A 2000-Calorie Diet Plan: What To Eat And What To Avoid

Reviewed By Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Kristen Arnold, MS, RDN, CSSD
by Charushila Biswas
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans(2015-2020), 2000 calories are adequate to meet the daily requirement and lead a healthy lifestyle (1). Adult women require 1600-2400 calories and adult men require 2000-3000 calories per day, which may vary according to age and physical activity (2).

But, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle and consume more calories than your body requires, you will gain fat and be at the risk of developing obesity-related diseases. A 2000-calorie diet with six wholesome, tasty meals and light exercise helps cut calories, boosts metabolism, and kickstarts your weight loss.

In this article, we will discuss a 2000-calorie diet plan for 7 days and the foods to eat and avoid to maximize the health benefits of this diet. 

What Is The 2000-Calorie Diet Plan?

The 2000-calorie diet is a plan that restricts your calorie intake to 2000 calories per day.

It’s a starting point for your weight loss, and continuing this diet for a week is recommended before trying a diet plan with lower calories. After one week, you can move on to the 1500-calorie diet and then the 1200-calorie diet to lose weight.

Always consult your dietitian which calorie range is suitable for you as per your height, weight, age, and physical activity. 

7-Day 2000 Calorie Meal Plan

  • Day 1 

MealsWhat To EatCalories
Early Morning

(6:00 – 6:30 a.m.)

2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds soaked overnight in 1 cup of water24
Breakfast

(7:00 – 7:30 a.m.)

1 banana + 2 whole boiled eggs + 2 slices of multigrain bread + 1 cup of green tea414
Mid Morning

(10:00 – 10:30 a.m.)

1 cup of freshly-pressed fruit juice (with pulp and no added sugar) + 6 dry-roasted almonds215
Lunch

(12:30 – 1:00 p.m.)

4 oz grilled chicken breast + blanched carrots, bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli + 2 teaspoons of olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice, 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons of yogurt, and 2 teaspoons cheddar cheese + 4 raisins390
Post-Lunch

(3:00 – 3:30 p.m.)

1 cup of coconut water + 10 in-shell pistachios251
Dinner

(6:30 – 7:00 p.m.)

Pan-fried 3 oz fish (in olive oil) with cherry tomatoes, blanched baby spinach, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of low-fat cheese, and 1 cup of warm skim milk before bed579

This diet plan for Day 1 provides 1873 calories. 

How You Will Feel By The End Of Day 1

A new day with a new routine can feel great, or you may resist it. By the end of Day 1, your cravings may start creeping back in, or maybe you have not followed the diet chart properly. But, that’s OK. Have a piece of chocolate and drink enough water. Get good rest and be prepared for Day 2.

  • Day 2

MealsWhat To EatCalories
Early Morning

(6:00 – 6:30 a.m.)

1 cup of lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar1
Breakfast

(7:00 – 7:30 a.m.)

Oatmeal with 1 cup of milk, blueberries, strawberries, 2 dates, sunflower seeds, and 8 almonds + 1 cup of green tea458
Mid Morning

(10:00 – 10:30 a.m.)

1 cucumber and 1 carrot with lime juice and 5 tablespoons hummus490
Lunch

(12:30 – 1:00 p.m.)

Ground turkey cakes with a small cup of well-cooked brown rice + blanched zucchini, carrot, and bell peppers + 4 raisins402
Post-Lunch

(3:00 – 3:30 p.m.)

1 apple with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter210
Dinner

(6:30 – 7:00 p.m.)

Tofu curry with 3 medium-sized flatbread + small cup of tomato and cucumber salad + 1 piece of dark chocolate + 1 cup of warm milk before bed487

 This diet plan for Day 2 provides 2048 calories. 

How You Will Feel By The End Of Day 2

You will slowly start to get the hang of it. As you will also be exercising, you might feel fatigued. But believe me, it will go away tomorrow. Don’t forget to tick your checklist and create a checklist for tomorrow before going to bed.

  • Day 3

MealsWhat To EatCalories
Early Morning

(6:00 – 6:30 a.m.)

2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds soaked overnight in 1 cup of water24
Breakfast

(7:00 – 7:30 a.m.)

