1000 Calorie Meal Plans for Weight Loss and Health

 by Dr. Steve Hruby
Reviewed by Dr. Steve Hruby

I am a chiropractor, father, husband, coach, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker. Feeling good about yourself is a choice: My mission is to transform lives through optimized health and overall well-being.

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 by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT
Reviewed by Rhealyn Tropia, RMT

I’ve been called a Data Ninja, The Fact Checker, and a Human Search Engine. I’m an indie content curator who does research daily, and quizzes myself on the important issues of the day.

a photo of a salad

Are you interested in trying a 1000 calorie diet plan? If you have not heard of this diet before, the very idea may surprise you at first. You may wonder how difficult it would be to follow, and if you would be able to stick with such a restricted eating plan.

While it is true that sticking to such a low number of calories will require some planning, following a 1000 calorie meal plan can have significant benefits for weight loss and health. And it doesn’t have to be boring or restrictive – it can be delicious and nutritious, while helping you meet your personal weight loss and health goals. 

1000 Calorie Diet Safety

First, some words of caution. If you have a history of eating disorders, or suffer from any medical conditions, you should not follow such a restrictive diet. You should not attempt a 1000 calorie diet plan unless you have spoken with your health provider and gotten the green light. 

What You Should Know About 1000 Calorie Meal Plans For Weight Loss 

First things first; if you want to lose weight, a 1000 calorie diet may be just what you need to kick start your weight loss effort. When it comes to losing weight, calories are king; or rather, a calorie deficit.

Research shows that the amount of calories consume is the biggest predictor for weight loss success, and is even more important for meeting your goal than the type of food you eat, or the timing of your meals.

1000 calories per day creates a significant deficit in all but the smallest adults. On average, women in the United States consume about 2000 calories per day, and men consume even more (an average of 2,475 per day!). Because of this, a 1000 Calorie Diet can be difficult to maintain, and is best viewed as a short term strategy rather than a long term one. 

One approach that can make this diet easier is combining it with intermittent fasting for weight loss by eating one or two larger meals per day instead of 3 – 4 small meals and snacks. This can simplify your meal planning and make it easier to stay within your caloric goals. 

However you choose to time your calories, it is important that you focus on nutrition when following this diet. When you are eating such a low amount of food, it is easy to leave out important nutrients or food groups unless you are intentional with your food choices.

 Health Benefits of 1000 Calorie Meal Plans

Caloric restriction can be beneficial for your health in more ways than just weight loss! Calorie restriction has been found to improve longevity, offer cardiovascular benefits, and improve diabetes.

mature woman smiling

Additionally, eating 1000 calorie meals (by following some of the tips we have shared below) can be helpful for people who need to eat larger amounts of calories to maintain a healthy weight, gain weight, or build muscle mass.

1000 Calorie Diet Meal Plan Ideas

Here are some sample meal plans and low calorie snack ideas in order to help you stay under your 1000 calorie goal.

Breakfast Ideas


  • 1 serving of Old Fashioned Oatmeal (150 calories)
  • ½ tablespoon of butter (50 calories)
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (57 calories)
  • 1 cup of blueberries (80 calories) (P.S., did you know that blueberries also make an excellent bedtime snack?)

 This delicious breakfast starts your day off at 337 calories.

Peanut Butter, Banana and Chia Toast:

  • Slice of whole wheat bread (70 calories)
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter (94 calories)
  • 2 tsp Chia seeds (137 calories)

For a grand total of 301 calories.

Lunch Ideas

Here is some inspiration for your midday meal.


