To lose weight on a 1,500-calorie daily meal plan, it's important that you eat a balanced and nutritious variety of foods. While exercise is an important component of weight loss, focus most of your attention on what you eat and drink for the best results.
Get Enough Protein
Increased protein intake has been positively associated with weight loss. According to a study published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," increasing your daily protein intake to account for 30 percent of your calories -- around 500 calories -- can reduce the total amount of calories you eat over the course of the day. This is because protein tends to be very filling and takes a long time to digest. Good sources of protein include beef, chicken, fish -- both fresh and tinned, turkey, pork and tofu. You can use a protein powder if you find it hard to eat a sufficient amount of protein at meals.
Load Up on Fats
Dietary fat got a bad rap for many years, but recent research has found that including polyunsaturated fat and some saturated fat in your diet can actually help you lose weight and keep it off. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends that between 15 and 20 percent of your daily calorie intake -- or 225 to 300 calories -- come from healthy fat sources. These include nuts -- particularly almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts -- and seeds such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and flaxseeds. Other good sources of healthy fat include avocado, oily fish like salmon and anchovies, and coconut or olive oil.
Be Careful With Your Carbs
Overdoing the amount of carbohydrates you eat on a daily basis is often the reason for being overweight in the first place. The daily recommended intake of carbohydrate is around 40 percent of your total calories -- about 600 calories' worth. Healthy sources of carbohydrates include fruits -- particularly apples, bananas, melons and cherries -- and starchy vegetables like sweet potato and pumpkin. Other healthy sources include chia seeds, quinoa, amaranth, brown rice and dairy.
Fill Up on Vegetables and Water
Between the recommended intake of protein, fat and carbohydrates, you will have eaten around 1,400 calories. The remaining 100 calories will be filled by eating vegetables and adding milk to tea or coffee. Don't forget to drink plenty of water -- this will help you feel fuller and can help take the edge off any cravings. Water will also improve your digestion, allowing for more efficient energy metabolism and toxin elimination, which will speed up the weight-loss process.
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: A High-Protein Diet Induces Sustained Reductions in Appetite, Ad Libitum Caloric Intake, and Body Weight Despite Compensatory Changes in Diurnal Plasma Leptin and Ghrelin Concentrations
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fats and Cholesterol: Out With the Bad, In With the Good
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Fruits: Nutrition Facts