meal filling. The main difference between these dishes is that the bowl of pasta on the right uses less pasta, less chicken, no cooking oil, less cheese, and more veggies.

The bowl on the left uses two teaspoons of olive oil, 200 grams of chicken, 30 grams of semi-trimmed bacon, two cups of cooked pasta, 30 grams of full-fat cheddar cheese, one medium mushroom, and two large broccoli florets.

Read more: Some of the most filling foods you can eat, according to nutritionists

The dish on the right uses 100 grams of chicken cooked in a little water instead of oil, one cup of cooked pasta, one teaspoon of capers, 10 grams of low-fat cheddar cheese, one-fourth of a large capsicum, four large broccoli florets, and two medium mushrooms. Both recipes contain 100 milliliters of tomato sauce, one tablespoon of tomato paste, one garlic clove, one-fourth of a red onion, two anchovies, and herbs.

Norris’ meals show that healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring and it definitely doesn’t require giving up our favorite foods. It just might require more attention to portion size and a little creativity.

Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

What calories look like in different foods

Food calories come in different shapes and sizes — a chocolate bar can pack more calories than one kilogram of vegetables, even though they have extremely different nutritional values. Here, we’ll look at what 200 Calories look like as different foods, as well as discuss the basics about calories. The results will surprise you.

1425 grams = 200 CaloriesWerther’s Originals Candy
50 grams = 200 Calories

So, what is a calorie? Well, a calorie is a unit of measure for energy. The physical calorie is defined as the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at a pressure of one atmosphere. However, nutritionists often use “Calorie” as a term for 1000 calories — the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.

The large Calorie is thus equal to 1,000 small calories or one kilocalorie. But the main takeaway is that a calorie is not related to nutrients, such as carbs, or food quantities — it simply refers to the energy contained (in food, in this case). In spite of its non-official status, the large Calorie is still widely used as a unit of food energy. The small calorie is also often used for measurements in chemistry, although the amounts involved are typically recorded in kilocalories.

ADVERTISEMENTHot Dogs (66 grams) vs Baby Carrots (570 grams)Peanut Butter (34 grams) vs Kiwi (328 grams)Fries (73 grams) vs Mini Peppers (740 grams)Butter (28 grams) vs Eggs (150 grams)

In many diets today, the calorie is regarded as the end-all, be-all measure of how much you can eat. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the average adult needs to consume about 2,000–2,500 Calories to maintain their weight, though that number can differ significantly based on physical activity and other dietary and environmental factors.

However, as I said earlier, the calorie just measures the energy contained in foods. This means that you could consume the same number of calories eating eat a well-balanced meal (say, a cooked vegetable meal) or by eating some candy bars — obviously, one is not as healthy as the other. So while keeping an eye on calorie intake is important, there are also other factors to consider. The point of the article is to show you just how different 200 calories can be.

Doritos (41 grams) vs Apples (385 grams)

Fried Bacon (34 grams) vs Avocado (125 grams)Gummy Bears
51 grams = 200 CaloriesTootsie Pops
68 grams = 200 Calories

For example, you can have 570 grams of baby carrots, 588 grams of broccoli or 553 grams of melon — each has 200 Calories. But then again, so does 60 mL of Baileys cream, a bite of blackberry pie, and a 54-gram peanut power bar.


It’s no definite standard, but as a rule of thumb, raw, healthier foods have fewer calories per gram than more condensed, more intensely-processed unhealthy foods such as sweets and bacon. Have just 4 tootsie pops — BAM, that’s 200 calories. Same goes for 17 gummy bears. Canola oil is the most calorically condensed thing here, with 200 Calories in a mere 23 grams — little more than a teaspoon.

Bailey’s Irish Cream
60 ml = 200 CaloriesCoca-Cola
496 ml = 200 CaloriesWhole Milk
333 ml = 200 Calories

But it’s not just foods that can have lots of calories. As I’ve said, it takes just a bit more than a shot of Baileys to reach 200 Calories, and alcohol generally tends to pack a lot of calories. That’s why people take drinks of spirits to ‘warm up’. Half a liter of Coca-Cola does the trick, while it takes only 333 milliliters of milk to get to 200 Calories.

Here are a few more examples; hopefully these can provide a general guideline for foods that tend to have a lot of calories.

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