Blog Diets 3000 Calories A Day: Can This Meal Plan Help You Reach Your Weight Goals

3000 Calories A Day: Can This Meal Plan Help You Reach Your Weight Goals

eating 3000 calories a day

3000 Calories A Day

Different people have different weight goals. There are some people who want to gain weight, while there are others who want to lose weight. Can eating 3000 calories a day lead to weight loss or weight gain? Who should consume 3000 calories a day? Is it healthy to eat 3000 calories a day?

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Just like any meal plan, this meal plan works differently for different people. Some people can gain weight while eating 3000 calories a day while others might lose weight while eating the same number of calories. For a person to gain weight, their calorie intake must be higher than their calorie use. When wanting to lose weight, the person’s calorie intake must be lower than their use.

Who Should Eat 3000 Calories A Day?

There are a number of factors that determine the number of calories you need per day. Some of these factors include (5):

  • Gender – Men require more calories in a day as compared to women. Adult males require between 2000 to 3000 calories in a day. Mature females, on the other hand, require 1600 to 2400 calories a day.
  • Height – Taller people require more calories to maintain their weight in comparison to shorter people
  • Age – The older you get, the fewer calories you need. This is because your body uses fewer calories while in rest when you are older, compared to when you were younger
  • Activity – This refers to what you do during the day. Highly active people require more calories than less active people. This is because calories are to humans what fuel is to a vehicle. A vehicle that is going far will require more fuel than a vehicle going through the neighborhood.
  • Weight goals – People whose goal is to gain weight must consume more calories than they use. People who want to lose weight must consume fewer calories than they use.

The 3000 calorie a day diet is a high-calorie diet, and hence it is recommended for:

  • People who want to gain weight
  • Highly active people
  • Athletes (11)
  • Pregnant women

3000 calories a day

How Do You Know How Many Calories You Use In A Day?

It is very important to know how many calories you use in a day so that you can know what food plan will work for you. You don’t want to dedicate yourself to a food plan that doesn’t help you attain your weight goals. If you want to know how many calories you use in a day, you need to know your Basal Metabolic Rate ( BMR ) and your activity factor (13).

Your Basal Metabolic Rate ( BMR ) is an estimate of how many calories you would burn if you were to do nothing but rest for a full day (24 hours). This is the minimum amount of energy needed by your body to keep it functioning normally. This is basically the energy needed for breathing, pumping blood, keeping your heart beating and so on. You can get this figure from your gym by conducting an InBody test run, or estimate it using a scientific formula like the Harris-Benedict or Mifflin St.-Jeor, or an online calculator that does the math for you.

Read More: Ideal Body Weight Calculator: When Should You Knock Off Those Unwanted Fats?

3000 calories a day

What Is TDEE Calculator?

Your activity factor, on the other hand, is the amount of energy you burn from your daily activities. Your daily activities would include your job, exercises that you do, sports that you play etc. You can find out what your activity factor is by wearing a heart rate monitor or just a work out watch. There are also ways to estimate it based on how active you normally are. When you add your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) to your activity factor, what you get is your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is how many calories you spend on a normal day doing all your normal activities.

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For example, if you Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is 1200, and your activity factor is 1000, your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is:

1200 + 1000 = 2200

If your plan is to gain weight, you need to eat five hundred to a thousand more calories than your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). If your plan is to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than your TDEE.

Since the 3000 calories a day is recommended for people who want to gain weight, what are some of the reasons why you should gain weight?

3000 calories a day

Reasons To Gain Weight

1. You Are Underweight

While most people are usually struggling with being overweight, there is another group of people who are underweight and so are required to gain weight. How do you know if you are underweight, you may ask. If you have a body mass index (BMI) of below 18.5, then you are considered to be underweight. This is because this is the amount estimated to be less than the body mass needed to sustain optimal health (9).

Health Problems Of Being Underweight

High chances of early death. A study conducted recently showed that the health of males who are underweight is associated with a one hundred and forty percent greater risk of early death, while for women it is a hundred percent. This factor is even greater for obese people (15).

3000 calories a day

Leads to low immunity. Being underweight can impair your immune system and raise your risk of getting infections (4).

Some of the reasons as to why a person could be underweight are:

  1. The person might have an eating disorder. An example being anorexia nervosa.
  2. Underlying thyroid problems. Having hyperthyroidism can boost high metabolism and hence cause unhealthy weight loss.
  3. Diabetes. Type one diabetes is known to lead to severe weight loss
  4. Cancer.
  5. Having diseases like HIV/AIDS
  6. Recent illness or period of limited food intake

If you are underweight, it is good to see a doctor or an expert in that certain field. This is because the doctor can help identify the cause of your underweight condition and direct you on how to gain weight.

