One of the biggest obstacles you'll face when following a reduced-calorie diet for weight loss is hunger. And when you're limiting your intake to 1,250 calories, you want to make sure every bite is filling. That also means eating regularly, three meals and one snack, to help keep hunger under control and energy levels up. The 1,250-calorie diet can help anyone lose weight, but is best suited for women, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
To keep calories under control, keep your breakfast meal to about 350 calories. Including mostly low-energy-dense foods, such as fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods, can keep hunger at bay on fewer calories. A healthy breakfast option might include 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened whole-grain cereal with 1 cup of skim milk topped with a sliced medium banana. Or, a whole wheat English muffin sandwich consisting of a two egg white omelet topped with 1 ounce of low-fat cheese and served with 2 cups of cubed cantaloupe.
Like breakfast, you should also keep your lunch meal around 350 calories. When trying to lose weight, keeping each meal the same size helps, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. A low-calorie filling lunch might include 2 cups of mixed greens topped with 1 cup of sliced salad veggies, such as cucumbers, tomatoes or carrots, and a 3-ounce cooked chicken breast with 2 tablespoons of low-fat dressing served with five whole wheat crackers and one plum. Another option might include 2 cups of broth-based soup, such as chicken noodle, with half of a turkey sandwich consisting of 2 ounces of turkey, one slice of whole wheat bread and mustard, plus one tangerine.
At dinner, make the vegetable the focus of your meal and keep your meats lean to help stay satiated while saving calories. A 350-calorie dinner meal might include a stir fry consisting of 2 cups of stir fry vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots and Chinese cabbage, with 3 ounces of shrimp sauteed in 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and low-sodium soy sauce and served with 1/2 cup of brown rice. Or, 2 cups of roasted cauliflower drizzled with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and served with 3 ounces of roasted turkey breast and 1/2 cup of a baked sweet potato.
On your 1,250-calorie diet, keep your snack to about 200 calories. Like your meals, you'll feel more satisfied if your snack includes low-energy-dense foods. Two-hundred calorie snack options might include 1 container of fat-free, sugar-free yogurt with a medium apple; two slices of whole wheat toast each smeared with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter; or 1/4 cup of hummus served with half of a whole wheat pita and 1/2 cup of sliced cucumbers.
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: Healthy Eating Plan
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight
- University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: The Exchange List System for Diabetic Meal Planning
- British Nutrition Foundation: What Is Energy Density?
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Hummus, Commercial