2000 Calorie Diet Plan For Weight Gain


2000 Calorie Diet Plan For Weight Gain: Whether you have medical reasons for weight gain not the goals of this diet is to gain weight, gain muscle, and nourish your body. If you want to gain weight, then there are some things you need to know before trying a high calorie diet plan.

If you are looking to build muscle mass, then it is important that you eat more calories than your daily routine. This can be achieved by following a 2000 calorie diet plan for weight gain. This article describes ways on how to consume 2000 calories a day to gain weight with the benefits of weight gain. Below is a sample diet with foods for a 2000 calorie diet

How to Consume 2000 Calories a Day to Gain Weight

stir frying chicken and vegetabele in wok

Fill lunches and dinners with fresh produce, wholesome proteins and healthy fats to gain weight the healthy way.

While a 2,000-calorie diet likely won’t be enough for weight gain if you’re young or very active, it can allow you to eat enough extra calories for safe weight gain if you’re older, a woman, or you live a relatively inactive lifestyle. Even though any calories count toward a calorie surplus — which is the key to weight gain — you’ll get the most benefits by getting your 2,000 calories from healthy foods. Spread your calorie intake out throughout the day by eating snacks to get your required 2,000-calories more easily.

Breakdown of a 2,000-Calorie Plan

Follow a balanced diet that meets the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommendations to gain weight the healthy way. In a 2,000-calorie diet, that means eating the equivalent of 6 ounces of grains each day, 2.5 cups of veggies, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of dairy, and 5.5 ounces of protein-rich foods. Spread your food out over five meals — three slightly larger: breakfast, lunch and dinner — and two smaller snacks.

Bulking Breakfasts

Start your day with a hearty breakfast. Try “PB&J oats” — a cup of cooked oatmeal topped with a cup of pitted cherries and a tablespoon of peanut butter — with a glass of milk served on the side. Or make a weight gain-friendly breakfast parfait made with 1 cup of yogurt, a cup of sliced strawberries, a cup of cooked quinoa porridge — quinoa grains cooked in milk. Place alternating thin layers of yogurt, fruit and porridge; then top it off with a half-ounce of chopped walnuts and sprinkling of cinnamon for added flavor. Alternatively, serve two 5-inch buckwheat pancakes topped with cinnamon, a cup of fresh raspberries and 1.5 ounces of ricotta cheese, with a hard-boiled egg served on the side.

Lunches and Dinners for Weight Gain

Fill lunches and dinners with fresh produce, wholesome proteins and healthy fats to gain weight the healthy way.

For lunch, try a turkey avocado sandwich made from whole-grain bread, 2 ounces of turkey and half a pureed avocado, with a leafy green salad made with 2 cups of greens on the side. Or opt for two 6-inch tortillas stuffed with 2 ounces of grilled salmon chunks, a cup of chopped spinach and a half-cup of other veggies — like carrots or red pepper — and half a chopped avocado. Serve cup of berries or a piece of fruit on the side, and finish your meal with a glass of nonfat milk.

At dinner, enjoy 1 1/2 cups of vegetables, lightly coated in olive oil and seasoned with herbs and spices, such as lemon zest and black pepper, or rosemary and sage for added flavor. Make your meal filling with a cup of brown rice, quinoa or whole-wheat pasta; then top your meal with 2.5 ounces of healthy protein, like salmon, chicken, turkey or lean beef. For example, you should serve a chicken and vegetable stir-fry on a bed of rice, make your own tomato sauce using vegetables and 97 percent lean ground beef to serve over whole-grain spaghetti, or make a quinoa-veggie grain salad that pairs well with grilled salmon.

Snack Suggestions and Discretionary Calories

Snacking doesn’t have to be complicated; a serving of string cheese or a cup of yogurt help complete your dairy intake for the day while providing calories you need for weight gain. If you’re feeling too full for real food, try another cup of milk or milk alternative, like soy milk.

