Blog Diets 2 Meals a Day Diet: Definition, Benefits, and How to Do It

2 Meals a Day Diet: Definition, Benefits, and How to Do It

Most of us are accustomed to eating three meals a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This routine can be traced back to historical practices, where meal frequency was often dictated by social status, availability of food, and the agricultural calendar. Some claim this pattern is a modern construct, designed to fit around the 9-to-5 workday, rather than being based on nutritional science or our bodies’ natural needs.

It isn’t clear when or why the three-meals-a-day structure became the norm worldwide, but it’s evident that this pattern isn’t the only way to fuel our bodies.

We can choose to eat just two meals a day, which is a form of intermittent fasting (IF). Research on IF suggests eating within a shorter time frame may contribute to various health benefits (9). The most obvious benefit is weight loss, but there may also be other advantages.

Here’s all you need to know about the 2-meals-a-day diet:

What Is the 2-Meals-a-Day Diet?

The two-meals-a-day (2MAD) diet is a type of intermittent fasting that involves eating only two meals within a specific time frame each day. This pattern is similar to traditional IF, where individuals fast for extended periods, such as 16 or more hours per day. With the 2MAD diet, you’ll consume your meals within an 8-10 hour window and fast for the remaining hours of the day.

Not all forms of 2MAD are the same, and some people may opt for a more strict approach by consuming all their daily calories in one meal. Others may have two smaller meals throughout the day within their designated eating window.

However, others may not stick to a fixed eating window but rather choose to skip one meal entirely, often breakfast. This approach overlaps with the 16:8 method where individuals fast for 16 hours and then consume all their daily calories within an 8-hour window.

Can I Lose Weight Eating 2 Meals a Day?

You can lose weight eating 2 meals a day if your total daily calorie intake is lower than your body’s energy expenditure. In simple terms, if you consume fewer calories than you burn throughout the day, weight loss is likely (1).

The 2-meals-a-day diet may be an effective approach for those who are looking to lose weight as it naturally reduces overall calorie intake by limiting the number of meals consumed. The extended fasting period can also lead to a calorie deficit, further promoting weight loss.

See also
Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts: Recipes, Tips On Staying Healthy, and More 

Research has suggested that intermittent fasting may be just as effective for weight loss as traditional calorie-restricted diets, if not more. A review of several studies found that individuals lost 0.8-13% of their body weight within 2-52 weeks on an IF diet, and the subset of studies that compared IF to calorie restriction found similar results between the two (6).

If you struggle to even flirt with the idea of giving up your favorite foods or working out till your legs give way – BetterMe app is here to breathe a fresh perspective into the way you view the weight loss process! Check out the app and experience the fun side of fitness and dieting with BetterMe!

How Much Weight Can You Lose With the 2-Meals-a-Day Diet?

You should aim to lose approximately 0.5-1kg (1-2 lbs) per week. This is in line with the recommended safe rate of weight loss according to health experts. Losing weight at a gradual pace is more sustainable and reduces the risk of negative health effects (7).

However, the amount of weight you can lose with this diet depends on various factors, including your starting weight, body composition, and physical activity level.

Those at a higher starting weight may see more significant weight loss at the beginning of their journey, while those closer to a healthy weight may experience more gradual changes.  Having a higher muscle mass can also promote weight loss as muscles require more energy to maintain than fat. Being physically active can also enhance the effects of the 2MAD diet and result in more weight loss (10).

2 Meals a Day Benefits

Eating 2 meals a day has the following benefits:

Reduced Calorie Intake

Counting calories is one way to lose weight, but it’s not the only way. Restricting your eating window and reducing the number of meals you consume can lead to a natural calorie deficit, which makes it easier to achieve weight loss goals (1).

Using 2MAD as a weight-loss approach also means you don’t need to constantly think about and track what you’re eating throughout the day. Instead, you can focus on making nutritious choices during your two meals.

See also
Carb Cycling For Women: The Ultimate Guide

Improved Metabolic Health

Intermittent fasting has demonstrated promising results in improving metabolic health markers such as insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. By reducing overall calorie intake and promoting weight loss, 2MAD can potentially help improve these markers (3).

Potential Anti-Aging Effects

Some animal studies have suggested that intermittent fasting may have anti-aging effects, which include increased lifespan and improved cognitive function (5). While more research is needed in humans, these findings suggest that intermittent fasting regimens such as the 2-meals-a-day diet may have additional benefits beyond just weight loss.

2 meal a day diet  

Mental Clarity

Some people who practice intermittent fasting report increased focus, alertness, and productivity. When you follow the 2MAD diet, your body is in a fasted state for an extended period, which you may find leads to improved mental clarity and concentration (9).


