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3500 Calorie Diet

by
author image Courtney Winston
Dr. Courtney Winston is a registered/licensed dietitian, certified diabetes educator and public health educator. She holds a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her doctoral degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center. Dr. Winston was recognized in 2012 with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Emerging Leader in Dietetics Award for the state of California.
3500 Calorie Diet
The 3,500 calorie diet will allow you to eat a variety of colorful and nutrient-rich foods. Photo Credit Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images

The 3,500 calorie diet is a high-calorie diet suitable for individuals who live active lifestyles, individuals who attempting to gain weight and individuals who are undergoing medical treatments that require additional nutrition support. Because the 3,500 calorie diet is high in calories, some discretionary calories are permissable; however, it is recommended that the vast majority of your foods and beverages be rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Before you start this diet, be sure to discuss this meal plan with your primary care physician.

Who Should Follow 3,500 Calorie Diet?

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most healthy adults will need between 1,800 to 3,000 calories per day; however, some individuals need more than 3,000 calories. These individuals may need the extra calories because they partake in extreme amounts of aerobic activity, because they are underweight, or because they are undergoing surgery or cancer treatment. In any of these cases, the 3,500 calorie diet may be prescribed by a physician or dietitian.

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Healthy Food Choices

Choosing healthy foods is a crucial part of the 3,500 calorie diet. Instead of simply consuming 3,500 calories of high fat, low nutrition foods, you need to select foods that are dense in calories and nutritients. Foods containing unsaturated fats, such as oils, nuts and avocado, should be incorporated into most meals and snacks. Dried fruits and granola are also good sources of calories, vitamins and minerals. Try adding these foods to yogurt, cooked cereal and salads.

Healthy Beverage Choices

Beverages, such as soda and fruit punch, are calorically-dense, but they do not offer much nutritional value. Because you do want to ensure that you get some nutrition from your beverages, try to drink beverages that contain some vitamins, minerals or protein. For example, 100 percent fruit juice is typically high in vitamin C, and one cup of reduced-fat milk offers 8 g of protein and roughly 300 mg of calcium.

Reading Nutrition Labels

If you are aiming for 3,500 calories per day, it is a good idea to check out the nutrition labels on the foods you are consuming. First, identify the serving size at the top of the nutrition label. This is important because all of the information on the nutrition label pertains to this serving size. Next, look at the number of calories, grams of protein, and percentage of vitamins and minerals in each serving. This will help you to reach 3,500 calories per day.

Sample Menu

The following is a sample menu appropriate for the 3,500 calorie diet.
Breakfast: 2 cups whole grain cereal with 1 oz. almond slivers and 1 cup rapsberries, 1 orange, 8 oz. reduced-fat milk
Snack: 1/4 cup granola with 1 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 oz. walnuts
Lunch: 2 cups whole wheat pasta with 3/4 cups meat sauce, side salad with 2 tbsp. oil and vinegar dressing, whole wheat dinner roll with 1 tbsp. no trans-fat margarine, 8 oz. reduced-fat milk, 1 1/4 cup strawberries
Snack: 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1 cup peaches
Dinner: 4 oz. grilled chicken, 1 cup brown rice with 1 tbsp. no trans-fat margarine, 1 cup steam mixed vegetables, 8 oz. reduced-fat milk
Snack: 3/4 cup fruit and nut trail mix

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