What Does 2,000 Calories Look Like?

Whether you're an omnivore, vegetarian or vegan, here are 2,000-calorie meal plans.

August 09, 2022

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Photo by: VeselovaElena/Getty Images

VeselovaElena/Getty Images

The information listed on food labels is based on a 2,000 calorie diet, which is a national average of what most healthy adults require. Some people may need more or less depending on various factors such as gender, height, and activity level. But do you know what 2,000 calories looks like? Considering the fact that many Americans are underconsuming key nutrients and calorie counts on highly-processed foods can be much higher than whole, unprocessed foods, it can be hard to tell what a healthy 2,000 calorie diet plan looks like. Here’s what you need to know about what 2,000 calories looks like for different kinds of diets.

What Does 2,000 Calories on a Healthy Diet Look Like?

You’ll almost never get a day with the perfect amount of calories or proportion of nutrients you want. Rather than focusing on the perfect calorie or macronutrient breakdown, which can be unhealthy (and frankly, unhelpful), it’s more important to think about averaging them out over a few days. Taking in a variety of foods daily and balancing your plate (fruits and veggies on half the plate, a protein on a quarter, and whole grain starches on another quarter, plus, some dairy for non-vegans) will help ensure you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients to keep your body healthy. Below are 2,000 calorie diets with a proper balance of macros and plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans. Reviewing these meal plans will give you an idea of the amount of food in 2,000 calories and how to balance food groups on your plate.

What 2,000 Calories Looks Like for Omnivores

Breakfast

Apple Pie Overnight Oats: You can mix-and-match ingredients, which could change the nutrient breakdown.

1 cup of coffee with 1/4 cup nonfat milk

Total Calories: 283; Total Fat: 11g; Protein: 13g; Total Carbs: 35g; Fiber 9g

Morning Snack

1 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt

1/2 cup sliced pears

Total Calories: 224; Total Fat: 5g; Protein: 23g; Total Carbs: 23g; Fiber 3g

Lunch

Add these ingredients to your bowl to bulk up the nutrients:

  • 1/3 of avocado
  • 1/4 cup jarred salsa
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

Water

Total Calories: 782; Total Fat: 38g; Protein: 43g; Total Carbs: 70g; Fiber 13g

Afternoon Snack

1/4 cup hummus

1 cup sliced carrots

Total Calories: 152; Total Fat: 6g; Protein: 6g; Total Carbs: 20g; Fiber 7g

Dinner

1 orange

Sparkling water

Total Calories: 524; Total Fat: 17.5g; Protein: 35g; Total Carbs: 61g; Fiber 11g

Evening Snack

2 cups air-popped popcorn

Total Calories: 62; Total Fat: 1g; Protein: 2g; Total Carbs: 12g; Fiber 2g

Totals for the day: Total Calories: 2,027; Total Fat: 78.5g; Protein: 122g; Total Carbs: 221g; Fiber 45g

Weeknight Cooking

Photo by: Ryan Dausch

Ryan Dausch

What 2,000 Calories Looks Like for Vegetarians

This menu is based on vegetarian diets that include eggs and fish.

Breakfast

Apple Pie Overnight Oats: You can mix-and-match ingredients, which could change the nutrient breakdown.

1 cup of coffee with 1/4 cup nonfat milk

Total Calories: 283; Total Fat: 11g; Protein: 13g; Total Carbs: 35g; Fiber 9g

Morning Snack

1 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt

1/2 cup sliced pears

Total Calories: 224; Total Fat: 5g; Protein: 23g; Total Carbs: 23g; Fiber 3g

Lunch

1 ounce tortilla chips with 1/4 cup jarred salsa

Water

Total Calories: 737; Total Fat: 44g; Protein: 21g; Total Carbs: 69g; Fiber 12g

Afternoon Snack

1/4 cup hummus

1 cup sliced carrots

Total Calories: 152; Total Fat: 6g; Protein: 6g; Total Carbs: 20g; Fiber 7g

Dinner

1 orange

Sparkling water

Total Calories: 524; Total Fat: 17.5g; Protein: 35g; Total Carbs: 61g; Fiber 11g

Evening Snack

2 cups air-popped popcorn

Total Calories: 62; Total Fat: 1g; Protein: 2g; Total Carbs: 12g; Fiber 2g

Totals for the day: Total Calories: 1,982; Total Fat: 84.5g; Protein: 100g; Total Carbs: 220g; Fiber 44g

FN_FN Kitchens Vegan Sloppy Joes.tif

FN_FN Kitchens Vegan Sloppy Joes.tif

FN_FN Kitchens Vegan Sloppy Joes.tif

©2012, Television Food NEtwork, G.P. All Rights Reserved

2012, Television Food NEtwork, G.P. All Rights Reserved

What 2,000 Calories Looks Like for Vegans

Breakfast

Apple Pie Overnight Oats: You can mix-and-match ingredients, which could change the nutrient breakdown.

1 cup of coffee with 1/4 cup almond milk

Total Calories: 214; Total Fat: 7g; Protein: 6g; Total Carbs: 35g; Fiber 9g

Morning Snack

2 tablespoons almond butter

1 cup sliced pears

Total Calories: 289; Total Fat: 17g; Protein: 9g; Total Carbs: 29g; Fiber 7g

Lunch

1 ounce tortilla chips with 1/4 cup jarred salsa

1 cup water

Total Calories: 737; Total Fat: 44g; Protein: 21g; Total Carbs: 69g; Fiber 12g

Afternoon Snack

1/4 cup hummus

1 cup sliced carrots

Total Calories: 152; Total Fat: 6g; Protein: 6g; Total Carbs: 20g; Fiber 7g

Dinner

Spicy Vegan Sloppy Joe’s: Add 1/3 sliced avocado

1 serving Smoky Kale Chips

1 orange

Sparking water

Total Calories: 486; Total Fat: 23g; Protein: 13g; Total Carbs: 64g; Fiber 15.5g

Evening Snack

2 cups air-popped popcorn

1/4 cup dried apricots

Total Calories: 162; Total Fat: 1g; Protein: 3g; Total Carbs: 38g; Fiber 5g

Totals for the day: Total Calories: 2,040; Total Fat: 98g; Protein: 58g; Total Carbs: 191g; Fiber 55.5g

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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