3000 calories a day

2. You Want To Gain Muscles

Another reason to gain weight would be if you want to gain muscles. This is mostly the case for athletes, bodybuilders and the likes. To do this, you have to eat more calories and exercise more to turn your body fat and muscles

These are among the reasons one would want to gain weight.

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meal plan for 3000 calories a day

How To Follow A 3000 Calorie Diet

For a diet to be effective, you need to get nutrients from carbohydrates, proteins and fats. About sixty percent of your total calories intake should constitute carbs (2). Thirty percent should constitute fats, and about ten percent should constitute proteins (7).

One thing you need to know is how many calories are in a gram of each of these macronutrients. One gram of proteins and carbohydrates contains four calories while a gram of fats contains nine calories. With that being said, you can be able to calculate how many grams of each macronutrient you should take.

For Carbohydrates

60 percent of 3000 calories is equivalent to 1800 calories. Since every four calories are equivalent to 1 gram of carbs, 1800 calories are equal to 450 grams of carbohydrates.

For Fats

30 percent of 3000 calories is equivalent to 900 calories. Since every nine calories are equivalent to 1 gram of fats, 900 calories are equal to 100 grams of fats.

meal plan for 3000 calories a day

For Proteins

10 percent of 3000 calories is equivalent to 300 calories. Since every four calories are equivalent to 1 gram of proteins, 300 calories are equivalent to 75 grams of proteins. If you are especially active, you may require more protein than this to help you gain weight and muscle. Use these percentages as a starting point toward developing your own goals. 

Foods To Eat To Maintain A 3000 Calorie Diet

This being a high-calorie diet, you might be tempted to eat unhealthy food in order to get to the level of three thousand calories a day. Although highly processed refined foods might be sweeter and have high calories, they lack the important nutrients. You should try as much as possible to stick to whole unprocessed or minimally processed foods.

Here are some of the foods you should include, among those that are healthy (3):

  • Proteins. You should include both animal-based proteins and plant-based proteins. Examples of animal-based proteins include fish, turkey, salmon, eggs, beef and the likes. Examples of plant-based proteins include peas, lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, spirulina, quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds and the likes (3).
  • Dairy. You should include different types of dairy products like Greek yoghurt, natural cheese, milk and the likes (3). 
  • Fats and oils. Fats from foods like almonds, olive oil, peanut butter should be included (5).
  • Fruits. This goes without saying. Incorporate different types of fruits to your diet. Add apples, avocados, bananas. oranges, berries and the like (3).
  • Vegetables. Vegetables are also important and have high nutritional values. Add kale, spinach, cabbages; broccoli to your diet (3).
  • With that said, what are some of the foods you should avoid?
  • You should try as much as possible to avoid fried foods. These are likes of french fries, onion rings, doughnuts and the like.
  • You should also try to avoid fast foods. Yes, you should avoid that double patty cheeseburger, that pepperoni pizza and the like.
  • You should also avoid foods with a lot of sugar as well as soft drinks. Avoid candy, sodas, ice creams, chocolates and so on.
  • You should also avoid refined carbs that come in the form of your favourite cookies, pastries, sugary cereals and the like.
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meal plan for 3000 calories a day

How To Divide Your 3000 Calorie Meal

In order to consume 3000 calories of healthy foods, you need to divide the foods in a manner that is reasonable. The most logical way to take 3000 calories would be over three meals and two snacks (8).

You should have foods in the following measurements:

  • Ten ounces of grains. An ounce of grain is equivalent to one slice of bread, or a half a cup of cooked pasta, rice or cereal. It also counts as one ounce of ready-to-eat cereal (1). 
  • Four cups of vegetables. One cup of vegetables is equivalent to one cup of cooked vegetables or two cups of leafy salad greens or one cup of 100 percent vegetable juice (1).
  • Two and a half cups of fruits. One cup of fresh fruit is equal to half a cup of dried fruit, or one cup of 100% fruit juice (1).
  • Three cups of dairy. One cup of dairy counts as one cup of milk, or one cup of yoghurt, or one cup of fortified soy beverage, or one and a half ounces of natural cheese or two ounces of processed cheese (10). 
  • Seven ounces of protein foods. One ounce of protein foods counts as one ounce of cooked lean meats, poultry, or seafood. It also counts as one tablespoon of peanut butter or a quarter a cup of cooked beans or peas. It also counts as half an ounce of nuts or seeds (10). 

