- What Does a 1,200-Calorie Diet Look Like?
- How to Calculate Your Daily Calorie Goal
- Breakfast on a 1,200-Calorie Meal Plan
- Morning Snack
- Lunch on a 1,200-Calorie Meal Plan
- Afternoon Snack
- Dinner on a 1,200-Calorie Meal Plan
- 10 Things You Don’t Know about Calories
- Fast 800 Calorie Diet
- Snacks That Satisfy All Cravings
- Pin This Meal Plan for Later
- 1000 Calorie Diet Plan
- Sample 1000 Calorie Diet Plan
- A 1,500-Calorie Diet: Food Lists, Meal Plan and More
- Breakfast — Peanut Butter and Banana Toast With Eggs
- Lunch — On-the-Go Sushi
- Dinner — Black Bean Burger
- Breakfast — Breakfast smoothie
- Lunch — Kale Salad With Grilled Chicken
- Dinner — Shrimp Fajitas
- Breakfast — Oatmeal
- Lunch — Tuna Salad
- Dinner — Chicken With Veggies
- Breakfast — Omelet
- Lunch — On-the-Go Chipotle
- Dinner — Pasta With Pesto and Beans
- I eat less than 1000 calories per day. Why do I still seem to be gaining weight?
- 3 Reasons Why Eating Less Than 1000 Calories is a Waste of Time
What Does a 1,200-Calorie Diet Look Like?
When you’re trying to eat better or lose weight, sometimes you just want someone to tell you what to eat. Following a meal plan that’s designed by a registered dietitian is a great place to start, but first you need to calculate your daily calorie goal.
Related: 7-Day Weight-Loss Meal Plan: 1,200 Calories
How to Calculate Your Daily Calorie Goal
On a daily diet of 1,200 calories, most everyone will lose weight. By calculating your daily calorie goal, you can get a more precise look at what your calorie level should be to set yourself up for successful weight loss. This simple calculation will give you a daily calorie goal that can help you lose a healthy 1 to 2 pounds per week.
To estimate how many calories you need each day to stay at the weight you are right now, multiply your current weight by 12.
To lose 1 pound/week: Cut 500 calories/day
To lose 2 pounds/week: Cut 1,000 calories/day
If your current weight is 160 pounds and your goal is to lose 1 pound per week:
160 x 12 = 1,920
1,920 – 500 = 1,420 calories
This formula is used in many clinical weight-loss trials and assumes the person using the equation is sedentary. If you’re an active person, you may find you need more calories than what you calculated to feel satisfied during the day. The best gauge for whether you’re at the right level is how satisfied you feel (you shouldn’t be hungry all day!) and whether you’re losing weight. If you’re losing weight on 1,800 calories a day and you feel great, stick with that. The calculation is just a suggested starting point. As you lose weight, you may want to run the calorie-target calculation again, since your calorie needs will have changed.
For healthy weight loss, we don’t advise losing more than 2 pounds per week. If you calculate a daily calorie goal that’s less than 1,200, set your calorie goal at 1,200 calories. Below that, it’s hard to meet your nutrient needs-or to feel satisfied enough to stick with a plan. And if you find that you’re losing too much weight too quickly, bump up your daily calorie intake up to help you stay in that weight-loss zone of 1 to 2 pounds per week.
Here we show what a day’s worth of food looks like on a 1,200-calorie diet.
Some original reporting by Nicci Micco, M.S.
Breakfast on a 1,200-Calorie Meal Plan
For breakfast, choose something between 250 and 300 calories.
- 1 3/4 cup Muesli with Raspberries
TOTAL: 287 calories
Other breakfast ideas for a 1,200-calorie diet:
Avocado Egg-In-A-Hole Toasts (285 calories)
Blueberry-Banana Overnight Oats (285 calories)
All Greens Smoothie Bowl (270 calories)
Aim to keep snacks around 50 to 100 calories. Try these easy 100-calorie snacks here.
- 1 cup cucumber slices (16 calories)
- 3 Tbsp. hummus (78 calories)
TOTAL: 93 calories
Lunch on a 1,200-Calorie Meal Plan
Aim to make lunch 300 to 350 calories. Try some of these great lunch ideas for work.
- 2 cups No-Cook Black Bean Salad
TOTAL: 322 calories
Use your afternoon snack to fill out the rest of the day’s calories.
- 1 medium orange
TOTAL: 62 calories
Dinner on a 1,200-Calorie Meal Plan
Aim for dinner to be between 400 and 500 calories. See all of our healthy low-calorie dinner recipes.
- 1 serving Citrus Poached Salmon with Asparagus (206 calories)
- 3/4 cup Basic Quinoa seasoned with salt & pepper to taste (156 calories)
- 1 Tbsp. dark chocolate chips, to enjoy after dinner (80 calories)
TOTAL: 443 calories
Daily Total: 1,208 calories, 60 g protein, 158 g carbohydrates, 38 g fiber, 45 g fat, 1,190 mg sodium
7-Day Diet Meal Plan to Lose Weight: 1,200 Calories
14-Day Clean-Eating Meal Plan: 1,200 Calories
What Does a 1,500-Calorie Day Look Like?
