The 1000 Calorie Diet Guide + 1000 Calories A Day Meal Plan

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Most of the time, people who want to follow a 1000 calorie diet plan or use a 1000 calorie meal plan for a day are hoping for rapid weight loss, since eating 1000 calories a day is well below the caloric needs of all adults.

Perhaps you overindulged and feel bloated, or you have been consuming too much sugar, or over-imbibed on alcohol and are feeling hungover and crummy, and you think that eating 1000 calories a day for a day or two might help you have sort of a metabolic reset to feel better.

But, is 1000 calories a day enough for health? How do you eat 1000 calories a day for weight loss? What is the best 1000 calorie meal plan for weight loss?

In this guide, we will discuss whether eating 1000 calories a day is enough, potential 1000 calorie diet weight loss results vs. risks, what a 1000 calorie a day weight loss diet looks like, and sample 1000 calorie diet plans.

We will cover: 

  • Is 1000 Calories a Day Enough?
  • How Do You Eat 1000 Calories a Day?
  • What Is the Best 1000 Calorie Diet Meal Plan?

Let’s get started!

The 1000 Calorie Diet Guide + 1000 Calories A Day Meal Plan 1

Is 1000 Calories a Day Enough?

In general, regularly eating 1000 calories a day is not advisable or sufficient for most adults, as a 1000 calorie meal plan provides significantly fewer calories than an adult’s daily energy needs.

However, a 1000 calorie diet plan for weight loss can be appropriate for some.

Such as for smaller people who have a low BMR and aren’t particularly physically active, for occasional use as an alternative to water fasting for weight loss, or for obese or morbidly obese individuals (BMI over 30 kg/m2) under medical supervision.

According to the National Health Service (NHS), the recommended calorie intake for women is 2,000 calories a day and 2,500 calories per day for men. 

Your caloric needs will be higher if you are larger or physically active. You can learn more about calculating your TDEE here.

You can also estimate your BMR with online calculators such as the one here

Even if we go with just the average daily caloric expenditure for men and women, respectively, a 1000 calorie diet meal plan results in a caloric deficit of 1000-1500 calories per day for most people, depending on sex.

A variety of vegetables with their calorie count next to each.

This is ultimately too high and above the recommended rate of fat loss, as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

These guidelines suggest a maximum of 1 to 2 pounds of fat loss per week, which results in a total of 3500 to 7000 calories per week or a caloric deficit of 500 to 1000 calories per day at most.

Additionally, the recommendations for weight loss are generally to create this caloric deficit through a combination of dietary restriction and increasing physical activity, so following a 1000 calorie a day weight loss diet is likely too severe as a habitual practice for most adults.

Some studies suggest that crash dieting can do more harm than good, especially from a psychological perspective. 

Plus, extreme caloric restriction can cause rebound weight gain or “yo-yo dieting, “ in which a dieter cycles between losing and regaining weight as they start and stop different diets.

This is thought to occur due to a survival mechanism known as adaptive thermogenesis.

This causes the body to become more efficient at utilizing the limited number of calories coming in by decreasing your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and reducing energy expenditure in numerous ways

A calorie counting app.

How Do You Eat 1000 Calories a Day?

The biggest challenge in figuring out how to eat 1000 calories a day is generally not with finding the best 1000 calorie a day meal plan but dealing with the physical and emotional hunger that comes from eating only 1000 calories a day.

Because all foods contain calories, and we often have an inflated idea of appropriate serving sizes or portion sizes, you will likely be surprised at how little you may be able to eat even when following the best 1000 calorie meal plan for weight loss.

Ultimately, even if you follow the best 1000 calorie a day weight loss plans, you may be physically and mentally hungry, though choosing foods that are high in fiber and water will be more filling.

You should also emphasize lean proteins and eliminate all processed foods, refined grains, sugar, processed oils, and any other “junk food.”

These foods will not provide any satiety and may increase your appetite

Vegetables, a calculator and a post it that says counting calories.

Plus, if you are only eating 1000 calories a day, you have to maximize the nutritional value of every single calorie that you eat, meaning that you need nutrient-dense healthy foods in your 1000 calorie meal plan.

Generally, the best 1000 calories a day weight loss diet plans are high in protein because protein helps preserve lean body mass when you are losing weight rapidly, and it may help promote satiety.

In terms of how to eat 1000 calories a day, different approaches work better for some people than others.

You may try intermittent fasting and then eat just one or two meals a day—like a 500-calorie breakfast and a 500 calorie dinner.

You might stick with three meals a day so that you would have something like a 300-calorie breakfast, 300-calorie lunch, and 400-calorie dinner.

It’s ultimately up to you to determine how to eat 1000 calories a day in a way that keeps your energy levels and hunger regulated.

