1400 calorie diet
The average adult needs to consume 2000 – 2500 calories in order to maintain their weight. You would generally follow a 1400 calorie diet plan if you were trying to lose weight. When you consume fewer calories than you burn, your body is forced to use its fat stores as a source of energy.
1400 calories would a good amount for many people to consume when aiming to lose weight, but it may not be ideal for everyone. This is because your height, weight, age, gender and activity levels determine the number of calories that you should consume.
A 6 foot tall man in his twenties who exercises 5 times a week and is active throughout the day would need to consume far more calories than a short 60 year old lady who leads a sedentary lifestyle.
You can use the calculator below to estimate the number of calories that you should be eating and whether 1400 would be suitable.
This calculator will never show a number below 1000 calories per day. Please speak to a qualified health professional before attempting to eat less than that.
As a general guideline, you should aim to consume at least the ‘lose weight fast’ number of calories at minimum. Before making any drastic changes to your calorie intake for lengthy periods, it is always a good idea to speak to your doctor.
If you know that you are fine to do so, the following tips will help make it easier to stick to a 1400 calorie diet.
Eat plenty of vegetables
You will find that vegetables are a large part of many weight loss diets. The reason for this is because they are low in calories, rich in fiber and packed full of nutrients. Most vegetables are made up of more than 80% water, which is why a cup of broccoli only has 31 calories. You can therefore eat a large amount and still only ingest a modest amount of energy.
Studies have shown that increasing fiber intake can be an effective way to lose weight. Fiber absorbs water to form a thick gel like substance that slowly moves through your digestive system, keeping you satisfied for longer. Vegetables such as artichokes, parsnips, collard greens, Brussels sprouts and kale are all high in fiber.
Aim to eat at least 3 servings of a variety of vegetables a day, including leafy, root and fruit vegetables. Thanks to their versatility, veggies can be incorporated into plenty of delicious recipes, including salads, soups and stir fries.
Eat some fruit
Just like vegetables, fruits are also low in calories for the most part. They have the added advantage of being a source of naturally occurring sugars, which comes in handy if you have a sweet tooth.
Some great low calorie fruits include watermelon, strawberries, peaches, plums, oranges, cherries and apples. Dried fruits such as raisins and dates are sweeter but also higher in calories, so they should only be eaten in small amounts.
You can enjoy fruits as a snack, either on their own or together with a protein rich food such as yogurt or cottage cheese. You can also include them in smoothies or use them to prepare healthy low calorie desserts (such as mango sorbet).
Aim to eat roughly 2 servings of fruit per day. If you lead an active lifestyle, you can eat slightly more. If you are diabetic or very obese, speak to your doctor about how much fruit you should be eating.
Increase your protein intake
Protein is highly filling, which is why eating it can keep you satisfied and help to reduce the amount of food that you eat overall.
This study found that increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of total calories resulted in 400+ fewer calories being consumed. Another study found that a high protein diet helped to reduce obsessive thoughts about food and late night desire to snack.
If you are someone who regularly eats breakfast, be sure to include some protein. This study found that a protein rich breakfast can regulate appetite hormones and reduce food intake later on in the day. Eggs are a particularly good source of protein and are also a delicious breakfast option.
It appears as though a protein intake of 30% of total calories is the sweet spot for weight management, so aim to consume this much if you can. Protein provides 4 calories per gram, so on a 1400 calorie diet that would equal 105 grams per day. High quality protein rich foods include fish, dairy, legumes, unprocessed meat, nuts and seeds.
When you are on a low calorie diet, your body will burn some muscle tissue for energy. Combining a high protein diet with resistance training will help you to reduce loss of muscle mass.
Don’t fear fat
Fat gets a bad reputation because a lot of people incorrectly associate it with weight gain. The truth however is that eating fat does not necessarily make you fat. Eating more calories than you require is what makes you fat and those calories can come from protein, carbs or fat.
That being said, it is important to eat the right types of fat. The fat rich foods that you want to eat more of should be those that have been processed very little and are as close to their natural state as possible.
Examples include avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olives and fatty fish. Together with fat, these foods contain large amounts of fiber and / or protein, which makes them very filling. They are also loaded with plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
On the other hand, the fat rich foods that you want to reduce intake of or avoid completely are those that have been highly processed. Examples include cakes, cookies, potato chips and other junk foods. These foods are a source of empty calories and are not filling; eating them simply causes dramatic spikes and dips in blood sugar & insulin levels, which doesn’t do your waistline any favours.
