If your goal is to stick to a diet that allows only 1,400 calories per day, you’re going to have to be pretty careful with both portion control and food selection.
The truth is that 1,400 calories isn’t a lot of food – to say the least. Most people’s ideal diet is closer to 2,000 calories, and needless to say, most people today eat way more calories than that. However, this is certainly doable if you’re willing to count every calorie and do some very creative meal planning.
Who’s it Right For?
While this diet is doable, it’s definitely not for everybody. The ideal candidate for a 1400 calorie strategy would, most of the time, be a smaller female. Men, or ladies who are either taller in height or larger in frame probably don’t need to drop this low – but that’s certainly your decision to make!
When calories are this low, what you eat becomes vitally important. We want to not only select foods that are low in calories, but they should also be nutrient dense, protein rich, low in carbohydrates (which are empty calories for weight loss purposes), and have a moderate amount of healthy fats.
Choosing your food in this manner not only helps meet your nutritional needs, but it also maximizes the amount of time it takes your food to digest. This helps keep you full longer, and regulates your blood sugar so you don’t feel weak or like you’re starving to death throughout the day.
The following foods are great ideas to consider incorporating into your 1400 calorie meal plan. Write down your favorite examples from this list, and find ways to incorporate them into your diet. Also, get creative! Treat this list as sample ideas to demonstrate what you should be looking for in food choices.
Brainstorm some ideas of your own as well, and look up the nutritional information for each of your ideas to confirm it will fit into your plan. This ensures you end up eating foods that you enjoy, and makes it much more likely that you will stick to your diet.
Let’s take a look at some ideal options:
Scrambled Egg Whites: Great for breakfast, or even as a quick snack. Removing the yolk makes eggs much healthier. Three scrambled egg whites have only 51 calories, yet provide a whopping 11 grams of protein. To save time separating eggs, consider buying a carton of egg white liquid from your supermarket.
For a little added kick, serve with a spoonful of salsa!
Greek Yoghurt: This stuff has become popular for a reason. It’s delicious, and provides plenty of protein to keep you full. Check the labels before you buy, and you should be able to find one with around 100 calories and 17 grams of protein.
This makes a great breakfast, lunch, or snack idea. The vanilla flavor makes a great veggie dip!
Fat-Free Cottage Cheese: Okay, okay – this may not be the most delicious food out there, but a half cup of 0% cottage cheese has just 80 calories and a full 14 grams of protein. To help it go down, scoop some on top of a veggie salad instead of dressing, or mix in a few pieces of canned fruit.
Low-Calorie Salad: A large, stomach-filling salad can be very low in calories if you plan it right. Mix lettuce, a bunch of your favorite veggies, and a low-calorie dressing (look for dressing that is around 15 calories per serving) in a bowl. Skip the croutons and cheese. For added protein and taste, consider mixing in a chopped boiled egg.
Turkey Sandwich: With a few tweaks, this can be a tasty low-calorie, healthy lunch idea that keeps you full for a while. Use two slices of the lowest calorie whole grain bread you can find. 3 slim slices of turkey with a slice of cheese, veggies, and as much mustard as you want makes a great sandwich. Skip the mayo at all costs.
Grilled or Baked Skinless Chicken Breast: This is definitely an old weight loss standby, and is one of the best sources of lean protein available. Skip the oil, and just broil or grill your skinless chicken breast for dinner. Serve with steamed veggies and rice or quinoa for a filling, low calorie meal.
2% Cheese Sticks: These little guys make GREAT snacks – they are easy, fast, and surprisingly low calorie!
Beverages: On a diet as low-calorie as this, you need to eliminate as many empty calories as possible. That means no soda, no juice, no sweet tea, and no sugar or cream in your coffee! Stick to water, unsweet tea – and, if you absolutely must, diet soda. This also means that alcohol really doesn’t fit into your diet plan!
Hopefully these ideas have gotten you off to a good start. 1400 calories isn’t much to work with, but with some creativity and discipline, I know you can stick with it!