2,700-Calorie Diet

Salmon Steak with Cream Sauce
Grilled salmon sits on a bed of spinach with a cream sauce over it. (Image: olgna/iStock/Getty Images)

Whether you're trying to maintain a healthy weight or gain weight, calories count. A 2,700-calorie diet is a higher-calorie regimen that can help most women and inactive men gain weight, and it can help active men maintain a healthy weight. The high number of calories doesn't mean you get to eat whatever you want, however. No matter how many calories you need to eat a day, it's important that your diet include a healthy balance of foods from all the food groups.

Grain Goodness

Grains supply B vitamins, iron, magnesium and selenium. Additionally, whole grains are a good source of fiber. You need 10 ounces of grains a day on your 2,700-calorie diet. One ounce of grain is equal to one slice of bread or 1 cup of cold cereal. For better health, make at least half your grain choices whole grains, which means whole-wheat bread and whole-grain cereal in place of white bread and refined grain cereals.

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables may be low in calories, but they are an important source of a number of essential nutrients that keep you healthy, including vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. People who eat more fruits and vegetables have lower rates of heart disease, type-2 diabetes and cancer. You need 3 1/2 cups of vegetables and 2 1/2 cups of fruit on your 2,700-calorie diet plan. Include a rainbow of fruits and veggies throughout the week to vary your nutrient intake.

Don't Forget Dairy

Most Americans don't eat or drink as much dairy as they should, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As a source of calcium and vitamin D, dairy foods are important for bone health. You need three servings of dairy a day on your diet plan, with one serving equaling to 1 cup of milk or yogurt or 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese. You should make most of your dairy choices low-fat or nonfat to limit your intake of saturated fat.

Pick Your Protein

Food sources of protein include seafood, meat, poultry, beans, peas, seeds and nuts. In addition to supplying your body with protein, these foods also help you meet your needs for iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E and the B vitamins. On your 2,700-calorie diet you need 7 ounces of protein foods a day. As with the other food groups, if you want to maximize the nutrition in your diet, be sure to eat a variety of different sources of protein throughout the week. And when it comes to meat, make it lean to keep your saturated fat intake low.

The Extras

It's OK to get a little fat and sugar on your diet. In fact, healthy fats -- which include fat from oils, nuts, seeds and avocados -- when used to replace saturated fats, may help lower cholesterol levels. You can have 8 teaspoons of oil on your 2,700-calorie diet plan. Half a tablespoon of peanut butter and 1/3 ounce of nuts also counts as 1 teaspoon of oil. When it comes to foods with solid fat and added sugar, such as cookies and candy, you should limit your daily calorie allotment of these foods to no more than 300 calories a day.

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