Some of us eat with gay abandon, not a care in the world for caloric content, fat, sodium, or cholesterol. Others plan their meals, read food labels, and have a general sense of what they consume each day.
But most of us underestimate the number of calories we consume each day. Two slices of pizza are around 600 calories, and then you add two glasses of red wine (around 250 calories), and a slice of chocolate cake (350 calories) and you have a whopping 1,200 calories for just one meal. Coupled with the calorie underestimation is that Americans are under-consuming key nutrients, opting for processed food instead of whole, unprocessed food.
According to Medical News Today, the national average calorie consumption to maintain a moderate weight is 2,000 calories. This number varies depending upon gender, height, metabolism, and activity level. If you are trying to lose weight, you may want to go to 1,200-1,600 calories a day.
While 2,000 calories seem like a lot, it adds up quickly as you eat your way through the day. While it is recommended that you focus on consuming key nutrients rather than always counting calories, it is helpful to “see” what 2,000 calories a day looks like. FoodNetwork presents three meal plans – omnivore, vegetarian and vegan – each at 2,000, the focus being a variety of whole, unprocessed food rather than heavily-engineered foodstuffs. And it even includes snacks!
If you eat everything (meat, veggies, and anything in between), you are an omnivore. Below is a simple, healthful, 2,000 calorie one day meal plan, that is all about balance and good flavor:
- 1/3 of avocado
- 1/4 cup jarred salsa, your choice of heat level
- 1/3 cup reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, or other reduced fat cheese of your choice
Ey-opening, isn’t it?
If you are a vegetarian or vegan you can find your one-day meal plan here.
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