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How to Create a Healthy Eating Plan of 1800 Calories

Perhaps your doctor, your personal trainer, or a magazine article has recommended you to maintain a daily diet that has 1800 calories. In order to create a healthy eating plan, you must first determine if this recommendation is right for you. Then you must choose foods that supply important nutrients and provide variety while keeping you within your daily calorie range. Finally, you must determine the duration of your diet. Are you eating for long-term weight maintenance or trying to change your weight?

Determine Calorie Needs

Everyone has different calorie needs. A calorie is a measure of energy. The calories we take in provide the energy we need to get through the day. Body size and amount of muscle contribute to the base need for calories, as does level of physical activity. Generally speaking, the bigger or more muscular a person is, the greater her caloric need, and more active people use more calories than sedentary people. The first step for creating a healthy eating plan is to determine if 1800 calories is sufficient for your needs. There are many food and activity trackers available online to help you with this. For expert help, consult a nutritionist, a naturopathic doctor or your primary care practitioner.

Choose Good Food

To create a healthful diet, choose food that has good nutritional value per calorie taken in. An avocado contains about 300 calories, but it also contains healthy fats, fiber, some protein and plenty of vitamins. A 100-calorie snack pack of cookies has fewer calories, but it has little nutritional value. The best "buys" in the nutrient-per-calorie exchange are vegetables, especially high-fiber, dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale and chard; beans, which are good sources of protein and fiber; nuts and seeds; whole grains; eggs; and lean meats.

Balance Nutrients

Protein, carbohydrates and fat are the three macronutrients that make up our food. We need all three, but recommended proportions vary from person to person. A basic guideline is 40 to 60 percent of daily calories from carbohydrates, 15 to 25 percent of daily calories from protein, and the remainder from fats. Fluids, especially water, must also be included in the diet. Sugars and sweets should be kept to a minimum.

Length of the Diet

If the 1800-calorie diet was recommended for weight loss, what will you do when you reach your goal? At that point, your daily calorie needs will have changed. A maintenance diet is usually higher in calories than a weight-loss diet, and the balance of nutrients may shift somewhat as well. If you add more exercise to your routine, then your calorie intake should increase to provide more energy. For instance, if you are training for a marathon, you will need to eat more to fuel your running. Once the race is done, you will need fewer calories--at least until you start training for the next event.

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