What Should You Know About 2600 Calorie Meal Plan?
Diets are pretty much eating guidelines as they help you keep track of what to eat, in what amounts to eat and even how many times to eat in a day. Diets are sometimes referred to as meal plans or even food plans. There are as well many different diets. Some are generalized so anyone can adapt them to suit their wants while others are rigid and specialized. When you look at specialized diets, there are so many food plans one can adopt. Some are based on only eating a particular type of food while others are emphasizing counting calories. An example of a food plan that counts calories is the 2600 calorie meal plan.
The 2600 calorie meal plan is a food plan that is designed to ensure that you eat 2600 calories in a day. The key to making a diet successful is focusing on quality, quantity and macronutrients, When it comes to quality, you need to incorporate highly nutritious foods and avoid foods that will deter you from your weight journey or overall health. When it comes to quantity, you just need to make sure you meet up with the food amounts you should eat in a particular day.
The importance of counting the calories
You can easily do this by counting the calories until you make sure you get to your daily calorie intake. Getting to your daily calorie intake goal and no more helps ensure that your body can be working perfectly. When it comes to the macronutrients, there are two questions you need to ask yourself. The first question is whether you are getting all the macros needed by your body and the second question is whether you are getting those macros in the amounts needed by the body.
Trying a new food plan is not as easy as it sounds. You just don’t wake up one day and say from today onwards I am going to be a vegetarian. The same applies to the 2600 calorie meal plan. There are a few preparations you need to make. You need to know what foods you can eat while on this diet. You also will need to make a meal plan. And I cannot emphasize this enough, you need to consult a dietician or any expert. An expert will give you all the necessary advice.
The 2600 calorie diet can be divided into five eating periods. This schedule helps make sure you don’t stay for long without eating and also ensures you are able to eat up to the 2600 calories target in a day. This is not a low calorie meal plan. 2600 calories are actually a lot of calories.
Who Should Eat 2600 Calories In A Day?
There are so many people who can eat 2600 calories in a day. If your diet consists of junk food and fast foods you can easily get to and even go over the 2600 calorie limit. This diet is mainly recommended for active men (2). Active men need somewhere between 2400 – 2800 calories in a day. Another group of people who can eat 2600 calories in a day are people who have been advised to do so by an expert.
People looking to gain weight or gain muscle can also eat this many calories in a day. People looking to lose weight can also eat 2600 calories in a day. For people looking to lose weight, this only applies to you if you were consuming more than 2600 calories. In both cases, exercise also plays a key role. More on this will be highlighted later.
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What Amounts Of Each Food Group Should You Eat?
Like we mentioned earlier, it is very important to know the quantity of food you eat. This does not only mean making sure you get 2600 calories in a day. It goes deeper than that. It applies to the individual food groups you eat. Here we are talking about the vegetables, fruits, dairy products, grains, proteins and even oils. Knowing the amount you should eat helps one eat a balanced diet and prevents one from concentrating on certain foods while forgetting others. Here are the amounts you should eat if you are on a 2600 calorie meal plan.
Doctors, dieticians and other experts are always telling you to eat more fruits. Whenever a person is sick, they are always advised to eat more fruits. This is because fruits are very important to a person. There are so many fruits one can eat. There are bananas, oranges, mangoes, apples, different types of berries and so on. Fruits are highly nutritious and contain vitamins and mineral salts that your body needs to stay healthy. If you are on a 2600 calorie food plan, you need two cups of fruits daily (4,8,9). 1 cup of fruit can counts as:
- A cup of either raw, frozen, cooked, or canned fruit.
- It can also count as ½ cup of dried fruit.
- It can also count as 1 cup of 100% fruit juice.
Fruits usually go hand in hand with veggies. Vegetables are very important to our bodies, that is why you should always include them in your diet. Veggies are known to be rich in so many nutrients that our bodies need (13). Examples of such nutrients include potassium,vitamin A and C. Vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories. In addition to all this, vegetables are high in fiber. Fiber helps prevent constipation by helping with digestion. You need 3 ½ cups of vegetables daily if you are on this meal plan (4,8,9). 1 cup of vegetable counts as:
- A cup of either raw, cooked, or canned vegetables.