If you truly believe you should only be eating 1000 calories a day for an extended period of time, you should be working with a dietitian, nutritionist, and medical team to ensure that your meal plan provides the nutrients you need or that you are supplementing appropriately.

Yogurt parfaits.

What Is the Best 1000 Calorie Diet Meal Plan?

We have created a 1000-calorie weight loss diet plan in two ways.

One 1000 calorie meal plan has 3 meals per day, each roughly 300 calories, and the other option has two larger meals if you want to do intermittent fasting, eating 1000 calories a day.

1000 Calorie Low-Carb Meal Plan: 3 Meals a Day

Breakfast: 310 calories, 20 grams of carbs, 7 grams of fat, 33 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber

  • Yogurt Parfait: 3/4 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, 10 almonds, 1/2 cup raspberries 210 calories, 7 grams of fat, 21 grams of protein, 17 grams of carbs, 6 grams fiber
  • Egg white scramble with 1.5 cups of baby spinach (7 calories per cup) and 5 egg whites (17 calories per egg white from a large egg, 4 grams of protein) 100 calories, 22 grams of protein, 3 grams of net carbs 
  • 12 ounces of water
  • Black coffee or unsweetened tea
Shrimp and noodles.

Lunch: 326 calories, 35 grams of protein, 10 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber, 16 grams of fat

Cilantro Lime Shrimp Over Spiralized Zucchini Noodles

  • Cilantro Lime Shrimp Recipe (294 calories, 33 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs, 16 grams of fat)
  • Salt to taste
  • Serrano pepper to taste
  • 1/8 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp lime juice and zest
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (62 calories 7 grams of fat)
  • 8 oz deveined shrimp
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • Served over 1 cup of spiralized zucchini noodles (32 calories, 2 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber)
Chicken and asparagus.

Dinner: 375 calories, 63 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat, 8 grams of carbs, 6.5 grams of fiber

Grilled Chicken Breast and Vegetables

  • 6 ounces grilled chicken breast (268 calories, 50 grams of protein, 5 grams of fat)
  • 1/16 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium chicken broth 
  • Dash of rice wine vinegar
  • ½ cup Chinese bean sprouts (add on top at the end)
  • 1/3 cup asparagus chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped broccoli
  • ½-inch of fresh ginger chopped 
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • ½ carrot chopped
  • 1 large egg (70 calories, 5 grams of fat, 6.5 grams of protein)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prepared over: 2 cups of steamed bok choy, Salt and pepper, 1 clove of garlic minced

Total Daily Intake: 1,011 calories, 131 grams of protein, 33 grams of fat, 38 grams of carbs, 17 grams of fiber

Yogurt and berries.

1000 Calorie Low-Carb Meal Plan: 2 Meals a Day

Breakfast: 486 calories, 42 grams of carbs, 12 grams of fat, 58 grams of protein, 14 grams of fiber

  • 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt, (134 calories, 1 gram of fat, 23 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fiber)
  • 1 cup of Magic Spoon cereal (140 calories, 7 grams of fats, 13 grams of carbs,14 grams of protein, 1 gram of fiber)
  • ½ cup raspberries (32 calories, 7 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fiber, 1 gram of protein)
  • 2 scoops of PB2 Almond Protein Powder with Madagascar Vanilla (180 calories, 20 grams of protein, 4 grams of fat, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber)
  • 12 ounces of water
  • Black coffee or unsweetened tea

Dinner 510 calories, 23 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbs, 10 grams of fiber, 50 grams of protein 

  • 7 ounces of salmon, 1.5 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil (350 cal, 19 g of fat, 40 g of protein, 2 g of carbohydrates) 
  • Over 1.5 cups of spaghetti squash (45 calories, 9 g of carbs, 4 g of fiber, 2 grams of protein). Since it can be a hassle to prepare on your own, we highly recommend the SOLELY Organic Spaghetti Squash. The package is a single ingredient—organic spaghetti squash noodles—that rehydrate and cook up super quickly with no cleaning required, and there are only 30 calories per serving.
  • Spinach and broccoli salad with 2 cups of baby spinach, 1/2 cucumber sliced, ½ cup mushrooms, ½ cup of broccoli florets chopped, lemon juice to taste, 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds, ¼ cup of tomatoes, ½ medium bell pepper, 7 radishes sliced, lemon juice (115 calories, 4 grams fat, 8 grams protein, 11 grams carbs, 6 grams of fiber)
  • 12 ounces of water

Total Daily Intake: 996 calories, 35 grams of fat, 64 grams of carbs, 24 grams of fiber, 108 grams of protein.

For a more sustainable weight loss diet plan, check out our guide to what a week of healthy, clean eating looks like here.

A variety of green foods such as avocado, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.
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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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