Whether you're trying to lose or maintain your weight, knowing what to eat and how much is half the battle. A 1,400-calorie diet can help women who exercise lose weight, while helping non-exercisers maintain their weights. To keep energy levels up and hunger at bay on a 1,400-calorie diet, your meal schedule should include three 400-calorie meals and one 200-calorie snack.
If you're trying to lose weight, you may be tempted to skip breakfast. But don't. Breakfast skippers are not as successful at losing weight or keeping it off, according to registered dietitian Sheryl Lozicki. Try to include a few food groups at your breakfast meal to help you meet nutrient needs on your 1400-calorie diet. A balanced 400-calorie breakfast meal might include 1 cup of cooked oatmeal topped with 2 tablespoons of raisins and 12 almonds chopped with 1 cup of skim milk.
When limiting the calories in your diet, you want to make sure you choose foods wisely. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain fiber, which helps you feel full faster so you eat less. Entree salads make a filling and healthy lunch meal, but be careful not to overdue it with the dressing. An example of a 400-calorie lunch salad includes 3 cups of mixed greens with a 1/2 cup of sliced cucumbers, 1/2 cup of grape tomatoes, 3 ounces of sliced turkey breast, 1/4 cup of chickpeas, 1 ounce of feta cheese and 2 tablespoons of your favorite salad dressing. Sandwiches and soup also make healthy and filling options at lunch.
When watching your calorie intake, dinner can be a tough meal because you need to make meals that everyone likes. You can still have family favorites like lasagna and pizza, but you just need to watch your portions of the higher-calorie foods and fill your plate with the low-calorie, high-fiber foods. For example, if you have a 1-cup portion of lasagna, which has about 310 calories, you can add 2 cups of steamed broccoli to bring up your calorie count to 400 and round out your meal.
Snacking is an important part of any diet plan, whether you're watching your calories or not. It helps with hunger control and keeps you feeling energized. A good snack time is in between lunch and dinner. Examples of 200-calories snacks include a container of yogurt with a medium banana, five whole wheat crackers with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or a pear with 1 ounce of cheddar cheese.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Chapter 2: Balancing Calories to Manage Weight
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight
- University of Arkansas: The Exchange List System for Diabetic Meal Planning
- Nutrition411: Breakfast Helps You Make the Grade
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Fiber
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