The USDA also budgets 258 “discretionary” calories into a 2,000-calorie meal plan. You can spend these calories however you want, whether that’s a 230-calorie snack of pretzels or a small order of fast food fries. However, you’ll get more nutritional benefits if you choose unprocessed whole foods. Try eating an extra ounce of almonds as a snack — it has 162 calories — and get your extra hundred calories with a glass of fruit juice or a piece of fruit.

2000 Calorie Diet Plan For Weight Gain

While this meal plan will help you reach a 2,000-calorie-a-day target, you’ll have to eat slightly more food if you need more than 2,000 calories daily. Consider adding a third snack to your meal plan, enjoying an extra piece of fruit or a half-cup serving of grains or upping your protein food intake by an ounce or two at meals. Drink milk in place of water at meals as a source of extra calories, or add an extra tablespoon of nut butter to get more calories and healthy fats.

Medical Reasons For Weight Gain

If you’re underweight due to a medical condition and you’re struggling to put on weight, talk to your doctor. Certain medical conditions — like kidney disease, or muscle diseases that affect your ability to eat solid food — affect your nutritional needs, so you may need a more specialized diet strategy to gain weight. Your physician can recommend a personalized 2,000-calorie diet to meet your unique needs, or refer you to a nutrition profession to create a meal plan to help you gain weight.

Congress passed the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 to give people more information about the nutrients in the foods they eat. The law also set up guidelines about what claims could be made by food manufacturers. To put that information into perspective and show how the nutrients fit into an overall diet, a standard reference was needed.

The 2,000-calorie diet is based on surveys done by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on how many calories people ate. Men said they ate an average of 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day, and women said they ate an average of 1,600 to 2,200 calories daily. Based on those numbers, a 2,000-calorie diet was settled on as a standard reference. 

Foods For A 2000 Calorie Diet

Focus on eating nutrient-dense foods that give you vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other healthy compounds. Cut back on added sugar, saturated fats, and sodium. Here are examples of nutritious foods to fill up on:

Vegetables. Eat a wide variety of vegetables of all colors. In general, women should eat 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily, and men should eat 3 to 4 cups daily. Choose veggies like:

  • Dark greens, such as swiss chard and turnip greens
  • Red and orange vegetables, such as squash and beets
  • Beans, peas, and lentils
  • Starchy vegetables, such as corn and peas

Fruits. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts. But aim to eat whole fruit, which is high in vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. Women need around 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit daily, while men need around 2 to 2 1/2 cups daily.

Grains. Include foods made from grains such as wheat, rice, oatmeal, and barley. At least half of your grains should come from whole grains, which have more fiber, iron, and B vitamins. Women should eat about 3 to 3 1/2 ounces daily, and men should eat about 3 1/5 to 5 ounces daily.

Dairy or alternatives. Focus on fat-free or low-fat versions of dairy products to get the calcium and nutrients you need. Women and men need about 3 cups of dairy or dairy alternatives daily, like:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Calcium-fortified plant-based milks, such as almond and soy
  • Tofu made with calcium sulfate

Protein foods. Women need 5 to 6 ounces of protein daily, while men need 6 to 7 ounces. Choose protein foods that are lean or low in fat. Many Americans eat enough meat, poultry, and eggs, but you should include more:

  • Seafood
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Soy

Oils. This group includes vegetable oils and the oils naturally found in foods, such as nuts and seafood.

2000 Calorie Meal Plan: Foods to Avoid

  • Added Sugars: Agave, Baked Foods, Ice Cream, Candy, etc. You should limit added sugars to less than 5–10% of your total calorie intake.
  • Fast Food: French Fries, Hot Dogs, Pizza, Chicken Nuggets, etc.
  • Processed and Refined Carbs: Bagels, White Bread, Crackers, Cookies, Chips, Sugary Cereals, Boxed Pasta, etc.
  • Fried Foods: Fried Chicken, Doughnuts, Potato Chips, Fish and Chips, etc.
  • Sodas and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Sports Drinks, Sugary Juices, Sodas, Fruit Punch, Sweetened Tea and Coffee Drinks, etc.
  • Diet and Low-fat Foods: Diet Ice Cream, Diet Boxed Snacks, Diet Packaged and Frozen Meals and Artificial sweeteners like Sweet n’ Low, etc.

