1500 calories a day: A filling 10 day meal plan

Including breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks

Eating 1500 calories a day is a lot easier than you might think if you stick to a plan that's made up of healthy, nutritionally-rich foods.

We've put together our 1500-calorie meal planner with this in mind, making sure you'll have something delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner without being left feeling hungry, as well as a little snack or something sweet for those dips during the day. The key, we think, is packing in the protein - whether that comes from veggie ingredients like lentils or eggs, or a quality piece of lean meat or fish.

As we all know, the danger with tagging the label 'diet' onto anything can make us feel like we're missing out on something, but not with our 1500 calorie meal plan. We've included a tasty snack or indulgent pud each day to make sure you get a little treat regularly, meaning you're less likely to binge eat. And for many of the days we've left a few calories to play with, so that you can have that bag of crisps or that hot chocolate if you fancy it. To help you figure out what you can fit in to which day we've compiled a short list of low-calorie snacks at the bottom.

According to the NHS the average woman and man need different amounts of calories per day to keep them fit and healthy. For women this is currently recommended at around 2000, and for men they suggest around 2500 - although this depends on height, weight and physical activity. If you do want to eat fewer than this, by following something like our 1500 calories a day planner, then we'd recommend speaking to a nutritionist or doctor if you start to feel unwell while following the plan, and always respond to how your body feels. If you're getting tired more easily or are doing a lot of exercise you may need to increase your intake of calories.

Nutritional therapist, health coach and founder at Nosh Detox, Geeta Sidhu-Robb, says: 'eating 1,500 calories a day is a realistic target for anybody wanting to improve their health and wellbeing, both mentally and physically.

'In cohesion with the NHS recommendation of less than 2000 calories a day, it is vitally important to eat a balanced diet, rich with nutritional value to keep our mind and body feeling strong and healthy.

'Whole fruits and fibre, fresh vegetables and foods rich in vitamins and minerals are perfect for achieving the 1500 a day calorie diet. These should leave you feeling satisfied, and you will soon notice the change in your wellbeing too.'

If you're keen have a go at eating just 1500 calories a day then we've calorie-counted each of our meals to make it more simple. What's more they're all easy to make, and we promise they won't list lots and lots of ingredients you'd never have in the cupboard! We're talking practical family-friendly dishes that will help you stick to your goal of eating 1500 calories a day.

1500 calories: Day 1

To kick things off we've gone for a classic Scottish breakfast of filling oatmeal that will keep you full until lunch. To be able to stick to the calorie count at breakfast time you'll have to measure out your oats. 25g cooked with water come in at 89 calories, and you can flavour them with a pinch of cinnamon if you like for added flavour.

With carbohydrates at lunch time and lean protein at dinner this 1500 calories' day leaves room for dessert too.

Nutritional therapist Geeta says: 'Oatmeal is an effective way to stay satisfied until lunch due to it's density, as for lunch and dinner, this has the perfect mix of protein, which is vital for balancing our blood sugar levels, as well as being the most filling food group, and carbohydrates which are a vital source of energy.'

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Total calories: 1413 (87 remaining)

Breakfast: Porridge (89 Cals)

Chilli potatoes (500 cals)

Dinner: Crispy fish tacos (540 cals)

Dessert: Berry mousse bar (284 cals)

1500 calories: Day 2

Day two in our 1550 calories a day planner sees a healthy breakfast of yogurt and berries, homemade falafel for lunch (which take just 10 mins prep!) and everyone's favourite dinner - sausage and mash - with a low-calorie twist. For a little treat we've added in a flapjack, and think these are a great thing to make in bulk to have on hand for when you're peckish, they even freeze well if you fancy repeating the plan once you've completed it.

'The fruit is rich in fibre, and the high water content helps to keep the calories low, plus the low-fat yoghurt is a refreshing addition to the fruit,' Geeta adds.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Total calories: 1352 (148 remaining)

Breakfast: Yogurt & berries (79 Cals)

Broad bean falafel (320 cals)

Dinner: Sausage & mash (584 cals)

Snack: Date flapjacks (369 cals)

1500 calories: Day 3

We don't always have lots of time to prep and pack fancy breakfasts, so today we've gone for a store-cupboard staple - honey on toast. This classic combo packs carbs in early. One slice of brown toast comes in at 73 calories, while 1tsp of honey totals 21 calories, meaning your meal will come in under 100 calories in total. Plus combining carbs and natural sugars will help you keep going until it's time for our simple sweet potato salad at lunchtime. To round off the day we've gone for Mexican chicken taquitos followed by a delicious berry blondie which certainly don't taste like low calorie cooking.