Eat complex carbs
Studies have shown that reducing carbohydrate intake can be a highly effective strategy for weight loss. This however doesn’t mean that you should eliminate carbs entirely. What is important though is choosing the correct types of carbohydrate rich foods.
Like with fats, you want to eat those foods that have been processed as little as possible. They are high in fiber, low in calories and rich in nutrients. Examples include sweet potatoes, lentils, beans, quinoa, brown rice, oats, fruits and vegetables.
The carbohydrate rich foods to be wary of are those that have been highly processed. These tend to contain large amounts of sugar and very little fiber. Most junk foods are usually high in both refined carbohydrates and fat, so cutting down on them is a good idea.
Drink lots of water
An easy way to reduce your calorie intake is by swapping most beverages for water, which has 0 calories. Not only does it help to lower energy intake, it can also boost your metabolism slightly and fill you up faster.
In this study, participants who drank 500 ml of water before each meal ended up losing more weight than those who didn’t. Try this yourself by drinking one or two glasses of water 30 minutes before you plan on eating and see how it affects your appetite.
Also, whenever you feel hungry, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes, then decide whether you really need to eat. A lot of people are chronically dehydrated and often mistake thirst for hunger.
The beverages that you want to reduce or completely eliminate are those that have been sweetened with sugar. The problem with these beverages is that they are high in calories but they don’t have a significant impact on reducing one’s appetite like eating solid food would.
As a result, you are likely to end up consuming more calories than you should in the long run. The large amount of fructose that sugary beverages contain can also burden the liver and lead to fat storage. Cut down on sodas, and in place of fruit juice have solid fruit instead.
Eating 1400 calories a day
With the pointers mentioned above in mind, we can devise meal plans that include foods that are filling and highly nutritious. You can choose to eat 3 large meals that each have approximately 450 calories, or 4 – 6 smaller meals. The choice is entirely up to you, depending on how often you prefer to eat.
In terms of the foods that you can eat, there are plenty of options:
- Eggs – high in protein and low in calories, and studies have shown that they are an ideal breakfast food when trying to lose weight.
- Nut butters & dips – hummus, guacamole, peanut butter, almond butter, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are all easy to prepare high protein snacks. They can be eaten together with fruits or vegetables in between meals.
- Soups – tend to be low in calories but can be very filling if beans, fish and lean meat are included in them.
- Grilled meats & fish – are generally low in calories if prepared correctly. They should be eaten with plenty of vegetables on the side.
- Smoothies – are simple to prepare and allow you to combine lots of nutrient rich foods in one meal. You can include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and protein powders.
1400 calorie meal plans
When creating your own 1400 calorie meal plans, you can refer to websites such as nutritiondata.self.com or use an app like myfitnesspal to remove the guesswork and accurately determine the number of calories in different foods.
Below are a few examples of what the meal plans might look like.
Breakfast: 2 large boiled eggs and 1 cup of cooked oatmeal – 320 calories
Snack: 1 cup of Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup of strawberries – 220 calories
Lunch: 1 grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables – 394 calories
Snack: a handful of almonds and a medium sized apple – 257 calories
Dinner: 1 cup of cooked lentils – 230 calories
Total calories: 1421 calories
Breakfast: 1 large omelette with 2 slices of whole grain buttered toast – 256 calories
Snack: 1/2 avocado – 161 calories
Lunch: 1 cup cooked lentils and 1 medium baked sweet potato – 333 calories
Snack: 1 cup low fat cottage cheese and 1 cup of strawberries – 212 calories
Dinner: 2 cups black turtle bean soup – 436 calories
Total: 1398 calories
Breakfast: smoothie made of 1/2 avocado, 1 scoop of oats, 1 cup of almond milk, 1 cup of spinach and 1/2 cup of frozen mango – 361 calories
Lunch: 1 fillet grilled haddock, 1 large boiled egg and steamed vegetables – 355 calories
Snack: 2 tablespoons almond butter and an apple – 297 calories
Dinner: 1 grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables – 394 calories
Total: 1407 calories
Breakfast: yogurt parfait made from 1 cup of Greek yogurt, fresh berries and 1 ounce of chopped nuts – 462 calories
Snack: 1 large banana – 121 calories
Lunch: mixed bean salad – 310 calories
Snack: 1 low sugar protein bar – 190 calories
Dinner: 1 cup cooked quinoa with mixed vegetables – 322 calories
Total: 1405 calories