7 Day Heart-Healthy Meal Plan

The following meal plan covers all aspects of a heart-healthy diet, incorporating 2000 calories per day. In addition, it follows the American heart association’s recommended limits for salt, sugar and saturated fats.

The meal plan includes whole grains, fibre-rich vegetables and fruits, lean proteins and heart-healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, minimal salt to cut down the sodium and lots of herbs and spices.

Day 1 Plan

Breakfast (403 calories)

  • Egg and Avocado Toast
  • Toast 1 slice of whole wheat bread
  • Coat the pan with cooking spray(1-second spray) or use olive oil and cook two large eggs. You can do the seasoning with pepper and the smallest pinch of salt.
  • Mash a ½ medium avocado 
  • Spread ¼ cup pico de gallo or salsa on your toast
  • Top the toast with eggs and avocado

Mid-Morning Snack (249 calories)

  • Almonds: 6-8
  • Apple: 1 medium

Lunch (500 calories)

  • Chickpeas and Veggies Salad
  • Take 3/4th cup of veggies of your choice(tomatoes, cucumbers etc.) and  2 cups of mixed veggies.
  • Rinse 1 cup of chickpeas
  • Mix all together and add 2 tbsp cheddar cheese, 1 tbsp each olive oil and red wine vinegar and freshly ground pepper
  • Orange: 1 medium

Evening Snack (192 calories)

  • Multigrain Rice Cake: 1 slice
  • Peanut Butter: ½ tbsp

Dinner (636 calories)

  • Seared Salmon with Green Peppercorn Sauce: 1 Serving
  • Steamed Green Beans: 1 cup
  • Large Baked Red Potato: 1 large (Drizzled with two tsp. olive oil, ¼ tsp. garlic powder and a pinch of pepper)

Day 2 Plan

Breakfast (453 calories)

  • Egg and Tomato Toast: 1 serving
  • Cook 1 cup rolled oats in 1 cup milk and 1 cup water
  • Add 1 cup of sliced strawberries and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon 

Mid-Morning Snack (239 calories)

  • Blueberries: 1 cup
  • Plain almonds: 6-8 

Lunch (487 calories)

  • Tuna and White Bean Spinach Salad: 1 serving
  • Mix 1/2 cups baby spinach and 1 cup of veggies of your choice (try tomatoes & cucumbers)
  • Put 1 can of chunk light tuna in water and drain
  • Rinse 1/4 cup canned white beans
  • Mix everything and add 1/2 tbsp plain dry-roasted almonds and top 1 tsp each red-wine vinegar and olive oil.

Evening Snack (256 calories)

  • Medium Apple: 1
  • Dry-Roasted Peanuts: 3 tbsp

Dinner (582 calories)

  • Lemongrass Pork & Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl: 1 Serving
  • Mango & Kiwi with Fresh Lime Zest: ¾ cup
  • Dark chocolate chips to enjoy after dinner: 1 tbsp

Day 3 Plan

Breakfast (447 calories)

  • Bran Cereal: 1 cup
  • Skim milk: 1 cup
  • Slivered Almonds: 2½ tsp
  • Medium Banana: 1

Mid-Morning Snack (191 calories)

  • Non-fat plain Greek Yoghurt: 1 cup ( topped with 1 cup strawberry halves and 2 tsp honey)

Lunch (472 calories)

  • Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice: ¼ cup
  • Salad: 1 serving
  • Mix 3 cups mixed greens, ¾ cup sliced cucumber, and top with 1 tbsp each balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Evening Snack (230 calories)

  • Unsalted Dry-Roasted Almonds: 3 tbsp
  • Carrots: 2 medium

Dinner (633 calories)

  • Toaster-Oven Tostada: (1 serving, save the leftovers for the next day’s lunch)
  • Take three corn tortillas, and top with ½ cup rinsed black beans and 2 tbsp shredded Cheddar cheese.
  • Toast until the cheese begins to melt
  • Top with ½ diced avocado and 2 tbsp salsa or pico de gallo
  • Mixed Greens: 2 cups (topped with 1 tbsp each lime and 2 tsp olive oil)