One of the greatest benefits of 2MAD is its flexibility in terms of meal timing and composition. As long as you stick to your designated eating window and consume nutritious, balanced meals, you can customize this diet to suit your lifestyle and preferences.


Eating just two meals a day means less prep work and clean-up in the kitchen. It can also save time during the day, as you won’t need to take breaks for snacks or mealtimes. This convenience factor may appeal to individuals with busy schedules or those who are looking to simplify their eating habits.

We’ve detailed recipes to help you prepare meals that won’t affect your progress in our intermittent fasting recipes blog.

Read more: A Beginner Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan To Fit Your IF Journey

Is It Okay to Skip Dinner to Lose Weight?

Skipping dinner to lose weight can be an effective strategy, as long as your daily calorie intake is still within a healthy range and you get all the necessary nutrients from your meals.

In fact, skipping dinner to lose weight may have some advantages over skipping other meals:

  • You may experience fewer sleep disturbances: Eating a large meal close to bedtime can disrupt sleep patterns, which can lead to poor-quality sleep (2). Skipping dinner can help you avoid this issue and improve your overall sleep quality.
  • You may have more control over cravings: For some individuals, nighttime is when cravings for unhealthy snacks hit the hardest. By skipping dinner and ending your eating window earlier in the day, you eliminate the opportunity for late-night snacking.
  • You may feel more energetic during the day: Eating breakfast and lunch ensures you have enough energy to fuel your day’s activities. Unless you’re working night shifts, dinner may not be as necessary for energy purposes.
  • You will still have mental clarity and productivity during the day: Eating breakfast and lunch ensures you have adequate fuel for your brain, which leads to better focus and productivity.
  • You may be able to exercise more effectively: Fueling during the day means you’ll have the energy to tackle workouts and physical activity.
See also
One Meal a Day Diet: Definition, Benefits, and How To

Should You Try the 2-Meals-a-Day Diet?

The 2-meals-a-day diet may be an effective weight loss approach for some individuals, but it’s not suitable for everyone.

There are a few groups of people who are advised not to try such a diet plan:

People with a History of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious health conditions that tend to negatively impact your health. Although most people may think they’re not fatal, these conditions are severe and affect your body’s ability to get nutrition. The most common eating disorders include bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, and anorexia nervosa.

People with Type 1 and 2 Diabetes

People with diabetes must get their daily nutritional needs to maintain proper blood sugar levels. Some diet plans may not meet such nutritional needs. Medication use and meal timing must also be taken into consideration. For this, you should consult a healthcare provider before you make any dietary changes.

Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women

The 2-day diet plan is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women. This is because they need to eat more in order to meet their daily nutrient requirements. If you want to lose weight while breastfeeding, talk to your doctor. Never take matters into your own hands without first seeking professional advice.

2 meal a day diet  

People Who Want to Gain Weight

If you want to gain weight, this meal plan isn’t for you. While weight loss requires you to maintain a calorie deficit, weight gain requires a calorie surplus. This means consuming more calories than your body burns.

See also
Lemon Water In The Morning: What It Can And Can't Do For You

Consuming an extra 300 to 500 calories than your body burns should ultimately result in weight gain. Eating two meals a day may restrict your calorie intake, which will lead to weight loss instead of weight gain.

Our vegetarian intermittent fasting guide article details a fasting plan tailored for vegans.

Whether you’re a workout beast or just a beginner making your first foray into the world of fitness and dieting – BetterMe has a lot to offer to both newbies and experts! Install the app and experience the versatility first-hand!

How to Follow the 2-Meals-a-Day Diet

To successfully follow the 2-meals-a-day diet, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Choose nutrient-dense meals

With only two meals a day, it’s essential to make each meal count in terms of nutrition. You should aim for meals that are high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber to keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal (8).

Hydrate with water throughout the day

Drinking enough water is essential for overall health and can also help curb hunger and cravings (4). Make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day, particularly during your fasting period.

Zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee, tea, and sparkling water are also allowed during fasting periods.

Start with a gradual approach

If you’re new to intermittent fasting or have never skipped meals before, it’s best to start with a gradual approach. Start by extending the time between your last meal of the day and the first meal of the next day until you reach your desired eating window.

Be mindful of portion sizes

As you’re only eating two meals a day, it’s important to be mindful of portion sizes to ensure you get enough nutrients without overeating. Furthermore, being aware of portions can help prevent potential binge-eating during meal times.

Know what breaks your fast

To get the most benefits from intermittent fasting, it’s important to know what breaks your fast. Foods and beverages that contain calories, such as milk or juice, will break your fast and may disrupt the effects of 2MAD.

