The 2000-Calorie Diet To Lose Weight Fast: Foods To Eat and Avoid for Best Results

2000 calorie diet foods

A 2000-calorie diet plan: calculate your daily calorie goal to lose weight and don’t feel hungry

If you are here to find out if a 2000 calorie diet is effective for weight loss, the short answer is YES. But this diet is also good for anyone who lost weight and wants to maintain that body weight.

Find out what is the 2000 calorie diet, see the 7-day meal plan, how this diet may help you to lose weight, and how to calculate calories. Also, see what foods to eat and avoid to maximize the health benefits of this diet.

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What is the 2000-calorie diet?

A 2000 calorie diet is an eating plan that restricts your calorie intake to 2000 calories daily.

Now there is a question: Why 2000 calories per day? This number is based on the estimated nutritional needs of most adults and this number is considered adequate to meet most people’s energy and nutrient needs according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines.

If you read nutrition labels you’ve noticed this sentence: “Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

This number is used as a benchmark to create recommendations on nutrition labels. Due to these daily values, consumers can compare amounts of sodium and saturated fat in some food to the maximum daily recommended levels.

But it doesn’t mean that a 2000-calorie diet is better or worse than a 1,200 calorie diet or a 2,500 calorie diet. So why does the FDA use the 2000 calorie figure on the label?

Why are calories important?

Calories supply your body with the energy it needs to sustain life. People have different calorie needs and depending on the activity level.

It’s estimated that adult women require 1600-2400 calories per day, compared with 2000-3000 calories for adult men.

Average American eaters will have a daily calorie intake in that approximate range. Let’s see some examples.

  • A moderately active 30-year-old woman should consume about 2147 calories to maintain her weight.
  • A lightly active 40-year-old man needs 2195 calories to maintain his weight.
  • A very active 25-year-old woman would consume about 2143 calories to maintain her weight.
  • A 70-year-old man would consume about 1828 calories to maintain his weight.

According to this present in our table, we can see that every person depending on body size, age, weight goals, and activity has unique daily calorie needs. If you are trying to lose or gain weight you should adjust your daily calorie intake to reach specific health or bodyweight goals.

Good To Know

When the number of calories you burn is greater than the number you consume, the potential result is weight loss. You may gain weight when you consume more calories than you burn. Weight maintenance occurs when both numbers are equal.

What foods to eat and what to avoid

You should know that every healthy diet includes plenty of whole unprocessed foods. With each meal, you should focus on high-quality protein and fiber-rich foods, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Foods to eat

  • Whole grains:
    • oats, brown rice, quinoa, farro, millet, etc.
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Dairy products:
    • reduced or full-fat plain yogurt, kefir, and full-fat cheese
  • Lean meats:
    • chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, etc.
  • Nuts, nut butter, and seeds
  • Fish and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Plant-based protein:
    • tofu, edamame, tempeh, seitan, etc.
  • Healthy fats:
    • avocados, avocado oil, olive oil, etc.
  • Herbs:
    • basil, parsley, dill, cilantro, rosemary, etc.
  • Calorie-free beverages:
    • tea, black coffee, water, etc.

Foods to avoid

Foods that provide little to no nutritional value also known as “empty foods” are good to avoid. These foods are high in calories and added sugars and low in nutrients.

  • Added sugars:
    • ice cream, baked goods, candy, etc.
  • Fast food
  • Processed and refined carbs:
    • bagels, white bread, chips, sugary cereals, etc.
  • Fried foods
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Diet and low-fat foods:
    • diet boxed snacks, diet ice-cream, frozen meals, artificial sweeteners, etc.

It is best to avoid foods from this list. It’s not so bad to eat some of them from time to time. But if you eat regularly these foods may be harmful to your health and also delay or hinder weight loss.

How much protein, carbs, and fat individuals should consume on a 2000 calorie diet?

  • 50-175 grams of protein on the 2000 calorie diet
  • 200-300 grams of carbs on the 2000 calorie diet
  • 45 -70 grams (20-30% of daily calories) of fat on the 2000 calorie diet

7-Day 2000 calorie meal plan

Here is a 7-day sample meal plan with approximately 2000 calories per day. Each meal contains approximately 500 calories and each snack about 250 calories.

Day 1

Breakfast (414 calories):

  • 1 banana, 2 boiled eggs, 2 slices of multigrain bread, and one cup of green tea.

A.M. Snack (215 calories):

  • 1 cup of fresh fruit juice with pulp (no added sugar), plus 6-dry roasted almonds.

Lunch (390 calories):

  • 4 oz grilled chicken breast, balanced carrots, bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice, 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons of yogurt, 2 teaspoons cheddar cheese, 4 raisins.

P.M. Snack (250 calories):

  • 10 pistachios and 1 cup of coconut water.

Dinner (579 calories):

  • Pan-fried 3 oz fish with cherry tomatoes, blanched baby spinach, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of low-fat cheese, and 1 cup of warm skim milk before bed.

