Home Nutrition The Simple 1600 Calorie Meal Plan

The Simple 1600 Calorie Meal Plan

by Steve Theunissen

The simple question of how to eat for optimum health, body composition and wellness has become incredibly complicated. As a result, many people don’t know where to turn when it comes to weight loss nutrition. In this article, we make it easy by presenting you with a simple 1600 calorie meal plan designed to help you lose weight without the hassle.

Why 1600 Calories?

A caloric intake of 1600 calories is about the sweet spot for the majority of adults who are wanting to lose weight. That is because most people require between 2000 and 2250 calories per day to sustain their activity level and power them through their day. So, when you limit your intake to 1600 calories, you create a deficit of between 400 and 650 calories. 

In order to meet that deficit the body needs to draw on stored body fat to meet the extra energy demand. Provided that you sustain 1600 calorie a day, you will end up burning off between one and two pounds of body fat per week.

Who is the 1600 Calorie Meal Plan For?

A 1600 calorie meal plan is ideal for the following groups of people who are trying to lose weight:

  • Larger women
  • Younger women
  • Active women
  • Younger men
  • Smaller men
  • Older men
  • Inactive men

The Ideal Macronutrient Breakdown

It is important when you are on a reduced calorie diet that you include all three of the macronutrients:

  • Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fats

Protein is usually associated with muscle gain. However, it is also a powerful aid in weight loss. Of the three macronutrients, protein has the highest thermic effect. (1) That means that it takes more calories to consume proteins than carbs of fats. Protein is also the most satiating of the macronutrients. (2) So, when you eat a meal that contains a decent amount of protein, you will not feel hungry between meals. This will help you to stick to your 1600 calories meal plan. 

Protein will also help you to preserve your muscle mass while you are losing body fat.

30% of your daily calories should come from protein. This equates to 480 calories on a 1600 calorie diet plan. 

Carbohydrates provide your body’s main source of energy. You should focus on fibrous, leafy and starchy carbs and stay away from simple, sugar-laden carbs. Check out our buckwheat diet plan.

1600 calorie diet to lose weight

50% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. This equates to 800 calories on a 1600 calorie meal plan. 

Fats are a secondary energy source for your body. (3) These also provide vital functions throughout the body, including in the brain and heart. Concentrate on getting your fats and omega 7 from such healthy sources as fatty fish, avocado and coconut oil. 

20% of your daily calories should come from fats. This equates to 320 calories on a 1600 calorie meal plan. 

The 1600 Calorie Meal Plan

Here is a complete 7 day meal plan that will provide you with close to 1600 calories per day in the macronutrient ratios outlined above. (4)

Day One

BreakfastCaloriesTotal
1/2 cantaloupe50
Fried egg x 2160
Turkey bacon (2 slices)70
Toasted Raisin Bread (1 slice)75
Coffee10365
Snack

Yogurt (nonfat, 4 oz)60
Coffee1070
Lunch

Campbell’s Creamy Tomato soup160
String cheese (1 oz)80
Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bar90
Coffee10340
Snack

Unsalted mixed nuts100
Coffee10110
Dinner

Butternut Squash Ravioli260
Large Bowl of Salad150
Whole Grain Bread (1 slice)70
Fresh Fruit70
Water with lemon slice15565
Snack

Popcorn110
Coffee10110
DAILY TOTAL
1560
what does 1600 calories look like

Day Two

BreakfastCaloriesTotal
1/ Grapefruit100
Cheerios (1 cup) + ½ cup skim milk 

170
Handful of raisins30
Coffee10310
Snack

Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bar90
Coffee10100
Lunch

Cottage Cheese (1 cup)250
Fresh fruit80
Small whole grain roll90
Coffee10430
Snack

Unsalted mixed nuts100
Coffee10110
Dinner

Grilled Chicken Primavera260
Large Bowl of Salad150
Whole Grain Bread (1 slice)70
Fresh Fruit70
Water with lemon slice15565
Snack

Popcorn110
Coffee10110
DAILY TOTAL
1625
1600 calorie diet plan

Day Three

BreakfastCaloriesTotal
1/2 cantaloupe50
Scrambled eggs (2)170
Whole grain toast70
Coffee75365
Snack

Yogurt (nonfat, 4 oz)60
Coffee1070
Lunch

Healthy Choice Country Vegetable soup190
String cheese (1 oz)80
Small whole grain roll90
Coffee10370
Snack

Unsalted mixed nuts100
Coffee10110
Dinner

Deep dish 3 meat pizza380
Large Bowl of Salad150
Fresh Fruit70
Water with lemon slice15615
Snack

Popcorn110
Coffee10110
DAILY TOTAL
1640

Day Four

BreakfastCaloriesTotal
1/2 cup tomato juice50
Shredded Wheat (1 cup) + ½ cup skim milk + ½ banana
260
Coffee10320
Snack

