What Does 500 Calories Look Like?

Everything you eat has calories, this is the unfortunate reality of food. The number of calories you eat is what most people focus on when dieting. This method has its pros and cons.

The benefit of calorie counting is ensuring you are eating the right amount of food each day. It can also help with portion control.

What 500 Calories Look Like

On the other hand, calories aren’t a clear indication of how healthy or unhealthy food is. Something can be low in calories, but also provide no nutrition to the body.

All foods have different quantities of calories. It is recommended that the average adult has around 2,000 calories per day.

This figure does change depending on your level of fitness, body type, and occupation. Some people simply need more or fewer calories than others because they have a more active lifestyle.

Based on the average of 2,000 calories a day, you can easily calculate how many calories you want each meal to be.

Ideally, you want to eat 3 meals a day and have some leeway for snacks and drinks. So, if you have 500 calories for each meal, that leaves you with 500 calories for smaller snacks throughout the day.

Unfortunately, many people struggle to envision exactly what 500 calories look like. This is because it looks so different across many foods.

So, in this article, we lay out exactly what 500 calories of certain foods look like, and some basic 500-calorie meals you can try.

What Amount Of Certain Foods Are 500 Calories

  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese is 450 calories
  • 1 pineapple is about 450 calories
  • 1 king size Butterfinger bar is 496 calories
  • 100g of Reeses Pieces are 497 calories
  • 200g of ground beef
  • 3 slices of buttered toast
  • 83 cashew nuts
  • 2.6 pints of beer
  • About 2 avocados
  • 2 cups of short-grain white rice are 484 calories
  • 250g of cooked salmon is 515 calories
  • 5 containers of greek nonfat yogurt
  • 2 cups of chopped boiled eggs are 422 calories
  • 4 boiled potatoes are 476 calories
  • About 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 130g of sugar
  • 2 cups of cooked spaghetti are 442 calories
  • 2 glasses of sangria
  • 100g of chocolate sprinkles
  • 200g of dried fruit
  • 100g tortilla chips
  • About 2 croissants
  • 200g of strawberry jelly
  • 2 glasses of mulled wine
  • 1 Big Mac
  • 1 venti pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks

Some 500 Calorie Meals

What Does 500 Calories Look Like?

Below we lay out some basic meals you can try for about 500 calories each.

Lamb Burger

You will need:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoons of spice mix
  • 400g of ground lamb
  • 50g of cucumber
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 100g of greek yogurt
  • Hamburger buns
  1. Cook chopped onion and spices until translucent.
  2. Mix with lamb mince and form into patties.
  3. Fry the patties for about 7 minutes on each side until cooked.
  4. Serve with cucumber and a spoonful of yogurt on top.

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

You will need:

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  1. Cook beef and onion until the beef is brown. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. While meat is cooking, poke holes in sweet potatoes with a fork and microwave for around 10 minutes until soft throughout.
  3. Add seasoning and salsa to the beef. Cook for around 5 minutes.
  4. Add water until desired consistency, about a quarter to half a cup.
  5. Slice sweet potatoes on top and mash the insides.
  6. Add taco meat to sweet potatoes. Put on any desired toppings.

Stuffed Chicken And Rice

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons of jalapenos
  • Coriander
  • 25g of spinach
  • 100g of cheese
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 200ml of chicken stock
  • 2 green peppers
  • 150g of rice
  • 2 teaspoons of spice mix
  • 2 cans of tomatoes
  1. Mix jalapenos, coriander, spinach, and cheese into a paste.
  2. Slice into the side of each chicken breast and stuff with cheese paste.
  3. Pour chicken stock and remaining paste over chicken breasts.
  4. Bake at 390 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.
  5. Fry bell peppers until soft. Add rice and spice mix and cook for a couple more minutes.
  6. Add canned tomatoes and any leftover chicken stock from the cooked chicken dish.
  7. Cook for about 12 minutes until the rice is soft. Serve rice with a stuffed chicken breast.

Shrimp Tacos

You will need:

  • 1 ½ pounds of shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ¾ cup of greek yogurt
  • ½ jalapeno
  • ¼ cup of cilantro
  • 2 cups of shredded cabbage
  • Small corn tortillas
  1. Marinate shrimp for several hours in olive oil, lime juice, and spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika, and one of the garlic cloves).
  2. Once marinated, cook shrimp for about 3 minutes on each side in a frying pan.
  3. Blend yogurt, jalapeno, cilantro, and the rest of the garlic to form a sauce.
  4. Add about half a cup of the sauce to the shredded cabbage to form a slaw.
  5. Fill tortillas with shrimp, slaw, and any other desired toppings.

Final Thoughts

Counting calories is definitely one way to diet, but it is not the best method. This is because you need a balanced amount of different foods to get all the nutrients you need.

While you could theoretically eat your daily recommended amount of 2,000 calories by simply eating 4 whole pineapples, that is not a healthy diet.

Even if a pineapple is considered a healthy food because it is a fruit, it is still very high in natural sugar. You will have an excessive amount of vitamin C in your diet, but no calcium.

This is why you should consider what nutrients a food can bring to your diet, rather than how many calories are in it. Calories should simply be used as a guideline and not a strict number you need to follow.

Jenna Priestly
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