- It also counts as 2 cups of leafy salads.
- It can also count as 1 cup of 100% vegetable juice.
For your weekly goals, you should aim to eat the following amounts of various vegetables in a week (9)
- 2½ cups of dark green vegetables
- 7 cups of red or orange-colored vegetables
- 2½ of cups dry beans and peas
- 7 cups of starchy vegetables
- 5½ cups of other vegetables
Grains are also an important component of any diet. Grains are important sources of fiber and many nutrients like vitamin B, iron, magnesium (6). Grains are also known to reduce some chronic diseases. An individual on this diet needs 9 ounces from grains, with at least half of those being whole grains (4,8,9). An ounce of grains count as:
- A slice of bread.
- It can also count as 1 ounce of ready to eat cereal.
- It can also count as ½ cup of cooked rice, pasta, or cereal.
Proteins are important macronutrients in a particular diet. Proteins help with muscle growth and repairing tissues, among many other uses in the body. When on such a food plan, you should aim to eat low-fat meats, skinless poultry and fish. You should try to vary your proteins. It is important to remember there are plants that offer good amounts of protein so it is advisable to add these sources of protein to your diet. An individual on this 2600 calorie diet needs 6 ½ ounces of proteins (4,8,9). An ounce of protein counts as:
- An ounce of either cooked or canned lean meats, poultry, or seafood.
- An ounce also counts as 1 egg.
- It also counts as 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.
- It also counts as ¼ cup of cooked beans or peas.
- It also counts as ½ ounce of nuts or seeds.
Dairy is also important in a diet. Dairy products are important when it comes to building strong bones (11). They are also important when it comes to keeping one’s teeth and gums healthy. Dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, vitamin D, vitamin A, zinc, magnesium and other nutrients. In this, you need 3 cups of dairy in a day (4,8,9). A cup of dairy counts as:
- A cup of milk.
- It can also count as a cup of yogurt.
- A cup of a fortified soy beverage.
- It can also count as 1 ½ ounce of natural cheese or 2 ounces of processed cheese.
Oils are also important in one’s diet. They help provide the body with energy at times as well as insulate the body from cold. They are also used to transport fat-soluble vitamins through the blood (5). A person on this diet needs 34 grams of oil in a day
What Amount of Macros Should be in Your 2600 Calorie Meal Plan?
There are three major macronutrients. These are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Different macros have different uses in the body. The calories in your diet come from macronutrients you take. When you say you are on a 2600 calorie diet, those 2600 calories come from these macros. Therefore, when a person says they are counting calories, they are pretty much only counting the macros. Micros are required by the body in such small amounts that people rarely count them. Macros on the other hand are required in very large amounts. There is a certain amount of each macro that is required in each meal plan depending on the meal plan. Here is how much of each macronutrient you should have in your 2600 calorie meal plan.
Carbs are used to provide the body with the needed energy. This is the reason your body needs carbohydrates in larger amounts compared to the other macros. 45% to 65% of a person’s diet should be composed of carbs (7). One gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories. In a 2600 calorie diet, this is the number of carbs you need:
45% of 2600 calories = 1170 calories
1170 calories = 292.5 grams of carbohydrate
65% of 2600 calories = 1690 calories
1690 calories = 422.5 grams of carbohydrate
You need to consume between 293 grams and 423 grams of carbohydrates in a day.
Proteins are essential to one’s diet. 10% to 35% of a person’s diet should be composed of proteins (7). One gram of proteins contains 4 calories. In a 2600 calorie diet, this is the number of proteins you need:
10% of 2600 calories = 260 calories
260 calories = 65 grams of protein
35% of 2600 calories = 910 calories
910 calories = 227.5 grams of protein
You need to consume between 65 grams and 228 grams of proteins in a day.