½ avocado and 2 poached eggs with 1 teaspoon of ground sunflower seeds and 1 teaspoon of ground melon seeds + ½ cup ricotta cheese with a little salt and pepper + 4 dry-roasted almonds414
Mid Morning

(10:00 – 10:30 a.m.)

1 pear with 1 cup of ricotta cheese and 3 teaspoons of peanut butter501
Lunch

(12:30 – 1:00 p.m.)

3 oz grilled fish taco (whole wheat) with tabasco sauce and veggies + 1 cup of buttermilk329
Post-Lunch

(3:00 – 3:30 p.m.)

1 cup of papaya smoothie + 1 cup of unsalted popcorn244
Dinner

(6:30 – 7:00 p.m.)

Garbanzo beans curry + 1 pita bread + thinly sliced carrot and beetroot salad (with lime juice, salt, and pepper) + 1 teaspoon of grated cheese + 1 piece of dark roasted almond chocolate + 1 cup of warm milk before bed497

 This diet plan for Day 3 provides 2009 calories. 

How You Will Feel By The End Of Day 3

By the end of Day 3, you would have lost a lot of water weight, and it will show on the weighing scale. This will, of course, bring a smile on your face, and you will be more determined and convinced to follow the diet plan.

  • Day 4

MealsWhat To EatCalories
Early Morning

(6:00 – 6:30 a.m.)

1 cup of warm water with juice of half a lime5
Breakfast

(7:00 – 7:30 a.m.)

Oats bran, muesli, 2 tablespoons of full-fat yogurt, melon seeds, pomegranate, 1 teaspoon of sunflower butter + 1 cup of green tea435
Mid Morning

(10:00 – 10:30 a.m.)

1 cup of orange juice + 4 walnut halves167
Lunch

(12:30 – 1:00 p.m.)

Tofu and brown rice with bell peppers, onion, scallions, garlic, and ginger + shredded coconut and cheddar cheese + 1 cup of buttermilk402
Post-Lunch

(3:00 – 3:30 p.m.)

1 pear with 1 cup of ricotta cheese and 3 teaspoons of peanut butter501
Dinner

(6:30 – 7:00 p.m.)

Steak with roasted tomato, broccoli, kale, onion, and garlic + 1 piece of dark chocolate + 1 cup of warm milk with turmeric before bed471

 This diet plan for Day 4 provides 1981 calories.

How You Will Feel By The End Of Day 4

Day 4 will start on a great note because you are happy with your progress. This is a small stepping stone, and you have a long way to go. By the end of the day, you will be satisfied and will mean it when you say “NO” to any junk food, chocolate, or alcohol that is offered to you.

  • Day 5

MealsWhat To EatCalories
Early Morning

(6:00 – 6:30 a.m.)

2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds soaked overnight in 1 cup of water24
Breakfast

(7:00 – 7:30 a.m.)

100% whole wheat brown bread toast (2 slice) with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter + 1 banana + 6 dry-roasted almonds + 1 cup of green tea485
Mid Morning

(10:00 – 10:30 a.m.)

1 cup of homemade blueberry shake295
Lunch

(12:30 – 1:00 p.m.)

Tuna salad with lettuce, red cabbage, sweet corn, cucumber, tomato, olive oil, lime juice, mustard, a little honey + 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise + 1 cup of buttermilk396
Post-Lunch

(3:00 – 3:30 p.m.)

1 cup of avocado smoothie + 1 cup of popcorn354
Dinner

(6:30 – 7:00 p.m.)

Lentil soup with two medium-sized flatbreads + sauteed cauliflower and spinach + 1 cup of low-fat frozen yogurt with a piece of dark chocolate408

 This diet plan for Day 5 provides 1962 calories. 

How You Will Feel By The End Of Day 5

By the end of Day 5, you will start to feel great and be more energetic. You fall into the pattern of waking up and sleeping at the same time. You will also feel hungry at the same time as you did yesterday. And you will love this new routine. You will notice that you sleep better and wake up fresh in the morning. Hold on to all that positivity and glide on to Day 6.

  • Day 6

MealsWhat To EatCalories
Early Morning

(6:00 – 6:30 a.m.)

1 cup of warm water with juice of half a lime5
Breakfast

(7:00 – 7:30 a.m.)

Fluffy omelet with two whole eggs and three egg whites + 6 dry-roasted almonds + ½ avocado + 1 cup of green tea495
Mid Morning

(10:00 – 10:30 a.m.)