Day 4 Plan

Breakfast (452 calories)

  • Oats: 1 serving
  • Cook a cup of oats in 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of water
  • Top the cooked oats with 1 cup sliced strawberries and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon 

Mid-Morning Snack (270 calories)

  • Sliced bell pepper: ½ 
  • Hummus: 2 tbsp
  • Unsalted dry-roasted almonds: ¼ cup

Lunch (481 calories)

  • Toaster-Oven Tostadas: 1 serving (use leftovers, if any, from day three dinner)
  • Medium orange: 1

Evening Snack (142 calories)

  • Nonfat plain Greek yoghourt: ¾ cup
  • Honey: 2 tsp

Dinner (640 calories)

  • Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice: ¼ cup
  • Salad: 1 serving
  • Mix 3 cups mixed greens, 1/2 cup cucumber slices and 1/3 cup grated carrot 
  • Top with 1½ tbsp olive oil & red wine vinegar.
  • Kiwi & Mango with Fresh Lime Zest to enjoy after dinner: ¾ cup

DAY 5 Plan

Breakfast (451 calories)

  • Bran Cereal: 1½ cup
  • Skim Milk: 1½ cup 
  • Blueberries: 1 cup

Mid-Morning Snack (280 calories)

  • Multigrain Rice Cake: 2
  • Peanut Butter: 2 tbsp

Lunch (500 calories)

  • Green Salad with Chicken
  • Make a mixed salad of 3 cups mixed greens, 5 oz cooked chicken breast (Cook an extra three oz. of chicken to have for dinner on Day 6), eight cherry tomatoes, halved ½ cup cucumber slices, and ⅓ cup shredded carrot.
  • Top salad with 1 tbsp each olive oil & red wine vinegar

Evening Snack (95 calories)

  • Apple: 1 medium

Dinner (651 calories)

  • Cod with Tomato Cream Sauce: 1 serving
  • Cooked brown rice: 1¼ cups 
  • Mixed Greens Topped with 1 tbsp olive oil and balsamic vinegar: 2 tbsp.

Day 6 Plan

Breakfast (419 calories)

Egg & Avocado Tostadas: 1 serving

  • Mash ½ medium avocado
  • Cook 2 large eggs in ¼ tsp olive oil or coat the pan with a thin layer of cooking spray (1-second spray) and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Take two corn tortillas and spread 1 tbsp pico de gallo or salsa
  • Top the tortillas with avocado, eggs and salsa.

Mid-Morning snack (223 calories)

  • Sliced Cucumber: 1 cup
  • Hummus: 3 tbsp
  • Plain dry-roasted almonds: 2 tbsp

Lunch (487 calories)

  • Roasted Tofu & Peanut Noodle Salad: 2 cups
  • Medium orange: 1

Evening Snack (200 calories)

  • Nonfat Plain Greek yoghurt: 1 cup
  • Sliced strawberries: ½ cup
  • Honey: 2 tsp

Dinner (647 calories)

  • Grilled Romaine with Avocado-Lime Dressing: 1 serving
  • Chicken breast cooked in 1 tbsp olive oil: 5 oz (seasoned with ¼ tsp cumin seeds and a pinch of kosher salt and pepper.
  • Cooked quinoa: 1¼ cup

DAY 7 Plan

Breakfast (448 calories)

  • Nonfat plain Greek yoghurt: 1¼ cups
  • Top the yoghurt with 1 cup blueberries, 3 tbsp unsalted dry-roasted almonds and 2 tsp honey

Mid-Morning Meal (206 calories)

  • Hummus: ¼ cup
  • Medium red bell pepper, sliced: ¾
  • Medium carrots: 3

Lunch (495 calories)

  • Veggie-Hummus Sandwich: 1 serving
  • Take two slices of whole-grain bread and spread ½ tbsp hummus and ½ mashed avocado.
  • Layer ¼ cup cucumber slices, ¼ medium red bell pepper, sliced ⅓ cup shredded carrots and 1 cup mixed greens on the slice and make a sandwich.
  • Medium apple: 1

Evening Snack (105 calories)

  • Banana: 1 medium

Dinner (637 calories+101 calories)

  • Roasted Tofu & Peanut Noodle Salad: 2 cups
  • Peanuts, chopped and sprinkled over noodle salad: 2 tbsp
  • Mixed greens topped with 1 tbsp red wine vinegar and 2 tsp. sesame oil: 1 cup
  • Treat yourself with 2 squares of dark chocolate 

As mentioned earlier, the nutritional value requirements vary from person to person. Hence, consult your nutritionist for a customized meal plan before following the above diet.

