I always encourage my patients to tackle their weight issues with a one-two punch of diet and exercise, and a 1500 calorie diet plan reinforces this approach.  This type of plan allows for a reasonable amount of food, and it generally leads to a healthy rate of weight loss in most people. A 1500 calorie diet plan might be right for you if you’re a female who gets regular exercise but you’re still seeking weight loss. This also applies if you’re a male who’s only lightly active and seeks weight loss, or if you’re a male over the age of 50 who gets minimal activity. It should go without saying that regular exercise is important for your health and can also help you reach your weight loss goals.

A drop of no more than 2 pounds (1 kg) per week is considered a safe rate of weight loss. If you’re losing more quickly than that, move up to the next highest calorie level. If you’re losing more slowly than that, you can try the 1200 calorie diet plan, but you shouldn’t cut your intake to less than 1200 calories per day.

1500 calorie diet plan overview

This plan calls for three meals and two snacks each day. Here is the basic breakdown for the 1500 calorie diet plan:

Breakfast: 1 Protein + 1 Fruit (+ vegetables if desired)

Lunch: 1 Protein + 1 Vegetable + Leafy Greens + 1 Starch/Grain + 1 Beneficial Fat

Snack: 1 Protein Snack

Dinner: 1½  Proteins + 2 Vegetable + Leafy Greens + 2 Starch/Grain 1 Beneficial Fat

Snack: 1 Protein Snack

Daily Totals: 3½  Protein, 1 Fruit, 3 Vegetable + leafy greens, 3 Starch/Grain, 2 Protein Snacks,  2 Beneficial Fats

As long as you don’t exceed the daily totals for each food group, feel free to move your portions around. But try to keep the same general pattern of three meals and at least one snack. It’s not recommended that you skip meals and then “double up” at the next one. More evenly spaced meals will help keep your energy level up, and protein at each meal (and for the afternoon snack) will help to keep you from getting too hungry.
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3-day menu for a 1500 calorie diet


DAY 1

Breakfast

• Protein Shake made with protein powder, nonfat or low fat milk and 1 cup berries

Lunch

Large salad made with:

• Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach) – any amount

• 1 cup (80g) chopped mixed vegetables (carrots, peppers, tomato)

• 4 ounces grilled chicken breast

• ½ cup (150g) cooked white beans

• 2 Tablespoons (30g) reduced-calorie salad dressing

Snack

• 1/3 cup prepared hummus

• raw vegetables sticks (cucumber, carrots, celery)

Dinner

• 6 ounces (200g) grilled salmon with lemon

• 2 cups (160g) steamed green beans with garlic

• 1 cup (150g) cooked brown rice

• Mixed leafy greens salad – any amount

• 2 Tablespoons (30g) reduced calorie salad dressing

Snack

• 1 single-serve (about 5 ounce/150g) Greek-style vanilla yogurt + ½ cup berries


DAY 2

Breakfast

Breakfast bowl:

• Fresh or frozen spinach, steamed or microwaved until hot

• Topped with 2 eggs, cooked any style, and tomato salsa

• 1 cup (80g) cut melon

Lunch

Veggie and Tofu stir-fry. Sauté veggies in oil, then add tofu and seasonings:

• 1 tablespoon oil to stir-fry

• 1 cup (80g) broccoli florets

• 2 cups chopped Chinese cabbage

• 3 ounces (about ¼ block or 125g) firm tofu, cut into cubes

• Season with soy sauce, garlic, pepper and ginger

• ½ cup (150g) steamed brown rice

Snack

• 1 Protein snack bar

Dinner

Grain salad with protein. Toss together:

• 6 ounces (200g) grilled shrimp

• ½ cup (150g) cooked quinoa

• 2 cups (160g) chopped mixed vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, carrots, cucumber, onion)

• Dressing made with 1Tablespoon olive oil and vinegar; salt and pepper to taste

• Place on a bed of leafy greens

Snack

• Decaf nonfat latte


DAY 3

Breakfast

• 1 cup (250g) plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt

• 1 cup diced mango

• Sprinkle with nutmeg

Lunch

Tuna pita pocket:

• 4 ounces (100g) tuna mixed with

• 1 Tablespoon low fat mayonnaise

• Chopped mixed veggies (i.e., green onion, cucumber, peppers)

• ½ whole grain pita bread

• Mixed leafy greens salad – any amount

• 1 Tablespoon reduced calorie salad dressing

Snack

• 2 ounces roasted turkey breast

• 2 whole grain (brown) rice cakes

Dinner

• 6 ounces (170g) grilled lean steak

• 2 cups (160g) roasted Brussels sprouts (halve, toss with olive oil, roast at 400 F / 205 C for 20 minutes)

• 1 Tablespoon  olive oil (for Brussels sprouts)

• Steamed kale, spinach or Swiss chard with vinegar

• 1 medium baked sweet potato sprinkled with ginger

Snack

• 1 ounce roasted soy nuts

Want more options? Customize your own 1,500 calorie diet plan with these additional tips.   

Susan Bowerman, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., F.A.N.D. – Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife. Susan is a Registered Dietitian and a Board-Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.