1500 Calorie Diet: 10 Tips and Meal Suggestions

I personally hate counting calories! I have never felt very good at it, and never have been able to keep a good count. However, if you are looking at different resources on how to lose weight, learning to count calories can become a skill that you develop over time. A 1500 calorie diet is a mid-calorie diet that will work for many people.

Be aware that this may not be your “magic” number depending on your height, muscle mass, amount of activity you get throughout the day, and even your metabolic rate. Check with your doctor, or at least get a good idea of how many calories you need per day by estimating how many calories you are already taking in per day.

Say that number is 2000 and you are maintaining. That means if you cut your calories by 500 per day and go on an 1500 calorie diet plan, you should be able to lose a pound a week if no other changes are made (activity level, etc.).

Here is an idea of a diet that is about 1500 calories. It is based off of the USDA recommended servings.

  • Fruits and Veggies: 3.5 cups
  • Grains: 5 oz
  • Meat and Beans: 6 oz
  • Dairy: 3 servings (3 cups)
  • Oils: 5 teaspoons

This sure is not very much food! But if 1500 calories per day seems to be your magic number, then there is a way to make sure you feel and stay satisfied. Here are some points that can make adhering to a low calorie diet easier:

  • Make sure your food selections are based off of low glycemic foods. Read some of my previous posts to get a list of low glycemic foods.
  • Add a half of a grapefruit to each main meal. Do not use as a snack, use with meals to help reduce the amount of insulin that is released with your meals.
  • Eat lean protein and fiber rich foods with each meal, but especially in the morning. You should eat 5-6 times throughout the day with your biggest meal in the morning. Make sure your breakfast has both protein and fiber in it as this will have an effect on how hungry you are throughout the rest of the day.
  • Make sure to have a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack to heed off overeating later in the day.
  • Eat a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon everyday. This will help regulate your insulin levels (much like grapefruit) and aid in weight loss. It also helps control hunger and cravings.
  • Drink warm fluids with your meals such as tea, use soup as appetizer, and finish each meal with tea. The Hot Diet by AJ Djo shows that if we keep our stomach’s “warm” instead of cold than our body metabolizes our calories more efficiently.
  • Do not skip your 3 servings of dairy. Find low-fat, low-calorie and high calcium. The commercials do not lie! Consuming 3 servings per day can aid in weight loss and increase fat burning.
  • Do not go too low calorie! A 1200 calorie diet or a 1000 calorie diet plan is most likely too low for most adults (not to mention growing teens). It is too restrictive to be on long term and impossible to get all the nutrients you need in a day.
  • Add a good vitamin/mineral supplement to your daily routine.
  • And, if you exercise, you can probably increase your calories as well. Exercising and weight training will help build lean mass. Lean mass burns more calories, even when your body is at rest.

These tips can aid in any weight loss plan no matter if you count calories, carbs or fat. The basic idea you should take away, however, is to make all your calories as dense as you can. Get the most out of them and you will not only feel better, but you will be on your way to permanent weight loss! Plus, once you count calories for a good couple of weeks, you will be able to actually know how much you are eating. You will get a good idea of portions and food combinations that can work well for you for life.

A Closer look at what a 1500 Calorie Plan Looks Like

When reducing the number of calories you consume in a quest to lose weight, it is important to look at a 1500 Calorie Diet Meal Plan as an opportunity to treat your body well by filling it with tasty and healthy foods. It would be easy to look at a 1500 calories and dwell on all the high calorie foods you will not be choosing to consume. Instead, try to focus on the fresh, tasty, seasonal foods you will able to incorporate into your diet. Stimulating your palate with new and different tastes will help you to achieve your goals.

One of the keys to success with counting calories is to incorporate the foods you love into your daily menus. If you enjoy eating red meat, you can have it while on this plan, but you must carefully plan for it and reduce calories in other foods.

Balance is important. You need to be sure you are eating calories derived from proteins, carbohydrates and fats. This will ensure that your body is satisfied and sated. Maintaining satisfaction will make it easier for you to stick with the plan.