Read More: Bean Diet: Can This Oft-Overlooked Source Of Protein Shift Your Weight Loss Into High Gear?

Those are the measurements you should take in your 3000 calorie diet.

3000 calories a day

Sample Meal Plan For 3000 Calories A Day

Although we have given you the measurements of each food you should take. Here are examples of daily food meals plans that constitute 3000 calories for people of different weight, different weight goals, different genders, different heights, age, body fat and activity level.

Meal Plan One

Characteristics of the individual

  • Female
  • 5. 7 feet tall
  • 176 lbs
  • 25 years
  • High body fat percentage
  • Who is moderately active

Total calories – 3001

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Breakfast (689 calories)

  • Hawaiian Pineapple Egg Scramble (one serving)
  • Strawberries (Two cups)

Ingredients for Hawaiian Pineapple Egg Scramble

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 oz honey ham
  • ½ cup, chunks pineapple
  • 1 extra-large egg
  • 9 tbsp egg white
  • 2 oz Swiss cheese

Number of calories of each macronutrient in one serving

  • Total calories – 596.4
  • Carbs – 19. 4g
  • Fat 36.2g
  • Protein 47.9g


Number of calories for each macronutrient per 2 cup

  • Total calorie – 92.2
  • Carbs – 22.1g
  • Fat – 0.9g
  • Protein – 1.9g

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Lunch (760 calories)

  • Corn Tuna Salad (two servings)
  • Rice Cake with Cheese Snack (two servings)

Ingredients for Corn Tuna Salad

  • 2 cans of Tuna
  • 2 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1 can (12 oz) yields corn

Number of calories for each macronutrient per 2 serving

  • Total calories – 505
  • Carbs – 34.5g
  • Fat – 12.7g
  • Protein – 69.2g

Ingredients for Cake with Cheese Snack

  • 4 cakes of rice cakes
  • 1 oz cheddar cheese
  • 2 dash pepper

Number of calories for each macronutrient per 2 serving

  • Total calories – 254.9
  • Carbs – 29.8g
  • Fats – 10.6g
  • Protein – 9.8g

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Dinner (858 calories)

  • Breakfast Burrito
  • Fast and Easy Spinach with Shallots
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Ingredients for the breakfast burrito

  • 2 tortilla
  • 4 large egg
  • 6 large egg white
  • 2 left outer lettuce
  • 4 tbsp refried beans
  • 2 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup salsa

Number of calories for each macronutrient per 2 serving

  • Total calories – 804.1
  • Carbs – 67.5g
  • Fat – 30g
  • Protein – 62.9g

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Ingredients for fast and easy spinach with shallots

  • ¼ tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ shallot (medium) shallots
  • ¼ packages (10 oz) spinach
  • ¼ dash salt
  • ¼ dash pepper

Number of calories for each macronutrient per 1 serving

  • Total calories – 53.9
  • Carbs – 4.4g
  • Fat – 3.7g
  • Protein – 2.3g
  • Snack one (360 calories)
  • Vegan Cinnamon Bun Smoothie


  • 2 medium bananas
  • 2 cups of almond milk
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • I tsp maple syrup

Number of calories for each macronutrient per 2 serving

  • Total calories – 360
  • Carbs – 76.7g
  • Fat – 5.6g
  • Protein – 4.5g

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Number of calories for each macronutrient per 1 cup

  • Total calories – 104.2
  • Carbs – 27.3g
  • Fat – 0.2g
  • Protein – 1.1g

Cheese slices

Number of calories for each macronutrient per 2 serving

  • Total calories – 230
  • Carbs – 0.8g
  • Fat – 19.2g
  • Protein – 13.6g

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Meal Plan Two (12)

Characteristics of the individual

  • Male
  • Planning to build muscles
  • 6 feet
  • 154 lbs
  • 25 years
  • Medium body fat percentage
  • Very active

Total calories – 3084

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Breakfast (774 calories)

Pastrami and Cheese Roll


  • 2 roll hamburger or hotdog rolls
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 oz beef pastrami
  • 2 oz Colby cheese

Number of calories of each macronutrient in two serving

  • Total calories – 773.8
  • Carbs – 46.3g
  • Fat – 45.8g
  • Protein – 44.4g

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Lunch (712 calories)

Tuna Salad Wrap


  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 ear, medium yiel corn
  • ¼ cup shredded lettuce
  • 2 tortillas
  • 1 can (12.5 oz), drained Tuna

