A 1,300 calorie diet can help you lose weight or maintain a weight loss. Still, restricting calories alone is not enough. You also must follow a balanced meal plan that provides all of the nutrients that your body needs. One way to achieve this is by eating four times a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack. Talk with a registered dietitian or your physician about a diet plan that best suits your body's needs.
Breakfast should include a carbohydrate, some protein and a bit of healthy fat. Keep breakfasts under 350 calories. For example, you could eat 1/2 cup berries, a hard-boiled egg and 1/2 cup of shredded wheat cereal with a cup of skim milk for a total 343 calories. Another option: half a banana with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter, a cup of cooked oatmeal and a cup of skim milk for 340 calories.
Stock up on vegetables at lunch. Veggies, whole grains, fruit and lean protein will help keep you feeling full until your next meal. Lunch should provide about 400 calories. One healthy option is a sandwich made with 4 ounces of low-sodium turkey, a tomato slice, lettuce, two slices of whole wheat bread and 1 tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise, with 2 cups of raw baby carrots and a medium apple on the side for a total 395 calories. Another choice is a large salad with 3 cups of romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup garbanzo beans, 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 2 tablespoons walnuts and low-fat vinaigrette with an orange on the side.
Aim for 450 calories for your evening meal. Again, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein will keep you feeling satisfied. Dinner could be 2 ounces of beef tenderloin, 2/3 cup roasted green beans, three red baby potatoes and a salad made with 2 cups raw spinach, 1/2 cup chopped bell pepper and 2 tablespoons low-fat dressing for 450 calories. Or stir fry 2 ounces chicken, 1 teaspoon peanut oil, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms and a cup of steamed brown rice for 425 calories.
At this point, you will have about 100 calories left for a snack. You can munch on 1 cup of sliced strawberries or bananas, 2 cups baby carrots or a baked apple with cinnamon. Other snacks include 3 1/2 cups air-popped popcorn, 2 tablespoons peanuts or 2 domino-sized slices of low-fat cheddar cheese. If you crave sweets, eat a half-cup of fruit-flavored Greek yogurt or a frozen fruit-juice bar.
Amanda Hernandez is a registered dietitian who holds a Master of Arts degree in family and consumer sciences with an emphasis in dietetics from Western Michigan University. Her work has been featured in "Women's World" and "Women's Day" magazines. She writes for nutritionistreviews.com and has been a nutrition writer since 2010.