Rather than considering a new eating plan as a temporary fix, you need to look at changing your habits and how you use food. Food should be used to nourish your mind and body and help you get the best performance out of both.

It is important that when counting calories you remember that not all calories are created equally. Two foods may contain the same number of calories, but they will most certainly not contain the same nutritional values. When using a 1500 calorie diet plan for weight loss or weight control, one must focus on incorporating as many whole grain carbohydrates, low-fat proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables into the plan as possible.

Ideally, breakfast, lunch and dinner should each contain approximately 400 calories and a morning snack and an evening snack should each contain 150 calories. Each meal should also incorporate lean protein, whole grain carbohydrates and plant-based fats such as olive oil, olives and avocados. This ensures that your body is getting all the nutrition it needs so that you do not lose muscle mass and you maintain your energy levels. Skipping one or more food group can result in sluggishness, lack of energy, depression, constipation, or low blood sugar.

Eating a balance of healthy foods throughout the day will help your body maintain a constant level of blood sugar so that you do not experience hunger pains during the day and so that you are not too hungry when your next meal time comes.

A sample day on a 1500 Calorie Diet Meal Plan can include:

Two slices of whole wheat toast with ¼ cup low-fat shredded cheese melted on it
2 slices turkey bacon
1 cup pineapple chunks
Coffee or tea

4 tablespoons of hummus (see our great hummus recipes!)
12 baby carrots

Salad made with 2 cups of mixed greens and spinach
2 hardboiled eggs
2 slices of turkey breast
¼ cup sunflower seeds
Non-fat dressing or 2 tsp. olive oil with lemon or vinegar

Skinless chicken breast stir-fry cooked in 1 tsp. olive oil
Onions and garlic
2 cups mixed vegetables such as zucchini, broccoli, red peppers, carrots and celery.
Dash of soy sauce for seasoning
1 cup brown rice or whole wheat pasta cooked with 1 bouillon cube

1 large apple
1 ounce cheese

Other choices for a 1500 Calorie Diet Meal Plan include:

2 whole wheat waffles
1 cup strawberries or other seasonal berries
2 hardboiled eggs

8 low-fat crackers
2 Tbsp. peanut butter

4 ounces of steamed fish or skinless chicken breast
2 cups of mixed salad greens and spinach
2 tsp. olive oil mixed with lemon or vinegar
1 small sweet potato

4 ounces of roasted chicken, skin removed
1 cup of steamed broccoli or carrots
1 cup of brown rice

2 slices turkey breast smeared with ½ tsp. Dijon mustard and covered with diced red peppers, cucumber, red leaf lettuce and basil leaves. Roll up and enjoy.

Another idea to help in following a 1500 calorie diet plan is to write down what you expect to eat as each day begins. Set aside a notebook and at the top of each page, write down a quotation that is positive or that you find inspirational. If you are having doubts that day, you can look to your quote to give you the strength you need to continue.

Anytime you eat anything throughout the day, write it down in your notebook. At the end of each week, when you weigh yourself and see how well you have done, you can refer back to your notebook to find what worked for you.

Likewise, if you have a week where your weight loss was not what you wanted it to be, you can review your notebook to see what choices you made and how they can be changed to achieve better results. It is important to count calories and be sure you are eating a balanced diet when following this type of plan. Variety will stimulate your senses and allow you to stick to the plan.

It is also important to remember that you did not gain the weight overnight and you will not lose it overnight. If you are realistic in your expectations and embrace a 1500 calorie diet plan as a way to lose weight and regain your health, you will be successful. You must understand that you are seeking to change the way you look and feel and in order to do so, figuring out a new and healthier way to eat is an important part of the process.

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2 comments… add one

  • Sylvia Nov 24, 2011, 7:39 pm

    Great article!
    So much information, that is actually very helpful and informative

  • Stephanie Jan 12, 2012, 6:29 pm

    Hi April,

    I love how many fruits and veggies are in your meal plan! These raw foods are some of the best ways to get maximum nutrition on minimum calories while feeling full and satisfied at the same time!

    And a great balance of nutrients, too!

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