Healthy 2000 Calorie Meal Plan

The following 2000 Calorie meal plan was designed for myself in particular by a nutritionist but it can be applied to anyone with the same caloric needs. To give an example I am 5’8″, weigh 118 lbs and am a 26 year old female who performs moderate workouts for an hour 3-4 times a week. The goal of this meal plan was designed to maintain weight and build muscle. 

2,000 to 2,100
kcal diet template
 ½ cup oatmeal (150 kcal, 27 g CHO, 3 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 5 g PRO, 4 g fiber)
with 1 tbsp flaxseed (37 kcal, 2 g CHO, 3 g fat, 0.3 g sat fat, 1.3 g PRO, 2 g fiber)
in 1 cup of almond milk (60 kcal, 8 g CHO, 2.5 g fat, 1 g PRO, 1 g fiber);
1 whole large egg (78 kcal, 0.6 CHO, 5.3 g fat, 1.6 g sat fat, 6.3 g PRO)
1 large egg white (17 kcal, 0.2 g CHO, 0.1 g fat, 3.6 g PRO)
cooked in 1 teaspoon of olive oil (39 kcal, 4.5 g fat, 0.6 g sat fat);
1 medium naval orange (69 kcal, 17.6 CHO, 0.2 g fat, 0.1 g sat fat, 1.3 g PRO, 3.1 g fiber)
Snack #1:
reduced fat mozzarella cheese stick (50 kcal, 2.5 g fat, 1.5 g sat fat, 7 g PRO)
1 large raw carrot (31 kcal, 7.3 g CHO, 0.2 g fat, 0.1 sat fat, 0.7 g PRO, 2.1 g fiber)
 sandwich w/2 slices of wheat bread (228 kcal, 44 g CHO, 2 g fat, 1g sat fat, 6 g PRO, 4 g fiber)
3 oz turkey breast (87 kcal, 3.6 g CHO, 1.5 g   fat, 0.3 g sat fat, 14.4 g PRO, 0.3 g fiber),
1 cup spring mix (7 kcal, 1 g CHO, 0.7 g PRO, 0.2 g fiber), 3 slices of tomato (16 kcal, 3 g                         CHO, 1.5 g fiber),
1 tbsp mustard (9 kcal, 0.9 g CHO, 0.6 g fat, 0.3 g sat fat, 0.6 g PRO, 0.6 g fiber);
1 medium apple (93 kcal, 24.7 g CHO, 0.3 g fat, 0.1 g sat fat, 0.5 g PRO, 4.2 g fiber);
¼ cup roasted unsalted or lightly
salted almonds (207 kcal, 7.1 g CHO, 18.1 g fat, 1.4 g sat fat, 7.6 g PRO, 4.2 g fiber)
 Snack # 2 (pre-workout):
1 Luna bar (~ 180 kcal, 27 g CHO, 5 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 8 g PRO, 3 g fiber) Blueberry Bliss, Chocolate Chunk, Iced
Oatmeal Raisin, Lemon Zest, Smores, or Toasted Nuts & Cranberry or 1
Balance bar (~ 200 kcal, 21 g CHO, 7 g fat, 3 g sat fat, 14 g PRO, 2 g fiber)
Snack #3 (post-workout):
½ cup white rice (121 kcal, 26.6 g CHO, 0.2 g fat, 2.2 g PRO);
1 scoop Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein (130 kcal, 5 g CHO, 1 g fat, 0.5 g sat fat, 24 g PRO, 1 g fiber);
1 cup frozen mixed berries (70 kcal, 17 g CHO, 5 g fiber)
½ cup black beans (113.5 kcal, 20.4 g CHO, 0.5 g fat, 0.1 g sat fat, 7.6 g PRO, 7.5 g fiber);
small baked sweet potato or ½ large (60 kcal, 13.8 g CHO, 0.1 g fat, 0.1 g sat fat, 1.3 g PRO, 2.2 g fiber);
 3 oz LEAN sirloin steak (156 kcal, 4.8 g fat, 1.8 g sat fat, 26.1 g PRO);
1 cup frozen broccoli & cauliflower (25 kcal, 3.5 g CHO, 0.2g fat, 1.3 g PRO, 1.4 g fiber)
Total Calories: 2033.5 kcal to 2053.5 kcal
Total CHO: 260.3 g to 253.6 g (1041.2 kcal; 1014.4 kcal or51.2%; 49.4%)
*Calories of CHO maybe ~10% lower to due insoluble fiber
Total fat: 55.6 g to 57.6 g (500.4 kcal; 518.4 kcal or 24.6%; 25.2%
Total sat fat: 13.5 g to 14.5 g (121.5 kcal; 130.5 kcal or 6.0%; 6.4%)
Total PRO: 126.5 g to 132.5 g (506 kcal; 530 kcal or 24.9%; 25.8%)
Total fiber: 47.3 g to 46.3 g
  • Egg whites, chicken breast, turkey breast, extra mlean ham, and fish such as chunk light tuna, tilapia, cod, and shrimp are lean proteins and are interchangeable (3 egg whites; 3 oz servings meat)
  • Fattier meats (between 5 to 10 g fat per serving) such as lean ground beef, lean roast beef, lean cuts of steak, pork chops or pork loin, and fish such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, and trout are interchangeable (3 oz servings)
Ø I recommended having more fatty fish per week versus red meat in order to increase Omega 3 Fatty Acid intake
