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18 Low-Calorie Mini Meals



First things first: I'm not saying you can slim down by eating as much as you want whenever you want. What I am telling you is that if you choose the right foods—and that includes everything from waffles to homemade pizza— you can eat up to six times a day and still shed pounds. The secret? Eating mini meals. Unlike the snacks you probably nosh on (like an apple or walnuts), which have individual benefits, mini meals provide a balanced combination of carbohydrates, protein and fat. This powerful trio keeps you feeling satisfied and full of energy. You'll be less likely to reach for junk food, and your body might even burn fat more efficiently.

To get you winning at weight loss—minus the starvation—I've created a menu of snacks-with-benefits that you can graze from throughout the day. If you're not exercising a few times a week but hope to drop pounds, aim for 1,200 calories, which means you'll need about four mini meals daily. If you're moderately active, you can aim for a range of 1,500 to 1,800 calories, or six mini meals each day. Get ready for surprising flavors, delicious indulgences and a whole new take on weight loss that lets you eat almost around the clock.

5 Must-Knows About Mini Meals
True or False

  • Mini meals contain less than 100 calories.
  • Mini meals are only eaten at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  • It takes no planning to prepare a mini meal.
  • Chips and salsa make a balanced mini meal.
  • It's best to skip mini meals—snacking leads to weight gain.

Answer: They're all false. Mini meals weigh in from 100 to 400 calories each and they're not just "three squares"—or meals you squeeze in between them. Instead, they're enjoyed every three or four hours. These nutritional powerhouses do take some planning, so be sure to shop ahead for the foods you'll need. You might even find it easier to prep some dishes ahead of time. And they should always include a protein to best curb hunger and inspire weight loss.