Using natural alternatives to sugar in your breakfast is key to keeping your meal plan healthy says health coach Geeta, adding: 'honey is an effective substitute for refined sugar and the sweet potato salad is a healthy lunch. The chicken taquitos is another source of protein, which is really important, as studies have shown packing in plenty of protein can reduce cravings by 60%.'

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Total calories: 1387 (113 remaining)

Breakfast: Toast and honey (94 Cals)

Sweet potato salad (300 cals)

Dinner: Chicken taquitos (621 cals)

Snack: Berry blondies (372 cals)

1500 calories: Day 4

Sometimes sticking to a low calorie diet can be as simple as grabbing a piece of fruit for breakfast, as long as you balance out the calories for the rest of the day so you don't become too hungry. To do just that after a breakfast of a banana we've added in a trout pate that packs in healthy fatty acids and will keep you feeling full until tea time. Dinner's a demi-veggie chilli which combines protein from the minced beef with additional health benefits from the beans. We've gone for a savoury snack of hummus and chopped crunchy veg today, since it's a light breakfast, which we think is perfect for enjoying between breakfast and lunch.

Geeta says: 'there is plenty of omega-3 content in the trout pate, and protein in the beans and mince for the chilli, but my favourite element to today's menu is the hummus snack. Hummus is an extremely healthy, yet tasty, snack and is perfect for dipping celery and carrots in – which it goes without saying are healthy choices.'

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Total calories: 1473 (27 remaining)

Breakfast: Banana (89 Cals)

Trout pate (375 cals)

Dinner: Demi veggie chilli (759 cals)

Snack: Hummus & veggies (250 cals)

1500 calories: Day 5

Eggs are a great way to kick start the day, thanks to their high-protein content, and we've added a slice of wholemeal toast to give you body carbs, as well as some tasty mushrooms for additional potassium at breakfast-time today. To total the calorie count here stick to one slice of wholemeal toast (73 calories), 1 medium egg (73 calories) and 50g mushrooms (7 calories).

Today lunch is a quick soup (which is also great for batch cooking!) that is perfect for packing into some Tupperware and heating up at home or work. It's an indulgent end to the day today with sticky Chinese ribs which are surprisingly low in calories. We've added in the calories for one portion of white rice and a side of steamed green beans too. As if that wasn't good enough we've plumped for a pretty rich, delicious baked cheesecake for pud.

'Day five is the perfect day to incorporate any exercise you want to do,' says Geeta. 'The high protein and carbohydrate intake is a good supplement to exercise, so if you're looking to go to the gym this week, make it day 5. The cheesecake is obviously one of the more calorie-filled options, so to ensure you have space for this, you must be strict with the rest of your day.'

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Total calories: 1472 (28 remaining)

Breakfast: Mushrooms & eggs (153 cals)

Leek & potato soup (134 cals)

Dinner: Sticky ribs, rice & veg (540 cals)

Dessert: Baked cheesecake (590 cals)

1500 calories: Day 6

We love bircher museli, because it can be so easily prepped the evening before, meaning more time in bed the next morning! Lunch is a Jamie Oliver recipe that uses up leftover spaghetti, while dinner is a Spanish classic - prawn pil pil. We've gone for a pretty indulgent snack today too, thanks to lots of leftover calories, which is a cheesy, chicken-stuffed Mexican quesadilla.

Snacks are all well and good nutritional therapist Geeta says, but reminds us that portion size is also key to success with a 1500 calories a day meal planner: 'Day six fits into the diet plan's common theme of fruit and fibre to start and carbohydrates and protein to finish. If you are to find space for that calorie rich snack of chicken quesadillas, it's vital to keep the portions of the rest of your meals sensible.'

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Total calories: 1359 (141 remaining)

Berry bircher (105 Cals)

Spaghetti cake (496 cals)

Dinner: Prawn pil pil & potatoes (418 cals)

Snack: Chicken quesadillas (340 cals)

1500 calories: Day 7

Smoothie bowls are all the rage on social media now, but in addition to their photogenic nature they're also a great way to start the day as you can pack in lots of healthy ingredients. We've included antioxidant-rich green tea and plenty of fresh fruit in ours but they're really easy to play with and tweak it to your taste. Lunch is another Jamie Oliver recipe that transforms a classic prawn cocktail by using the ingredient of the moment: avocado. Dinner is a deliciously sticky soy chicken while we've boosted the 5-a-day count with a snack of sweet watermelon.

Today's a day that should have you looking as good as you feel says health coach Geeta, commenting that: 'Day 7 is my favourite on the menu, full of fresh fruits that hold plenty of antioxidants. The meals today are not only helping us hit our calorie targets, but are also great for our complexions as well.'