Ø 2-3 times a week for red meat will get you enough iron
  • ½ cup oatmeal can be substituted with breakfast cereals at 3 grams or more fiber per serving (hint: not Lucky Charms, Trix, Fruity or Coca Pebbles, Honey Comb, Captain Crunch, Count Chocula, Boo Berry, Pops, Frosted Flakes, etc.)
Ø Shoot for 10 grams of sugar or less per serving
Ø Pay close attention to serving sizes on nutrition label
  • Fruits such as apples, oranges, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, and kiwis are interchangeable
Ø cherries and grapes too but should be kept at ½ to ¾ of a cup
Ø 1 large banana equals 2 fruit servings
Ø melon and tropical fruit (minus the kiwi) are very sugar dense and so should be treated as 2 fruit servings
  • Berries are all interchangeable and should be had once daily
  •  Light mozzarella cheese stick can only be traded for lactose free yogurt if one daily fruit serving is eliminated (not the
Ø cheese has little to no sugar and is thus lactose free but the lactose free yogurt comes equipped with added sugar so watch out
  • 1 large carrot can be substituted with other
    non-starchy brightly colored vegetables such as 1 red, yellow, or orange bell
    pepper, 3-4 mini sweet peppers or 1 tomato
  •  Greens such as collard greens, turnip greens,mustard greens, green leaf and romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, and kale are interchangeable
Ø spring mix contains a variety
  • 2 slices of whole grain bread can be alternated with 1 large whole grain tortilla, 1 cup long grain brown rice, 1 cup quinoa/amaranth, and 1 cup whole grain pasta
  • ½ cup refined white rice for post workout meal can be replaced with ½ cup white rice noodles, ½ cup white pasta, 1  medium flour or corn tortilla, 1 large piece of white bread, 1 small or ½ large Russet potato, 1 small or ½ large Yukon gold potato, 1 small or ½ large red potato, ¾ cup grits, or 1 cup cream of wheat 
  •  ¼ cup almonds can be substituted with ¼ cup of any type of nuts or seeds
Ø sodium can be a real problem here so purchase unsalted or lightly salted
Ø 2 tbsp of natural peanut butter or almond butter can be used on vegetables or on a sandwich in place of nut serving
  • The selected flavors of protein bars above are interchangeable since they were similar in Calories, PRO, and fiber
Ø try and choose those with 5 grams of fat or less since fat is undesirable in a pre and post-workout meal due to it slowing digestion
Ø also think of it as your multivitamin supplement plus Calories; since it’s jam-packed full of added vitamins coupled with lower fiber content, the micronutrients should absorb well
  • ½ cup black beans may be substituted with kidney beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, cannellini beans, etc. (you get the picture)
Ø beans (legumes) contribute a lot of fiber to the diet and you may have some intestinal discomfort at first with this food
Ø it is important as a CHO and PRO source plus it is a good source of iron
  • Small sweet potato or ½ large sweet potato can be replaced with other starchy vegetables such as ½ cup corn, ½ cups peas, ¾ cup butternut squash, 1 cup spaghetti squash, 1 cup banana squash, ½ cup water chestnuts or, ½ cup garlic, 1/4 cup edamame (soybeans; additional 5 grams fat) and 1 cup pumpkin
  • Serving of cauliflower can be replaced with other white vegetables such as 1 cup white cabbage, ½ cup turnips,1 cup white mushrooms, and ¾ cup white onion
  • Broccoli can be traded for any other green vegetable such as 1 cup green beans, 1 small cucumber, 1 cup Brussels sprouts, ½ cup artichoke hearts, 1 cup of any of the above leafy greens, 1 cup watercress, 1 cup bok choy,1 cup arugula, and 1 cup zucchini