  • Two cups of mixed greens (128 calories)
  • 2 oz chicken breast (94 calories)
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette (14 calories)
  • .5 oz of croutons (58 calories)

Leaving you with a tasty lunch for only 294 calories

Egg and Cheese Stuffed Baked Potato:

  • Medium baked potato (161 calories)
  • 1 egg (70 calories)
  • 1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese (37 calories)

The total calories for this filling lunch: 268

Egg and Cheese Stuffed Baked Potato

Dinner Ideas

Ham sandwich with an apple:

  • Two slices of bread (139 calories)
  • 2oz of ham (82 calories)
  • 1 lettuce leaf (1 calorie)
  • 3 medium tomato slices (10 calories)
  • 1 tsp low calories mayonnaise (15 calories)
  • 1 medium apple (80 calories)

All together giving you a 327 calorie dinner.

Vegetable Soup:

  • 2 cups assorted, prepared vegetables of your choice (approximately 176 calories)
  • 2 cups tomato juice for broth (84 calories)
  • ½ cup whole wheat pasta (87 calories)

Making a tasty and very filling dinner for only 347 calories.

Snack Ideas

There are many healthy options for low calorie snacks that you can enjoy (moderately, of course!) when following a 1000 calorie diet. 

Fruits and vegetables are go-to options when you need a low calorie snack, some popular and easy options include:

  • Baby carrots
  • A celery stick with peanut butter
  • An apple or orange
  • A handful of grapes
  • A banana

If you need more snack ideas, go here for a list of healthy, filling and low calorie foods for some more inspiration!

Ideas To Help You Create 1000 Calorie Meals

The low calorie ideas are nice, but what if you want to practice intermittent fasting while following the 1000 calorie meal diet and enjoy one large meal a day? Or maybe you are here looking for higher calorie recipes to help you maintain or gain weight? 

In the world we live in, finding high calorie meals is easy- they’re everywhere. But finding healthy recipes for high calorie meals can be tricky. 

Here are some general tips for using recipes that you already enjoy and boosting their caloric content – healthfully!   

  • Switch out skim milk for whole milk whenever possible. Whole milk can add 60 additional calories to your dish per serving!
pouring milk
  • Add healthy oils to your meal, such as olive or coconut oil. Each tablespoon of oil adds between 115 and 120 calories to your meal. 
  • Add nuts and seeds when possible- not only are they delicious and healthy, but one serving of nuts packs an average of 172 calories!
  • Use healthy salad dressings
  • When cooking, keep your eyes open for any opportunity to add extra ingredients, and to switch out lower calorie ingredients for higher calorie versions

Common Questions About Following A 1000 Calorie Meal Plan

Is a 1000 Calorie Diet Good for Promoting Weight Loss?

Yes! Research has shown that restricting calories is the key to weight loss. Because a 1000 calorie per day diet creates a deficit of 1000 or more calories per day for most people, you can expect weight loss results on this diet.

How Much Weight Can I Expect to Lose While Following This Diet?

Short answer: It depends! 

Longer answer: Weight loss is primarily about calories in vs calories out. Every body is different, so each person burns a unique amount of calories each day. It takes a deficit of around 500 calories per day in order to lose 1lb per week. 

For a person who normally burns around 2000 calories per day, you can expect a 2lb per week weight loss on this diet. For someone who burns more calories, you can expect greater results.

Is It Safe to Exercise While Restricting Calories?

Studies show that a combination of exercise and calorie reduction lead to improved health outcomes. However, in these studies, calories are restricted moderately. Restricting calories to 1000 per day is a very low calorie diet, so it is important to only pursue gentle exercise and listen to your body. Never push yourself past your comfort level. And as always, when in doubt, ask your doctor!

Is A 1000 Calorie Meal Plan Right For You?

 Now that you have learned about the benefits of following a 1000 calorie meal plan and have started to see some examples of what it might look like in your day to day life, you’re ready to start reaping some of the health and weight loss benefits it offers!

With a little bit of planning and creativity you can make 1000 calorie meals that are delicious and nourishing. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try different combinations of foods to create healthy, balanced dishes that fuel your body!  

Do you need help coming up with more delicious low calorie meals and snacks? Check out our free printable meal plan and enjoy some new ideas in your inbox today!

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