Sample Menus for a 1,700-Calorie Diet

Eating a salad with lots of veggies will help you stick with your low-calorie diet.
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Dieting and cutting calories usually aren't easy unless you have a solid plan, including daily meal plans and a complete shopping list. A few kitchen tools will also come in handy, such as measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a kitchen scale, which you can use to measure portions until you get used to estimating serving sizes.

Planning Ahead

Start by planning your meals and snacks for a few days or maybe a week, depending on how often you go grocery shopping. Compile a shopping list with the ingredients for all of your meals so you can stock your kitchen with the foods you need. Buy the foods that fit your meal plans and avoid picking up the high-calorie foods and treats that can derail your dieting effort. 

To plan low-calorie meals you'll need to know how many calories are in the foods you eat. There are many diet and nutrition apps, such as MyFitnessPal, that can help. It's also important to choose nutrient-dense foods. Since you're cutting your calories, you'll need to make every calorie count. High-fiber, low-calorie fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat protein sources should make up most of your daily menu. 

Meal planning isn't all that hard, but it can take a little practice, so here are two menu examples to get you started.

The first example is free of any artificial sweeteners, but you can add them if you'd like. The second meal plan incorporates zero-calorie beverages, but you can eliminate them if you prefer.

1,701-Calorie Meal Plan with No Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

Breakfast

  • Two eggs scrambled
  • One slice 100 percent whole grain toast
  • One tablespoon 100 percent fruit spread
  • One cup 100 percent apple juice as a beverage

Lunch

  • Wrap with one whole grain tortilla: one-half cup chopped chicken, three tomato slices, one tablespoon light mayonnaise, lots of lettuce, and one ounce shredded light cheese
  • One cup non-fat milk as a beverage

Dinner

  • One three-ounce sirloin steak
  • One cup cooked green beans
  • One medium baked sweet potato
  • One small glass red wine as a beverage

Snacks

  • Several glasses of water
  • Three-fourths cup plain yogurt with one tablespoon honey
  • One-half cup raw carrots
  • 14 walnut halves
  • One cup 100 percent grapefruit juice

Nutrition Information

  • Total Calories: 1,701
  • Total Fat: 29.6 percent (58 grams)
  • Total Protein: 24.3 percent (106 grams)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 41.8 percent (183 grams)
  • Sodium: 1,326 milligrams
  • Sugar: 118 grams
  • Cholesterol: 551 milligrams
  • Saturated Fat: 13 grams
  • Fiber: 26 grams

1,705-Calorie Menu with Non-Nutritive Sweeteners

Breakfast

  • One slice 100 percent whole grain toast with one tablespoon peanut butter
  • One cup non-fat milk
  • One-half grapefruit
  • One packet sucralose or stevia sweetener

Lunch

  • A salad made with two cups mixed greens, one-half can artichoke hearts, six cucumber slices, three ounces cooked shrimp, one-half cup cherry tomatoes, and two tablespoons balsamic vinegar as a dressing
  • One small 100 percent whole grain dinner roll
  • Diet soda as a beverage

Dinner

  • One burrito made with one-half cup cooked chopped chicken, one-ounce low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, three tablespoons salsa, one tablespoon fat-free sour cream, and lettuce
  • One-half cup brown rice 
  • One-half cup black beans
  • One small glass white wine

Snacks

  • Two cups air-popped popcorn (no butter)
  • One-half cup raw carrots
  • One serving low-fat, sugar-free fruit-flavored yogurt
  • One orange
  • One apple with ten almonds
  • Several glasses of water with slices of lemon or lime

Nutrition Information

  • Total Calories: 1,705
  • Total Fat: 19.6 percent (37 grams)
  • Total Protein: 22.7 percent (97 grams)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 53.3 percent (227 grams)
  • Sodium: 1,717 milligrams
  • Sugar: 78 grams
  • Cholesterol: 260 milligrams
  • Saturated Fat: 9 grams
  • Fiber: 39 grams

There are also menus available for 1,200 calorie per day and 1,500 calorie per day diets, which may also be helpful depending on your calorie needs and intake goals.

It's always a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider before making any major changes to your current diet, especially if you have any health conditions or concerns

Additional Diet Tips

  • Pack your lunch if you work or go to school, which will make it easier to control what you eat and reduce the temptation to get fast food or junk food from a vending machine.
  • If you dine at a restaurant, choose a salad (go easy on the dressing and other high-calorie toppings), or opt for vegetable soup.
  • Drink plenty of water instead of high-calorie beverages.
  • Increase your physical activity, so you burn more calories.
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