Nutrition, Weight Loss
2000 Calorie Diet

2000 Calorie Diet [The Ultimate Guide]

So you’re thinking about starting out on a 2000 calorie diet. It’s no secret that reducing calories will result in weight loss.

The big question is how many calories do you need to consume on a daily basis to achieve your fitness goals?

The number of calories that a person should consume daily comes down to a couple of factors: age, sex, height, daily activity levels and weight loss/gain goals.

Bottom line? If you want to lose weight then knowing how many calories you need to intake is vital.

In this guide I’m going to break down everything you need to know before starting a 2000 calorie a day diet.

Let’s dive right in.


What is a Calorie?

Before we can jump into analysing how many calories you should be eating we should first understand what a calorie is.

The best explanation I found is from Medical News Today

A calorie is a unit of energy. In nutrition and everyday language, calories refer to energy consumption through eating and drinking, and energy usage through physical activity. For example, an apple may have 80 calories, while a 1 mile walk might use up about 100 calories.

Fats, proteins, carbohydrates and sugars are all important sources of calories which people need to live and function.

There are two types of calories:

  • A small calorie (symbol: cal) – 1cal is the amount of energy required to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
  • A large calorie (symbol: Cal, kcal) – 1Cal is the amount of energy required to raise one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius. 1 large calorie (1kcal) = 1,000 small calories.

The Calorie that you will find measured on food packaging is actually a kilocalorie. So for example if your food said that one serving had 40 Cal it is actually 40,000 calories.

Sometimes food is measured in kilojoules (kj) a metric unit.  Just to make things more complicated.

If you find packaging that refers to energy in (kj) here is how you convert it to calories.

One kcal equals 4.184 kj.

So to eat a 2000 calorie a day diet you would need to consume 8,363 kj.

Okay, so now that we understand what a calorie is we can jump into deciding if a 2000 Calorie a day diet is right for you.


Calorie Needs

It is important to realise that the calorie needs of each person is different.

And while one person may lose weight by eating 2000 calories a day, another could maintain weight while another might even gain weight.

There are a variety of factors that come into play when calculating how many calories you should be eating.

A great way to figure out how many calories you should be eating is your Basal Metabolic Rate.


Calculating Your Basal Metabolic Rate

Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the the rate at which the body uses energy while at rest to maintain vital functions such as breathing and keeping warm.

The release of energy in this state is sufficient only for the functioning of the vital organs, such as the heart, lungs, brain and the rest of the nervous system, liver, kidneys, sex organs, muscles and skin. BMR decreases with age and with the loss of lean body mass. Increasing muscle mass increases BMR.

To find your BMR use the following equations ( I have included the equations for kg and lbs):


BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years).

BMR = 66 + (13.75 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in yrs)


BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years).

BMR = 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in Yrs)

Once you have this figure you know the amount of calories that you require just to survive.

Next figure out your total daily caloric requirement by multiplying your BMR by your level of activity:

  • If you rarely exercise, multiply your BMR by 1.2
  • If you exercise on 1 to 3 days per week, multiply your BMR by 1.375
  • If you exercise on 3 to 5 days per week, multiply your BMR by 1.55
  • If you exercise 6 to 7 days per week, multiply your BMR by 1.725
  • If you exercise every day and have a physical job or if you often exercise twice a day, multiply your BMR by 1.9

These calculations give you the number of calories you burn in one day at your current level of activity. This is the number of calories that you will need to eat per day to stay at your current weight.


Will I Lose Weight on a 2000 Calorie Diet?

Once you know your BMR and the number of Calories you burn each day, you can improve your weight loss by lowering the number of calories you eat.

To lose weight you need to be in a caloric deficit. This means that you need to reduce your caloric intake below your total calorie requirement as indicated by your BMR.

For example if you burn 2500 calories from your lifestyle and exercise but only eat 2000 calories you are in a deficit of 500 for that day.