Fats are important for your body as they can also be used as an energy source when carbs are not enough. 20% to 35% of a person’s diet should be composed of fats (7). One gram of fats contains 9 calories. In a 2600 calorie diet, this is the number of fats you need:
20% of 2600 calories = 520 calories
520 calories = 57.8 grams of fat
35% of 2600 calories = 910 calories
910 calories = 101.1 grams of fat
You need to consume between 58 grams and 101 grams of fats in a day.
Those are the amounts of each macro you should consume in a day. This goes to show you how much care is needed in planning when you are dedicated to a meal plan. You need to make sure you meet the required amounts of different types of food as well as the required amounts for the macronutrients.
2600 Calorie Meal Plan And Weight Loss
There is only one secret when it comes to losing weight. You need to consume less calories than your body burns. This creates a caloric deficit which promotes weight loss. When it comes to weight loss, it is important to follow healthy ways of losing weight. Losing 1 to 2 pounds a week is a healthy way to lose weight. For this to happen, you need to reduce your food intake by 500 to 1000 calories. Reducing 500 calories per day means in a week you will have lost 3500 calories which is equivalent to one pound (3). Reducing 1000 calories per day over a week means you will lose a total of 7000 calories, which is equivalent to two pounds.
For a person to lose weight on this diet, they need to have been consuming more than this amount of calories before. Obese people can also lose weight on this diet. If you were taking in 3100 calories in a day, adopting this diet will promote the loss of one pound every week. It is important to note that weight loss is not a magical trick that happens immediately. You know, now you see the weight, now you don’t kinda thing. It takes sacrifice, discipline and a lot of patience. It involves changing your entire lifestyle. You will have to make a conscious decision at each and every meal for the weight loss journey to be successful.
For more effective results, you should combine this food plan with a good workout routine. A good workout routine could include cardio which promotes weight loss. It can also include strength training. Here you convert the extra fat into muscle. Muscles have a higher resting metabolic rate compared to fat mass. This boosts your metabolism and hence promotes weight loss.
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2600 Meal Plan And Weight Gain
Although most people usually want to drop off those extra pounds, there is another group of people who are underweight. If you are underweight, it is advisable to go about gaining that weight for health reasons only. The principle of gaining weight is opposite to that of losing weight. If you want to gain some pounds, you need to consume more calories in a day than the calories you burn in a day. This will lead to the extra calories being stored as fat which leads to weight gain.
People often claim it is easy to gain weight as it only involves eating as much as you can (1). This is not true, when it comes to gaining weight you have to check over what you are eating. Foods such as junk food and fast food can cause a person to gain weight quickly, but are they for a health benefit? No they certainly are not. There are healthy ways of gaining weight. To gain weight in a healthy manner you need to:
Eat more frequently (12)
To gain weight, try to eat 5 to 6 meals in a day. This is especially helpful if you usually feel full faster. Instead of eating 3 large meals, divide your meals into 6 small meals. This enables you to eat everything on your plate without wasting food and also promotes weight gain without gut pain.
Choose nutrient rich foods (12)
Do not go for foods that only satisfy your caloric needs and not your nutrition needs. Aim for foods that will help you gain weight as well as keep you healthy. Go for whole grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Try smoothies and shakes (12)
Soft drinks are not considered healthy and so you should not add them to your diet. If you want to gain weight, you should try different shakes and smoothies instead. Make sure you combine only healthy products like fresh fruits, leafy vegetables, dairy products when making these shakes and smoothies.
Snack regularly (12)
Snacking also helps with weight gain. Always go for healthy snacks.
The 2600 calorie meal plan could help you gain weight if you were consuming less than those calories in a day. If this is the case, adopting the 2600 calorie diet and keeping in mind all that has been highlighted in this section will result in you gaining weight in a healthy manner.
It is always important to remember that whether you want to gain weight or lose weight, speaking to an expert before you change your diet or workout routine is very important.
2600 Calorie Healthy Meal Plan
Creating a meal plan is not as easy as people think. Most people get stuck at this point when they are changing to a new diet. To get you started on your diet. Here is a meal plan for 2600 calorie diet (10):
- 1 serving of Fried Honey Banana
Contains: 1tbsp of coconut oil, 1 medium banana, 1 tbsp of honey and 1 tsp of cinnamon.
