Is 200 Calories A Lot? A Nutrition Coach Answers

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When you are counting calories for your diet goals, you start noticing the caloric content of many different foods and might wonder whether 200 calories is a little or a lot.

So, is 200 calories a lot? 200 calories is not a lot of food for most people who eat a daily caloric intake of 2000-2500 calories. You wouldn’t be very full from eating 200 calories, and it would only represent a small snack.

With that said, whether 200 calories is a lot will also depend on where those 200 calories come from, what else you have already eaten that day, your gender, and your activity levels.

In this article, I’ll give you:

  • Examples of what 200 calories looks like for different foods
  • An explanation of why foods have 200 calories
  • A discussion of whether 200 calories is too much
  • A list of tips for eating 200 calories

What Do 200 Calories Look Like? 12 Examples

To give you a sense of what and how much you could eat or drink to give you 200 calories, here is a list of a dozen different options.  You can also mix and match smaller servings of these items to create 200-calorie meals or snacks.

1. Broccoli

  • Serving size: 600g
  • 200 calories
  • 40g carbs (16g fiber)
  • 17g protein
  • 2g fat

2. Apples

apples
  • Serving size: 385g
  • 200 calories
  • 55g carbs (12g fiber)
  • 0g protein
  • 0g fat

3. Chicken Breast

chicken breast
  • Serving size: 123g
  • 200 calories
  • 0g carbs
  • 37g protein
  • 4g fat

4. Multigrain Bread

multigrain bread
  • Serving size: 70g
  • 200 calories
  • 33g carbs (5g fiber)
  • 9g protein
  • 4g fat

5. Gummy Bears

gummy bears
  • Serving size: 60g
  • 200 calories
  • 44g carbs (0g fiber)
  • 4g protein
  • 0g fat

6. Quest Mint Chocolate Chunk Protein Bar

quest mint chocolate chunk protein bar
  • Serving size: 60g
  • 200 calories
  • 22g carbs (16g fiber)
  • 20g protein
  • 8g fat

7. Protein Powder

protein powder
  • Serving size: 56g
  • 200 calories
  • 6g carbs (0g fiber)
  • 44g protein
  • 0g fat

8. Kit Kat Chocolate Bar

kit kat chocolate bar
  • Serving size: 42g
  • 210 calories
  • 25g carbs (1g fiber)
  • 3g protein
  • 11g fat

9. Almond Butter

almond butter
  • Serving size: 30g
  • 200 calories
  • 6g carbs (2g fiber)
  • 6g protein
  • 16g fat

10. Butter

  • Serving size: 28g
  • 200 calories
  • 0g carbs
  • 0g protein
  • 22g fat

11. Gatorade

gatorade
  • Serving size: 30oz
  • 210 calories
  • 54g carbs (0g fiber)
  • 0g protein
  • 0g fat

12. Milk (2%)

milk (2%)
  • Serving size: 12oz
  • 195 calories
  • 18g carbs (0g fiber)
  • 12g protein
  • 7.5g fat

Why 200 Calories Can Look So Different

You’ll notice from the list of examples that 200 calories can seem like a really big serving or a really small serving.  Why is that?  The key reasons are the macronutrient, water, and fiber content.  Water and fiber content in particular can be impacted by processing foods, as I’ll explain below.

Macronutrients

The calories in food come from the three macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat.  Protein and carbohydrates supply approximately 4 calories per gram.  Fat provides 9 calories per gram, so it is more than twice as “calorie-dense.”

This means that foods that have a high fat content need a smaller serving size to provide 200 calories.

Related Article: Is It Better To Hit Your Macros or Calories? (What’s Best)

Water Content

Next, different foods contain different amounts of water.  Water adds to the serving size without adding calories.  As an example, melons have a high water content, so a large serving still has a relatively small number of calories.  

For example, 100g of watermelon provides 34 calories. You would need to eat 588g (over a pound!) of watermelon to get 200 calories.

Fiber Content

Finally, the fiber content of food also impacts caloric density.  Fiber provides bulk to food, but it does not provide calories to your body.  Fiber passes through your system without being digested.  

For example, 385g of apple provides 200 calories but also has 13g of fiber, which does not add any calories but increases the serving size.

Processed Foods

Much of the processing of food involves removing its water and fiber content to create refined products that are shelf-stable.  Food manufacturers will also add sugars to make foods even more palatable and encourage consumers to eat and buy more of them.

