At a time, when unhealthy lifestyle, unwholesome eating habits and lack of physical activity has made our lives completely dependent on medicines, and chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, and obesity have become widely prevalent among people of all age groups, a complete reform in our lifestyle is what we need to answer the burning question of how to overcome obesity and prevent chronic diseases. The two most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle are – following a healthy diet chart for weight loss and daily physical activity. Young adulthood is considered the healthiest time of life when the body is at the peak of strength and vigour, and it is necessary to maintain it in its ideal state by making the right food choices and staying physically active. In this article, we have presented 4 different diet charts for your men and women based on their daily level of activity.
Daily Calorie Requirements of Young Adults as per Gender and Level of Activity
When it comes to nutrition, young men and women tend to underestimate the importance of a well-planned diet and put more emphasis on matching the standards of physical appearance set by the society. And in the pressure to comply with this generalized social image they ignore their health and diet and often develop eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia that have serious effects on overall health. It is more common among women rather than men. Paying attention to what one eats and developing healthy eating habits provides long-term benefits. Therefore, it is indispensable to follow a healthy and well-planned diet as per an individual’s daily calorie requirements in order to stay healthy and strong. There are a number of factors that affect the daily calorie requirement of individuals such as age, gender and level of activity, but it has been seen that the daily calorie requirement of young adults ranges between 2000 to 3000 calories.
It is essential to define the terms sedentary and active used in the table above in order to get a better idea about the lifestyle and level of physical activity of the group of people mentioned in this table.
“Sedentary” – The word sedentary here stands for a lifestyle that comprises only light physical activity related to regular day-to-day life with no exercise or workouts.
“Active” – The word active here stands for a lifestyle that comprises at least daily walking of more than 3 miles per day at the speed of 3 to 4 miles per hour or involvement in sports along with light physical activity related to typical day-to-day life.
Healthy 2000 Calorie and 2400 Calorie Diet Charts for Young Adult Women
Although, most women opt for easy 1200 calorie meals in order to keep their weight in check, but in most cases merely 1200 calories are not enough to meet the energy requirements of young women who have a busy and active lifestyle. The daily calorie requirement for women aged 19 to 30 years is approximately 2400 calories if they are active and 2000 to 2200 calories if they are moderately active or sedentary. Young women need more of certain nutrients compared to mature women. For example, they require 25 to 30 grams of fiber on a daily basis whereas older adults need 21 grams of fiber. They also require more healthy fats.
2000 Calorie Diet Plan for Young Women with Sedentary Lifestyle
Following is a sample 2000 calorie diet plan that can be used by young adult women between 18 to 30 years of age with a more or less physically inactive lifestyle. It is one of the best diets that work for women who want to maintain a healthy body weight without much exercise. It can also be used as one of the effective diet plans to lose weight when combined with daily exercise for at least one hour daily. The 2000 calorie diet plan contains all the essential nutrients in optimum proportion in order to promote healthy functioning of the body.
The 2000 calorie diet plan is divided into 3 meals and 2 snacks, each meal consisting of approximately 500 calories and each snack consisting of approximately 250 calories.
Breakfast – 1 cup cooked oatmeal, 1 cup mixed raisins and almonds, 1 cup low-fat milk
Mid-Morning Snack – 1 cup low-fat yogurt, 1 cup sliced apples
Lunch – 1 cup cooked brown rice, 1.5 cups steamed broccoli, 1 cup tofu or cottage cheese curry cooked with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Evening Snack – 20 grams dry roasted peanuts
Dinner – 2 whole grain bread slices, 85 grams of grilled chicken breast, 2 cups of leafy green vegetables
2400 Calorie Diet for Young Women with Active Lifestyle
2000 calories are not enough for women engaged in moderate to intense workouts on a daily basis or who are into vigorous sports activities. In such cases, the total calorie requirements for women are approximately 2400 calories. A balanced 2400 calorie diet plan can help in increasing lean muscle mass in active women by cutting out excess fat from the body. The 2400 calorie meal plan should include foods from all the major food groups such as vegetables, fruits, grains, meat, and dairy. Not more than 35% of the daily calories should come from fats, unsaturated fats preferably.