“To lose one pound a week you would have to put yourself in a 500-calorie deficit every day,” says Sari Greaves, RD

Let’s give an example of a man (we’ll call him Gary) who is:

  • 30 years old
  • 5 foot 10 inches tall
  • 187 lbs
  • and exercises 1- 3 times per week.

His BMR would be 1920 x 1.375 = 2,640 Cal

On a 2000 calorie a day diet it is safe to say that Gary should lose over 1 pound of fat per week.

Let’s now do one for a woman (let’s call her Susie) who is:

  • 30 years old
  • 5 foot 5 inches tall
  • 115lbs
  • and exercises 3-5 times per week

Her BMR would be 1319 x 1.55 = 2,044 Cal

If Susie were to eat a diet of 2000 calories per day she would likely maintain her current weight.

These two examples highlight the importance of knowing your BMR before embarking on a new diet. Once you have calculated your BMR you will know what to expect when your cut or add calories to your diet.


Consuming vs. Burning Calories

While a big part of fat loss is reducing the number of calories you eat, the second part is burning calories.

AKA good ole fashioned exercise.

It’s going to be hard to hit exactly 2000 calories every day.

If you go over your limit one day you can make up for this with more exercise and still create a deficit in your body.

MayoClinic equates 3,500 calories to 1 pound of body fat. Every 3,500 calories you burn you can expect to lose 1 pound of body fat.


Don’t cut Too Many Calories

When trying to lose weight cutting calories is an important first step. However don’t make the mistake of cutting your calories too drastically to try and speed up the process.

If your calorie intake drops too low your body could go into starvation mode. “Your body will start to store fat because it thinks it is not going to get anything,” says Lummus. “You will be at a point where your body is kind of at a standstill.”

This means that instead of burning calories, your bodies metabolism basically shuts off.

Not good!

Your body isn’t sure when it will be fed next and therefore does everything it can to protect itself which in some cases can cause you to gain weight.

This type of aggressive dieting isn’t healthy and you should stick to cutting your calories by around 500 a day and adding in extra exercise to lose fat at a controlled rate.


How to Achieve the 2000 Calorie Diet

So you’re ready to start your 2000 calorie a day diet.

While you should make sure to check out the meal plans at the end of this article.

Here are a couple of quick tips to make sure that you are obtaining all the nutrients you need by eating healthy foods:

  • Choose lean protein – chicken, beef, fish and beans are good sources of lean protein
  • Aim for fiber rich foods – fruits and veggies are great sources of fiber
  • Whole grains over refined
  • Use low fat dairy foods


2000 Calorie Diet 7 Day Meal Plan

So you’re ready to start out on your 2000 calorie diet journey.

I’ve put together a sample meal plan for 7 days that will help you get off to a flying start.

Feel free to mix and match recipes with others that you like better. Just make sure that the new recipes total calories don’t take your daily calories too far over (or under) 2000.

With that said, I hope you find these recipes helpful.



Day 1:

Breakfast: (282 Calories)

Oatmeal with Vanilla protein powder and blueberries

  • 1/2 cup (uncooked) Oatmeal
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein isolate powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh or defrosted blueberries


Morning Snack: (253 Calories)

Ants on a log

  • 1 cup celery
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp of raisins


Lunch: (682 Calories)

Chickpea Shawarma Wraps


Afternoon Snack: (251 Calories)

  • 1 Banana
  • 10 walnut halves


Dinner: (432 Calories)

  • Crock Pot Cauliflower Chicken Chilli. Recipe


Evening Snack: (96 Calories)

  • 1 Orange



Day 2:

Breakfast: (385 Calories)

Rye toast with avocado and fried eggs

  • 2 pieces rye bread
  • 1/3 ripe avocado, mashed
  • 2 eggs


Morning Snack: (280 Calories)

Apple with Peanut Butter

  • 1 Apple
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter


Lunch: (477 Calories)

Southwest Egg Salad Sandwich

  • 1 Cup Southwest Egg Salad Recipe
  • 2 pieces rye bread


Afternoon Snack: (288 calories)