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Total calories: 1458 (42 remaining)

Smoothie bowl (378 cals)

Prawn cocktail (373 cals)

Dinner: Soy chicken & rice (611 cals)

Snack: 300g watermelon (96 Cals)

1500 calories: Day 8

For a quick and simple start to the day it's fruit and yogurt again, but we've added in a kiwi fruit, some mango, raspberries and blueberries this time as there were extra calories to use. 3tbsp fat-free yogurt comes in at roughly 25 calories, while 50g of blueberries make up 30 calories. Add in 10 raspberries (10 calories), 1 kiwi (42 calories) and 30g mango (18 calories) and you've got a filling, healthy breakfast for just 125 calories.

For plenty of veggies we've chosen a fresh and vibrant buddha bowl with a Greek twist. To round things off we've plumped for a Mexican bean stew that is warming and filling comfort food, followed by a dessert of frozen yogurt packed with berries.

'There are plenty of salad and vegetables in today's menu, which are great sauces of fibre,' says Geeta. 'Continuing that, 'fibre is perfect for filling you up, without filling you out. They have the same weight as other foods but don't carry the calories – just make sure, as always, that the yoghurt doesn't contain any unhealthy sugars or colours!'

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Total calories: 1429 (71 remaining)

Breakfast: Mixed fruit & yogurt (125 Cals)

Greek buddha bowl (674 cals)

Dinner: Mexican beef stew (444 cals)

Dessert: Frozen yogurt (186 cals)

1500 calories: Day 9

If you've got a hand blender or a Nutribullet then smoothies take seconds to whizz up and get into a glass. For a little extra nutritional value we've put oats into this morning's breakfast, which will help you to keep feeling full. A quick, zesty salad is for lunch while we've gone for a veggie dinner in the form of a crunchy-topped filo pie with a softly spiced lentil filling. In case you thought it was all sounding a little too virtuous we've thrown in a white chocolate, lemon and raspberry muffin. Making your own treats cuts down on unnecessary processed ingredients and ensures you know exactly what you're eating.

'Smoothies are a great and tasty source of nutrition, but don't fall into the trap of buying ready-made smoothies as they're laced with sugars and additives. As for the rest of the day proteins and salads are always a good mix,' nutritional therapist Geeta says.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Total calories: 1322 (178 remaining)

Banana smoothie (197 Cals)

Chicken fusion salad (417 cals)

Dinner: Veggie pie & peas (408 cals)

Snack: White choc muffins (300 cals)

1500 calories: Day 10

For the final day of our 1500 calories a day meal plan we've chosen an indulgent breakfast of rich smoked salmon with a silky omelette. Lunch is a delicious combination of salty halloumi cheese and fresh quinoa salad, which dinner is a rich French chicken stew made with creme fraiche and tarragon. For a mid-morning or afternoon snack we've gone for popcorn - because who doesn't like popcorn?

'Congratulations! You've made it to day 10,' says Geeta, before adding that she thinks you should be feeling better for it.

'This is probably the most indulgent menu of the group, which of course means you cannot go overboard with the portions but... You've earned it, so enjoy!'

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Total calories: 1457 (43 remaining)

Salmon omelette (367 Cals)

Quinoa halloumi salad (514 cals)

Dinner: Chicken casserole (489 cals)

Snack: 20g salted popcorn (87 cals)

Low calorie snacks

We've got plenty more low calorie snacks in our gallery, but for a quick overview we've put together this simple guide on a few of our favourite treats to help keep hunger from the door throughout the day.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 Row 0 - Cell 1

Snack: 20g dark chocolate (100 Cals)

Snack: Apple (52 cals)

Snack: 25g cheddar (100 cals)

Snack: 4 marshmallows (92 cals)
Row 3 - Cell 0 Row 3 - Cell 1

Snack: 300g strawberries (99 Cals)

Snack: Hot chocolate (77 cals)

Snack: 20g crisps (107 cals)

Snack: Boiled egg (78 cals)

It's also worth remembering that hot drinks contain calories, with a cup of tea or coffee with semi-skimmed milk and one sugar coming in at around 41 calories. Fizzy drinks, juices and smoothies will also tot up, so remember to include those.

For her final advice nutritionist and health coach Geeta flags that diet should always be flexible, to reflect your needs. 'It's always advisable to check with you doctor or a nutritionist as to whether you should go through with the 1500 a day diet. When it comes to pregnancy or athletes preparing for an event, sometimes diets should be altered to their specific needs,' she says.

Rosie Conroy
Food Writer

Rosie is an experienced food and drinks journalist who has spent over a decade writing about restaurants, cookery, and foodie products. Previously Content Editor at Goodto.com and Digital Food Editor on Woman&Home, Rosie is well used to covering everything from food news through to taste tests. Now, as well as heading up the team at SquareMeal - the UK's leading guide to restaurants and bars - she also runs a wedding floristry business in Scotland called Lavender and Rose.