1800 calorie diet plan
When you consume fewer calories than you burn (a calorie deficit), your fat stores are utilized as a source of energy; this in turn helps you lose weight. If you consume the same number of calories as you burn, you will maintain your current weight. You will generally follow an 1800 calorie diet plan if you want to lose weight or maintain your current weight.
Calorie requirements can vary greatly from person to person and are determined by age, gender, height, weight, activity levels and overall goals. It is a good idea to know your calorie requirements so that you can ensure that you are not consuming too few or too many calories. An easy way of calculating an estimate of this is by using the tool below.
This calculator will never show a number below 1000 calories per day. Please speak to a qualified health professional before attempting to eat less than that.
For example, a 25 year old lady who weighs 75 kg (165 lb), is 160 cm tall and exercises 4 times a week will need to consume approximately 2300 calories to maintain her weight, 1800 calories to lose weight and 1300 calories to lose weight fast.
If you and your doctor feel that 1800 is an adequate amount of calories for you, here are some tips to follow that can help make consuming this number of calories easier.
Eat plenty of vegetables
Experts recommend that everyone should eat lots of fresh vegetables, no matter how many calories they want to consume per day. This is because vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other substances that greatly benefit one’s health. Eating them helps to prevent deficiencies in key nutrients such as vitamin A, potassium and magnesium.
Because a large percentage of vegetables is water (usually more than 80%) they tend to be very low in calories. For example, a cup of broccoli only has 31 calories and a medium sized carrot has 25. This means that you can eat a large amount of vegetables without having to worry about going overboard on calories.
The fiber in vegetables swells up when it comes into contact with water and adds bulk to your stomach. This in turn can help fill you up. Crunchy vegetables such as carrots, endives, Brussels sprouts and parsnips are high in fiber, so eating them is recommended.
Some other vegetables to include in your diet are leafy greens (kale, spinach, Swiss chard), beetroot, onions, cucumbers, radicchio, pumpkins and turnips. Aim to eat an assortment of vegetables that are of different shape, colour and size.
Vegetables can be used as the base of salads & soups, stir fried, added to smoothies and also incorporated into a large variety of recipes.
Fruits can help you manage sugar cravings
Like vegetables, fruits tend to contain a lot of nutrients and are generally low in calories. They also have the added benefit of being a great source of naturally occurring sugars. This means they are a great food to snack on and can help satisfy a sweet tooth if you have one.
Bananas, mangoes, grapes, apples and pomegranates are especially tasty. Dried fruits such as dates, raisins and prunes are also delicious and can be eaten as a replacement for candy. It is important to eat them in moderation though as they have far more sugar and calories than fleshy fruit.
Snacking on fruits can help to maintain energy levels and keep you going until your next meal. They can even be frozen and used to prepare healthy versions of popular desserts. For example, this ice cream is made entirely from bananas and has far less sugar and fewer calories than ordinary milk based ice cream, but provides many more nutrients.
Aim to eat 2 – 3 servings of fruit per day.
Protein satisfies you for longer
Out of all 3 macro-nutrients (the other two being carbs and fat), protein is the most filling. Because of this, eating more protein can help you to feel satisfied faster and therefore control the number of calories that you consume.
In its simplest form, weight management comes down to the following equation: calories in – calories out. The first number represents the energy that you get from food and the second number represents the energy that you burn naturally throughout the day, and when you exercise.
Protein has been shown to help on both sides of the equation. Thanks to its high satiety, it helps you to reduce your calorie intake. At the same time, it boosts your metabolism and therefore increases calorie expenditure slightly throughout the day.
Various studies have investigated how protein affects weight management, and most have shown positive results. In this study, increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of total calories resulted in 441 fewer calories being consumed per day. And this study found that a diet high in protein reduced obsessive thoughts about food.
If possible, aim to start the day off with a protein rich meal. This can be easily done by eating eggs, quinoa or protein rich smoothies. Studies have found that having a protein rich breakfast regulates appetite hormones and suppresses subsequent food intake.
Whether you eat meat, are vegetarian or vegan, there are many different protein rich foods to choose from. Besides the one’s mentioned above, you can also eat beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, chicken, fish and some vegetables to increase your protein intake.
Studies seem to suggest that a protein intake of 25% – 30% of total calories is ideal for weight management. When following a high protein diet (and even otherwise), aim to exercise at least 3 – 4 times a week. In particular, training with weights helps the body to utilize protein for muscle growth and maintenance.
Don’t fear fat
Fat has attained a bad reputation over the years and some people associate eating it with bad health. However this is far from the truth. Certain types of fat are crucial for good health and bring with them a number of weight management benefits.
The type of fat that you ideally want to eat is the kind that is obtained from foods that have been processed very little and are as close to their natural state as possible. This includes foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olives and fatty fish.
Studies such as this have shown that adding avocado to a meal can help increase feelings of satisfaction. Other studies have found that moderate coconut oil consumption can fight abdominal fat.
The types of fat rich foods that you want to avoid are those that have had fat artificially added to them. This includes things like cakes, cookies and pastries. These types of foods tend to be high in calories, most of which are empty.
