A 3000 calorie diet: benefits, weight gain and meal plan

This article covers everything you need to know about a 3000 calorie diet, including reasons to follow one, foods to eat and limit, and a sample meal plan.

Who Should Follow a 3000 Calorie Diet?

You are based on several factors, including:

  • Sex. Women typically burn 5-10% fewer calories at rest than men of the same height ( ).
  • Age. The number of calories you burn at rest decreases with age ( ).
  • The size. The taller you are, the more calories you need to maintain your weight.
  • Activity. Exercise and activities like gardening and restlessness increase calorie needs ( ).

Daily calorie needs range from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for adult women and 2,000 to 3,000 calories for adult men, with the lower ranges for sedentary people and the higher for active people ( ).

These estimates are based on equations using average height and healthy weight for adult women and men. The reference female is 5’4” (163cm) tall and weighs 126 lbs (57.3 kg), while the reference male is 5’10” (178cm) tall and weighs 154 lbs (70 kg).

Depending on your size and activity level, you may need 3,000 calories or more per day to maintain your body weight.

Although athletes generally have higher caloric needs than the general public, people with physically demanding jobs, such as farm workers and construction workers, may also need a large number of calories to maintain their weight.

Conversely, if you do moderate exercise a few days a week with little activity in between, you probably don’t need as many calories, as it burns far fewer calories than most people. don’t assume (, , )


3000 calorie diet helps you gain weight

While many people aim to lose weight, others seek to gain it.

Weight gain occurs when you consistently consume more calories than you burn each day. Depending on your activity level and your height, 3000 calories may be more than your current caloric needs, causing you to gain weight ( ).

3000 calorie diet you might want to gain weight

There are many reasons for wanting to gain weight.

If you are classified as underweight based on your body mass index (BMI), your healthcare professional or dietitian may recommend that you gain weight.

Alternatively, if you are an athlete, you may want to gain weight – ideally in the form of muscle mass – to perform better in your sport.

Likewise, if you are a or into powerlifting, you may want to gain weight to increase muscle size and strength.

In other circumstances, you might have a health condition that increases your caloric needs, such as cancer or an infection, or recovering from major surgery (, ).

3000 calorie diet: A safe rate of weight gain

Although studies on the subject are sparse, an acceptable rate of weight gain is 0.5 to 2 pounds (0.2 to 0.9 kg) per week ( ).

However, in people with severe undernutrition, a weight gain of about 4.4 pounds (2 kg) per week has been safely accomplished ( ).

Rapid weight gain can lead to unpleasant side effects, such as bloating, stomach distress, and fluid retention. If you are an athlete, these side effects can impair your performance by negatively affecting your workouts or practices ( ).

Additionally, rapid weight gain can raise your triglyceride levels, which can increase your risk of heart disease ( , ).

depends on how many calories you need to maintain your weight.

If you maintain your weight, you will gain weight much faster on a 3000 calorie diet than someone maintaining weight on 2500 calories a day.

For example, an 8-week study showed that when 25 healthy people ate an additional 950 calories over their calorie needs to maintain weight, they gained an average of 11.7 pounds (5.3 kg) – 7, 7 pounds (3.5 kg), including fat ().

If these same participants ate only 500 calories above their maintenance calorie needs for the same amount of time, they would likely gain significantly less weight.


How to follow a healthy 3000 calorie diet

The calories in your diet come from three: carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Protein and carbs provide four calories per gram, compared to nine for fat.

The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDRs) established by the National Academies Institute of Medicine recommend people get ():

  • 45-65% of their calories come from carbohydrates
  • 20-35% of their calories from fat
  • 10-35% of their calories come from protein

The table below applies these percentages to a 3000 calorie diet:

Carbohydrates338–488 grammes
Fat67 to 117 grams
Protein75-263 grammes

When combined with resistance training, protein intakes at the upper end of the AMDR have been shown to reduce body fat gain from excessive caloric intake and increase muscle mass (, , ).

Resistance training may promote fat gain instead of a high-calorie diet ( ).

Consume protein around your workouts, as well as evenly spaced throughout your day to improve recovery and muscle growth (, ).

Foods to eat, foods to avoid

Consuming 3,000 calories a day from whole, unprocessed, or minimally processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins, can be challenging.

This is because these foods contain many nutrients but relatively few calories, which forces you to eat a much larger volume of food.

Conversely, it would be relatively easy to consume 3000 calories from highly processed refined foods, such as bacon, potato chips, candies, cookies, sugary cereals and sugary drinks, because they are very tasty and loaded with calories.

Yet, because these junk foods lack important health nutrients, it’s essential to get most of your calories from nutritious whole foods, including:

  • Animal-based protein: salmon, chicken, turkey, bison, whole eggs, and lean cuts of beef, such as flank or sirloin
  • Plant-based proteins: tofu, edamame, tempeh, peas and chickpeas
  • Grains: oats, rice, breads, pastas and quinoa
  • Dairy: , cottage cheese, kefir and Greek yogurt.
  • Fats and oils: almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, olive oil, and nut butters like natural peanut or almond butter
  • Fruits: avocados, berries, apples, bananas, pears, oranges, grapes, etc.
  • Vegetables: squash, sweet potatoes, peas, kale, peppers, zucchini, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, etc.

