The 1000 Calories A Day Diet: 5 Meal Plan Variations

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You’re probably familiar with meal plans now.

They’re pre-planned lists of specific calorie deficit foods and meals to eat on specific days.

Most people that want to lose weight will automatically assume they need a meal plan, but that’s not the case.

There are no ‘magic’ foods that will help you lose weight, and there are no foods that are inherently ‘bad’ that will stop you from losing weight (or make you gain weight)

In fact, most people are much better off NOT eating to a plan, and instead eating in the way they normally would, but within a certain calorie target.

The reason for this is that if you use a meal plan to lose weight, when you HAVE lost the weight, you won’t have taught yourself how to eat OUTSIDE the confines of a meal plan.

This might mean that you simply go back to how you were eating before and gain all the weight back.

Having said that, there are some advantages to following a meal plan

Pros of following a meal plan:

  • Reduces decision fatigue: you don’t have to think about what meals to make each day, you could even prep them in advance then just reheat and eat
  • Nutrient density: it you’re eating ad-hoc it can be easy to miss out on vital nutrients like protein and vitamin c, with a meal plan you can make sure all of this is accounted for, so all of your bases are covered, all of teh time
  • Reduces waste: If you know exactly what you’re eating, and how much of it you’re eating, you’ll cut down on waste which is great for the environment and your pocket

Cons of following a meal plan:

  • Lack of variety: Most of the time when you follow a meal lan you’ll be eating the same foods day after day. Some people don’t care about this, but if you value variety, a meal plan might not be for you
  • Overly restrictive: Most meal plans (especially 1,000 calorie meal plans) won’t include ‘fun’ foods that most people love, stuff like wine, beer, chocolate pizza and ice cream, so if you’re going to successfully adhere to a meal plan, you need to understand that there’s no room to fit these things int your diet
  • No appreciation of calorie balance: If you eat to a meal plan, you probably won’t understand how calories work. This won’t help you at all when you finish your diet and stop eating to a set meal plan

If you still want to lose weight using a meal plan, then here are a few different examples for you.

🧆 Standard/Traditional 1,000 Calorie-a-Day Meal Plans

These meal plans will suit people that don’t have any specific dietary requirements, and contain a good balance of protein, carbs and fat

Example 1

MealFoodAmountCaloriesProtein (g)
BreakfastSmall banana90g901.1
Low-fat Greek yogurt1 cup (240g)12021
Honey1 tbsp (21g)640
LunchWhole wheat bread2 slices (60g)1608
Turkey breast3 oz (85g)9019
Swiss cheese1 slice (28g)1067
Lettuce, tomato, mustard200.5
SnackCarrot sticks1 cup (128g)501
Hummus2 tbsp (30g)702
DinnerGrilled chicken breast4 oz (113g)18735
Roasted vegetables1 cup (140g)1203
Cooked brown rice1/2 cup (98g)1102.5
Daily Total1,187100.1

Example 2

MealFoodAmountCaloriesProtein (g)
BreakfastSmall apple120g800.4
Oatmeal1 cup (234g)1545
Almond butter1 tbsp (16g)902
LunchWhole wheat wrap1 (60g)903
Canned tuna3 oz (85g)10022
Lettuce, tomato, cucumber200.5
Greek yogurt dressing1 tbsp (15g)600.5
SnackMedium orange154g621
Almonds10 (12g)702
DinnerGrilled salmon3 oz (85g)20622
Steamed asparagus1 cup (134g)403
Quinoa1/2 cup (90g)1104
Daily Total1,08267.4

🍳Vegetarian 1,000 Calorie-A-Day Meal Plans

Vegetarian meal plans don’t include any meat or fish, but protein can still be derived from eggs, cheese, milk and tofu.

Example 1:

MealFoodAmountCaloriesProtein (g)
BreakfastScrambled tofu4 oz (113g)16016
Spinach1 cup (30g)71
Whole wheat toast2 slices (60g)1608
LunchChickpea salad1 cup (164g)2208
Mixed greens2 cups (60g)201.2
Cherry tomatoes1/2 cup (75g)130.6
Balsamic vinaigrette2 tbsp (30g)800.2
SnackGreek yogurt1 cup (240g)12021
Blueberries1/2 cup (74g)420.5
DinnerLentil curry1 cup (198g)23016
Brown rice1/2 cup (98g)1102.5
Daily Total1,16275.8

Example 2:

MealFoodAmountCaloriesProtein (g)
BreakfastOatmeal1 cup (234g)1545
Almond butter1 tbsp (16g)902
LunchWhole wheat wrap1 (60g)903
Hummus2 tbsp (30g)702
Lettuce, tomato, cucumber200.5
SnackGreek yogurt1 cup (240g)12021
Strawberries1/2 cup (72g)230.5
DinnerQuinoa-stuffed bell peppers2 halves (280g)25012
Mixed greens2 cups (60g)201.2
Balsamic vinaigrette2 tbsp (30g)800.2
Daily Total91747.4

🍏 Vegan 1,000 Calorie-A-Day Meal Plan

Vegan meal plans don’t include any animal products AT ALL. This makes it very difficult to get adequate amounts and quality of protein, so if you’re aiming to build muscle, a vegan meal plan probably isn’t your best option

Example 1:

MealFoodAmountCaloriesProtein (g)
BreakfastOvernight oats1 cup (234g)2707
Chia seeds1 tbsp (12g)582
Almond milk1 cup (240g)401
Blueberries1/2 cup (74g)420.5
LunchQuinoa salad1 cup (185g)2228
Chickpeas1/2 cup (82g)1206
Bell peppers1/2 cup (75g)150.5
Lemon-tahini dressing2 tbsp (30g)801.5
SnackApple1 medium (182g)950.5
Almonds10 (12g)702
DinnerLentil curry1 cup (198g)23016
Brown rice1/2 cup (98g)1102.5
Daily Total1,35247.5