3-Day Meal Plan to Kickstart Clean Eating: 1,500 Calories
10 Things You Don’t Know about Calories
Calories get a bad rap. We blame them for everything — from making us feel guilty about enjoying a hot fudge sundae with extra nuts to the way our jeans fit (or don’t fit, as the case may be).
Yet, demonizing calories is like bad-mouthing oxygen: It’s impossible to survive very long without either one. “Calories fuel the body. We need them, just as we should enjoy the foods that provide them,” says John Foreyt, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and an expert on weight management. “There’s nothing bad or magical about calories, it’s just that body weight comes down to a simple equation of calories in (from food) versus calories out (as physical activity).”
Here’s the real skinny — answers from the experts to 10 of the most frequently asked questions about calories, and what you really need to know to lose weight.
1. What is a calorie?
“Just like a quart is a measurement of volume and an inch is a measurement of length, a calorie is a measurement or unit of energy,” explains dieting-researcher Kelly Brownell, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and author of The LEARN Program for Weight Management (American Health Publishing Co., 2004). “The number of calories in the foods you eat is a measure of the number of energy units that food supplies.” Those energy units are used by the body to fuel physical activity as well as all metabolic processes, from maintaining your heartbeat and growing hair to healing a scraped knee and building muscle.
Only four components of food supply calories: protein and carbohydrates (4 calories per gram), alcohol (7 calories per gram) and fat (9 calories per gram). Vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber and water do not supply calories.
2. How do I calculate how many calories I should cut to lose weight?
First, you need to know how many calories you’re currently consuming. You can figure that out by keeping a food journal: tracking calories for everything you eat during a period including at least two weekdays and one weekend day (since people tend to eat differently on weekends). Figure out the calorie count for each food item (see question 3), then tally the total calories and divide by the number of days you tracked your intake to find your daily average.
Or you can roughly estimate your caloric intake by using this formula: If you are age 30 or under, multiply your weight by 6.7 and add 487; women who are 31-60 should multiply their weight by 4 and add 829. Then, multiply the total by 1.3 if you’re sedentary (don’t work out at all), 1.5 if you’re slightly active (work out three to four times a week for one hour), 1.6 if you’re moderately active (work out four to five times a week for one hour) or 1.9 if you’re very active (work out almost every day for one hour).
Once you know about how many calories you consume per day, try Foreyt’s 100/100 plan: “To lose a couple of pounds a month, cut 100 calories from your daily diet and add 100 calories in exercise. This is as easy as eliminating the pat of butter on a slice of toast and walking 20 minutes every day,” he notes.
3. How do I figure out the calories in fruits, vegetables and other foods without a nutrition label?
There are dozens of calorie-counting books on the market. Check out Corinne Netzer’s The Complete Book of Food Counts, 6th Edition (Dell Publishing, 2003). You also can get similar information for free on the Web. One of our favorite sites is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s online nutrient database at www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/search/.
Use these tools diligently to keep track, and in just a few weeks you’ll be able to gauge how many calories are in the portions you typically eat. It’s then simply a matter of cutting down on those portions to lose weight.
4. What is the lowest, yet still safe, calorie level I can drop to when I’m trying to lose weight?
“Women should not consume less than 1,200 calories a day,” Brownell cautions. In fact, a diet below 1,000 calories a day (called a very low-calorie diet or VLCD) increases your risk for gallstones and heart problems and should be followed only by obese people under a doctor’s supervision. While you can drop to 1,200 calories per day and survive, doing so is not a smart idea. Going for a bare-minimum caloric intake may yield quick results, but it also can leave you listless and unable to exercise (key to keeping the pounds off), and may lead to muscle loss and a slowing of your metabolism. Even if you’re careful about what you eat, a daily intake of 1,200 calories can shortchange you on important nutrients such as calcium and folate.
Your best bet for success: a moderate calorie cut such as the one Foreyt recommends. That way you’ll stay healthy and still have energy for an active lifestyle.
5. Are calories from fat more fattening than calories from carbohydrates and protein?
Yes. “Dietary fat is more readily stored as body fat, because the body must work harder to convert carbohydrates and protein to fat, while dietary fat can be stored as is. That increased work equates to a slight loss of calories,” says Robert H. Eckel, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver and chairman of the American Heart Association’s Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism. When a 100-calorie pat of butter enters your system, your body burns 3 percent of its calories in order to turn it into body fat. But your system uses 23 percent of the calories in carbs and protein to convert them into fat for storage. That said, there is no evidence that dietary fat is stored in any greater amount as body fat than carbs or protein if you are balancing calories in with calories out. Overeating is still the problem — it’s just that it’s much easier to overeat fatty foods since they are such concentrated sources of calories.
But be sure not to cut out all fat. A little bit is necessary for body functions, such as vitamin absorption. And monounsaturated fats — olive oil, nuts, avocados — have been found to be beneficial for heart health.
