If you’re serious about burning fat and building muscle, you need to make sure you’re eating right. An important part of that process is monitoring your caloric intake.

Different people need different programs, but for many, a 2500-calorie diet makes sense: According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, adult men need 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day, depending on how old they are and their level of physical activity.

To figure out how to eat 2500 calories a day, we’ve enlisted EatThisMuch.com’s meal plan generator to give us an idea of what to expect.

What does 2500 calories look like when you can eat three meals of anything?

Breakfast (793 calories):

  • One egg, cheese and tuna omelet


Lunch (853.9 calories):

  • Two servings of a peach protein smoothie
  • One ounce of almonds


Dinner (807.2 calories calories):

  • One serving of a black-bean quesadilla
  • Two servings of yogurt with radishes and dill


What does 2500 calories look like when you eat a three-meal vegetarian diet?

Breakfast (840.5 calories):

  • One serving of two-ingredient protein pancakes
  • Two servings of quick and easy home fries


Lunch (846.4 calories):

  • Two servings of Greek yogurt delight


Dinner (802.4 calories):

  • Two servings of bean sprouts with tofu
  • One serving of croutons


At first blush, a few things stick out about these plans. They’re all healthy and balanced, for one, as consuming three satisfying meals becomes hard when one is abnormally high in calories.

And save for a healthy smoothie, none of these plans include drinks. Drinking water has a lot of benefits, and sodas can wreak havoc on your body—even the diet ones.

When reading the above plans, you may have also thought about how hard it would be to eat just three times a day. So if you’re someone who likes to eat frequently, here’s how your day can be broken down.

What does 2500 calories look like when you can eat five meals a day?

Meal No. 1 (520.2 calories):

  • Oatmeal with apple and banana
  • One slice of whole wheat toast


Meal No. 2 (456.5 calories):

  • Mango strawberry arugula salad


Meal No. 3 (571.8 calories):

  • One turkey sandwich
  • One serving of peanut butter and celery


Meal No. 4 (435.7 calories):

  • Yogurt with almonds and blueberries


Meal No. 5 (522.7 calories):

  • Two servings of scallion-crusted salmon
  • Two cups of brussel sprouts


What does 2500 calories look like when you eat five vegetarian meals a day?

Meal No. 1 (528.5 calories):

  • Egg whites on one slice of toast
  • One ounce of granola


Meal No. 2 (422.6 calories):

  • Strawberry Protein Smoothie


Meal No. 3 (466.3 calories):

  • Veggie and hummus sandwich


Meal No. 4 (442.7 calories):

  • Southwestern salad


Meal No. 5 (581 calories):

  • Vegan potato tacos
  • Cauliflower and tahini


Continue Your Research

Now that you know how to eat 2500 calories a day, you’re ready to go grocery shopping and build the diet regimen needed to get in shape.

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