1500 calorie diet plan
In most cases, a person would aim to eat 1500 calories if they wanted to lose weight. Eating fewer calories than you burn each day is known as a calorie deficit and doing this forces your body to utilize its fat stores as a source of energy.
For a lot of people, 1500 calories would be a good amount to consume to start losing weight, but it might not be ideal for everyone. The reason for this is because a number of factors, including your gender, age, weight, height and activity levels determine how many calories you should consume.
A young 6 foot tall man who exercises 6 times a week and leads an extremely active lifestyle would generally not be advised to consume fewer than 1700 calories, even if he wanted to lose weight at a fast pace.
You can use the calculator below to estimate how many calories you should be eating and whether 1500 calories would be suitable for you.
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.
For example, a 35 year old lady who weighs 70 kgs (154 lbs), is 170 cm tall and exercises 4 times a week can safely follow a 1500 calorie diet if she wants to lose weight. On the other hand, a 25 year old man who weighs 90 kgs (198 lbs), is 185 cm tall and exercises 6 times a week would generally be advised to consume at least 2000 calories a day, even if he wanted to lose weight.
It is important to discuss any major calorie intake changes with your doctor, especially if you will be following a diet plan for a lengthy period of time. If he or she feels that 1500 calories a day is suitable for you, here are some tips to make following and achieving it more feasible.
Veggies are key
When following any weight loss diet, vegetables should play a major role. Firstly, they are low in calories, thanks to the fact that most of them are made up of more than 80% water. For example, a cup of broccoli only has 31 calories, meaning you can eat an incredible amount, without having to worry about gaining weight.
Secondly, vegetables are high in fiber. This is especially true for crunchy vegetables such as parsnips, Brussels sprouts, endives and carrots. Increasing fiber intake can be highly beneficial for weight loss, as seen in this study. A reason for this is thought to be because fiber adds bulk to your stomach and fills you up, thereby reducing overall food intake.
Thirdly, vegetables are highly nutritious and even small amounts provide many of the vitamins & minerals that our body’s need in order to function correctly. For example, a medium sized carrot will provide you with all of your daily requirement of vitamin A.
Eating a diverse range of coloured vegetables will reduce the chances of you becoming deficient in vital nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, vitamin K and the B vitamins. Aim to eat at least 3 servings of vegetables per day and even more if possible. Because they are so versatile, vegetables can be enjoyed in many different ways. They can be eaten on their own or used in lots of delicious recipes.
Fruits are nature’s dessert
Similar to vegetables, most fruits tend to be low in calories, but are nutritionally dense. As an added benefit, they are a source of natural sugar, which can help to satisfy a sweet tooth if you have one. Some notable mentions are mangoes, bananas, pomegranates, apples and grapes. Dried fruits such as dates and raisins are even sweeter and can be eaten in small amounts.
You can eat fruits on their own as a snack, add them to smoothies or even use them to make your own healthy homemade version of popular desserts. For example, this ice cream which is made entirely from frozen bananas has far fewer calories and less sugar than ordinary ice cream, but provides many more essential nutrients.
You should aim to eat 2 – 3 servings of fruit, preferably earlier on in the day.
Protein fills you up
Out of all the 3 macro-nutrients (the other two being carbs and fat), protein has the highest satiety, which means it is the most filling. Because of this, increasing protein intake can help to dramatically reduce overall calorie intake.
Indeed, numerous studies have investigated the effects that protein has on appetite & weight management and in most cases it has shown positive results. For example, this study found that increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of total calories resulted in 441 fewer calories being consumed per day.
And this study found that a high protein diet reduced obsessive thoughts about food and a late night desire to snack in obese men.
Starting the day off with a high protein meal is a good idea. This study found that a protein rich breakfast promotes weight loss by suppressing subsequent food intake and regulating appetite hormones. Swapping carb rich breakfast foods such as bagels for eggs may enhance weight loss.
A wide variety of protein rich foods are available, including fish, legumes, unprocessed meat, dairy, eggs, nuts and seeds. Studies seem to suggest that a protein intake of 25 – 30% of total calories is ideal for weight management. You should also aim to exercise at least 3 – 4 times a week when consuming a high protein but low calorie diet because doing so will assist with muscle mass maintenance.
Carbs and fat should not be avoided
Besides protein, carbs and fat are also important for the body. It is true that reducing carb intake is an effective weight loss strategy; however, they are also a source of energy, and should not be avoided completely. That being said, not all carbs are created equal, and eating the right types of carb rich foods is crucial.