6. Do I cut calories or fat to lose weight?
Cut both for best results. “It is a lot easier to restrict calories when you cut fat, while cutting fat aids in weight loss only if it is accompanied by a drop in calories,” Brownell explains. The National Weight Control Registry — an ongoing project at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Colorado — found that dieters who maintained a 30-pound or more weight loss for more than one year were successful in part by limiting their calories to about 1,300 a day and keeping fat to about 24 percent of calories.
7. Do calories from saturated fat take longer to burn than calories from unsaturated fats?
Probably not. A handful of studies, mostly on animals, found that the monounsaturated fats in nuts and olives might burn a little faster than saturated fats. “All fats are metabolized differently, but the differences are so slight that switching from one fat to another has no practical use for weight loss,” Foreyt says. Of course, the fats from most plants and fish are heart-healthy, so that benefit alone is good reason to switch from filet mignon and butter to fillet of sole and olive oil.
8. Are “empty” and “hidden” calories the same thing?
No. Empty calories describes foods that offer little or no nutritional value. For example, for 112 calories, an 8-ounce glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice offers potassium and supplies 100 percent of your daily need for vitamin C, while the same amount of orange soda has 120 calories and is completely devoid of nutrients. The soda delivers empty calories; the OJ does not. In general, the more a food is processed, the lower its number of vitamins, minerals, fiber and cancer-fighting agents known as phytochemicals, and the higher its content of fat, sugar and empty calories.
In contrast, hidden calories can be found in all types of foods. These are the calories that sneak into your diet quietly, such as from the butter added to vegetables in a restaurant kitchen. “If you eat away from home, you’re in for trouble, because you don’t know how many hidden calories from fat have been added to your meal,” Foreyt warns.
The easiest way to avoid hidden calories is to ask about ingredients whenever someone else has prepared your meal and to request that food you’re served at restaurants be steamed, baked or broiled dry. When purchasing packaged foods, always check the nutrition label. That seemingly harmless bran muffin could harbor several grams of fat, upping the calorie content significantly.
9. Do no-calorie foods aid in weight loss?
Theoretically, yes. Switch your daily cola to diet cola and you’ll save about 160 calories per 12-ounce can, which should lead to about a 17-pound weight loss over the course of a year. However, scientists have learned that when people consume lowfat, sugar-reduced, low-calorie or calorie-free foods, they typically compensate by eating more of something else later. A Pennsylvania State University study of women found that those who were told they were snacking on reduced-fat yogurt ate more food at their midday meal than did women told the yogurt was full-fat, regardless of the actual fat content of the snack.
To make no- and low-calorie foods work to your advantage, use them in combination with tried-and-true habits for permanent weight loss, such as reducing portion sizes, getting at least 25 grams of fiber a day, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and exercising five times a week.
10. Do calories eaten at night act differently from those eaten during the day?
Not really. “Eat a huge dinner or snack uncontrollably in the evening and there might be a slight fat-storing effect compared with eating a big breakfast followed by a physically active day,” Foreyt says. “But the effect is so insignificant that it won’t have any noticeable influence on your weight.” However, for most of us, dinner typically is the biggest meal of the day, supplying almost half of a person’s daily caloric intake, and that’s not even counting a late-night snack of ice cream or chips. Bigger portions and excess calories at any time of the day will pack on the pounds. Significant research shows that eating a nutritious, low-calorie breakfast — for example, a bowl of whole-grain cereal topped with fruit and nonfat milk — makes it easier to manage your weight. That’s not because of any difference in how the calories are burned, but because you’re less likely to overeat later in the day if you start off with a healthful meal.
Fast 800 Calorie Diet
Based on recent scientific studies, Mosley now advocates that 800 calories is the new magic number for dieting success. He says this calorie level will trigger a range of desirable metabolic changes to speed up weight loss yet it’s still manageable. This is why his new BSD Fast 800 diet recommends followers consume a Mediterranean style, 800 calorie diet every day for stage 1. This calorie restriction is ketogenic in nature, and ensures dieters burn fat yet retain muscle mass. Stage 1 is recommended for an initial two week period or longer (up to 8 weeks) for those who want more significant results.
Here at Dietlicious we have created our version of the Fast 800 Diet Plan which is the easy way to get you through stage 1 of Mosley’s regime. Providing an average of 800 calories per day over a 7 day plan, participants can take up Week 1 and Week 2 for a variety of healthy meals that are high in nutrients and fibre for that first fortnight. If you’re looking to lose a large amount of weight, you can continue on stage 1 for rapid weight loss for up to 8 weeks.
When you’re done with stage 1 and want to move onto stage 2, jump onto our 5.2 diet page and select the right package for you.
To learn more about the background, the benefits and research behind this diet, see our blog post The New Fast 800 Calorie Diet from Michael Mosley
Exercising: read more here about exercising while on The Fast 800 Diet.