Foods and drinks that are allowed during a fasting period include water, black coffee, and unsweetened tea. However, it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional before you make any major dietary changes.

See also
Sirtfood Diet For Weight Loss: How Does It Work?

What Can You Eat on the 2-Meals-a-Day Diet?

The 2-meals-a-day diet doesn’t restrict specific foods or food groups, so it can accommodate various dietary preferences and restrictions. However, for optimal results, it’s recommended to eat nutrient-dense meals that are high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber.

Examples of suitable foods for this diet include:

  • Lean proteins – chicken, fish, eggs, tofu
  • Healthy fats – avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds
  • Whole grains – quinoa, brown rice, whole-wheat bread
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Beans and legumes

Here’s a sample 2-meals-a-day diet meal plan for 7 days:

Day 1

  • Meal 1: Scrambled eggs with spinach and cherry tomatoes, whole-wheat toast with avocado spread.
  • Meal 2: Grilled chicken salad with mixed greens, chickpeas, and olive oil dressing.

Day 2

  • Meal 1: Overnight oats made with rolled oats, almond milk, chia seeds, and topped with berries.
  • Meal 2: Baked salmon with roasted asparagus and quinoa.

Day 3

  • Meal 1: Quinoa breakfast bowl with scrambled eggs, black beans, salsa, avocado, and cheese.
  • Meal 2: Turkey and vegetable stir fry with brown rice.

Day 4

  • Meal  1: Whole-wheat toast with almond butter and banana slices.
  • Meal 2: Grilled shrimp skewers with zucchini, bell peppers, and brown rice.

Day 5

  • Meal 1: Greek yogurt with granola and fresh berries.
  • Meal 2: Lentil vegetable soup with a side of whole-grain crackers.

Day 6

  • Meal 1: Avocado toast with a poached egg and smoked salmon.
  • Meal 2: Baked chicken breast with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli.

Day 7

  • Meal 1: Banana protein smoothie made with almond milk, protein powder, spinach, and peanut butter.
  • Meal 2: Grilled tofu with mixed vegetables and quinoa.

Are you interested in starting your own fasting journey? Try our 20-hour intermittent fasting plan.

Read more: Vegan Weight Loss Meal Plan and Prep Tips

2 meal a day diet  


  • How much weight will I lose if I eat twice a day?

You may lose 1-2 pounds per week following the 2-meals-a-day diet, depending on your overall calorie intake and activity level. Keep in mind that weight loss results may vary depending on how active you are and your body’s metabolism.

  • Can eating once a day reduce belly fat?

Eating once a day can reduce belly fat as it may help you consume fewer calories and enter a calorie deficit, which leads to weight loss. The results may be better if your meal is high in protein and healthy fats, which can help keep you feeling full and satisfied. Eating one meal a day is quite extreme, but there are plenty of other ways to create a calorie deficit and promote belly fat loss.

  • What are fat-burning foods to eat?

Whole, minimally processed foods are considered to be the best fat-burning foods to eat, including lean proteins, healthy fats, and fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Consuming these foods can help promote satiety, which can prevent overeating and help with weight loss (8).

Some studies have suggested that certain foods such as green tea, chili peppers, and coffee may have metabolism-boosting effects. However, more research is required in this area.

The Bottom Line

The 2-meals-a-day diet is a popular fasting method that involves eating two meals during an 8-12-hour window and fasting for the remaining hours. It may offer several health benefits, including weight loss and improved metabolic health, but it’s important to follow a balanced and nutrient-dense meal plan.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Calorie Deficit: What To Know (2022,
  2. Does the Proximity of Meals to Bedtime Influence the Sleep of Young Adults? A Cross-Sectional Survey of University Students (2020,
  3. Intermittent Fasting and Metabolic Health (2022,
  4. Increased Hydration Can Be Associated with Weight Loss (2016,
  5. Intermittent and periodic fasting, longevity and disease (2022,
  6. Intermittent fasting and weight loss (2020,
  7. Losing Weight (2023,
  8. Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance (2021,
  9. Research on intermittent fasting shows health benefits (2020,
  10. Role of Physical Activity for Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance (2018,
150 million people
have chosen BetterMe

Great app!


Great app!! Easy to navigate through! I like that I can log my food to determine calorie intake. I like the achievement levels, perfect music too!

Love this app

Love this app. Makes it easy to track with delicious recipes. No need to think about what to cook each meal. And there are so many exercises so you can do something different every day.

BetterMe is a fantastic program…

Barb K.
BetterMe is a fantastic program with outstanding people who care about their clients. The curriculum is amazing and produces excellent results. Thank you BetterMe.