According to the US Department of Agriculture, an 1800 calorie diet is appropriate for most sedentary women who desire to maintain their weight, for active women who desire to lose weight, and for most men who desire to lose weight. An 1800 calorie diet is generally broken down into three meals and two snacks each day.
1800 Calorie Diet Guidelines
Most of the 1800 calories should come from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products or dairy substitutes, beans, lentils and healthy fats from olive oil, avocado, nuts and fish. It is important to eat consistently throughout the day and to avoid skipping meals. Try to eat a good source of protein with each meal and snack, such as peanut butter, almond butter, nuts, cottage cheese, yogurt, low-fat cheese or lean meats.
For breakfast choose two servings of fruit, two servings of protein, two servings of whole grains and one fat. An example meal is: ½ cup of melon, 6 oz. orange juice, 2 eggs, 2 slices of whole grain toast and 2 tsp. whipped butter.
For the mid-morning snack choose one serving of low-fat dairy or dairy substitute and one fruit. An example snack is: 1 cup of low-fat yogurt and ½ cup of berries.
For lunch choose two servings of vegetables, two whole grains, two servings of protein, one serving of low-fat dairy or dairy substitute and one fat. An example meal is: a turkey sandwich with 2 slices of whole grain bread, 2 oz. turkey, 1 slice of low-fat cheese, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, olives and avocado slices.
For the mid-afternoon snack choose one protein and one fruit. An example snack is: trail mix with 1 oz. of raw nuts and 1/8 cup of dried fruit.
For dinner choose three servings of vegetables, two whole grains, three servings of protein and one fat. An example meal is: 1 cup of brown rice, 3 oz. chicken breast and 1 large salad consisting of mixed greens, carrots, tomatoes, onions, olives and 1 tbsp. of dressing.