Calories: 292.5, Carbs: 46.4g, Fat: 14g, Protein 1.5g.
- 1 serving of Cheese On Toast
Contains: 1 slice of large multi-grain bread, 1 slice (1 oz) of cheddar cheese and 1 tsp of butter.
Calories: 257, Carbs: 18.3g, Fats: 15.1g, Proteins: 12.3g.
- Linguine with shrimp
Contains: 1.5 cups (cooked) whole wheat linguine, 1 tbsp olive oil, 6 large shrimp, 1 cup steamed broccoli, ¼ cup canned chickpeas
Calories: 471, Carbs: 78g, Fat: 11g, Proteins: 21g.
- 2 servings of spinach, onion, mushroom, and bell pepper egg white omelet
Contains: 1 cup of mushrooms, ½ medium onions, ¼ orange bell pepper, ½ cup spinach, 2 cups of egg white.
Calories: 301.3, Carbs: 13.2g, Fat: 1.3g, Proteins: 56.5g
- 2 slices of buttered toast
Contains: 2 slices of whole-wheat bread and 2 tsp of butter.
Calories: 265, Carbs: 38 g, Fat: 10 g, Proteins: 8 g
- 1 serving of scrambled eggs with spinach and mexican-blend cheese
Contains: ½ tsp of olive oil, 1 cup of spinach, 2 large eggs, ¼ cup of shredded mexican cheese.
Calories: 249.5, Carbs: 2.8g, Fat: 17.4g, Proteins: 20.4g
- 2 bowls of nonfat yogurt with sliced banana
Contains: 2 cups of nonfat yogurt, ½ cup sliced banana
Calories: 341, Carbs: 55g, Fat: 0.9g, Proteins: 29g
- 4 veggie-egg white muffins
Contains: 13/16 medium red bell pepper, ⅜ medium onions, ⅜ cup of mushrooms, 13/16 cup of spinach, ⅜ tbsp grapeseed oil, ⅜ oz mozzarella cheese, 3 ⅝ egg white.
Calories: 210.5, Carbs: 13g, Fat: 8g, Proteins: 21.5g
- 2 ounces of granola
Calories: 277.3, Carbs: 30.2g, Fat: 13.6g, Protein: 8.4g
Total Calories for the day: 2666, Carbs: 295 g, Fat: 91 g, Protein 179 g
- Whole wheat waffles
Contains: 2 whole wheat waffles, 2 tsp butter, 2 tbsp maple syrup
Calories: 575, Carbs: 98g, Fat: 12g, Proteins: 18g
- French lentil salad
Contains: ¾ cup green lentils, 1.5 tbsp olive oil, ½ onion, 2 carrots, 1 stalk celery, 1 clove garlic, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp red wine vinegar
Calories: 558, Carbs: 72 g, Fat: 21 g, Proteins: 18g
- 1 servings of cottage cheese and spinach turkey burgers
Contains: 1 patty, 4 oz ground turkey, ½ cup spinach, 2 oz cottage cheese,1 roll of hamburger bun.
Calories: 340.6, Carbs: 21.6g, Fat: 13.8g, Proteins: 33.3g
- 1 slice of buttered toast with cinnamon
Contains: 1 slice of large multi-grain bread, 1 tsp butter, ⅛ tsp cinnamon.
Calories: 144.2, Carbs: 18.2g, Fat: 5.6g, Protein: 5.6g
- 2 toast slices of Morning Salmon Salad
Contains: 3 oz atlantic salmon, 2 slices of whole-wheat bread, 2 tsp of chopped chives, 1 dash of pepper, 2 tbsp of cream cheese.
Calories: 357.1, Carbs: 26.5g, Fat: 13.5g, Proteins: 31.1g
- 1 servings of cottage cheese and applesauce
Contains: ¼ cup of applesauce, ½ cup of cottage cheese
Calories: 105, Carbs: 12g, Fat: 2g, Proteins: 12g
- Reese’s Chocolate and peanut butter oatmeal
Contains: 1 cup of reduced fat milk, 1 cup of rolled oats, 1 tsp cocoa, 1 tbsp peanut butter, ⅓ tbsp raw agave nectar.