The 2400 calorie diet plan is divided into 3 meals and 2 snacks, each meal consisting of approximately 600 calories and each snack consisting of approximately 300 calories.
Breakfast – Banana smoothie made with 1 banana, 1 cup of skim milk and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter along with 2 scrambled eggs and 1 slice of whole grain bread
Mid-Morning Snack – 10 whole grain crackers with 2 tablespoons of hummus
Lunch – 1 cup of cooked brown rice, 85 grams of grilled or baked fish, 1 baked sweet potato, 1 cup spinach salad, 2 small oat cookies
Evening Snack – 1/2 cup of cottage cheese with 2 tablespoons of almonds, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Dinner – Pasta salad made with 1 cup whole wheat pasta, 1/2 cup chicken breast diced, chopped bell peppers and tomatoes. 1 Pear
Importance of a Balanced and Healthy Diet for Young Women
Young adults are not much bothered about what they eat, but diet can have an enormous effect on the level of energy, appearance, and health in the long run. So, it is important to eat foods from all food groups in order to get the essential nutrients for healthy working of the body.
- A healthy diet for young women should have vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and proteins as the foundation.
- Some of the best natural protein sources include lean meat, eggs, fish, beans, and lentils.
- The minerals iron and calcium are extremely important for young women in order to build and maintain strong bones and reduce the risk of bone loss and osteoporosis in future.
- Some healthy sources of calcium are nonfat yogurt, milk, cheese and dark leafy vegetables.
- Iron deficiency in young women can result in irregular menstrual cycle, fatigue, faintness and lack of concentration.
- Folic acid is yet another essential nutrient for young women because it promotes the formation of new cells and reduces the risk of birth defects.
- Some effective natural sources of folic acid are citrus fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes and leafy vegetables.
- It is necessary to cultivate eating habits that are healthy and sustainable.
Healthy 2400 Calorie and 3000 Calorie Diet Charts for Young Adult Men
Calorie requirements for men vary considerably from that of women because of their higher rate of metabolism. Therefore a balanced diet chart for young men should be planned accordingly so that it can supply adequate amount of nutrients in order to maintain healthy functioning of the body and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes or obesity in future. A young male between the ages of 18 to 30 years requires approximately 2400 calories a day in order to sustain his body weight. The 2400 calorie diet is one of the best diets to lose weight for men if it is combined with daily physical activity and strength training. For those who are into muscle building or intense sports activities, a 3000 calorie diet rich in protein is more suitable in order to boost the formation of lean muscle mass in the body.
2400 Calorie Diet Plan for Young Men with Sedentary Lifestyle
A 2400 calorie diet plan is appropriate for physically active women aged 19 to 30 years and for all adult men. A diet chart consisting of 2400 calories is considered one of the healthy diets for men because it induces weight loss when it is coupled with moderate physical activity. Although, most diet plans for men give importance to high-protein foods, but men also need to consume plenty of vegetables and fruits in order to have a well-balanced diet. Fruits and vegetable not only promote weight loss but supply the essential minerals for the body. This aspect is most overlooked amongst this age group.
A 2400 calories diet is divided into 3 meals and 2 snacks, each meal consists of roughly 600 calories and each snack around 300 calories.
Breakfast – 1 Cup fortified cereal, 1 large banana, 1.5 cups skim milk, 2 oat cookies
Mid-Morning Snack – 1 slice of wheat bread with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
Lunch – 1 Cup of brown rice, 200 grams baked or grilled salmon, 1 baked potato, 1 pear
Evening Snack – Yogurt smoothie made with 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt, 1 cup fresh fruits, 1 cup fruit juice
Dinner – Pasta salad made with 1 cup whole wheat pasta, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, 1 cup of cubed chicken breast, bell peppers and tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of olive oil along with 1 glass orange juice
3000 Calorie Diet Plan for Young Men with Active Lifestyle
Young men are often focused on bodybuilding and athletics and it is well known that the efforts of bodybuilding should be supported by a well-planned bodybuilding diet plan in order to develop a toned and chiseled body. A balanced 3000 calorie diet plan can help most men to gain healthy weight and muscle mass when it is accompanied with regular weight training and indoor cardio workout at the gym. But even in a high-calorie diet plan, it is always important to include a variety of healthy foods ranging from all the food groups in order to get all the nutrients for maintaining good health.