Yogurt (nonfat, 4 oz)60
Coffee1070
Lunch

Campbell’s Vegetable soup160
Fresh Fruit80
Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bar90
Coffee10340
Snack

Unsalted mixed nuts100
Coffee10110
Dinner

Chicken Mediterranean260
Large Bowl of Salad150
Whole Grain Bread (1 slice)70
Fresh Fruit70
Water with lemon slice15565
Snack

Popcorn110
Coffee10110
DAILY TOTAL
1560
eating 1600 calories a day

Day Five

BreakfastCaloriesTotal
1/2 cantaloupe50
Fried egg x 2160
Turkey bacon (2 slices)70
Toasted Raisin Bread (1 slice)75
Coffee10365
Snack

Yogurt (nonfat, 4 oz)60
Coffee1070
Lunch

Campbell’s Creamy Tomato soup160
String cheese (1 oz)80
Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bar90
Coffee10340
Snack

Unsalted mixed nuts100
Coffee10110
Dinner

Frozen Entree260
Large Bowl of Salad150
Whole Grain Bread (1 slice)70
Fresh Fruit70
Water with lemon slice15565
Snack

Popcorn110
Coffee10110
DAILY TOTAL
1560

Day Six

BreakfastCaloriesTotal
1/ Grapefruit100
Cheerios (1 cup) + ½ cup skim milk 

170
Handful of raisins30
Coffee10310
Snack

Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bar90
Coffee10100
Lunch

Cottage Cheese (1 cup)250
Fresh fruit80
Small whole grain roll90
Coffee10430
Snack

Unsalted mixed nuts100
Coffee10110
Dinner

Grilled Chicken Primavera260
Large Bowl of Salad150
Whole Grain Bread (1 slice)70
Fresh Fruit70
Water with lemon slice15565
Snack

Popcorn110
Coffee10110
DAILY TOTAL
1625

Day Seven

BreakfastCaloriesTotal
1/2 cantaloupe50
Fried egg x 2160
Turkey bacon (2 slices)70
Toasted Raisin Bread (1 slice)75
Coffee10365
Snack

Yogurt (nonfat, 4 oz)60
Coffee1070
Lunch

Healthy Choice Traditional Lentil  soup160
String cheese (1 oz)80
Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bar90
Coffee10340
Snack

Unsalted mixed nuts100
Coffee10110
Dinner

Roasted Chicken + potatoes260
Large Bowl of Salad150
Whole Grain Bread (1 slice)70
Fresh Fruit70
Water with lemon slice15565
Snack

Popcorn110
Coffee10110
DAILY TOTAL
1560

Guidelines

Breakfast

It’s often been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That is certainly true as it breaks your overnight fast, delivering the nutrients that your body needs to power you through the day. The menu plan regarding breakfast is quite flexible. If you don’t like scrambled eggs, for example, prepare them in a way that is more palatable to you. 

Lunch

We have made your lunches as simple as possible. Your main lunch option consists of a microwaveable soup or cottage cheese. I have gone with two of the most popular soup manufacturers – Campbells and Healthy Choice. Feel free to substitute any other brand with a similar calorie count and a low sodium count. 

1600 calorie meal prep

Dinner

The main dinner items in the 1600 calorie meal plan are all available as frozen meals from Healthy Choice, so you should be able to find them in your supermarket freezer. You can also get them from Weight Watchers.

As far as bread goes, we have limited you to whole grain bread at 70 calories per slice. These are more thinly sliced than most breads on the market. A brand that we recommend is Pepperidge Farm Small Slice 100% Whole Wheat.

Snacks

On the 1600 calorie diet, you get to have three snacks per day – mid-morning, afternoon, and evening. The key snacks are non-fat yogurt, fresh fruit, mixed nuts, popcorn, and a granola bar. As far as yogurt goes, we suggest buying a large container and measuring out 4 oz per serving. Vary fruit and vegetable diet according to what is in season. Try to include apples, bananas, pears, peaches, plums and watermelons. Popcorn is a tasty, high fiber snack option. Look for a microwaveable 110 calorie bag that you can simply nuke and enjoy. Better still, invest in a hot air popper. Our Granola Bar of choice is Nature Valley. (5)

Final Thoughts

The 1600 calorie diet meal plan will allow you to lose body fat gradually without feeling as if you are depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to thrive.  Because you are eating five times per day, and taking in plenty of protein, you should never feel hungry on this meal plan. For the fastest results, we recommend combining this 1600 calorie diet to lose weight with around 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Disclaimer: This article is written for general informational purposes ONLY and does not address individual circumstances. The WorkoutPlan doesn’t substitute any professional advice or help, you should always consult with your doctor.

References:

  1. The Thermic Effect of Food: A Review (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  2. Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health (pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  3. Low-Calorie Diets Mean High-Quality Lives, Research Shows (everydayhealth.com)
  4. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (dietaryguidelines.gov)
  5. 1600 Calorie High Protein, Low Carb Meal Plan with Chocolate for Lunch & Snack (collegenutritionist.com)


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