Calories: 506.7, Carbs: 80.3g, Fat: 15.1g, Proteins: 21.3g
Total Calories for the day: 2587, Carbs: 328 g, Fat: 84 g, Protein 139 g
- 2 servings of soy milk pancakes
Contains: 1 ⅝ large egg, 1/16 tsp of salt, 0.02 tsp baking soda, ⅜ cup of wheat flour, ⅜ cup of silk unsweetened, ⅜ tsp of coconut oil.
Calories: 325.2, Carbs: 36.7g, Fat:12.2g, Proteins: 19.2g
- 1 servings of cottage cheese and applesauce
Contains: ½ cup of applesauce, 1 cup of cottage cheese
Calories: 214, Carbs: 19.9g, Fat: 2.4g, Proteins: 28.2g
- eggs, cheese and tuna omelet
Contains: 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 large egg, 3 large egg white, 1 can of tuna, 1 oz of cheddar cheese.
Calories: 497.9, Carbs: 1.4g, Fat: 29.5g, Proteins: 55.9g
- Chicken curry with brown rice
Contains: 2 cups chicken curry with brown rice
Calories: 425, Carbs: 60g, Fat: 7g, Proteins: 35g
- 1 apple
Calories: 94.6, Carbs: 25.1g, Fat: 0.3g, Proteins: 0.5g
- Banana oat muffin
Contains: 1 muffin
Calories: 150, Carbs: 25g, Fat: 4g, Proteins: 3g
- 2 broiled grapefruit
Contains: 2 large grapefruits, 2 tbsp of brown sugar, and 2 dashes of salt.
Calories: 280.9, Carbs: 71.4g, Fat: 0.7g, Proteins: 4.2g
- 1 servings of tarragon and chive eggs
Contains: ⅜ cup egg, ½ dash of salt, ½ dash of pepper, ½ tbsp butter, ½ tbsp chopped chives, ½ tbsp ground tarragon.
Calories: 188.9, Carbs: 2g, Fat: 14.6g, Proteins: 12.1g
- 2 servings of cream cheese toast
Contains: 2 slices of large multi-grain bread, 2 tbsp cream cheese, 1 tbsp of honey.
Calories: 381.9, Carbs: 54.3g, Fat: 13.4g, Proteins: 12.8g
Total Calories for the day: 2558, Carbs: 296 g, Fat: 84 g, Protein 171 g
That is an example of a 2600 calorie meal plan you can try at the comfort of your home.
The Bottom Line
Just like any other diet, the 2600 calorie meal plan needs discipline to follow. The best thing about this diet is that it can be used to gain weight, to lose weight, or even to maintain weight depending on the weight you currently have. Careful planning is required to ensure you are hitting your calorie goals as well as your nutrition goals. Make sure you include healthy foods in your diet. This goes without saying but make sure to hydrate when on this diet. 3 liters of water in a day works just fine.
If you want to do even more for your body, why don’t you supplement a healthy diet with some exercise? Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.
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. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 2600 Calorie Indian Weight Gain Diet Plan (n.d., healthkart.com)
- Active Men Meal Plans (2018, healthyeating.sfgate.com)
- Calorie Deficit for Losing Weight (2020, verywellfit.com)
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (n.d., health.gov)
- Fats and Oils (2020, libretexts.org)
- Grains (n.d., healthyeating.org)
- Macronutrients 101 (2019, verywellfit.com)
- MyPlate Plan: 2600 calories, Age 14+ (n.d., choosemyplate.gov)
- MyPlate Worksheet: 2,600 Calories (n.d., saintlukeskc.org)
- Put your diet on autopilot (n.d., eatthismuch.com)
- The Importance of Dairy Products (n.d., pbrc.edu)
- What’s a good way to gain weight if you’re underweight? (n.d., mayoclinic.org)
- Why is it important to eat vegetables? (n.d., choosemyplate.gov)