Cutting calories is one of the ways that people commonly lose weight. This would involve trimming as much as a quarter of your daily calories or Cutting calories while still meeting your recommended daily nutritional needs. While the very thought of this may take you aback, there are strategies to help you achieve these goals without feeling deprived or risking malnourishment.
Set Weight Loss Goals
When you cut calories to lose weight, you want to make sure that you still get enough energy (calories) each day and also get important macronutrients and micronutrients to keep your body strong and healthy during the weight loss journey.
As a rule of thumb, if you are attempting to lose weight, take the number of calories you need each day to maintain your current weight and subtract 500 of those calories to lose one pound per week. This is because one pound of fat equals roughly 3,500 calories.
However, keep in mind that calorie counting is not an exact science. Reducing 500 calories per day is not a guarantee for weight loss. There are many factors that play a role in calorie intake and weight loss. Use a 500 calorie-per-day reduction as a starting point and make adjustments as needed.
Sample 1500-Calorie Menus
Based on nutrient parameters, your menu could vary slightly depending on whether you are restricting sugar or not. To this end, here is what your menu plans might look like.
Sample Menu 1
You’ll consume lean protein and fiber to help you to feel full and satisfied throughout the day. You’ll also consume fruit as a sweet treat and other nutrient-rich foods for variety.
One cup of plain coffee or tea
One hardboiled egg
One slice of whole-grain toast with one tablespoon almond butter
One cup of nonfat milk as a beverage
One-half cup sliced of carrots
Two slices of whole-grain bread, two ounces sliced of roast beef, one slice of Swiss cheese, and one tablespoon of mustard
One cup of cooked broccoli with lemon juice
One-half cup of cooked black beans
One small glass of white wine
One three-ounce chicken breast fillet with two tablespoons salsa
One whole-wheat dinner roll with one teaspoon of butter
One cup sweetened grapefruit juice
One-half cup blueberries
One third cup of edamame
Several glasses of water
Ten pecan halves
Three-quarter cup of plain yogurt with one tablespoon of honey
Total calories: 1,498
Total fat: 20.5 percent (35 grams)
Saturated fat: 6 grams
Cholesterol: 295 mg
Sodium: 1,934 milligrams
Total carbohydrates: 51.7 percent (201 grams)
Fiber: 32 grams
Sugar: 87 grams
Total protein: 23 percent (89 grams)
Sample Menu 2
This menu is designed for people who need to watch their sugar intake, including people with diabetes and prediabetes. In place of sugar, non-nutritive sweeteners are used.
One cup of cooked oatmeal with one-half ounce walnuts
One cup of nonfat milk
One half grapefruit
One or two packets of sucralose or stevia sweetener
A salad with one cup of spinach, one ounce of feta, one-half cup cherry tomatoes, and two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (no oil)
One diet soda
Three ounces baked salmon (no oil)
One cup cooked brown rice
One small 100-percent whole grain dinner roll
Six ounces of peeled shrimp with one small diced green pepper sautéed in one tablespoon of olive oil and garlic
Water with a lemon or lime slice
One cup strawberries
One serving low-fat, sugar-free, fruit-flavored yogurt
Several glasses of water with slices of lemon or lime
Two cups of air-popped popcorn (no butter)
Two-thirds cup raw baby carrots with one ounce of fat-free dip
Total calories: 1,496
Total fat: 22.4 percent (37 grams)
Saturated fat: 11 grams
Cholesterol: 428 milligrams
Sodium: 1,496 mg
Total carbohydrates: 51.3 percent (193 grams)
Fiber: 25 grams
Sugar: 49 grams
Total protein: 26.4 percent (99 grams)
You can compare this menu plan with that of a 1,700 calorie diet.
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