Hear the word diet, and what comes to mind? For starters, pain, guilt, and pants that won’t zip up — and let’s not forget food that tastes like cardboard. If it’s good in your tummy, it must be bad for your body, or so goes the old thinking. But how can a diet succeed if you never get the flavors you crave? That’s why we designed this 1,300-calorie diet nutrition plan not only to help you hit a goal, but also to give you the tastes you love. Whatever food you long for — sweet, spicy, or savory — we’ve got the low-cal version.
Follow the daily dishes put together by a registered dietician (and add on one 100-calorie snack!) and feel free to repeat whichever ones ring your bell. As long as you stick to the choices listed here, you’ll keep your total calorie intake to 1,300 a day. Drink calorie-free beverages (water, soda, seltzer, unsweetened black coffee, or tea) as desired. Repeat the plan for one month.
Start your week off strong with fiber-filled cereal and an Asian-inspired turkey burger.
Eat 1 cup oatmeal (like Bob’s Red Mill) made with hot water and topped with 1/2 banana.
Make a spinach salad by topping 3 to 4 cups baby spinach leaves with 1 hard-cooked egg, chopped; 2 strips cooked bacon, crumbled; 5 mushrooms, thinly sliced; 1/3 cup croutons; 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese; and 3 slices red onion. Toss ingredients together, then drizzle with a flavored vinegar, such as red wine, balsamic or seasoned rice vinegar. Finish off your meal with a pear.
To make a savory Asian patty, mix 1 pound ground turkey breast with 8-ounce canned water chestnuts, diced; 2 garlic cloves, minced; 4 green onions, thinly sliced; 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce; 4 teaspoons soy sauce. Shape mixture into 4 patties. Freeze 3 for later use. In nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook patty over medium heat until thoroughly cooked throughout. Serve with a side dish of 3/4 cup cooked rice tossed with 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil.
Round it out with 2 cups steamed broccoli florets and 1 cup berries on the side
On the menu today: a classic peanut-butter sandwich followed by little Tex-Mex flavor.
Toast one English muffin and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheese (any type). Buke or broil until cheese melts. Eat it with 1 pear.
Spread 1 slice raisin bread with 1 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter. Top with 1/2 banana, sliced. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon honey and cover with another slice of raisin bread and drink with 1 cup fat-free milk.
Heat things up with a spicy chicken olé. On a 12-inch-long sheet of aluminum foil, center a 5-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast. Top with 3/4 cup canned corn with peppers, 1/4 cup salsa, and 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (optional). Fold foil into a packet. Bake on cookie sheet at 450 degrees F about 18 minutes.
Pair it with a citrusy avocado salad: On lettuce leaves, arrange 1 tangerine, peeled and divided into segments; 1/4 ripe avocado, thinly sliced; 1 slice red onion. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon olive oil.
Keep it up with lots of filling whole grains and some easy veggie pockets for your midday meal.
Cook 1/2 cup oats with 1 cup fat-free milk. Stir in 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1/2 cup berries, and pinch of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
Cut a whole-wheat pita in half. Spread 3 tablespoons hummus in each pocket. Stuff with tomato and cucumber slices and baby spinach leaves. Sprinkle each stuffed pita pocket with a flavored vinegar. Eat it with 6 ounces light yogurt and 1 kiwi.
For entrée, whip up some sweet honey pork. Cut 1 pound pork tenderloin into 8 slices. Pound slices into 1/4-inch-thick medallions. Freeze 6 medallions. Coat nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Cook 2 medallions over medium heat until lightly browned. Add 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 teaspoons honey, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Continue cooking pork until tender, about 3 minutes.
Make apricot couscous as a side. In 1-quart saucepan, heat 1/3 cup chicken broth; 2 dried apricots, cut into thin strips; and 1/4 teaspoon grated orange rind until boiling. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 cup couscous. Cover and let sit 5 minutes. Serve with 1 cup steamed green beans.
Good news: You can look forward to a veggie-filled beef stir-fry tonight that’s faster to make than delivery.
Get your day started with 1/2 cantaloupe topped with 3/4 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, plus 1 slice toasted raisin bread, spread with 1 tablespoon apple butter.
Top 3 to 4 cups salad greens with 1/2 cup water-packed white tuna, drained; 1 small tomato, cut into wedges; 2 green onions, sliced. Drizzle with a mixture of 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon flavored vinegar. Pair it with 1/2 whole-wheat pita and 6 ounces calcium-fortified orange juice.
It’s hard to go wrong with a classic savory stir-fry. In nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, lightly brown 3 ounces beef strips over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 cups frozen stir-fry vegetables and 1 tablespoon bottled stir-fry sauce. Cover and cook over low heat until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Drizzle with 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil. Serve over 3/4 cup cooked rice.
Get in that all-important vitamin B12 with a spicy seafood dish tonight.
Roll up a breakfast burrito for the most important meal of the day. Beat 1 egg with 2 tablespoons grated cheese. Add dash of cayenne pepper sauce. Cook in nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray. Place over warm 6-inch corn tortilla, top with 1/4 cup salsa, fold tortilla around filling. Finish your meal with a 2 clementines.