Recommended H2O intake
At a 2,100 Calorie diet, and individual should be drinking
2,100 milliliters (ml) of water which equates to 70 ounces (2,100 ml / 30 ml
per ounce [oz] = 70 oz) or 9 cups daily (70 oz / 8 oz per cup = 8.75 cups;
round up to 9 cups)

Mrs. DASH seasoning
 any herbs and spices (salt free)
Condiments (add Calories)

salad dressing (including low fat)
 tartar sauce
 BBQ sauce
 artificial sweeteners
Additional Notes

I attempted to decrease the amount of fiber in this diet to closer to the 25 grams per day as recommended for woman but trying to achieve this while maintaining nutritional integrity was a real chore. I did follow up research and learned that there are several individuals (even credentialed health professionals) that follow diets upwards in the 40 to 60 gram range without adverse effects. This seemed to be the norm especially amongst people follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. To prevent any discomfort, it is VERY important that you drink the amount of water daily as stated above. If the amount of fiber is giving you digestive issue, you can decrease it by peeling off the skins of fruits, subtract beans from the diet, get a juicer and juice your veggies, or change to white bread or refined grains (do this last). To maintain nutritional content of your vegetables, steam or use the microwave instead of boiling, pressure cooking, or frying. Vegetables where the nutritional content actually improves with cooking include tomatoes, carrots, asparagus, mushrooms, spinach, peppers, and cabbage. Also, you may have noticed that PRO is well above the 80.5 grams daily that we discussed but it still falls shy of the 30% marker for overall Calories from protein and therefore no big deal (you will just use the excess as an energy source and it won’t strain your kidneys as long as you have a healthy pair). I hope you find the above template customizable enough based on the substitutions list. To prevent burnout on your new diet plan, I recommend that you allow yourself 2 to 3 cheat meals per week (meaning that you treat yourself to something not on the nutrition plan). Now go and put it to good use!

**Disclaimer: These are all my honest opinions. I was not compensated in anyway for this post**

10 Brown Bag Lunch Ideas for Adults

10 Healthy Brown Bag Lunch Ideas for Adults

Working an 8-5 desk jobs has its pros and cons. I’ve been happy to transition into weekday only work as I used to work as a waitress and didn’t have my weekends to enjoy with friends and family. One of the main downsides though is being at a desk for 8 hours and not having many options to eating healthy.

Preparation is key for anyone trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. My favorite little trick in preparing my lunch is the storage container I use to prepare my lunches. I use these Ziploc Container, Divided Rectangle, 2-Count(Pack of 2) to pack my lunches. They have a decent size section for your protein/salad/main course, a smaller section for a vegetable and a smaller section for either dressing or some fruit or a little chocolate bar for dessert!