This means that processed foods are generally more calorie-dense than minimally processed whole foods, so it takes a smaller serving size of processed foods to reach 200 calories.

Related Article: 200 Calorie Deficit: Is It Healthy & How Much Can You Lose?

Is 200 Calories Too Much To Eat or Not?

Whether 200 calories is “too much” really depends on your individual goals such as weight loss or weight gain, your activity level, meal timing, and what else and how much you have already eaten that day.

Goals

If your daily calorie goal is 4000 calories, 200 calories is only 5% of that goal.  Eating a couple of extra 200-calorie meals or snacks per day might help you to get to that goal, especially if you are struggling to meet a calorie surplus for gaining weight or bulking.

People with a target of 4000 calories are usually:

  • Men weighing 220-250lbs or more with intense training 6-7 days per week, looking to gain weight
  • Very active men weighing 300lbs or more, looking to maintain weight

On the other hand, if your daily calorie goal is 1200 calories, 200 calories is around 17% of that goal.  Eating just one additional 200-calorie meal or snack could put you over your calorie target for the day and erase a calorie deficit, meaning that you won’t lose weight.  

People with a target of 1200 calories are usually:

  • Women less than 100lbs looking to maintain body weight
  • Women who weigh between 100-120lbs and are in the final stages of a cut for a competitive bodybuilding show

Timing

If it is the end of the day and you still need another 200 calories to hit your calorie target, then 200 calories is perfect.

If it is the middle of the morning and you are considering having an additional 200 calories beyond your planned meals and snacks, it is much more likely that 200 calories could cause you to exceed your calorie target for the day.

Tips for Eating 200 Calories

tips for eating 200 calories

Tips for eating 200 calories depend on whether your goal is to lose weight or gain weight.

Eating 200 Calories for Weight Loss

When you are trying to manage a calorie deficit for weight loss, it’s important to make sure that you feel as full as possible to help you manage hunger and cravings.  In this case, you’ll want to find sources of 200 calories that are satiating.

This means focusing on calories from lean protein because protein is the most satiating macronutrient, or from foods with a low calorie density, meaning that it takes a large serving size to give you 200 calories.  These foods tend to have high water and/or high fiber content, as described previously.

Examples are vegetables, fruit, and lean sources of protein such as skinless chicken breasts. 

Related Article: Do Macros Matter for Weight Loss? (Yes, Here’s Why)

Eating 200 Calories for Weight Gain

When you are trying to hit a calorie surplus for weight gain, it’s important to choose calorie-dense sources to allow you to consume a lot of calories without feeling uncomfortably full.  

Foods that have a higher fat content such as avocados and nuts, as well as dehydrated foods including beef jerky and dried fruit, are great choices because a small serving size will provide 200 calories.  For most kinds of nuts, just over an ounce will provide 200 calories.

Adding butter or oil to foods is also an easy way to add 200 calories since 2 tbsp of butter has 200 calories.

Beverages are also a way to get 200 calories, and drinking calories is usually not as filling as chewing solid foods.  You can easily add sugar to drinks, allowing it to be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream with minimal digestive effort.

Related Article: Do Macros Matter for Bulking? (Yes, Here’s Why)

Frequently Asked Questions

Will 200 Calories Fill You Up?

Yes, 200 calories can fill you up if you choose foods that have a higher water and/or fiber content and also provide a lean source of protein since protein is the most satiating macronutrient. Eating 200 calories from solid, whole foods is more filling than drinking 200 calories or choosing ultra-processed foods.

Is 200 Calories A Lot For A Snack?

200 calories could be too much for a snack if it will cause you to exceed your calorie target for the day. However, in general, 200 calories is not a lot and can be a great size for a snack when it is planned as part of your overall intake.  

Is 200 Calories A Lot For Breakfast?

200 calories is not a lot for breakfast.  Even when losing weight or cutting, a big breakfast is important. Eating a large, balanced breakfast reduces appetite and energy intake for the remainder of the day. Breakfast should provide at least 25-40% of calories, which is more than 200 calories, even at 1200 calories

Is 200 Calories A Lot For A Drink?

Whether 200 calories is a lot for a drink depends on whether it is being consumed as a standalone meal or snack or if it is in addition to your other meals.  For weight gain goals, a 200-calorie drink can help meet a calorie surplus.  For weight loss goals, a 200-calorie drink can make it hard to reach a deficit.

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About The Author

Lauren Graham
LAUREN GRAHAM

Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement.  Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete.  She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.