Spread 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise on 2 slices rye bread. Layer 2 ounces thinly sliced extra-lean ham, 1 ounce sliced cheese, 4 dill pickle slices, 1 jarred roasted red pepper, 1 onion slice, and lettuce leaves for a classic ham sandwich. Eat it with 1/2 grapefruit.
To make chili-rubbed spicy salmon, coat 5-ounce salmon fillet with a mixture of 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Spray with cooking spray. In nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook until opaque, turning once. Serve with 2/3 cup refrigerated mashed potatoes and 12 roasted asparagus spears sprinkled with lemon juice, and 1/4 cantaloupe wedge for dessert.
Kick off the weekend with a three-ingredient smoothie plus a white-wine chicken dish.
In blender, combine 1 cup fat-free milk; 1 frozen peeled banana, sliced; and 1 tablespoon peanut butter for a protein-filled smoothie.
Make a roast beef sandwich by spreading 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard on 2 slices rye bread and layering 3 ounces of thinly sliced lean roast beef with tomato and onion slices on top. Round it out 6 ounces light yogurt with 1 tablespoon raisins.
This sweet chicken with grapes recipe doesn’t sacrifice any flavor. In nonstick skillet with 1 teaspoon olive oil, cook 5 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast; 1 tablespoon minced shallots; 1/4 teaspoon thyme; 1/4 teaspoon salt; and a dash of pepper until chicken is browned on both sides and loses pink color throughout. Place chicken on plate. Add 3/4 cup halved seedless grapes and 1/4 cup white wine to skillet; boil 1 minute. Pour over chicken. Serve with 3/4 cup cooked rice.
Treat yourself to a brunch-worthy meal in the morning and a yummy veggie burger at night.
Make French toast by dipping 2 slices raisin bread in a mixture of 1 egg and 1 tablespoon fat-free milk. In nonstick skillet melt 1 teaspoon butter. Fry coated bread until golden, turning once. Spread with 1 tablespoon jam.
Top 1 large baked potato with 1/4 cup grated cheese, 3 tablespoons diced avocado, and 1/4 cup salsa. Eat 8 baby carrots on the side.
In nonstick skillet, add 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 thinly sliced medium onion, salt, black pepper, and dried rosemary to taste. Cook until onion is tender and golden, stirring occasionally. Pan-grill one veggie burger. Mix 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise with 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard; spread inside whole wheat pita, halved. Cut burger in half and tuck into pita pockets along with baby spinach leaves and caramelized onion. Eat 1 cup berries for dessert.
Snacks That Satisfy All Cravings
Sweet, spicy, or savory? These tasty 100-calorie snacks hit the spot. Eat one a day, anytime.
- 6 ounces light yogurt
- 1 chocolate sorbet bar
- 1 Rice Krispies Treat
- 4 meringue cookies
- 2 fig bars
- 4 Hershey’s Kisses
- 1 cup mango chunks
- 4 cups jerk-flavor popcorn (spray light popcorn with butter-flavor cooking spray, toss, sprinkle with jerk seasoning to taste, and toss again)
- 3 California roll pieces with soy sauce and wasabi
- 10 baked corn chips with hot salsa
- 1-inch cube of Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
- 12 mini barbecue-flavor rice cakes
- 20 roasted peanuts
- 1/4 cup hummus with celery sticks
- 50 thin pretzel sticks
Pin This Meal Plan for Later
Design by Betsy Farrell
Save these recipe ideas by pinning this graphic and following Good Housekeeping on Pinterest.
1000 Calorie Diet Plan
Consult your doctor before starting a 1000 calorie diet plan or any other weight loss program.
The 1000 calorie diet is a very low calorie diet and should only be used for a very short period of time (1 week maximum) if you just want to lose a few pounds quickly. For most people, 1000 calorie meal plans would be too low in calories to get all of the essential nutrients, and will slow your metabolism down.
If you decide to follow the 1000 calorie menu, your body is likely to get the message – it is starvation! – and instead of releasing extra calories will hold on to every calorie in your body, stopping fat from burning.
And even if you manage to lose 2-4 lbs per week following the 1000 calorie diet menu you are more likely to return to your pre diet weight shortly after your 1000 calorie a day diet comes to the end. That is why nutritionists recommend aiming for steady weight loss of 1- 2 pounds per week and to keep exercising when on a diet.
The recommended daily calorie intake for weight loss is individual to every person. If you aim to lose weight – learn how to calculate your calorie intake for weight loss and how to count calories. Alternatively, you can learn how to lose weight without even having to count calories.