Carbs generally come in two forms. The first type is found in foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. These are the foods that retain their nutrients, are high in fiber and generally low in calories. Examples include sweet potatoes, oats, brown rice, quinoa, lentils and beans. A 5 inch long raw sweet potato has around 112 calories.
The second type is found in foods that are highly processed and provide very little nutritional value. Examples of these foods are cakes, chips, doughnuts and even white bread. A lot of these foods tend to have added sugar and fat, which makes their calorie numbers soar. For example, a medium sized doughnut has more than 250 calories.
Even if an individual is not trying to lose weight, they should aim to eat more natural carbs and minimize their intake of processed ones. The former will be digested at a slow pace and provide lots of vitamins and minerals. The latter will simply provide a huge burst of energy but very few nutrients (i.e. empty calories), be digested very fast and cause dramatic spikes and dips in blood sugar levels.
As for fat, even though it provides more calories per gram than protein or carbs, it is essential for good health. A similar concept to carbs applies to fat. Foods that are naturally high in fat such as avocados, nuts, seeds, oily fish and coconut oil should be eaten regularly. It is the processed foods that have added fat such as cookies and cakes that should be eaten only occasionally or avoided completely.
Drink plenty of water
Water fits in very well in a 1500 calorie diet. Because it has 0 calories, you can drink lots of it without having to worry about it affecting your total daily calorie intake. The fact that it has 0 calories means that it comes in handy when trying to lose weight. This has been shown in a number of different studies.
In this study, 48 adults aged between 55 and 75 followed a calorie deficit diet. Some of the participants drank 500 ml of water before each meal whilst others did not. After 12 weeks, the participants ended up losing weight, but those who drank water ended up losing 2 kg more on average. And this study found that drinking water before breakfast resulted in fewer calories being consumed.
An easy way to eliminate unnecessary calories from your diet is to swap sugar sweetened beverages such as soda with water. In most cases, these beverages are high in calories but provide no nutritional value. For example, a can of cola has around 140 calories but comes with no vitamins or minerals. In fact, a lot of studies have found that sugar sweetened beverages are one of the leading causes of weight gain and obesity.
Besides water, you can also drink teas and coffee once in a while, as they tend to be low in calories but are rich in antioxidants. Just be sure not to add spoonfuls of sugar and cream to them.
Eating 1500 calories a day
There are a number of different ways you can split up your meals; you could opt for 3 larger 500 calorie meals, 6 smaller 250 calorie meals or a mix and match of the two. The choice comes down to personal preference. Eating smaller but more frequent meals might help reduce cravings and maintain energy levels.
In terms of the foods that you can eat, there are lots of options:
- Eggs – they are low in calories but high in protein and studies have shown that they are ideal for breakfast, when trying to lose weight. Because of their versatility, they can be eaten in many different ways.
- Smoothies – are easy to prepare and allow you to combine lots of nutrient rich ingredients into one meal. You can use vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and protein powders when preparing them.
- Dips and nut butters – hummus, guacamole, peanut butter, almond butter, cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are all convenient high protein snacks. They can be eaten together with fruits or vegetables and help to keep you going until your next meal.
- Soups – tend to be low in calories but can also be filling at the same time if beans, fish and lean meat are included when preparing them.
- Grilled meats & fish – are generally low in calories if prepared correctly and also very filling. They should be eaten with plenty of vegetables such as steamed spinach and baked sweet potato.
1500 calorie meal plans
When devising your own 1500 calorie meal plans, you can refer to websites such as nutritiondata.self.com or use apps like myfitnesspal to accurately measure the number of calories in different foods. You can then mix and match foods accordingly.
Below are a few examples of what the meal plans would look like.
Breakfast: 2 large boiled eggs, 1 cup of cooked oatmeal and 1 medium banana – 425 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: 1526 calories
Breakfast: 1 large omelette with 2 slices of whole grain buttered toast – 256 calories
Snack: 1 avocado – 322 calories
Lunch: 1 cup cooked lentils and 1 medium baked sweet potato – 333 calories
Snack: 1 cup low fat cottage cheese and 1/2 cup strawberries – 188 calories
Dinner: 2 cups black turtle bean soup – 436 calories
Total: 1535 calories
Breakfast: smoothie made of 1/2 avocado, 1 scoop of oats, 1 cup of almond milk, 1 cup of spinach, 1 scoop of whey protein and 1/2 cup of frozen mango – 461 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: 1507 calories
Breakfast: yogurt parfait made from 1 cup of Greek yogurt, fresh berries, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 ounce of chopped nuts – 526 calories
Snack: 5 tablespoons of hummus and carrot sticks – 165 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: 1513 calories