Aiming for a 1,500-calorie meal plan is a respectable dietary goal for many people who are trying to lose weight. Depending on your weight goals, height, weight, age and medical conditions, you may choose to adjust this number. The best way to follow a 1,500-calorie plan is to learn about the calories in your food, make a solid menu you can stick to and execute the plan with a healthy attitude and diligence.
Learn About Your Favorite Foods
Counting calories is a lot like balancing a checkbook, and there is temptation everywhere. For example, a 113gr piece of skinless, boneless chicken breast averages 150 calories. Add to that the roughly 80 calories in raw spinach and a piece of white bread, and you could have an open-faced chicken sandwich that's easily dressed up with low-calorie condiments. However, in seconds such a sound meal idea can be thwarted by a drive by your favourite fast food establishment. Compared to your 230-calorie chicken sandwich, a Big Mac at McDonald's is 540 calories, more than twice as much of a hit to your calorie budget. It is essential to learn the caloric implications of all the foods that you like, bad and good. Take a realistic approach, knowing that you will not be an angel 100% of the time, and create a food list that includes a variety of meal choices, from fast food and sit-down restaurants to home-cooked meals and brown bag lunches.
Plan Your Meals
While you may groan at the thought of having to plan a week's worth of meals, just by taking an hour on a lazy Sunday, you can save hours of agony in the long run. Take a look at your lifestyle before you draw up your first menu: Will you need to bring lunches to work? Is there a certain night a week you always dine out? While some of your dining patterns may require adjustment, the trick is to work with your lifestyle and strike a compromise between what you want and what is reasonable. You may opt for five mini-meals a day at 300 calories each, or you may choose a more traditional three square meals a day (450 calories each) with two snacks (75 calories) built in. Of course, everybody's different, so fashion an eating plan that works for you. A good rule of thumb, however, is not to eat too close to when you're going to bed, or else that food will take longer to metabolise and could add difficulty to your weight loss efforts.
Foods To Try
For breakfast, good choices include fruit, light yoghurt, whole grain waffles and egg white omelettes made with your favourite vegetables. Popular lunch choices include sandwiches, salads and soups that consist of whole-grain and unprocessed products low in sugars and fats. For dinner, lean stir-frys and pastas are always a good choice. However, don't eat what you think you should be eating; find the foods that you know you'll want. Spend some serious time at the grocery store and at the websites of your favourite restaurants to really get a feel for what is right for you.
Execute Your Plan
Know that it will be hard, but do not dwell on feeling deprived. Instead, look at this as an opportunity and something good you are doing for yourself. Keep a small notebook handy to record the calories that you consume.