Low budget BIG MEALs

Image result for image fish dinnerGo cheap

We already discussed finding your low calorie meals for Breakfast and Snack. Now, the main meal.  For many of us that’s the BIG dinner meal. For some, it may be lunch.

Avoid the white carbs

I know when I eat white carbs, the scale goes up. However, if I skip them all together, I get such a craving that I gorge on them. The result is a two pound increase.

Instead, I cut white carbs out of what I call my “cheap big meal”.  No rice, pasta, or bread. If I have the craving, I pick a multigrain or whole grain option.

The main course

Selecting the protein is the primary choice to make for every meal. In order of protein preference:

  1. Fish
  2. Vegetarian
  3. Chicken/Turkey
  4. Pork
  5. Beef

If at all possible, skip beef. The same amount of beef is so much higher in calories compared to fish.

If you like fish, pick a fish for your low calorie budget meal.  If you do not, think vegetarian or chicken/turkey. These are higher in protein than cottage cheese (my go to lunch choice).

As far as fish goes, Cod (Pacific or Atlantic) is by far the lowest in calories per ounce. I leave cod for those days I need to have a lower calorie count. I usually grill a slice of pineapple and serve the cod with cooked spinach. I avoid buttery or creamy sauces. I use spices to add flavor.

When you actually record the meal you will be pleasantly surprised how few calories you will have consumed and still feel full.


What you just did for your BIG meal of the day, do for the remaining meal. Remember to stick to the calorie pie calculation for that 4th meal. Try not to omit carbs for both these meals. Just for one of them. Whenever possible, switch a refined white carbohydrate to a whole wheat version.

Do not pick the same protein for each of these meals. If you are having fish for dinner, try chicken for lunch.

For both meals, add greens to help fill you up.

Write it down

You have your low calorie “go to”

  1. breakfast
  2. lunch
  3. snack
  4. dinner

Write it down. Record the number of calories for each meal.

Use this list of meals as your “cheap calorie” day. A day you may need if you are going to have cake the next day. A day of meals you can use when you blow it.

Even on good weeks, have this “cheap calorie” day once a week.


Do NOT have this meal every day. You’ll get sick of it and give up on your new healthy living.

Instead, find different options for low calorie meals. Write them all down. Switch them up.

Get Back In Shape To Do List

  1. Weigh In DAILY (recording the date/weight)
  2. Increase your steps every day by 250.
  3. Eat your meals within 12 hours.
  4. Drink 64 oz of water a day.
  5. Record what you eat.
  6. Know your meal-calorie guidelines
  7. Know what foods will heal health issues
  8. Snack on purpose
  9. Add aerobic exercise to your schedule
  10. Burn daily to earn daily
  11. Don’t cheat, earn your treat
  12. Develop a cheap calorie “go to” day of meals.

Motivational Reminders:

  • Healthy habits help you lose and maintain a good weight and health.
  • A scale is just the provider of information to help you make healthier choices.
  • Don’t just eat more calories; earn them!
  • Flush out the bloat.
  • Know your calorie boundaries.
  • Consistency matters.
  • Eat your way to better health
  • Exercise your heart
  • Over estimate what you eat; underestimate what you burned
  • Underestimate what you burned to record what you’ve earned.
  • Carrying over excess calories leads to weight gain.
  • Earn your treats.

Welcome to the journey to better health! You can do it!

About Pat Ferdinandi

Digital Visuals Strategist & Creator

Viditude! Montclair NJ 973.619.9353 Talk2Me@PatFerdinandi.com