Day 2

Breakfast (421 calories):

  • 2 servings baked banana-nut oatmeal cups, 2 clementines

A.M. Snack (249 calories)

  • 1 medium apple sliced, 2 tbsp. peanut butter

Lunch (440 calories)

  • 1 serving veggie and hummus sandwich, 1 oz cheddar cheese

P.M. Snack (260 calories)

  • 1 medium banana, 20 roasted unsalted almonds

Dinner (487 calories)

  • Tofu curry with 3 medium-sized flatbread, a small cup of tomato and cucumber salad, 1 piece of dark chocolate, and 1 cup of warm milk before bed

Day 3

Breakfast (414 calories)

  • 1/2 avocado and 2 poached eggs with 1 teaspoon of ground sunflower seeds and 1 teaspoon of ground melon seeds plus 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, plus 4 dry roasted almonds

A.M. Snack (501 calories)

  • 1 pear with 1 cup of ricotta cheese and 3 teaspoons of peanut butter

Lunch (329 calories)

  • 3 oz grilled fish with tabasco sauce veggies plus 1 cup of buttermilk

P.M. Snack (244 calories)

  • 1 cup of unsalted popcorn plus 1 cup of papaya smoothie

Dinner (497 calories)

  • Garbanzo beans curry, 1 pita bread, carrot, and beetroot salad, plus 1 teaspoon of grated cheese, 1 piece of dark chocolate, and 1 cup of warm milk before bed

Day 4

Breakfast (393 calories)

  • 1 serving muesli with raspberries, 1 medium banana

A.M. Snack (249 calories)

  • 1 hard-boiled egg, 1.5 oz cheddar cheese

Lunch (344 calories)

P.M. Snack (305 calories)

  • 1/2 cup raspberries plus 1 oz. dark chocolate

Dinner (521 calories)

Day 5

Breakfast (382 calories)

  • 1 serving muesli with raspberries, 1 medium banana

A.M. Snack (305 calories)

  • 1 medium apple, 2 tbsp. peanut butter

Lunch (549 calories)

P.M. Snack (192 calories)

  • 1 hard-boiled egg, 1 oz. cheddar cheese

Dinner (585 calories)

Day 6

Breakfast (495 calories)

  • Fluffy omelet with two whole eggs and three egg whites, 6 dry roasted almonds, 1/2 avocado, 1 cup of green tea.

A.M. Snack (124 calories)

  • 1 medium bowl of cucumber and honeydew melon salad

Lunch (538 calories)

  • Crab cakes, collard greens, and yellow bell peppers tossed in guacamole with a drizzle of olive oil, lime juice, pepper, plus 1 small piece of brownie

P.M. Snack (425 calories)

  • 2 saltine crackers plus 1 cup of black coffee

Dinner (407 calories)

  • Mixed vegetable curry, plus 2 flatbreads, 1/2 cup of pan-fried mushroom, plus half a peach and half a plum in half cup of yogurt

Day 7

Breakfast (390 calories)

A.M. Snack (249 calories)

  • 1 medium apple, 20 roasted unsalted almonds

Lunch (345 calories)

  • 1 serving Curried sweet potato and peanut soup

P.M. Snack (378 calories)

  • 10 baked apple slices with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter and cinnamon

Dinner (719 calories)

  • 1 1/2 serving Spinach and artichoke dip pasta, 2 cups mixed greens topped with 2 tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette

Can a 2000 calorie diet help you to lose weight?

The quick answer is yes, a 2000 calorie diet can help you to lose weight. Its effectiveness depends on your age, weight, height, activity level, and weight loss goals.

Calorie restriction is one of the main targets in obesity prevention and bodyweight reduction. It is important to notice that you can follow the 2000 calorie diet for weight loss, but losing weight is correlated with other factors not just reduced intake of calories.

Other factors that affect weight loss are your environment socioeconomic factors, your gut bacteria. If you are trying to lose weight and you don’t get planed results here is a great article for you to read:

Learn more: You Can’t Lose Weight? Here Are The Reasons Why

Let’s see an example of how calorie intake affects your weight loss:

If you reduce your calorie intake from 2500 to 2000 calories you should lose 1 pound (0.45 kg) in 7 days, as 3500 calories is the approximate number of calories in 1 pound of body fat (500 calories saved over 7 days = 3500 calories).

How to calculate your daily calorie goal

Here is a simple calculation that will help you to calculate your daily calorie goal (depending on if you want to lose weight or maintain the current weight).

To estimate how many calories you need each day to stay at the weight you are right now, multiply your current weight (pounds) by 12.

To lose 1 pound for a week cut 500 calories daily.

To lose 2 pounds for a week cut 1000 calories per day.

Let’s say that your current weight is 200 pounds:

  • To maintain your current weight: 200 lbs. x 12=2400 calories
  • To lose 1 pound/week: 2400 calories – 500 calories = 1900 calories
  • To lose 2 pounds/week: 2400 calories – 1000 calories = 1400 calories

This calculation is only a suggestion, a starting point. If you are physically active the whole day you may find that you need more calories than calculated to not feel hungry. It’s different from person to person. If you are losing weight on 1900 calories a day, stick with that even the calculation says fewer calories per day.

Good To Know

For healthy weight loss, it is not recommended to lose more than 2 pounds/week. If you calculate your daily calorie goal is less than 1200 calories, set your calorie goal at 1200. Below this calorie number is hard to meet your nutrient needs.

2000 Calorie diet meal plan

Final thoughts about the 2000 calorie diet

The great thing about a 2000 calorie diet is that if you decide to start following it you can plan and prepare your own meals. There are no strict foods to eat or let’s say at the right time. You just need to know what foods to eat and what to avoid.

Another thing is that the 2000 calorie diet meets the needs of most adults and it is recommended to include whole unprocessed foods.

This is a great diet if you want to lose weight because as we mentioned before in this article 2000 calorie diet may help you to lose weight, and it all depends on age, activity, body weight, etc. You just calculate how many calories you should intake daily, depending you want to maintain or lose weight.

If you need personalized nutrition advice to manage a health condition or to lose weight speak to your doctor or seek advice from a registered dietitian.

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