Developing a 1900-calorie meal plan or any other meal plan in general is not that difficult to do as long as you follow some basic guidelines. Determine how you want to breakdown your 1900 calories into your macronutrients. Each macronutrient should be allotted a percentage of your calories. For example, 50 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat, and 20 percent protein. Translated into calories this would give you 950 calories from carbohydrates which is equal to 237.5g of carbohydrates, 570 calories from fat which equals 63g of fat, and 380 calories from protein which equals 95g of protein.
Now that you have determined your macronutrient breakdown then determine how to break them down into your meals and snacks. Ideally, give yourself three meals and two or three snacks depending on your schedule. Try to plan your eating schedule so that you are having something every three to four hours. Breakfast and lunch should be the biggest meals of the day with the most amounts of carbohydrates. This will allow you to have the most energy when you are the most active. As you get closer to bed time you want to cut back on your carbohydrates because you do not need as much energy when you are going to sleep.
Make breakfast 25 percent of your calories and lunch 25 percent, which would give you 475 calories at each meal. Then break it down into your grams of macronutrients that would then give you 59g of carbohydrates, 16g of fat, and 24g of protein. Dinner should be the smallest meal of the day at 380 calories that equals 48g of carbohydrate, 13g of fat, and 19g of protein; this is 20 percent of your 1900 calories.
- Breakfast: 1.5 c, Kashi Go Lean cereal, 1 c. 1% milk
- Lunch: 6 inch whole grain roll with 3 oz. turkey, 1 slice of low fat cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and a small fruit
- Dinner: 2/3 c. of cooked brown rice, 3 c. salad with 1 tbsp of light dressing, and 3 oz. grilled chicken.
The three meals would only be 70 percent of the total calories that leaves 30 percent left. This 30 percent should be used for snacks. It can be divided into either three snacks at 10 percent each or two snacks at 15 percent each. If divided into three snacks this would be 190 calories, which equals 24g of carbohydrate, 6g of fat, and 10g of protein. If opting for two snacks then it would be 36g of carbohydrates, 10g fat, and 14g of protein that equals 285 calories each.
Some examples of well balanced snacks that you can portion to the right amount of calories are:
- fruit and cottage cheese or nuts
- hummus and vegetables
- crackers and cheese
- English muffin and peanut butter
Message From Your RD
Developing a 1900-calorie meal plan is not a difficult task as you follow the guidelines provided. Remember balance is the key to satiety. Think more volume for fewer calories and be mindful of your food choices.
This information is based on my education and experience working at SHS Nutrition, LLC in Piscataway, NJ.