Example 2:

MealFoodAmountCaloriesProtein (g)
BreakfastAvocado toast2 slices (60g)2006
Sliced tomato1 medium (123g)161
Nutritional yeast1 tbsp (5g)203
LunchVegan sushi rolls6 pieces2505
Edamame1/2 cup (100g)12010
SnackCarrot sticks1 cup (128g)501
Hummus2 tbsp (30g)702
DinnerChickpea curry1 cup (198g)2208
Quinoa1/2 cup (98g)1104
Daily Total1,05640

🥑 Keto 1,000 Calorie-a-Day Meal Plan

The Keto diet essentially outlaws carbs; this means that you’ll be eating mostly protein and fats if you’re on Keto. Remember; Keto isn’t necessary for fat loss, all you need to do is create a calorie deficit, and you can do that by eating carbs

Example 1:

MealFoodAmountCaloriesProtein (g)
BreakfastAvocado1/2 medium (100g)1201.5
Fried eggs2 large (100g)14012
LunchGrilled chicken breast3 oz (85g)14026
Mixed greens2 cups (60g)201.2
Olive oil and vinegar2 tbsp (30g)1200
SnackAlmonds1/4 cup (28g)1606
DinnerSalmon3 oz (85g)14016
Steamed broccoli1 cup (156g)554
Butter1 tbsp (14g)1000
Daily Total99566.7

Example 2:

MealFoodAmountCaloriesProtein (g)
BreakfastScrambled eggs2 large (100g)14012
Avocado1/4 medium (50g)801
Olive oil1 tbsp (15g)1200
LunchChicken salad3 oz (85g)14026
Romaine lettuce2 cups (60g)161.2
Cucumber1/2 cup (52g)80.3
Ranch dressing2 tbsp (30g)1401
SnackString cheese1 stick (28g)807
DinnerSteak4 oz (113g)26027
Broccoli1 cup (156g)554
Butter1 tbsp (14g)1000
Daily Total1,13979.5

🍗 High Protein 1,000 Calorie Meal Plan

If you’re looking to build muscle, you’ll need to eat a good amount of protein regularly throughout the day. 1,000 calories likely won’t be enough to support muscle growth, so the best you can probably hope for is muscle maintenance

Example 1:

MealFoodAmountCaloriesProtein (g)
BreakfastGreek yogurt1 cup (227g)13023
Almonds1/4 cup (28g)1606
LunchGrilled chicken breast4 oz (113g)18735
Quinoa1/2 cup (92g)1114
SnackCottage cheese1/2 cup (113g)9014
DinnerSalmon4 oz (113g)23220
Broccoli1 cup (91g)313
Olive oil1 tbsp (15g)1200

Example 2:

MealFoodAmountCaloriesProtein (g)
BreakfastEgg whites3/4 cup (183g)10020
Oatmeal1/2 cup (40g)1505
Peanut butter1 tbsp (16g)944
LunchTuna4 oz (113g)13230
Brown rice1/2 cup (98g)1082
SnackProtein shake1 scoop12024
DinnerGrilled chicken breast4 oz (113g)18735
Quinoa1/2 cup (92g)1114
Mixed vegetables1 cup502


What Should You Eat if You’re On 1,000 Calories per Day?

1000 calories per day, is REALLY low, so it’s important to choose foods that are low in calorie density, meaning they have fewer calories per gram of food. 

This allows you to consume larger volumes (weight) of food hile keeping calories to an absolute minimum.

Prioritise these types of foods

  1. Vegetables: Non-starch, fibrous vegetables like leafy greens (spinach, kale, lettuce), broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini 

2.  Fruits: Opt for fruits that are lower in natural sugars and therefore calories such as berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), watermelon, cantaloupe, and citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits. Try to avoid tropical fruits like Pineapple, Mango and Banana

3. Lean Proteins: Include lean protein sources like skinless chicken breast, turkey breast, white fish (such as cod, tilapia, or salmon), tofu, and low-fat dairy products (Greek yogurt, cottage cheese) to help keep you full and maintain muscle mass.

4. Egg whites: Eggs are a good source of high-quality protein and healthy fats, however fat is something you want to avoid if you’re only 1000 calories a day, so stick to just the whites

5. Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are low in calories and high in fiber and protein. They make a great alternative to higher-calorie carbs like pasta and rice

6. Low-Fat Dairy: Opt for low-fat or skim milk, yogurt, and cheese to get essential nutrients like calcium and protein while keeping the calorie count in check.

How Much Weight Will I Lose If I Eat 1,000 Calories A Day?

This all depends on your current weight and therefore your TDEE.

Let’s say you 2,000 calories a day on average.

If you were to eat 1,000 calories a day, that would mean you’d be a 1,000-calorie deficit each day, or a 7,000-calorie deficit over a week.

This means you’d lose 2 lbs of fat per week or just under 1kg.

So if you ate 1,000 calories a day for 12 weeks (3 months), you’d lose 24lbs (12kg)

Is it Safe to Eat 1,000 Calories a Day?

Again this is highly dependant on the individual.

If you have a sedentary job and you’re already a very light person, you’ll probably feel ok eating 1,000 calories a day.

If however, you are heavier and you have an active job, or play sports or go the gym, 1,000 calories is OT going to be enough to fuel your daily activities.

My philosophy is that you’d diet on as high a calorie amount as possible, so if you can lose weight on 2000 calories a day, definitely do that!

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