Finding meals that are light, healthy and idiot proof for your restricted calorie diet can be an annoyance at best, and near impossible at worst. A bit of preparation can make easy diet meals doable, even on a tight schedule. Plan on 350 to 500 calories a meal to stick to a 1,500- to 1,800-calorie a day diet, with two 150-calorie snacks allowed each day.
A good diet breakfast should contain a balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates to hold you through the morning and get your metabolism going for the day. Combine one whole egg and two egg whites, then scramble or make an omelet, using a cooking spray. Add all sorts of vegetables, low-fat turkey bacon and even a slice of whole wheat toast, all for less than 300 calories. Low-fat cream cheese topped with fresh fruit or vegetables on a mini bagel is another good and easy diet breakfast. Combine plain oatmeal with fresh fruit, a small amount of honey or other sweetener, and 1 tbsp. or so of nuts or nut butter for a healthy diet breakfast.
Many of us end up eating lunch on the go, without a kitchen at hand. Frozen diet meals are typically under 350 calories. Add some fresh vegetables or fruit to round out an easy and idiot-proof diet meal. Canned broth-based soups, particularly those without pasta or rice, are quite low in calories. Have a bowl alongside a salad with reduced-fat dressing or a vegetarian burger on a whole grain bun. If you need to eat out, look for restaurants offering lower calorie meals or go to a salad bar and load up on the vegetables, but limit high-fat dairy and dressings.
Focus your dinners around whole grains, vegetables and lean protein sources. Use fresh herbs, spices and citrus to add flavor to your food. Try a whole wheat tortilla with black beans, plenty of fresh vegetables and a bit of lime and cumin for flavor to make a tasty and healthy burrito. Serve a simply broiled piece of fish alongside freshly steamed asparagus or green beans. Bake or grill chicken seasoned with soy and ginger. Serve with brown rice and plenty of vegetables. Fill two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, one-third with protein and one-third with grains for an easy way to balance calories and ensure a filling, high fiber meal.