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How Many Calories Should I Eat at Lunch?

author image Nina K.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by,, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.
How Many Calories Should I Eat at Lunch?
Two young men eating lunch together. Photo Credit: Pinnacle Pictures/Photodisc/Getty Images

With three meals per day plus snacks, rationing calories can seem like a chore. For most people, however, eating the same number of calories at breakfast, lunch and dinner is just fine -- so you don't need a unique formula for the contents of your midday meal, according to Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.

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Crunching the Numbers

On average, a woman needs 2,000 calories per day, while men need 2,500 calories. Removing 300 calories for snacks -- a rough estimate -- you're left with about 1,700 meal calories for females, and 2,200 meal calories for males. Dividing those numbers by three, the average woman should eat about 565 calories per meal, while the average man should eat about 735 calories per meal. If you eat more snacks, have smaller meals, and vice versa. These numbers work for weight maintenance; if you eat more calories than you burn, you'll gain weight. Eat less, and you'll lose.

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