The 3000 calorie diet might sound simple, but it is difficult for most people to consume 3000 calories in just 3 meals and 2 snacks. Therefore, we have divided the 3000 calorie diet into 3 meals and 3 snacks. Each meal consists of approximately 750 calories, and each snack consists of approximately 250 calories.
Breakfast – 2 cups of cooked oatmeal, 2 cups of whole milk, 12 almonds, 1/4 cup raisins, 1 cup orange juice
Mid-Morning Snack – 1 large apple, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
Lunch – 1 cup cooked brown rice, 114 grams of grilled or baked fish cooked with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 cup boiled peas, 1.5 cups of fresh pineapple
Evening Snack – 3 whole wheat crackers, 28 grams cheese
Dinner – Burger made with 85 grams of grilled chicken breast on a whole wheat bun along with 1.5 cups of roasted sweet potato, 1 cup roasted cauliflower.
Bedtime Snack – 1 cup fortified cereal with 1 cup of whole milk
Importance of a Balanced and Healthy Diet for Young Men
As a man grows from youth to adulthood, his nutritional requirements increase with the constant change in bones and muscles and therefore, his diet must be planned accordingly in order to meet these requirements.
- Although 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day is the normal recommendation; but for young men it should be nine servings per day.
- Optimum intake of fruits and vegetables provides dietary fibers, vitamins and minerals to the body and helps in maintaining important functions like the formation of red blood cells, better vision, and improved immune power.
- It also helps in improving digestion and decreasing blood cholesterol.
- Young men need to give adherence to the importance of a balanced diet that includes proteins along with fruits and vegetables.
- Some of the healthiest fruits and vegetables include citrus fruits, berries, apples, bananas, carrots, tomatoes, and cauliflowers.
- Muscle building requires 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight; however proteins should supply only 13 to 18% of the total daily calories.
- Carbohydrates are the storehouse of energy that provides energy for intense training and also aids the synthesis of new muscle tissue.
- 45 to 65 percent of total calories should come from carbohydrates.
Importance of Exercise and Physical Activity for Young Adults
All of us are well aware of the benefits of exercises and how its helps us to manage body weight in a better way, stay strong and fit, boost energy and reduce stress. Yet, most young men and women fail to get the recommended amount of daily physical activity because of their jobs and family commitments. But, daily physical activity along with a balanced diet can go a long way in maintaining healthy body weight and keeping diseases at bay.
Promote Weight Loss – One of the basic reasons to work out every day it to manage weight in a better way. Intense exercising for 30 minutes a day is enough to promote weight loss when it is coupled with a healthy diet.
De-stress the Mind – Continuous work pressure can lead to depression and other health complications. Exercise works as an amazing diversion to the stress and anxiety. Exercise also relaxes the tense muscles and elevates the mood by promoting the release of endorphin’s.
Promote Brain Functions – Exercises increases blood flow to the brain and stimulates the growth of nerve cells in the particular part of the brain which is involved in memory. This in turn helps in improving brain responses, thus, improving concentration and performance at work.
Improve Oxygen Supply to All Cells of the Body – Daily physical activities can dramatically improve overall health by improving the body’s utilization of oxygen and reducing systolic blood pressure.
Enhance Muscle Strength and Joint Function – Strength training and weight lifting exercises not only help in enhancing muscle mass but also bone strength and metabolism. Strength training workouts put more strain on the muscles and stimulate the formation of proteins inside the muscle cells.
Forget fad diets for weight loss and start following a well-planned diet as per your level of physical activity and try to make some time for workouts even in your busy schedule in order to stay fit, maintain healthy body weight and keep chronic diseases at bay.