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7 Day Heart-Healthy Meal Plan: 1800-2000 Calories

Men and women with healthy BMI, in the age group of 18-50 and moderately active lifestyles, require a 2000 calorie heart-healthy meal plan. However, one needs to combine moderate physical activity like brisk walking, climbing a few flights of stairs, yoga, and pilates for 30-40 minutes for 4-5 days a week when on this meal plan. With a sedentary lifestyle, 2000 calories may lead to weight gain. 

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), between 1800-2000 calories per day is considered the standard level nutritionally advised on food labels. However, this is because it usually meets the energy and nutritional levels of healthy and active adults. Further, this level can be raised or lowered according to the person’s lifestyle and physical requirements, including age, gender, height, weight, and physical activities, respectively. For example, as per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, women over age 60 generally require fewer calories and typically need to take in around 1600–1800 calories per day to maintain their weight.

Is Your 2000 Calories Meal Plan Heart Healthy?

For some, a 2000 calorie meal plan helps maintain a healthy weight while others gain or lose weight. However, ensuring the meal plan within 1800-2000 calories is also heart-healthy is essential. Individuals at risk of chronic conditions, unhealthy weight gain, other health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and nutritional deficiencies need a balanced diet of 2000 calories covering all essential food groups. The fundamental steps to reduce the risk of heart diseases, backed by research, includes eating healthy, exercising more, maintaining a healthy-compatible weight as per your body and keeping in check your bad habits like smoking, drinking and poor sleep patterns. 

7 Day Heart-Healthy Meal Plan: 200 Calories

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 ToastToast 1 slice of whole wheat breadCoat 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 toastTop the toast with eggs and avocado

Mid-Morning Snack (249 calories)

Almonds: 6-8Apple: 1 medium

Lunch (500 calories)

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

Evening Snack (192 calories)

Multigrain Rice Cake: 1 slicePeanut Butter: ½ tbsp

Dinner (636 calories)

Seared Salmon with Green Peppercorn Sauce: 1 ServingSteamed Green Beans: 1 cupLarge 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 servingCook 1 cup rolled oats in 1 cup milk and 1 cup waterAdd 1 cup of sliced strawberries and sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon 

Mid-Morning Snack (239 calories)

Blueberries: 1 cupPlain almonds: 6-8 

Lunch (487 calories)

Tuna and White Bean Spinach Salad: 1 servingMix 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 drainRinse 1/4 cup canned white beansMix 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: 1Dry-Roasted Peanuts: 3 tbsp

Dinner (582 calories)

Lemongrass Pork & Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl: 1 ServingMango & Kiwi with Fresh Lime Zest: ¾ cupDark chocolate chips to enjoy after dinner: 1 tbsp

Day 3 Plan

Breakfast (447 calories)

Bran Cereal: 1 cupSkim milk: 1 cupSlivered Almonds: 2½ tspMedium 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 cupSalad: 1 servingMix 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 tbspCarrots: 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 meltTop with ½ diced avocado and 2 tbsp salsa or pico de galloMixed Greens: 2 cups (topped with 1 tbsp each lime and 2 tsp olive oil)

Day 4 Plan

Breakfast (452 calories)

Oats: 1 servingCook a cup of oats in 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of waterTop 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 tbspUnsalted 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 cupHoney: 2 tsp

Dinner (640 calories)

Chicken Cauliflower Fried Rice: ¼ cupSalad: 1 servingMix 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 cupSkim Milk: 1½ cup Blueberries: 1 cup

Mid-Morning Snack (280 calories)

Multigrain Rice Cake: 2Peanut Butter: 2 tbsp

Lunch (500 calories)

Green Salad with ChickenMake 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 servingCooked 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 avocadoCook 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 salsaTop the tortillas with avocado, eggs and salsa.

Mid-Morning snack (223 calories)

Sliced Cucumber: 1 cupHummus: 3 tbspPlain dry-roasted almonds: 2 tbsp

Lunch (487 calories)

Roasted Tofu & Peanut Noodle Salad: 2 cupsMedium orange: 1

Evening Snack (200 calories)

Nonfat Plain Greek yoghurt: 1 cupSliced strawberries: ½ cupHoney: 2 tsp

Dinner (647 calories)

Grilled Romaine with Avocado-Lime Dressing: 1 servingChicken 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 cupsTop the yoghurt with 1 cup blueberries, 3 tbsp unsalted dry-roasted almonds and 2 tsp honey

Mid-Morning Meal (206 calories)

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

Lunch (495 calories)

Veggie-Hummus Sandwich: 1 servingTake 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 cupsPeanuts, chopped and sprinkled over noodle salad: 2 tbspMixed greens topped with 1 tbsp red wine vinegar and 2 tsp. sesame oil: 1 cupTreat 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 customised meal plan before following the above diet.

