What is this?

This is a collection of "recipes" I've been inventing that attempt to satisfy all the government nutritional daily recommended intakes (DRIs) while minimizing calories. I also avoid eggs and most meat, so that is another constraint. See the FAQ for more information.

I put "recipe" in quotes because (1) the portion size is for one day of food for one adult (2) I largely ignore seasoning instructions. I personally use ample seasoning when cooking, but I don't have any special insights there, so I'm just going to say Be Warned: literally following these instructions without seasoning will result in bland dishes no one will want to eat.

The website was invaluable when creating these.

Diet Blend

1082 calories, 89g protein, $7.50
Food Amount Cal
Broccoli, Cooked from Frozen 8.4 cups 433
Soybean Oil, Unhydrogenated 1.75 tbsp 211
Mushrooms, Cooked from Fresh 3 cups 131
Milk, Skim, Fat Free 1.6 cups 133
Shrimp, Cooked from Frozen 0.21 cups 61
Pumpkin or Squash Seeds, Shelled, Salted 2.7 tbsp 114
Salt 0.27 tbsp 0
I suspect we can get the calories under 1000 by replacing the soybean oil with hemp oil.

Lentils & Broccoli

1503 calories, 110g protein, $4.54
Food Amount Cal
Lentils, Boiled 3 cups, whole pieces 689
Frozen Broccoli 5.6 cup, chopped 289
Soybean Oil 2.4 tbsp 289
Skim Milk 2 cup 167
Fresh Portabella Mushrooms 2 cup, sliced 70
  1. Put 1 cup of lentils and 2.5 cups of water in a pot. Simmer until the water is gone.
  2. In the meantime, turn on the stove and put a pan on the stove.
  3. Put the oil in the pan.
  4. Chop the broccoli and mushrooms and put them in the pan.
  5. After a while, put the lentils on a plate and then put the broccoli and mushrooms on top.
  6. Serve with a glass of milk.

Rice & Shrimp

1417 calories, 83g protein
Food Amount Cal
Brown Rice, Cooked 1.5 cups 373
Skim Milk 3 cups 250
Soybean Oil 2.1 tbsp 253
Red Bell Peppers 5.5 cups 208
Frozen Shrimp 0.7 cups 121
Fresh Mushrooms 2.5 cups 109
Frozen Broccoli 2 cups 103

Potatoes & Fish

1509 calories, 78g protein
Food Amount Cal
Potatoes 2.6 cups 523
Skim Milk 3.3 cup 275
Soybean Oil 2 tbsp 241
Catfish, Farmed 5 2/3 oz raw 206
Red Bell Peppers 4.5 cup, chopped 170
Frozen Brussel Sprouts 1 cup 94
  1. Thinly slice the potatoes.
  2. Chop the peppers and brussel sprouts.
  3. Turn on the stove and put a pan on the stove.
  4. Put the oil, potatoes, and vegetables in the pan.
  5. Add the fish later (most people don't like it overcooked).
  6. Serve with a glass of milk.

Split Pea Soup

1529 calories, 89 protein
Food Amount Cal
Split Peas 3 cup 694
Soybean Oil 2.15 tbsp 259
Skim Milk 2.8 cups 233
Red Bell Peppers 5.6 cups 212
Mushrooms 3 cups 131


Have you really been asked these questions?


What are your credentials?

I have none.

Do these "recipes" actually satisfy every nutritional recommendation?


I ignore two nutrients: sodium and vitamin D. Ignoring sodium makes sense since you're probably getting enough of it from the other stuff you're eating. If not, just add salt to the "recipes".

Ignoring vitamin D is harder to justify. The truth is it is extremely difficult to get vitamin D from food alone and quite easy in most places to get several times what you need from the sun. Nevertheless, I'm considering revising this since vitamin D promotes longevity.

Do these "recipes" satisfy the DRIs for everyone?

I targeted the nutritional needs of 19-30 year-old males since that's my demographic. DRIs are generally larger for males than for non-pregnant females, so I expect these "recipes" would work well for the vast majority of the non-infant non-pregnant population.

Why does every "recipe" contain soybean oil and milk?

Soybean oil is the best source of polyunsaturated fats I've found. These fats are great at promoting longevity and are recommended by the US government. The fact that cooking with oil makes the food taste much better is a happy side-effect.

Regarding milk: I don't eat eggs or most meat, so milk is one of my best and cheapest sources of B12. Milk is also a great source of lots of nutrients since it's literally all infants eat. Finally, milk is the least bad animal product to eat by far.

How did maximizing for nutrition yield recepies that weren't completely horrible?

It didn't. I had to make judgment calls. The optimal meal would've consisted mostly of broccoli.

This is too hard/messy. Why not just drink Soylent et al?

Price is one reason. These meals are far cheaper than Soylant or Huel. For instant, Soylant powder costs nearly $20 for 1500 calories whereas the ingredients for these "recipes" cost around $5.

Variety, social acceptableness, and taste are all other good reasons.

Finally, the difficulty in preparing real meals can be reduced by doing things in bulk. The obvious way to do this is to take turns preparing with other people: with 7 people, each person can cook dinner once per week.

The other way to do things in bulk is to do the non-heat-related steps once a week. This mostly means cutting the vegetables and putting them in sealed containers in the fridge. Then, making these recipes later takes less effort and makes less mess.

Are you vegan? vegetarian? pescatarian?

Kind of? I don't eat any land animals. I don't eat octopus, calamari, or most fish. I do eat catfish, skate, shrimp, clams, and oysters. I consume dairy and eggs, but avoid egg-heavy food like omelets.


The above dietary restrictions are based on my complex, nuanced, and likely wrong understanding of animal ethics.

I basically adopt a utilitarian outlook and assume the moral weight of an animal is (very) roughly proportional to the number of synapses in its brain.

Various Protein Sources

FoodCalories For 30g of Protein
Chobani, Nonfat Greek Yogurt, Plain174
Catfish, Farmed234
Firm Tofu, Cooked259
Broccoli, Cooked271
Soy Milk283
Milk, Fat Free302
Edamame, Cooked343
Cauliflower, Cooked354
Kale, Raw360
Brussel Sprouts, Cooked346
Milk 1% Fat374
Lentils, Boiled386
Mushrooms, Cooked387
Fava Beans, Cooked387
Zucchini, Cooked395
Parmesan Cheese, Grated444
Black Beans, Boiled447
Green Peas, Cooked454
Milk, 2% Fat455
Pinto Beans477
Paneer Cheese514
Cheddar Cheese528
Artichoke Hearts, Canned551
Chickpeas, Boiled555
Milk, Whole580
Whole Wheat Bread607
Peanuts, Raw660
Wild Rice, Cooked759