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 10 walnut halves
  • 1 oz. (28 grams) Cheddar cheese


Dinner: (464 Calories)

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats


Evening Snack: (48 Calories)

  • 1 cup strawberries



Day 3:

Breakfast: (341 Calories)

Healthy Homemade Trail Mix

  • 1/8 cup raw almonds
  • 1/8 cup cashews
  • 1/8 cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 1/8 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened coconut flakes


Morning Snack: (345 Calories)

  • 1/2 Cup pistachios


Lunch: (464 Calories)

Leftover Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats

  • 4 Enchilada boats


Afternoon Snack: (220 Calories)

  • 5 tbsp Hummus
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 cup Sliced cucumber


Dinner: (596 Calories)

  • Couscous and Lentil Skillet Recipe


Day 4:

Breakfast: (400 Calories)

Veggie Omelet

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup cheese, shredded
  • 1/8 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/8 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/8 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/8 cup, red onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

* Whisk the eggs, then add to a pan for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients to the eggs. Fold in half and serve.


Morning Snack: (250 Calories)

  • 1/2 cup Cooked edamame


Lunch: (524 Calories)

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Wraps


Afternoon Snack: (278 Calories)


Dinner: (467 Calories)



Day 5

Breakfast: (399 Calories)

Fast and flourless protein pancakes with maple syrup

  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 scoop vanilla whey protein isolate
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

*Mash bananas in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine. Cook pancakes for 20-30 seconds on each side.


Morning Snack: (210 Calories)

Fast and flourless protein pancakes with maple syrup

  • 1/2 cup frozen yoghurt
  • half a cup frozen berries
  • 2 tbsp wallnuts

*Mash bananas in a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine. Cook pancakes for 20-30 seconds on each side.


Lunch: (524 Calories)

Leftover Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Wraps

  • 2 wraps


Afternoon Snack: (280 Calories)

Apple with Peanut Butter

  • 1 Apple (80 Calories)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (180 Calories)


Dinner: (397 Calories)

  • Healthy Spaghetti Bolognese. Recipe


Evening Snack: (278 Calories)


Day 6

Breakfast: (360 Calories)

Overnight chia pudding with granola and fresh berries

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup granola
  • 1/4 cup strawberries, sliced or whole
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

*Combine chia seeds and coconut milk in a bowl the night before and leave in  the refrigerator until the next morning. Top with granola and fresh berries.


Morning Snack: (288 calories)

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 10 walnut halves
  • 1 oz (28 grams) Cheddar cheese


Lunch: (417 Calories)

  • 4 oz (113grams) Chicken
  • 3/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • 3 cups spinach/ mixed greens
  • 3-4 slices avocado


Afternoon Snack: (207 Calories)

  • Protein Shake
  • 1 Apple


Dinner: 421 Calories

  • 4 oz (113 grams) Chicken
  • 6 oz (170 grams) sweet potato
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil.


Evening Snack: (251 Calories)

  • 1 Banana
  • 10 walnut halves



Day 7

Breakfast: (361 Calories)

Peanut butter, banana, and chocolate protein smoothie

  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 scoop chocolate whey protein isolate
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Ice cubes (optional)

*Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.


Morning Snack: (220 Calories)

  • 5 tbsp Hummus
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 cup Sliced cucumber


Lunch: (345 Calories)

  • Avocado on toast with eggs spinach and tomatoes. Recipe


Afternoon Snack: (402 Calories)

  • Protein Shake
  • Banana
  • Handful of Almonds


Dinner: (416 Calories)

  • Butternut Squash Red Lentil Soup. Recipe


Evening Snack: ( 327 Calories)

  • 60z (170grams) cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • Apple
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  1. Kyran Doyle

    May 30, 2017 at 12:03 am


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    December 28, 2019 at 6:15 am

    We should be aware of this ultimate 2000 Calorie diet and try this one out. This would be a huge help. Thanks for sharing this great article.


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