2000 Calorie Meal Plan: Foods to Include

Whole Grains: Brown rice, Oats, Bulgur, Quinoa, Farro, Millet, etc.Fruits: Berries, Peaches, Apples, Pears, Melons, Bananas, Grapes, etc.Non-starchy Vegetables (those which grow above the ground): Kale, Spinach, Peppers, Zucchini, Broccoli, Bok choy, Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Cauliflower, etc.Starchy Vegetables (Those which grow below the ground): Butternut Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Winter Squash, Potatoes, Peas, Plantains, etc.Dairy Products: Plain Yoghurt, Kefir, and Full-fat CheeseFish and Seafood: Tuna, Salmon, Halibut, Scallops, Mussels, Clams, Shrimp, etc.

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.

Conclusion

Staying within a calorific budget is a function of a healthy meal choice that keeps you satiated and tickles your taste buds. A heart-healthy meal has to represent all food groups and be balanced. The idea is to know the nutrients that are good for you, and for that, you need to consult a professional to get the right construct. While the 1800-2000 calorie meal plan is the standard for many, it might not be suitable. This meal plan is a representative plan keeping in mind a healthy individual with a moderately active lifestyle. If you are a beginner at calorie counting, download the HealthifyMe App to assess your health goals. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Can you burn 2000 calories in a workout?

A. Yes, you can burn additional 2000 calories through exercises alone, but it takes a longer duration and great intensity. For that, you need to be a pro or an athlete. Therefore, if you are a moderately active individual with no health issues, aim to burn 1000 calories through exercise and adjust the remaining by cutting down calories in your diet. Also, look at building stamina gradually. 

Q. Does eating between 1800- 2000 calories maintain weight?

A. Calories intake and weight depend on gender, age, height etc. Most women between 19 and 30 require about 2,000–2,400 calories per day to maintain weight. At the same time, women between 31 and 59 have slightly lower energy needs. Generally, women in this age group should consume 1,800–2,200 calories per day to maintain their body weight. 

Q. Is 2000 calories enough to build muscle?

A.  In order to build muscle your meal plan should feature 1st class proteins – those which are of high biological value and get absorbed into the bloodstream faster. Thus, taking into consideration, your height, weight, body type, work-out routine and daily routine, you can calculate the protein intake at 0.8- 1 g per kg body weight for muscle maintenance, and if you want to build muscle, then you can go up to 1.2g per kg body weight.

Q. How many calories are in a heart-healthy diet?

A. The calorie requirement changes from person to person. The standard range is typically a 2,000 calorie per day diet. You may need fewer or more calories depending on several factors, including age, gender, and level of physical activity. 

Q. What 3 foods do cardiologists say to avoid?

A. Several foods can potentially cause harm to your heart health. However, cardiologists ask you to avoid the three most threatening food groups: processed meat, processed and canned food, and fizzy sugary drinks. 

Q.What is the best diet for heart patients?

A. A heart-healthy diet, as the name suggests, includes everything that protects your heart from any health issues. But, at the same time, it excludes everything that can be harmful to your heart health. So, say hello to high-fibre fruits, vegetables and whole grains packed with hydrating nutrients and say goodbye to high-fats and high-sodium foods. In addition, canned and processed foods, or foods that contain high sugar and salt levels, cheese, red meat etc., should not be a part of your meal. On the other hand, oats, barley, salmon, oily fish, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, olive oil etc., are emphasised more in this menu.

Q. How do you strengthen a weak heart?

A. Making your heart stronger and maintaining a healthy heart is easy if you follow some fundamental rules. It is a combination of exercise and excludes specific foods and habits. For example, following a healthy and balanced diet and a physically active lifestyle are essential for a healthy heart. At the same time, you should avoid consuming foods that are not healthy for your heart, avoid tobacco and alcohol, avoid stress and refrain from overeating.

Q. What is the 3-day heart diet?

A. 3-days heart diet is a strict limitation on foods you eat during specific meals. It is a combination diet rich in fibrous fruits, veggies, whole grains and proteins with zero to minimal salt consumption. It is to cut down the sodium levels.

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