Is 800 calories in a meal good?

Quick Answer

An 800 calorie meal can be perfectly healthy and appropriate for some people depending on their calorie needs, activity level, and health goals. Generally, an 800 calorie meal is considered a large meal and may be too high in calories for some people trying to lose weight. However, it can be a reasonable calorie intake for those who are more active or who have higher calorie needs. The best approach is to consume a balanced 800 calorie meal rich in nutrients like lean protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats while avoiding processed, high-sugar foods. Moderation and portion control are key.

How Many Calories Should I Eat Per Meal?

There are no definitive guidelines for how many calories to consume per meal. The amount that is right for you depends on factors like your age, sex, activity level, and weight goals. As a rough guideline:

  • Women: 300-500 calories per meal
  • Men: 400-600 calories per meal

However, these are just general estimates. Active individuals or those looking to gain weight may require larger meals and more calories. Older, less active adults or those aiming for weight loss may stick to smaller meals with fewer calories.

It’s best not to obsess over calorie counts for every meal. Focus on getting a balance of protein, carbs, fat, and fiber at each meal while controlling portion sizes. If your goal is weight loss, focus on reducing calories from high-calorie, processed foods rather than stressing each meal number.

Is 800 Calories Too Much for One Meal?

Whether 800 calories is too much for one meal depends on the person. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Activity level: Active individuals and athletes require more calories to fuel their workouts and muscle building. An 800 calorie meal may be perfectly appropriate.
  • Age and sex: Men and younger adults generally require more calories than women and older adults.
  • Weight goals: People aiming for weight loss would likely want to stick to smaller, lower calorie meals in the 300-500 range.
  • Time of day: Larger meals are often more appropriate earlier in the day to fuel your activity, while smaller meals and snacks work better in the evening.
  • Balancing calories: If the rest of your daily meals and snacks are lower in calories, an 800 calorie meal may be perfectly reasonable as part of your total daily calorie needs.

Overall, an 800 calorie meal is high for some but can work for others depending on their lifestyle and eating patterns. Focus on getting nutrition rather than obsessing over calories alone.

Nutrition Tips for an 800 Calorie Meal

If you do consume an 800 calorie meal, it should be nutritious and balanced. Here are some tips:

  • Include lean protein like poultry, fish, beans, or tofu
  • Add whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, or 100% whole wheat bread
  • Eat plenty of vegetables to provide fiber and nutrients
  • Consider healthy fats from avocado, nuts, seeds, or olive oil
  • Limit saturated fat, sugar, sodium, and processed ingredients
  • Drink water instead of high-calorie beverages
  • Avoid fried foods or heavy sauces and opt for healthier cooking methods
  • Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables
  • Portion control is key – be mindful not to overeat

This provides balanced nutrition to help you feel satisfied while delivering a variety of vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, and healthy fats.

Benefits of an 800 Calorie Balanced Meal

Providing your body with adequate calories and nutrition has many benefits. Here are some benefits of a balanced, 800 calorie meal:

  • Keeps you fuller for longer. The combination of protein, fiber, and healthy fats takes longer to digest, keeping hunger at bay.
  • Stabilizes blood sugar. With protein, fat, and fiber, carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly, preventing spikes and dips in blood sugar.
  • Provides energy for activity. Carbohydrates and calories provide fuel for your body to power movement and activity.
  • Supports muscle building and retention. Protein provides amino acids that help build and maintain muscle mass when paired with resistance training.
  • Promotes satiety hormones. Protein stimulates the release of hormones like GLP-1 and PYY that promote fullness.
  • Can aid weight management. More filling meals may help reduce overall calorie intake which can contribute to weight loss over time.

Consuming appropriate calories at each meal makes it easier to get the energy you need while avoiding mindless snacking and overeating later.

