Whether your goal is to lose or maintain your weight, it all comes down to calories. A 1,700-calorie diet is a lower-calorie plan that may help men and active women lose weight, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and help inactive women 50 and older maintain their weight.
Because it's a lower-calorie diet, make sure the plan includes a healthy mix of foods from all food groups to ensure your essential nutrient needs are met. And consider talking to your doctor or a dietitian before changing your eating habits, to make sure you're taking a healthy approach based on your medical history and specific needs.
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4 Tips for Following a 1,700-Calorie Diet
To get the most nutrition out of every bite on your 1,700-calorie diet, include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods in your meals, as recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Round out meals with healthy sources of protein such as poultry, lean red meat, eggs, seafood and beans, along with healthy fats such as nuts and seeds.
Your 1,700-calorie diet plan should consist of three meals of about 500 calories each and two 100-calorie snacks. Planning how much you're going to eat at each meal and snack and eating regularly throughout the day helps control hunger to make it easier for you to get to and maintain a healthy weight.
1. Boost Blood Sugar With Breakfast
Start each day right with a healthy and filling breakfast. For example, you might enjoy 1 cup of oatmeal made with 1 cup of nonfat milk or soy milk and topped with 10 chopped pecans and 1 cup of sliced strawberries.
Including foods with high fiber content takes longer to digest, helping you to feel fuller, longer. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, eating fiber also helps maintain blood sugar levels, which can reduce hunger. According to the USDA, 1 cup of oats has 16.5 grams of fiber.
An omelet made with three eggs, 1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms and 1 ounce of low-fat cheese and served with a toasted whole-wheat English muffin also makes a good breakfast on your 1,700-calorie diet plan.
If you're short on time for a sit-down breakfast, make a smoothie with 12 ounces of nonfat Greek yogurt blended with 3/4 cup of fresh blueberries, 1 cup of fresh mango and 1/4 of a fresh avocado.
2. Lean Proteins for Lunch
Focus on fiber-rich fruits, veggies and whole grains at lunch to stay satisfied all afternoon.
Consider a colorful salad consisting of 2 cups of mixed greens, 1/2 cup of sliced cucumbers, 1/4 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes, 1/4 cup of shredded carrots, 1/4 cup of raisins, 12 chopped almonds, 1/2 cup of chickpeas and 2 tablespoons of low-fat salad dressing, served with a 6-ounce container of nonfat Greek yogurt.
Two cups of minestrone soup with a whole-grain roll, 1 ounce of part-skim mozzarella string cheese, a small apple and 20 peanuts also makes for a filling, healthy lunch.
Another option for lunch on your 1,700-calorie diet includes a 6-inch pita stuffed with 3 ounces of turkey breast, 1 ounce of Swiss cheese, sliced tomato and lettuce, served with 1 cup carrot and celery sticks with 2 tablespoons of low-fat ranch dressing and a large orange.
3. Eat Veggies for Dinner
For a simple dinner on your low-calorie diet, toss 1 cup of cooked whole-wheat penne pasta with 2 cups of cooked mixed veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, 3 ounces of peeled and cooked shrimp and 1/2 cup of tomato sauce.
A bean burrito made with a 6-inch whole-wheat tortilla, 1/2 cup of pureed pinto beans, 1 ounce of pepper jack cheese and served with 1/2 cup of brown rice and 1 cup of mixed greens topped with 2 tablespoons of low-fat dressing makes a good option for dinner as well.
You might also enjoy 4 ounces of roasted chicken breast with 1 1/2 cups of roasted new potatoes and 2 cups of roasted asparagus.
4. Pick Smart Snacks
Be sure to pre-portion your 100-calorie snacks so you don't eat too many calories, and make sure they are readily available.
According to a March 2015 article in Current Obesity Reports, unplanned snacking or consuming the majority of your calories at the end of the day — a common occurrence if you don't eat enough throughout the day —has a negative effect on weight maintenance.
When it comes to beverages, go for zero-calorie options like water, unsweetened seltzer, unsweetened tea and black coffee.
1,700-Calorie Sample Meal Plan
This meal plan can give you an idea of what it's like to eat 1,700 calories in a day:
Choose one of the following:
Opt for one of these:
- Champagne Cobb-Style Salad (256 calories) with 3.5 oz skinless chicken breast (158 calories) and one 5.5 oz container plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (92 calories)
- Lentil Walnut Soup with side salad (319 calories) and a whole-wheat dinner roll (117 calories) with 1 pat unsalted butter (36 calories)
- Lightened-Up Chicken and Fig Sandwich (472 calories) with 1/2 cup golden delicious apple slices (31 calories)
Pick one of these options:
- Steak and Sweet Potato Burrito (470 calories) with 1/4 avocado (56 calories)
- Power Pasta Bowl With Turkey-Kale Meatballs (549 calories)
- Pesto Zucchini Noodle Pasta With Avocado and Soft-Boiled Eggs (474 calories)
Choose two of these snacks per day, each of which is about 100 calories:
- 6 ounces of nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 10 pecan halves
- 1/2 cup of whole-grain, unsweetened cereal with 1/2 cup of nonfat milk
- 2 cups of mixed greens topped with 2 tablespoons of low-fat salad dressing
- A small apple with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter
- 4 cups of plain, air-popped popcorn
- 1 1/2 cups of cubed cantaloupe
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