A healthy eating plan gives your body the nutrients it needs every day while staying within your daily calorie goal for weight loss. A healthy eating plan also will lower your risk for heart disease and other health conditions.
A healthy eating plan:
- Emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- Limits saturated and trans fats, sodium, and added sugars
- Controls portion sizes
To lose weight, most people need to reduce the number of calories they get from food and beverages (energy IN) and increase their physical activity (energy OUT).
For a weight loss of 1–1 ½ pounds per week, daily intake should be reduced by 500 to 750 calories. In general:
- Eating plans that contain 1,200–1,500 calories each day will help most women lose weight safely.
- Eating plans that contain 1,500–1,800 calories each day are suitable for men and for women who weigh more or who exercise regularly.
Very low calorie diets of fewer than 800 calories per day should not be used unless you are being monitored by your doctor.