I’ve compiled one of my basic daily menus on Spark People to show you what an average 1600 calorie diet may look like. This particular diet also achieves my set goals for fat, protein, folate and vitamin B intake.
2 egg omelet w/ 1 oz cheddar cheese, 1 Tbsp green pepper, 1/2 Tbsp onion
Smoothie (1/2 cup whole plain yogurt, 1/2 cup full fat milk, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 banana)
1 slice whole wheat toast w/ 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 stalks celery
salad (1/2 cup iceberg lettuce, 1/2 cup romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup baby spinach, 4 oz. chopped/cooked chicken, 1/8 cup sliced almonds, 1/4 cup chopped celery, 1/4 cup chopped carrots, with 1 Tbsp organic ranch mixed with 1 Tbsp whole plain yogurt and q/2 Tbsp ground flax seed)
1 small apple
1 small sweet potato brushed with 1 Tbsp butter mixed with 1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup broccoli
misc salt for steak
Total – 1,576 calories
For an added 106 calories and an evening snack, have 1 cup popcorn (popped amount) with 1/2 Tbsp melted butter
To find out how many calories you need, take you current weight (or the weight you want to be!) and multiply by:
- 10 if you don’t exercise or exercise only lightly and have a rather inactive job
- 12 if you exercise moderately each day (moderately = 30 minutes or more of a heightened heart rate)
- 15 if you exercise strenuously and have an active job (not many women fit this category! We’re talking marathon training here)
Example – Let’s say I want to weigh (or want to stay at) 150 pounds and I exercise moderately about 30 minutes each day. Take 150 x 12 = 1800 calories per day
Now these calories also need to be nutrient dense! So if you notice by the end of the day you still have a few hundred calorie allowance, it does not mean you can break out the ice cream! If you need to consume more calories add in a piece of fruit or some cut veggies. Or if say, this particular almost 1600 calorie day is to much for you, cut your portions down in size to eliminate calories.
And of course this multiplication table may need to be different for different women. Each of us has a different metabolism so one women may be able to maintain weight at 1600 calories, where another of the same size and stature may actually gain weight. But it seems to be a good starting point, and then adjust as needed. Just make sure to give yourself a few weeks before you start changing your caloric amount.