Eat the right type of carbs
A lot of studies have shown that low carb diets are very effective when trying to lose weight. However carb requirements vary from person to person, depending on factors such as age, metabolism and activity levels. A general guideline is to consume 50 – 150 g of carbs per day, when trying to lose weight.
Like fat, the type of carb rich foods that you eat is very important. Again, you want to eat those foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. This includes things like fruits, vegetables (e.g. sweet potato) , oats, beans and lentils. These foods are sources of complex carbs, which are digested slowly by the body and their energy is released at a steady pace.
You want to avoid refined carbs because eating them causes rapid spikes and dips in blood sugar & insulin levels, which leaves you feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
Fat rich foods such as cakes and cookies are also sources of refined carbs, because of the large amounts of sugar that is added to them. For this reason, it is important to minimize or eliminate your intake of junk food; doing so automatically helps you to reduce your intake of unhealthy carbs and fat.
Drink lots of water
When trying to follow a relatively low calorie diet, water is the best beverage to drink because it has 0 calories. Drinking enough water has been shown to boost metabolism slightly and reduce overall calorie intake.
A lot of people are chronically dehydrated and mistake thirst for hunger. Instead of drinking a glass of water, they reach out for food. The next time you feel the sensation of hunger, ask yourself if you really have to eat or just need to drink some water.
The types of beverage that you definitely want to stay away from are those that have been sweetened with sugar. This includes soda and even some types of fruit juice. Not only are these beverages energy dense (a can of cola has roughly 140 calories), but the calories that you obtain from them are not registered as efficiently by the brain.
When you eat solid food, your stomach sends a signal to your brain telling it you have eaten and you should therefore feel less hungry. Unfortunately this process doesn’t work the same way when you drink sugar sweetened beverages. As a result, you end up consuming more calories than you should later on.
Your primary beverage of choice should be water. If you don’t enjoy the taste, you can add a lemon wedge to it or infuse it with some fruit. You can also drink coffee and tea occasionally, so long as it does not have added sugar.
Eating 1800 calories a day
It is difficult to accurately estimate how many calories certain foods have; most people wouldn’t know the exact number of calories that a boiled egg or medium sized apple have off the top of their head.
You can use these tools to get nutritional information about different foods and then mix and match foods that you enjoy eating to create a custom 1800 calorie meal plan. There are plenty of options for you to choose from, some of which include:
- Eggs – they are fairly low in calories, very filling and can be incorporated into a large number of dishes. If you want to increase the protein content of a meal, an easy way to do so is to add in an egg.
- Dips and nut butters – like hummus, guacamole, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and almond butter. They are convenient snacks to have that require very little preparation and can be eaten with fruits or vegetables.
- Smoothies – homemade meal replacement shakes are an easy way to get all the nutrition that you require in a matter of minutes. Use vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, coconut water, almond milk and protein powders when preparing them.
- Soups – ideal to have at lunch or dinner time. Vegetable soups can be made more filling by adding in grains, fish and lean meat.
- Grilled meats & fish – tend to be low in calories and keep you feeling satisfied for hours. Eat them together with large helpings of vegetables.
1800 calorie meal plans
You can choose to split up the 1800 calories into three large 500 calorie meals and have three 100 calorie snacks in between. You can also opt to have six 300 calorie meals spread out over regular intervals. The choice is entirely up to you. Below are some sample 1800 calorie meal plans.
Breakfast: 2 large boiled eggs, 1 cup of cooked oatmeal and 1 medium banana – 425 calories
Snack: 1 cup of Greek yogurt with 1 cup of strawberries – 244 calories
Lunch: 2 grilled chicken breasts with steamed vegetables – 668 calories
Snack: a handful of almonds and a medium sized apple – 257 calories
Dinner: 1 cup of cooked lentils – 230 calories
Total calories: 1824 calories
Breakfast: 1 large omelette with 2 slices of whole grain buttered toast and a medium sized apple – 351 calories
Snack: 1 avocado – 322 calories
Lunch: 1 cup cooked lentils and 1 medium baked sweet potato – 333 calories
Snack: 1 cup low fat cottage cheese and 1 cup of blueberries – 247 calories
Dinner: 2 cups of black turtle bean soup and vegetables stir fried in a little coconut oil – 594 calories
Total: 1847 calories
Breakfast: smoothie made of 1/2 avocado, 1 scoop of oats, 1 cup of almond milk, 1 cup of spinach, 1 scoop of whey protein and 1/2 cup of frozen mango – 461 calories
Snack: 1 large banana – 121 calories
Lunch: Chinese style stir fried chicken with vegetables and brown rice – 432 calories
Snack: 2 tablespoons of almond butter and an apple – 297 calories
Dinner: 2 fillets grilled haddock, 1 large boiled egg and steamed vegetables – 523 calories
Total: 1834 calories
Breakfast: yogurt parfait made from 1 cup of Greek yogurt, fresh berries, 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 ounce of chopped nuts – 526 calories
Snack: 1 cup hummus and carrot sticks – 459 calories
Lunch: mixed bean salad – 310 calories
Snack: 1 low sugar protein bar – 190 calories
Dinner: 1 cup cooked quinoa with mixed vegetables – 322 calories
Total: 1807 calories