Benefits of Weight Gain

1. Less Depressed
Almost immediately after I put on some weight three years ago, I found out that one of the best benefits of gaining a few pounds was my mood improvement. I no longer suffered extreme depression or constant sadness. During my thinner days, I often felt so down and dull most of the time. Though I’m still slender now, putting on some much needed weight proved to me that gaining weight did more than change my jean size. It also changed my entire outlook on life and quality of life. I think more clearly now, my mood is better, and I’m just happier. My hormones are working at optimal levels now, and my mood is thankfully benefiting from that.

2. Body Appreciation
Another wonderful benefit I learned about gaining weight was it gave me a huge sense of body appreciation. Suddenly, I started appreciating how much energy my body had, how it filled out my clothes, and how it had the strength to do yoga and lift heavy things again. It gave me appreciation for my more muscular arms and legs, and the curves I’d always wanted but been to thin to enjoy. Gaining a little bit of weight gave me those things, and I couldn’t be more excited about enjoying all of them daily.

3. Better Relationship with Food
Gaining a few pounds can actually make your diet healthier too. I know, I know, most of us think that eating healthier means losing weight, but sadly, this isn’t always true. If you’re constantly dieting, you might be choosing foods that are healthy, but aren’t healthy for your body. You might be restricting vital sources of fats, carbohydrates, and perhaps craving addictive foods like sugar and caffeine, because your body is crying out for nutrients. When I gained weight, I found that my body wanted more quality foods, because it needed them for energy and vitality. I no longer craved the stimulant foods I once needed to make me feel well- high quality healthy food did that for me. Leafy greens, green vegetables, lean protein from fish and organic yogurt, whole food smoothies with superfoods and plant protein powders, sweet roasted vegetables like yams and squash, hearty soups and hefty salads with avocado and tomato with tons of veggies, pure, high fat, raw dark chocolate and coconut butter, and hot soothing oatmeal in the morning. My body craved nutrient dense foods because I had deprived it of nutrition for so long. Sure, I had eaten some of these foods when I was thinner, but I hadn’t really allowed myself to revel in a hearty appetite. Once I did, I’ve never felt so well fed, or so appreciative of high quality foods.

4. Better Sleep
I used to never be able to sleep through the night, or sleep past 6 each morning. Now that I’ve put on a generous amount of healthy weight, I sleep like a baby! When I first started gaining weight, I noticed I had to take naps a lot, in addition to sleeping all night. I found out this is simply an effect of the hormonal changes that go through your body during this time of healing and recovery from chronic dieting. It was hard to deal with, but getting better rest also allowed me to have more energy, and to think more clearly during the day. Your hormones affect your sleep, and if your weight is not at optimal levels, your sleep will suffer. Gaining a few pounds can be a great way to get better sleep if you’re underweight and not sleeping well.

5. Higher Libido
Your libido can also take a big boost when you put on some weight. Since your hormones can be dramatically impacted by your weight when you diet, your libido naturally takes a hit. As you gain weight, your female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, start to balance out, enhancing the function of your libido.

6. Better Social Life
You know what also gets better when you gain weight? Your social life! You stop caring so much about “safe” foods when eating out, and you stop focusing on social scenes that cater to your diet. Your mood also increases in happy hormones, which can increase your positive outlook on life in general. You begin to appreciate the company of people more than you do the safety of your dieting lifestyle. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to go out and eat unhealthy foods of course, but suddenly, food becomes secondary to having fun, and always having the “perfect” diet meal.

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