Sample 800 Calorie Balanced Meal

Here is an example of a well-balanced 800 calorie meal:

Salmon Salad:

  • 5 oz. wild salmon, grilled or baked: 320 calories
  • 2 cups mixed salad greens: 20 calories
  • 1 cup chopped cucumbers: 16 calories
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes: 27 calories
  • 1 avocado, sliced: 240 calories
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette: 90 calories
  • 1 slice 100% whole wheat bread: 100 calories

Total: 813 calories

This meal provides a good balance of protein, carbs, and fat along with ample vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from the vegetables and healthy fats from the avocado and salmon. The mix of fiber, protein, and healthy fat promotes satiety as well. This meal fits well within an 800 calorie target while providing balanced nutrition.

800 Calorie Meal Sample Menu

If eating around 800 calories per meal, your daily calorie intake would be approximately 2,400 calories. This provides room for additional meals and snacks within the day. Here is a sample menu:


800 calories

  • – 2 eggs scrambled with 1 cup spinach, 1 oz. cheese, salsa: 300 calories
  • – 1 cup Greek yogurt with 1 cup mixed berries: 280 calories
  • – 1 slice 100% whole wheat toast with 1 tbsp peanut butter: 220 calories


200 calories

  • – 1 medium apple with 1 oz. cheese stick: 200 calories


800 calories

  • – Tuna salad sandwich on whole wheat: 560 calories
  • – Salad with 2 cups greens, vegetables, balsamic vinaigrette: 240 calories


200 calories

  • – 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt with cinnamon: 140 calories
  • – 10 unsalted almonds: 80 calories


800 calories

  • – 1 serving vegetarian chili (2 cups): 320 calories
  • – 1 whole wheat dinner roll: 100 calories
  • – Steamed broccoli (1 cup): 30 calories
  • – Dark chocolate square (1 oz.): 150 calories

Daily Total: Approximately 2,400 calories

This provides three balanced 800 calorie meals plus two 200 calorie snacks for steady energy and adequate nutrition all day long. The meals and snacks feature fiber, protein, and good fats for staying power.

800 Calorie Meal Precautions

While 800 calories is appropriate at meals for some, there are precautions to keep in mind:

  • Don’t skip meals. Consuming just one large 800+ calorie meal is not advised. This often leads to overeating later on.
  • Watch portions. Measure portions, especially calorie-dense foods like oils, cheese, and nuts.
  • Balance calories throughout the day. Don’t overload on one meal to make up for skimping elsewhere.
  • Consider your activity level. More active individuals have higher calorie needs to match their energy expenditure.
  • Get nutrition from whole foods. Limit processed foods and sugary beverages that provide excess calories without nutrition.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink water instead of juice, soda, or other high-calorie drinks.

Consuming 800 quality calories at meals as part of a healthy diet is not necessarily problematic for most people. But use caution not to overdo it or rely on large portions of calorie-dense processed foods. Moderation and balance are key.

800 Calorie Meal Considerations

Here are some other things to keep in mind around 800 calorie meals:

  • They work better for some people based on age, activity level, and other nutrient needs.
  • Make sure to balance calories at other meals and snacks as needed.
  • The meal should keep you satisfied for 3 to 4 hours until your next meal or snack.
  • Each meal and snack should have a balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats.
  • Portion sizes matter, even for healthy foods.
  • Hydrate well and limit liquid calories like juice and soda.
  • Time the meals for when you need it most – larger meals earlier, smaller later.
  • Avoid mindless overeating by pre-plating meals and sitting down to eat.
  • Complement meals with regular activity and exercise.

With some mindful eating habits, 800 calorie meals can be incorporated into a healthy diet depending on your individual needs and goals. The key is balance, moderation, and nutrition.


An 800 calorie meal can be appropriate for some people depending on factors like age, activity level, calorie needs, and weight goals. It should consist of balanced nutrition from whole foods like lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats. Limit sugars, refined carbs, and processed items. Proper portions are important. An 800 calorie meal supports energy, nutrition, and satiety when combined with other moderate calorie meals and snacks throughout the day. For many people focusing on weight loss, meals in the 500-700 calorie range are more appropriate. But an 800 calorie meal in the context of an overall healthy diet can work for some individuals depending on their lifestyle and calorie needs. Moderation, activity, and nutrition-dense choices are most important when structuring your meals and snacks.

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