Another bonus to bringing your lunch is how much money you will save. The average lunch costs around $7 to dine out where most of the options below will only cost $2-3 per servings.  That’s a $22.50 savings a week or $1170 a year! That’s a Caribbean vacation for us single folks or a nice chunk of change to help get your family to Disney world.

On to the brown bag lunch ideas!

  1. Wraps are a quick and easy solution to lunch and are very tasty! You can see a recipe for a wrap I had recently here.
  2. Grilled chicken breast is great for on-the-go. You can precook multiple breasts at one time at the start of the week and then slice them up and toss them in a salad, shred them for tacos or even a Chick-Fil a style chargilled sandwich, there’s tons of possibilities!
  3. Soups can be put in thermos’ to keep warm until lunch. Try making a large batch on the weekend in your crock pot then save some in the fridge for the week and freeze your leftovers in ziplock bags for easy weeknight dinners or future lunches.
  4. Good ole’ sandwiches. Just like wraps the possibilities are endless; chicken salad, hummus and veggies, egg salad, lunch meat, anything.
  5. Taquitos, burritos or tacos. There’s a way to make a healthier option of just about anything. Use whole wheat tortillas as your base, if you use canned beans be sure to rinse them, add a lean meat if you want, all the veggies and some fat-free shredded cheese. Taquitos can be made in bulk prior to your work day and are great reheated.
  6. Salads! That little section in the container i suggested is great for salad. Add whatever veggies you’d like on top of your choice of lettuce/spinach/arugula and then you’re protein. Be sure that you’re meat has cooled to room temperature or is even already refrigerated so it doesn’t wilt your greens.
  7. Leftovers. Pack over all of the leftovers from a nights meal in individual containers and you already have at least a days worth of lunch ready if not more.
  8. Whole Grain pasta salad made with a light vinaigrette and low fat cheese. You can add in sliced carrots, zucchini, and whatever else your pretty little heart desires.
  9. Peanut butter! Peanut butter toast, peanut butter celery, peanut butter crackers. Peanut butter is awesome and goes great with just about anything in my opinion. It’s very filling and is a great candidate for your protein  source!
  10. Frittatas are great when reheated and are very filling but light enough for a nice meal at work that won’t have you dragging half way through the day.

I hope you found these helpful. If you have any other suggestions I’d love to hear from you!


Disclaimer-*Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Weekly Meal Plan Monday Week 1 with Grocery List

One of my favorite tools to utilize in order to save money and ensure I eat healthier is creating a weekly meal plan. I have a fairly busy lifestyle so there are a lot of nights that I rely on ready made meals but by planning them out and learning the best of the prepared meals I have learned great meals that are healthy, well balanced and don’t take up too much of my evening to prepare.

weekly meal plan

Click Image to Enlarge

Grocery List

Wheat Bread
Wheat Tortillas
Wheat Buns

Salad Fixings
Sugar Snap Peas
Dry Goods
Can Black Beans
Instant Brown Rice
Canned Turkey Chili
Old Fashioned Oats

Almond Milk
Shredded Fat Free Cheese
Fat Free Yogurt

Frozen Foods
Packaged Smoothies
Special K Breakfast Sandwich
Tilapia Fillets
Stir Fry Veggies
Mixed Veggies

Ground Turkey
Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast
Sliced Turkey

Pantry Staples
Protein powder
Peanut butter
Baking soda
Baking powder
Lemon/Pepper seasoning
Salad dressing

Total Approx. Cost: $75 (for 2)


Want to save more money?

Make your own homemade tortillas, bread and buns.
Use your crockpot to make homemade chili and freeze the leftovers for future meals.
Freeze extra burger patties separated by parchment paper.
Use coupons for your hummus and  breakfast sandwiches or make homemade (I just love the special K ones but that’s me!)
Buy your produce from a discount produce store
Purchase meat in bulk when it goes on sale
Make extra batches of bread and freeze
Make your own homemade salad dressings

What’s your favorite weeknight meal?