Let’s start with the basics: Healthy eating and weight management should not involve extreme depravation or restrictions. When it comes to safe and sustainable weight loss, it’s important to enjoy a variety of nutrient-dense, wholesome foods that will keep you full and satisfied. That’s why our on-staff registered dietitians have designed a week’s worth of nutritious recipes packed with essential vitamins and minerals to help you take the guesswork out of putting together a complete 1,500-calorie meal plan.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the average caloric intake for weight maintenance is a diet of 2,000 calories per day — that’s why, generally speaking, a 1,500 calorie-a-day plan has been chosen by some dieters as a reasonable place to start losing around one pound a week. However, the number of daily calories you should eat comes with a lot of qualifications, so just keep in mind that you may have to add or subtract calories to reach your weight loss goal based on your individual height, weight, activity level and other factors. That’s why it’s important to note that this plan uses 1,500 calories as a base; you’re encouraged to build upon these meal and snack ideas by doubling (or tripling, or quadrupling… you get the point!) up on veggies, fruits and protein at any opportunity.
While this guide covers just seven days, many experts agree that long-term weight loss requires making healthy food choices on a regular basis. “While 1,500 calories may be the right amount for some people, it can be restrictive for others,” says Stefani Sassos, M.S., R.D., C.D.N, a registered dietitian and deputy director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Nutrition Lab. If you don’t feel like this is the right plan for you, check out our 1,200-, 1,300-, 1,400- and 1,800-calorie meal plans.
Weight loss, health and body image are complex subjects — before deciding to go on this diet, we invite you gain a broader perspective by reading our exploration into the hazards of diet culture.