Number of calories for each macronutrient per 2 serving

  • Total calories – 712.1
  • Carbs – 84.7g
  • Fat – 10.5g
  • Protein – 75.3g

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Dinner (900 calories)

  • Stuffed chicken burrs
  • Zucchini spears with parmesan

Ingredients for Stuffed chicken burrs

  • 5 ⅓ oz chicken breast
  • cup of tomatoes
  • cup tomato sauce
  • 11/16 tbsp dry taco seasoning mix
  • 2 tortilla
  • 3/16 cup, shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • medium red bell pepper
  • ½ cup of chopped onions

Number of calories for each macronutrient per 2 burrito

  • Total calories – 840.6
  • Carbs – 106.5g
  • Fat – 21.4g
  • Protein – 55.2g

2 meal a day diet

Ingredients for Zucchini spears with parmesan

  • large zucchini
  • 3/16 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese

Number of calories for each macronutrient per 1 serving

  • Total calories -59.2
  • Carbs – 6.9g
  • Fat – 2.2g
  • Protein – 4.7g

3000 calories a day

Snack One (370 calories)

  • Mixed greens with olive oil and lemon salad dressing
  • Banana pineapple “ice cream”

Ingredients for mixed greens with olive oil and lemon salad dressing

  • ½ oz field green salad mix
  • 1 cloves, minced garlic
  • 1/16 tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/16 cup olive oil
  • cup lemon juice

Number of calories for each macronutrient per 1 serving

  • Total calories – 133.4
  • Carbs – 3.6g
  • Fat – 13.6g
  • Protein – 0.5g

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Ingredients for banana pineapple “ice cream”

  • 2 medium bananas
  • cup crushed, sliced or chunks pineapple

Number of calories for each macronutrient per 1 serving

  • Total calories – 236.3
  • Carbs – 60.7g
  • Fat – 0.8g
  • Protein – 2.9g
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Snack Two


Number of calories for each macronutrient per 1 cup

  • Total calories – 328.3
  • Carbs – 12.2g
  • Fat – 28.3g
  • Protein – 12g

Those are two examples of 3000 calorie diets you can follow. They divide the calories into three meals and two snacks. You can take the snacks in between breakfast and lunch, or in between lunch and supper or after supper, that is all up to you.

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The Bottom Line

Eating 3000 calories a day can lead to weight gain. This is because three thousand calories a day are more than an average individual needs in a day. However, some people like athletes actually do need around these many calories or even more. It is advisable to consult a professional before you start this meal plan. A professional is the best person to point you to a meal plan that works for you. In case you can’t afford a professional, there are so many applications that can help you with that. An example of such apps being the BetterMe app.


How Many Calories Should I Eat A Day?

The number of calories you should eat in a day varies for individuals. There are factors that help determine the number of calories you should eat in a day. These factors are gender, age, weight goal, your height and your activities in a day.

Who Should Consume 3000 Calories A Day?

Three thousand calories a day should be consumed by highly active people, athletes and people who want to gain weight. If you are not sure of the calories you should consume in a day; you should always consult a professional for better guidance.

Can I Lose Weight If You Eat 3000 Calories A Day?

Yes, you can. Although this is not very easy. For you to lose weight from eating 3000 calories a day, this must mean your body uses more than 3000 calories in a day. People who use 3000 calories a day are highly active (14).

Get your personalized

meal plan!

What's your main health goal?

Lose weight Feel great


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


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  2. 3,000-Calorie Diet Plan for Weight Gain (2019,
  3. A 3,000-Calorie Diet: Benefits, Weight Gain, and Meal Plan ( 2019,
  4. Body mass index and the risk of infection – from underweight to obesity ( 2017, )
  5. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 ( 2010,
  6. Examining Variations of Resting Metabolic Rate of Adults: A Public Health Perspective (2015,
  7. How Much Protein, Fat, Carbohydrates and Fiber Should Each Meal Have? (2019,
  8. How to Eat 3,000 Calories a Day (2019,
  9. How to Gain Weight Fast and Safely ( n.d.,
  10. MyPlate Plan: 3000 calories, Age 14+ ( n.d.,
  11. Nutrition for Athletes (2020,
  12. Put your diet on autopilot ( n.d.,
  13. True Story: I Eat 3000 Calories per Day to Stay in Shape (2019,
  14. Will Eating 3000 Calories Increase Your Metabolism? (2018,
  15. Underweight, overweight and obesity as risk factors for mortality and hospitalization (2008,
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