1 medium bowl of cucumber and honeydew melon salad124
Lunch

(12:30 – 1:00 p.m.)

Crab cakes, collard greens, and yellow bell peppers tossed in guacamole with a drizzle of olive oil, lime juice, pepper + 1 small piece of brownie538
Post-Lunch

(3:00 – 3:30 p.m.)

1 cup of black coffee + 2 saltine crackers425
Dinner

(6:30 – 7:00 p.m.)

Mixed vegetable curry + 2 flatbreads + ½ cup of pan-fried mushroom + half a peach and half a plum in half cup of yogurt407

 This diet plan for Day 6 provides 1994 calories. 

How You Will Feel By The End Of Day 6

By the end of Day 6, your body will start melting the fat. You will look slimmer than how you looked a week ago, and this will keep you going. You will eagerly wait for Day 7.

  • Day 7

MealsWhat To EatCalories
Early Morning

(6:00 – 6:30 a.m.)

2 teaspoons of fenugreek seeds soaked overnight in 1 cup of water24
Breakfast

(7:00 – 7:30 a.m.)

Oatmeal with 1 cup of milk, blueberries, 2 dates,1 tablespoon soaked chia seeds + 2 tablespoons of peanut butter + 1 cup of green tea384
Mid Morning

(10:00 – 10:30 a.m.)

100 gm ricotta cheese + a handful of blackberries592
Lunch

(12:30 – 1:00 p.m.)

3 oz grilled salmon with bean sprouts and arugula + 1 cup of buttermilk + 2 dried apricots433
Post-Lunch

(3:00 – 3:30 p.m.)

10 baked apple slices with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter and cinnamon378
Dinner

(6:30 – 7:00 p.m.)

Homemade bone broth with different veggies + 1 medium piece of brownie + 1 glass of milk with a pinch of turmeric before bed488

 This diet plan for Day 7 provides 2299 calories. 

How You Will Feel By The End Of Day 7

Drinking milk after having the brownie will keep your cravings at bay. A sense of accomplishment and a good shot of serotonin will encourage you to continue this diet for one more week. If you feel that way, great! Go for it. But, I would suggest continuing on to a 1500-calorie diet and following a good exercise plan to lose inches.

Who Needs To Go On The 2000-Calorie Diet Meal Plan?

You may need to follow the 2000-calorie diet if you want to lose weight and are:

  • in your teens, overweight, and not active.
  • in your mid-20s, average height, not active, and have a desk job.
  • in your 30s, sedentary, overweight, and not fit.
  • in your 50s, average height, slightly overweight.
  • in your 60s, average height, and light active.
  • of average height, active, in your weight range but need to tone up a little or maintain your body weight.

Note: Consult a doctor and a nutritionist before starting this diet and making these lifestyle changes.

Now you know whether you should follow the 2000-calorie diet meal plan or not. If you do fall into any of the categories mentioned above, here are a few things you should keep in mind before starting the 2000-calories-a-day meal plan.

What Should You Do Before Starting The Diet?

Here are certain things you must do:

  • Talk to a dietitian or doctor to find out if it is okay for you to be on a 2000-calorie diet.
  • Check your weight and get a body composition analysis (BCA) done to check body fat and lean mass percent.
  • Click pictures from the front, back, and both sides for comparison after a week.
  • Write down your goal to complete this one-week diet successfully.
  • Maintain a day-to-day checklist notepad. Check on the things that you were able to do.
  • Use a food tracker to know the number of calories you are consuming.
  • Use an exercise tracker to know how many calories you are burning.

Light Exercise Routine To Burn Calories

All you need to do is set aside 20 minutes every day and wear comfortable clothes and trainers to do this workout. You will start noticing a difference in your mood and productivity if you do these exercises.

  • Head tilt – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Neck rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Shoulder rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Arm circles – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Wrist rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Waist rotations – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Ankle rotation – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Side lunge – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Standing touch toes – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Standing side crunch – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Spot jogging – 3 minutes
  • REST – 10 seconds
  • Jumping jacks – 2 sets of 25 reps
  • Lunges – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Rope jumping – 3 sets of 50 reps
  • REST – 10 seconds
  • Incline push-up – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Leg raises – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • REST – 10 seconds
  • Scissor legs – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Bicycle crunches – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Crunches – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • REST – 10 seconds
  • Russian twist – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Plank – 30-45 seconds
  • Cool off – Stretch your arms, sides, legs, back, calves, and neck.

