Knowing how many calories to consume each day is vital in maintaining a healthy weight. Calories make up the amount of energy you fuel to the body through the foods and drinks you eat. While you may know the recommended amount of calories to take in each day, you may still be unsure about how to divide up these calories for each meal. How many calories should I eat for lunch, dinner or snacks? Read on to learn more.

How Many Calories Should I Eat for Lunch?

Knowing how to divide up calories for each of the three meals a day plus snacks can be cumbersome. Fortunately, for most people, dividing up the calories evenly with each meal works out just fine. But if you want to make the best using of the calories, just keep reading.

Figuring Out the Numbers

A general estimate of calories needed per day can be broken down simply between each of the main meals. For women, about 2,000 calories should be consumed a day, among which 300 of those calories are typically consumed through snack times, leaving 1,700 calories for main meals. When divided by three for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you end up with roughly 565 calories for each meal. And men typically need about 2,500 calories a day, and minus the 300 for snacks, it leaves 2,200 for the day, or 735 calories for each of the three meals. However, if you snack more throughout the day and have smaller meals, you'll want to consume fewer calories during each meal. This general estimate is based on maintaining your weight. If you consume more calories without exercises, then you will gain weight; and if you consume fewer calories, you will typically lose weight. Based on this guideline, for detailed nutrition intake, refer to the following:

  • Carbohydrate: Carbs should make up 55 percent of your meal and should be complex carbs from whole grains, brown rice, etc. Complex carbs will digest more slowly and fuel the body with energy consistently throughout the day.

  • Protein: Proteins should make up about 20 percent of your meal portion. Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and seafood and Greek yogurts are healthy sources of lean protein that will help the buildup the muscles and boost your metabolism.

  • Fats: Healthy monounsaturated fats should consist of 25 percent of your meal. Foods like nuts, avocado, natural oils like olive oil or almond oil contain healthy fats, which can be included in your meals to keep you fuller for longer. You want to stay away from the saturated fats that can have a negative impact on your weight and health.

Diet Samples

After answering "how many calories should I eat for lunch or any other meals", here we provide some diet samples for both women and men that you can choose to follow.

#1,700 Calories Sample 1

Breakfasts (450 calories)

Lunch (280 calories)

Snacks (270 calories)

Dinner (700 calories)

Two hard boiled eggs (170)

Two slices of Granary Bread (200)

Piece of fruit (80)

Large Salad (100)

cottage Cheese (120)

Melon (60)

Low Fat Yogurt (150)

Small piece of Dark Chocolate (120)

Whole wheat pasta with salmon and steamed broccoli in a creamy sauce. (550)

Low-calorie dessert (150)

#1,700 Calories Sample 2

Breakfasts (610 calories)

Lunch (300 calories)

Snacks (260 calories)

Dinner (530 calories)

Scrambled eggs with tomato and mushrooms (250)

Two slices of bacon (260)

One Slice of Whole Grain toast (100)

Tuna salad (220)

Piece of fruit (80)

Fruit milk shake (160)

Nuts (120)

Roast pork (250)

Mashed potatoes with gravy (170)

Steamed vegetables (110)

#2,200 Calories Sample 1

To maintain your weight, it is better to consume a few more calories as you work off throughout your day. As for "how many calories should I eat for lunch", it will be based on your plan only if you have taken required calories for each day.

Breakfasts (505 calories)

Lunch (583 calories)

Snacks (505 calories)

Dinner (607 calories)

All bran cereal with skim milk, banana, and walnuts (465)

Cup of fruit juice (40)

Large Chicken salad with ginger vinaigrette (503)

Orange slices (80)

Apple slices with peanut butter (305)

Carrots with Hummus (230)

Stuffed peppers with spinach and steamed carrots (507)

2 tablespoons of dark chocolate (100)

#2,200 Calories Sample 2

Breakfasts (670 calories)

Lunch (500 calories)

Snacks (520 calories)

Dinner (510 calories)

1½ cups of all bran cereal with skim milk (390)

2 scrambled eggs with 1 slice whole wheat toast (280)

2 cups of vegetable soup (420)

Pear (80)

Medium Banana with walnuts (235)

Hard-boiled egg with one slice of whole wheat baguette and avocado (285)

Wild mushroom Pizza with Arugula and Pecorino (510)


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