Sample 1000 Calorie Diet Plan
½ cup of oatmeal, cooked with water – 117 grams – 83 kcal
1 ½ tsp of brown sugar – 6 grams – 16.5 kcal
½ cup of skim milk – 122.5 grams – 42.5
1 cup of orange juice – 248 grams – 112 kcal
Total: 254 kcal
Turkey Sandwich :
1 oz. turkey breast – 28 grams – 29.1 kcal
2 tsp mustard or fat free mayonnaise – 10 grams – 8 kcal
2 slices of whole wheat bread, thin (3-3/4″ x 5″ x 3/8″) – 66 grams – 183.6 kcal
Total: 220.7 kcal
Afternoon Snack :
1 cup of whole strawberries – 144 grams – 46.1 kcal
Total: 46.1 kcal
2 oz. chicken breast, skinless, baked, grilled or boiled – 56 grams – 44.8 kcal
1 small baked potato – 138 grams – 128 kcal
1 tsp. butter or margarine – 5 grams – 35.8 kcal
1 cup of green beans – 125 grams – 43.8 kcal
1 mixed green salad from (day 1) – 36.7 kcal
2 tbsp fat free dressing – 28 grams – 13.2 kcal
Total: 302.3 kcal
Low fat milk shake:
1 cup skim milk – 245 grams – 85 kcal
½ cup fat free vanilla ice cream – 68 grams – 93 kcal
Total: 178 kcal
Total: 1000 kcal
Free Daily Diet Plans| 1000 Calorie Diet Plan| 1200 Calorie Plan| 1300 Calorie Diet| 1400 Calorie Diet| 1500 Calorie Diet| 1600 Calorie Diet| 1800 Calorie Diet| 2000 Calorie Diet|
A 1,500-Calorie Diet: Food Lists, Meal Plan and More
Here is a nutritious, one-week 1,500-calorie sample menu.
The meals can be adapted to fit any dietary preference, including vegetarians and those eating gluten-free.
The following meals are around 500 calories each (8):
Breakfast — Egg and Avocado Toast
- 2 eggs
- 1 slice of Ezekiel toast
- 1/2 avocado
Lunch — Salad With Grilled Chicken
- 2 cups (40 grams) of spinach
- 4 ounces (112 grams) of grilled chicken
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) of chickpeas
- 1/2 cup (25 grams) of shredded carrots
- 1 ounce (28 grams) of goat cheese
- Balsamic vinaigrette
Dinner — Cod With Quinoa and Broccoli
- 5 ounces (140 grams) of baked cod
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil
- 3/4 cup (138 grams) of quinoa
- 2 cups (176 grams) of roasted broccoli
Breakfast — Healthy Yogurt Bowl
- 1 cup (245 grams) of full-fat plain yogurt
- 1 cup (123 grams) of raspberries
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of unsweetened coconut
Lunch — Mozzarella Wrap
- 2 ounces (46 grams) of fresh mozzarella
- 1 cup (140 grams) of sweet red peppers
- 2 slices of tomato
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of pesto
- 1 small, whole-grain wrap
Dinner — Salmon With Veggies
- 1 small sweet potato (60 grams)
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) of butter
- 4 ounces (112 grams) of wild-caught salmon
- 1 cup (88 grams) of roasted Brussels sprouts
Breakfast — Oatmeal
- 1 cup (81 grams) of oatmeal cooked in 1 cup (240 ml) of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup (62 grams) of sliced apple
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of natural peanut butter
Lunch — Veggie and Hummus Wrap
- 1 small whole-grain wrap
- 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of hummus
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 slices of tomato
- 1 cup (20 grams) of fresh arugula
- 1 ounce (28 grams) of muenster cheese
Dinner — Chili
- 3 ounces (84 grams) of ground turkey
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) of black beans
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) of kidney beans
- 1 cup (224 grams) of crushed tomatoes
Breakfast — Peanut Butter and Banana Toast With Eggs
- 2 fried eggs
- 1 slice of Ezekiel toast
- 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of natural peanut butter
- 1/2 sliced banana
Lunch — On-the-Go Sushi
- 1 cucumber and avocado sushi roll made with brown rice
- 1 vegetable roll with brown rice
- 2 pieces of salmon sashimi and a green salad
Dinner — Black Bean Burger
- 1 cup (240 grams) of black beans
- 1 egg
- Chopped onion
- Chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of breadcrumbs
- 2 cups (20 grams) of mixed greens
- 1 ounce (28 grams) of feta cheese
Breakfast — Breakfast smoothie
- 1 scoop of pea protein powder
- 1 cup (151 grams) of frozen blackberries
- 1 cup (240 ml) of coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon (16 grams) of cashew butter
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of hemp seeds
Lunch — Kale Salad With Grilled Chicken
- 2 cups (40 grams) of kale
- 4 ounces (112 grams) of grilled chicken
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) of lentils
- 1/2 cup (25 grams) of shredded carrots
- 1 cup (139 grams) of cherry tomatoes
- 1 ounce (28 grams) of goat cheese
- Balsamic vinaigrette
Dinner — Shrimp Fajitas
- 4 ounces (112 grams) of grilled shrimp
- 2 cups (278 grams) of onions and peppers sauteed in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil
- 2 small corn tortillas
- 1 tablespoon of full-fat sour cream
- 1 ounce (28 grams) of shredded cheese
Breakfast — Oatmeal
- 1 cup (81 grams) of oatmeal cooked in 1 cup (240 ml) unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup (123 grams) of blueberries
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons (32 grams) of natural almond butter
Lunch — Tuna Salad
- 5 ounces (140 grams) of canned tuna
- 1 tablespoon (16 grams) of mayo
- Chopped celery
- 2 cups (40 grams) of mixed greens
- 1/4 sliced avocado
- 1/2 cup (31 grams) of sliced green apple
Dinner — Chicken With Veggies
- 5 ounces (120 grams) of baked chicken
- 1 cup (205 grams) of roasted butternut squash cooked in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil
- 2 cups (176 grams) roasted broccoli
Breakfast — Omelet
- 2 eggs
- 1 ounce (28 grams) of cheddar cheese
- 1 cup (20 grams) of spinach cooked in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of coconut oil
- 1 cup (205 grams) of sautéed sweet potatoes
Lunch — On-the-Go Chipotle
- 1 Chipotle burrito bowl made with romaine lettuce, Barbacoa chicken, brown rice, 1/2 serving of guacamole and fresh salsa
Dinner — Pasta With Pesto and Beans
- 1 cup (140 grams) of brown-rice pasta or whole-wheat pasta
- 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of pesto
- 1/4 cup (60 grams) of cannellini beans
- 1 cup (20 grams) of spinach
- 1 cup (139 grams) of cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon (5 grams) of grated parmesan cheese
As you can see, eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring.