Plus, protein powders, including whey, casein, and plant-based powders like rice, soy, or peas, can be added to smoothies for a nutrient-dense, high-calorie snack.

Finally, which often provide 1,000 calories per serving, are a convenient option, but it’s best to meet your calorie and nutrient needs through diet first.

Highly processed, nutrient-poor foods to avoid or limit on a 3000 calorie diet include:

  • Fried food: French fries, onion rings, donuts, chicken strips, cheese sticks, etc.
  • Fast food: tacos, hamburgers, pizzas, hot dogs, etc.
  • Sweet foods and beverages: soda, candy, sports drinks, sweet baked goods, sweet tea, ice cream, sweet coffee drinks, etc.
  • Refined carbohydrates: cookies, chips, sugary cereals, pastries, etc.

If the majority of your diet consists of nutrient-dense whole foods, you can enjoy your favorite treats in moderation.

Examples of 3000 calorie diet menus

Here’s what 5 days on a 3000 calorie diet can look like.


  • Breakfast: 1 cup (80 grams) oats with 1 cup (240 ml) dairy or 1 sliced ​​banana and 2 tablespoons (33 grams) peanut butter
  • Snack: trail mix made with 1 cup (80 grams) of dry cereal, 1/4 cup (30 grams) of granola, 1/4 cup (34 grams) of dried fruit and 20 nuts
  • Lunch: 1 cup (100 grams) of spaghetti with 3/4 cups (183 grams) of tomato sauce and 4 ounces (112 grams) of cooked ground beef, plus 1 medium breadstick with 1 tablespoon (14 grams) of butter
  • Snack: 1 cup (226 grams) cottage cheese and 1/2 cup (70 grams) blueberries
  • Dinner: 4 ounces (110 grams) of salmon, 1 cup (100 grams) of brown rice, and 5 spears of asparagus


  • Breakfast: smoothie made with 2 cups (480 ml) dairy or plant-based milk, 1 cup (227 grams) yogurt, 1 cup (140 grams) blueberries, and 2 tablespoons (33 grams) almond butter
  • Snack: 1 granola bar, 1 piece of fruit and 2 pieces of string cheese
  • Lunch: 12-inch meat, cheese, and vegetable sub sandwich with 3 ounces (85 grams) of baby carrots, 2 tbsp (28 grams) and sliced ​​apple on the side
  • Snack: 1 scoop whey protein powder mixed in 1 cup (240ml) dairy or plant-based milk
  • Dinner: 4 ounces (113 grams) sirloin steak, 1 medium baked potato (173 grams) with 1 tablespoon (14 grams) butter, and 1 cup (85 grams) broccoli


  • Breakfast: 3 whole-wheat waffles with 2 tablespoons (33 grams) peanut butter, 1 orange, and 2 cups (480 ml) milk or plant-based milk
  • Snack: 1 nut-based granola bar and 1 ounce (28 grams) of almonds
  • Lunch: 6 oz (170 grams) 90% lean burger on a whole wheat bun with 1 slice of tomato and a leaf of lettuce, plus 1 1/2 cups (86 grams) of home cooked in olive oil
  • Snack: 1 cup (227 grams) Greek yogurt and 1 cup (140 grams) strawberries
  • Dinner: 4 ounces (112 grams) chicken breast, 1/2 cup (84 grams) quinoa, and 1 1/3 cups (85 grams) snow peas


  • Breakfast: 3-egg omelet with sliced ​​onions, red and green peppers, and 1/4 cup (28 grams) shredded cheese with 2 cups (480 ml) milk or plant-based milk to drink
  • Snack: 2 tablespoons (33 grams) peanut butter and 1 banana on 1 slice of whole wheat bread
  • Lunch: 8 ounces (226 grams) of tilapia fillets, 1/4 cup (32 grams) of lentils, and a salad topped with 1/4 cup (30 grams) of walnuts
  • Snack: 2 hard slices on a mixed green salad
  • Dinner: turkey chili made with 4 ounce (114 grams) turkey breast, chopped onions, garlic, celery and sweet peppers, 1/2 cup (123 grams) diced diced tomatoes and 1/2 cup (120 grams) cannellini beans, topped with 1/4 cup (28 grams) shredded cheese. Add oregano, bay leaves, chili powder and cumin to taste.


  • Breakfast: 3 whole eggs, 1 apple, and 1 cup (80 grams) rolled oats made with 1 cup (240 ml) milk or plant-based milk
  • Snack: 1 cup (226 grams) of plain yogurt with 1/4 cup (30 grams) of granola and 1/2 cup (70 grams) of
  • Lunch: 168 grams (6 ounces) chicken breast, 1 medium sweet potato (151 grams), 3/4 cup (85 grams) green beans, and 1 ounce (28 grams) walnuts
  • Snack: 1/2 cup (130 grams) chickpeas on greens
  • Dinner: burrito bowl with 6 ounces (170 grams) ground sirloin steak, 1/2 cup (130 grams) black beans, 1/2 cup (90 grams) brown rice, 1 cup (35 grams) lettuce shredded and spinach, and 2 tablespoons (16 grams) of salsa