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1,500-Calorie Meal Plan

By Ashley Ritzo, R.D.

You know the drill – eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy. But putting it all together into a day’s worth of meals and snacks is time-consuming. Calorie needs vary from person to person, so it is important to learn the right amount for you by consulting with your doctor or other trusted health professional. A 1,500-calorie-per-day meal plan is safe for most people, but you may need more or less depending on your height, weight, age, sex and activity level.

Breakfast

For breakfast -- the most important meal of the day -- have a toasted whole grain English muffin with 1/2 teaspoon of honey on each half, 1/2 cup of 1-percent fat cottage cheese and one medium pear for 318 calories. For your beverage, have black coffee or unsweetened tea, which both provide zero calories.

Lunch

Escape from your responsibilities midday by indulging in a chili cheese potato consisting of one medium baked potato, topped with 1 cup of homemade chili and 2 tablespoons of 2-percent reduced-fat shredded cheese. For your sides, have 1 cup of seedless grapes and 2/3 cup of raw sugar snap peas. This lunch provides 439 calories. Drink a large glass of water to wash everything down.

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Dinner

For dinner, prepare chicken fajitas with 4 ounces of seasoned, boneless, skinless chicken breast, and about 1/4 cup each of sliced yellow onion and sliced bell pepper, cooked in 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Divide the onions, peppers and chicken on top of two small corn tortillas and top with 1 tablespoon of 2-percent reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese each. Serve with 1 ounce of whole grain tortilla chips, 1/2 cup of pico de gallo and water for a 521-calorie evening meal.

Snacks

To keep your metabolism running at its best, avoid going long periods of time without eating. Make a plan to eat something every three to four hours throughout the day. For snacks, munch on one medium banana; 1/2 ounce of almonds, which is about 11; and a large tomato, and sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt. All three snacks together equal 220 calories, for a day’s total of 1,498 calories.

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