What’s more, though cooking and packing meals from home should be prioritized, there are plenty of healthy choices for on-the-go meals.
If you know you will be eating at a restaurant, look at the menu beforehand and pick out an option that is both appetizing and nutritious.
This way, you will be less inclined to make a last-minute unhealthy meal choice.
Summary A 1,500-calorie diet should be rich in fresh produce, protein and fiber. Though preparing meals at home is best, it’s possible to make healthy choices when eating out by reviewing the menu beforehand.
I eat less than 1000 calories per day. Why do I still seem to be gaining weight?
Your body responds to your under fueling with slowing your metabolism and saving fats cause you put your body into starvation mode.
If you keep it your body will eat your muscles and the fat you have will seem even worse without the muscles to “carry” it. You will see yourself in the mirror like you are melting.
And after you will have the minumum muscle needed you will end up with migraines, dizzy, unable to focus on simple things, or even lift some silly weight.
Also assuming that you don’t eat healthy and enough fats your hormone production will be almost destroyed. And guess what. It’s hormones that gives the signals to burn or store fat in your body. Also with low fat you are going to have depression.
So to sum up you are slowly destroying your own body. That’s not a healthy way to lose fat or weight.
You should never go under 1200 calories per day and never drop too much calories from what you previous ate cause you shock the body. Count for a full week what you eat in calories. Divide the number with 7 so you know how much how usually eat every day. And then subtract 500 calories from your daily calorie supply. No more cause you will have the negative effects I told you before.
And to check your macro nutrition first we will have to find your protein so you fuel those muscles and not have the “melting fat image” like a balloon with too much water.
Multiply your weight in kilograms with 1.5. That will show you how much protein in grams you need. Then multiply your result with 4. That will show you how much protein in calories you will need.
Then for your carbohydrates. If you are going to train(at least 30 mins of weight training) multiply again your weight in kilograms with 1.5 and then 4. If you are not going to train with weights then multiply your weight with 0.35 and then with 4. That’s how much carbs you need per day. If you are going to train, then the days you train you will go by the carbs with 1.5. The days you won’t train(rest days you will go with 0.35).
And then for fats, simply add the protein calories and carbs calories and then subtract them from the total calories you had in the first step. That’s the calories of fat you will have to eat. (Yea in rest days you have to eat more fat, cause your muscle need tissue repair). If you divide that number with 9 you will know how much fat in grams you need to eat.
Do that and you will lose fat AND weight. If you start this know this. The first 1–2 weeks your body will store fat trying to repair the damage you have made so far. Don’t freak out. Keep the effort, keep the motivation, train, eat healthy and you will see results in the mirror that you will be proud of.
P.S. in the days you do cardio you will eat low carbs. Only weight training days will eat normal carbs. Also I strongly suggest put some weight training 3 days a week, cause the more muscle you have the more calories you burn even when you sleep.
Wish you the best!
If you’re determined to lose weight, choosing healthier foods and counting calories is essential, but you might be surprised that slashing calories to the bare minimum isn’t the ticket to weight-loss success. Here’s some information and advice on the issue from a board-certified physician who practices in Southern California.
I decided this is the year I will lose that 25 pounds I gained after college. I am dieting and counting calories. I heard that you shouldn’t eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day, and I am wondering why? Can you please explain, because I thought I should eat as little as possible.
— Dieting For Real This Time
This is a great question, and I’m sure that there are other readers who have decided on a similar weight-loss resolution as you have! I commend you on your weight-loss resolution.
