Mind & Body

What does 600 calories a day look like? Some examples

Maybe you’ve made a New Year’s res­ol­u­tion to drop a pound or two — now there’s a nov­el idea! — and you’re think­ing in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing might be worth a try. But you won­der: How on earth can you eat just 600 cal­or­ies a day?

Good ques­tion. So here are a few sample menus to show you how feas­ible it is. With each of these, when no bever­age is spe­cified, you can have any you want, as long as it’s wa­ter (or diet soda or black cof­fee).


STORY: In­ter­mit­tent fast­ing, or IF, gains ground as a di­et­ing tool
Re­turn to Mind & Body

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A day's worth of meals

Breakfast

Breakfast

1 cup corn flakes: 100 calories
1/2 cup of 1% milk: 50 calories

Total: 150 calories

Lunch

Lunch

1 apple (3-inch diameter): 95 calories

Total: 95 calories

Dinner

Dinner

3-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled: 128 calories

1 medium baked potato (2 1/4 to 3 1/4 inches diameter): 168 calories

1 pat of butter (1 inch square by 1/3 inch high): 36 calories

1 cup of chopped broccoli, boiled and drained: 27 calories

Total: 359 calories

Total for the day: 604 calories

Two meals a day | If you cut back to just two meals a day, you can go a little crazier at each of them.

Breakfast #1

Breakfast #1

1 large scrambled egg: 91 calories

1 slice of whole wheat toast: 75 calories

4 ounces of orange juice: 58 calories

Total: 224 calories

Dinner #1

Dinner #1

3-ounce broiled hamburger (90% lean to 10% fat): 184 calories

1 hamburger bun: 117 calories

2 pickle slices: 2 calories

1 tomato slice: 4 calories

1 tablespoon of chopped onions: 4 calories

4 spears of asparagus, boiled and drained: 13 calories

1 chocolate sandwich cookie with cream filling: 56 calories

Total: 380 calories

Total for the day: 604 calories

Breakfast #2

Breakfast #2

1 small cinnamon-raisin bagel (3 1/2 to 4 inches diameter): 191 calories

Dinner #2

Dinner #2

3-ounce braised round steak trimmed of fat: 182 calories

1 cup of green beans, boiled and drained: 44 calories

1/2 cup of cooked white long-grain rice: 97 calories

1 cup of whole strawberries: 46 calories

1 tablespoon of light whipping cream: 44 calories

Total: 413 calories

Total for the day: 604 calories

To be eaten at a time of your choosing | If you forget about any semblance of balance in your diet, you can even indulge in your guilty pleasures. For example:

Meal #1

Meal #1

1 medium serving of French fries: 378 calories

16 ounces of non-diet Coke: 202 calories

Total: 580 calories

Meal #2

Meal #2

1 burrito with beans and beef: 460 calories

1 ounce of tortilla chips: 136 calories

Total: 596 calories

Meal #3

Meal #3

2 slices of a 14-inch pizza, pepperoni topping, regular crust: 626 calories

Total: 626 calories

Meal #4

Meal #4

1 cup of high-end ice cream: 580 calories

Total: 580 calories

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