I always encourage my patients to tackle their weight issues with a one-two punch of diet and exercise, and a 1,500 calorie diet plan reinforces this approach. This type of plan allows for a reasonable amount of food, and it generally leads to a healthy rate of weight loss in most people. A 1,500 calorie diet plan might be right for you if you’re a female who gets regular exercise but you’re still seeking weight loss. This also applies if you’re a male who’s only lightly active and seeks weight loss, or if you’re a male over the age of 50 who gets minimal activity. It should go without saying that regular exercise is important for your health and can also help you reach your weight loss goals.

A drop of no more than 2 pounds (1 kilogram) per week is considered a safe rate of weight loss. If you’re losing more quickly than that, move up to the next highest calorie level. If you’re losing more slowly than that, you can try the 1,200 calorie diet plan, but you shouldn’t cut your intake to less than 1,200 calories per day.

1,500 calorie diet plan overview

This plan calls for three meals and two snacks each day. Here is the basic breakdown for the 1,500 calorie diet plan:

Breakfast: 1 Protein + 1 Fruit (+ vegetables if desired)
Lunch: 1 Protein + 1 Vegetable + Leafy Greens + 1 Starch/Grain + 1 Beneficial Fat
Snack: 1 Protein Snack
Dinner: 1½  Proteins + 2 Vegetable + Leafy Greens + 2 Starch/Grain 1 Beneficial Fat
Snack: 1 Protein Snack

Daily Totals: 3½  Protein, 1 Fruit, 3 Vegetable + leafy greens, 3 Starch/Grain, 2 Protein Snacks,  2 Beneficial Fats

As long as you don’t exceed the daily totals for each food group, feel free to move your portions around. But try to keep the same general pattern of three meals and at least one snack. It’s not recommended that you skip meals and then “double up” at the next one. More evenly spaced meals will help keep your energy level up, and protein at each meal (and for the afternoon snack) will help to keep you from getting too hungry.


3-Day Menu for a 1,500 Calorie Diet




  • Protein shake made with protein powder, nonfat or low-fat milk and 1 cup berries

Large salad made with:
• Leafy greens (lettuce, spinach) – any amount
• 1 cup (80 g) chopped, mixed vegetables (carrots, peppers, tomato)
• 4 ounces grilled chicken breast
• ½ cup (150 g) cooked white beans
• 2 tablespoons (30 g) reduced-calorie salad dressing

• ⅓ cup prepared hummus
• raw vegetable sticks (cucumber, carrots, celery)

Sautéed salmon with veggies and salad:
• 6 ounces (200 g) grilled salmon with lemon
• 2 cups (160 g) steamed green beans with garlic
• 1 cup (150 g) cooked brown rice
• Mixed leafy greens salad – any amount
• 2 tablespoons (30 g) reduced-calorie salad dressing


• 1 single-serve (about 5 ounces/150 g) Greek-style vanilla yogurt + ½ cup berries



Breakfast bowl:
• Fresh or frozen spinach, steamed or microwaved until hot
• Topped with 2 eggs, cooked any style, and tomato salsa
• 1 cup (80 g) cut melon

Veggie and Tofu stir-fry. Sauté veggies in oil, then add tofu and seasonings:
• 1 tablespoon oil to stir fry
• 1 cup (80 g) broccoli florets
• 2 cups chopped Chinese cabbage
• 3 ounces (about ¼ block or 125 g) firm tofu, cut into cubes
• Season with soy sauce, garlic, pepper and ginger
• ½ cup (150 g) steamed brown rice

• 1 Protein snack bar

Grain salad with protein. Toss together:
• 6 ounces (200 g) grilled shrimp
• ½ cup (150 g) cooked quinoa
• 2 cups (160 g) chopped, mixed vegetables (tomatoes, peppers, carrots, cucumbers, onions)
• Dressing made with 1 tablespoon olive oil and vinegar; salt and pepper to taste
• Place on a bed of leafy greens


  • Decaf nonfat latte



Greek yogurt parfait:
• 1 cup (250 g) plain, nonfat Greek-style yogurt
• 1 cup diced mango
• Sprinkle with nutmeg

Tuna pita pocket:
• 4 ounces (100 g) tuna mixed with:
• 1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
• Chopped, mixed veggies (e.g., green onions, cucumbers, peppers)
• ½ whole-grain pita bread
• Mixed, leafy greens – any amount
• 1 tablespoon reduced-calorie salad dressing

• 2 ounces roasted turkey breast
• 2 whole grain (brown) rice cakes

Sweet potato and veggies with protein:
• 6 ounces (170 g) grilled, lean steak
• 2 cups (160 g) roasted Brussels sprouts (halve, toss with olive oil, roast at 400 °F or 205 °C for 20 minutes)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil (for Brussels sprouts)
• Steamed kale, spinach or Swiss chard with vinegar
• 1 medium baked sweet potato sprinkled with ginger


• 1 ounce roasted soy nuts


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Susan Bowerman, M.S., RD, CSSD, FAND – Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition. Susan is a registered dietitian and a board-certified specialist in both sports dietetics and obesity and weight management.