On the first two days, you may feel tired and fatigued, but on the rest of the days, you will start to feel great, be active, and enjoy working out. However, you have to be very careful about not getting swayed away from your diet. Here’s a list of foods that you can eat.

Foods To Eat

  • Veggies – Bottle gourd, eggplant, okra, broccoli, bell pepper, carrot, beetroot, radish, kale, spinach, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, banana flower, ridge gourd, squash, bitter gourd, pumpkin, sugar snap peas, zucchini, and mushroom.
  • Fruits – Apple, pear, banana, peach, plum, orange, lemon, pluot, kiwi, cucumber, tomato, tangerine, plum, pineapple, watermelon, melon, passion fruit, dragon fruits, papaya, berries, and grapefruit.
  • Protein – Chicken breast, white meat turkey, pork round, fish, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, lentils, tempeh, edamame, and tofu.
  • Dairy – Full-fat milk, full-fat yogurt, low-fat frozen yogurt, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, low or nonfat Greek yogurt, and buttermilk.
  • Fats And Oils – Olive oil, canola oil for cooking, rice bran oil, ghee, peanut butter, and sunflower butter.
  • Nuts And Seeds – Almond, pistachios, walnuts, macadamia, pecan nuts, melon seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and flax seeds.
  • Herbs And Spices – Black pepper, white pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, garlic, dried red chili, cayenne pepper, star anise, mace, nutmeg, saffron, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, cilantro, rosemary, dill, fennel, oregano, and basil.

Foods To Avoid

  • Fruits – Overripe mango and jackfruit.
  • Protein – Chicken with skin, sausage, salami, and red meat with fat.
  • Fats And Oils – Vegetable oil, animal fat, and dalda.
  • Nuts And Seeds – Cashew nuts in excess.

Now that you have a good idea about what you should be eating, how much and at what time to optimize your weight loss, here are some more things that you should keep in mind. Take a look at the Dos and Don’ts section.

Dos And Don’ts

DosDon’ts
Always drink 1-2 cups of water as soon as you wake up.Do not drink soda, energy drinks, and packaged fruit juices.
Eat in a small plate to avoid overeating.Don’t starve for long hours to lose weight.
Eat every 2-3 hours to keep your metabolism active.Do not eat too frequently. If you feel hungry, drink water or a cup of green tea.
Toss out all the junk food from your kitchen and restock it with healthy organic food.Don’t munch on junk when you are out with friends.
Get good sleep, rest, read books, and stay stress-free.Don’t be in a hurry to lose weight unless you have an upcoming event. Slow weight loss is the best and sustainable method.

Conclusion

A 2000-calorie diet plan, if followed properly, will not cause any nutritional deficiencies as it is well-balanced and accounts for all the essential nutrients and minerals. Start with this 2000-calorie meal plan and then move on to a customized diet and exercise plan after consulting your dietitian or doctor. Have a great day! 

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Are 2000 calories a day enough?

Yes, 2000 calories are enough to lead a healthy lifestyle. You need to check with your physical activity. If you are doing high-intensity strength training, talk to your dietitian for the recommended calorie intake.

Can you lose weight by eating 2000 calories a day?

Eating 2000 calories and exercising is the best combo for losing weight. Eat as per your activity level and see the changes. Make sure to maintain a nutrient balance for better results.

Will I gain weight by consuming 2000 calories a day?

If you are underweight, yes, consuming 2000 calories will make you gain weight. However, the 2000-calorie diet plan mentioned here in the article is for weight loss. You need to tweak the diet and exclude the weight loss promoting foods from it and include strength training in your exercise routine.

How much protein do you need to take on the 2000-calorie diet?

You need to take 50-175 grams of protein on the 2000-calorie diet.

How many carbs in the 2000-calorie diet?

You should take 200-300 grams of carbs on the 2000-calorie diet.

What is the recommended range of daily fat consumption for an individual on the 2000-calorie diet?

You should get 45-70g (~20-30% of daily calories) of fat in the 2000-calorie diet.

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Charushila Biswas

Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.
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