The principle behind weight loss is simple: you either have to burn more or eat fewer calories. To lose weight, you need to create an energy (or calorie) deficit by eating fewer calories, increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity, or both. Typically, what is recommended as the safest method is a combination of eating fewer calories and burning calories through physical activity. While you do report that you are dieting and counting calories, you do not mention that you are doing physical activity and exercise, which, as mentioned above, is so important in the safe weight-loss equation.
Determining a safe daily calorie deficit can be difficult because every person is different when it comes to baseline metabolism, body size and composition, sex, age, and level of physical activity. What is easy to determine, however, is the fact that 3,500 calories equals about one pound of fat. Therefore, you have to burn 3,500 calories more than you take in to lose one pound. For example, if you cut 500 calories from your diet every day, you would lose about one pound a week. Or, if you are physically active, you can eat 250 calories less every day and burn 250 calories per day with your workout. Ideally, you do not want to lose more than one to two pounds per week, which means a safe calorie deficit would be to burn 500 to 1,000 calories per day through a reduced-calorie diet AND exercise.
Determining a safe minimum amount of daily calories can be difficult as well for the same reasons listed above. However, extreme restriction of consumed calories can significantly slow the metabolic rate, and hinder your weight-loss goals. The American College of Sports Medicine states that you shouldn’t send signals to your body to conserve calories by detoxing or fasting. They recommend that women should eat at least 1,200 calories per day, and men should eat at least 1,800.
The reason that the metabolic rate slows with prolonged dieting of less than 1,200 calories per day is a chain reaction of physiologic responses to the stress associated with such a restricted diet. Your body initially adapts to the stress of low caloric intake by engaging the “fight or flight” stress response, which has several negative consequences, despite you seeing lower numbers on the scale. The “fight or flight” response stimulates the breakdown of muscle in order to supply the body with enough fuel (glucose) to maintain the blood sugar levels in the absence of sufficient dietary calories. This “fight or flight” stress response will eventually wear out, thus slowing the metabolic rate to compensate for what the body perceives as starvation.
In summary, there are three guidelines to safe and effective weight loss: aerobic physical activity, gradual changes in eating habits to encourage a lifestyle change, and a slow weight loss of one to two pounds per week.
Hopefully, your weight loss questions have been answered with the above information. As always, you should consult with your physician before starting any weight-loss or exercise program. Also, if concerned with dietary or nutritional aspects of weight loss, consulting with a licensed nutritionist or dietitian may be of benefit. Good luck with your continued weight loss!
Dr. Nicol’s posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. for more details.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Benjamin Stone
3 Reasons Why Eating Less Than 1000 Calories is a Waste of Time
When you want to lose weight, it can be tempting to drop your calorie intake extremely low. Most people reason that the less they eat the faster they’ll lose weight, but this is definitely not true.
If you’ve ever been tempted to do this, take a look at the following important reasons why eating less than 1000 calories is a waste of time.
The first and obvious reason is because your body needs more than 1000 calories to sustain itself. Yes, you could technically survive on 1000 calories or less, but you’d be extremely malnourished, weak, and sickly. Maybe you don’t mind that if it’s only for a short period of time while you lose weight? Then read on because the next reason might change your mind.
See: Calorie Deficit Calculator
Eating less than 1000 calories also sets you up for a major binge-fest. Did you know that many food cravings are caused by a deficiency in one or more nutrients? Did you know that many other food cravings are caused by uncomfortable emotions? Eating fewer than 1000 calories will certainly cause your levels of key nutrients to dip too low, but you’ll also feel irritable, stressed, fatigued, and deprived, which immediately makes you start craving certain foods with a vengeance! You may be able to deny those cravings for awhile, but they’ll just get stronger until you finally give in – and when you do give in, you’re probably going to eat everything in sight.
If those two reasons aren’t enough for you, eating too few calories is also a waste of time because of the damage you do to your metabolism. When you drop your calorie intake too low, your body immediately goes on high alert and slows everything down to conserve energy and protect vital organ functions. So even if you are able to drop a few pounds quickly at first, your weight loss will soon stall. Worse, as soon as you go back to a normal calorie intake, you’ll start GAINING weight because now your metabolism is slower than it was before so you can’t eat as many calories and maintain your weight.
As you can see, it really IS a waste of time to eat less than 1000 calories. There are many more effective ways to lose weight, like eating moderately and exercising to burn more calories. That is a formula that has worked for centuries and it will work for you too.
How Many Calories Should You Eat?
At a bare minimum, the general rule of thumb is that women should eat at least 1200 calories a day; men should eat minimum 1800 calories a day.
Do you exercise a lot? Have a job where you’re standing all day? You’d need to eat more than the minimum.
Use the FitWatch Total Daily Calorie Needs calculator to figure out how many calories a day you need to eat to maintain your weight.
Use the FitWatch Calorie Deficit Calculator to figure out how many calories a day you need to eat to lose weight. The calculator will not let you go below the minimum.
You can read more about calories here: How Many Calories Do You Need to Lose Weight?
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