While many people follow a diet to lose weight, there are just as many who do so for the opposite reason. Their goal is healthy weight gain. These people are intent on packing lean muscle mass to their frame. One way to do that is to follow the 3000 calorie meal plan. In this article, I’ll lay out the rationale behind this diet and show you exactly how to implement it in your life.
What is the 3000 Calorie Meal Plan?
The 3000 calorie meal plan is an eating program that is designed for muscular weight gain, It should be done in conjunction with a weight training program to increase lean body mass and strength. The average calorie intake across the board for weight maintenance is 2500 calories per day. So, this diet increases that amount by 500 calories per day.
The 3000 calorie diet has you eating 6 times per day. This should consist of 3 main meals and 3 snack meals. Meals should be spaced about 3 hours apart. To achieve a healthy balance of macronutrients, fiber vitamins, and minerals, it is recommended that your daily food intake includes the following:
- Grains (10 oz)
- Vegetables (4 cups)
- Fruit (2.5 cups)
- Dairy (3 cups)
- Protein (7 oz)
On this diet, you should stay away from refined foods like sugary cereals, potato chips and ice creams, and fried foods in favor of healthier options like nonfat yogurt, baked potato, sweet potato, almond butter, slices of cheese, unsweetened milk, low-fat salad, white rice, cooked vegetables, mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, natural peanut butter, bell pepper, and sweet corn.
A Sample Day’s Eating
Let’s now run through a typical day’s eating on the 3000 calorie meal plan. It assumes that you get up at 6:30 am and have your workout at 10 am. The first thing you should do when you get up is to drink water. Have two cups of water in the first 15 minutes of getting out of bed.
Your first meal of the day should get into your body about 30 minutes after getting out of bed. This is a great opportunity to get whole grains into your system. They will provide you with the ideal mix of carbs and protein to fuel you through the morning. I love to start the day with a bowl of oatmeal, with almond milk. Adding blueberries, walnuts and a dash of cinnamon will provide healthy fats, fiber, and nutrients.
- Almond Milk
Your mid-morning snack should take place at around 9:30. This will be 30 minutes before your daily workout. You want this meal to provide you with some quick-acting carbs that will provide the glycogen to fuel your workout. A good option is a piece of toast with mashed banana or peanut butter spread over it.
- 1 piece toast (whole wheat bread) with mashed banana
Lunch should take place at around 12:30 pm. This will also serve as your post-workout meal so should include a healthy protein intake. You want to infuse amino acids into your bloodstream to promote the protein synthesis that activates muscle repair and growth. You can also have a small portion of fast-acting carbs during your post-workout meal in order to restore the glycogen levels that were depleted by your workout.
A great lunch option is to cook up a stir fry shrimp meal. Include such vegetables as broccoli, cabbage, green beans, and carrots in your stir fry and sprinkle it with soy sauce. Serve it will brown rice.
- Stir Fry Shrimp: shrimp (3 oz), Mixed veggies (2 cups), Brown rice (1.5 cups)
Your afternoon snack should take place at around 3:30 pm. This will provide you with an energy boost to power you through the afternoon, which is a time when many people experience an energy lull. You may choose to have a protein smoothie at this time. Doing so will provide between 20-30 grams of protein to boost muscle growth. Add in a banana for the carbs to deliver the energy boost. I suggest using a whey isolate protein as this will deliver the amino acids to your muscles faster than other options such as casein protein.
- Whey Isolate Protein Shake with added banana
Your dinner meal when following a 3000 calorie diet plan should be eaten at around 6 pm. It should be built around a quality lean protein that is about the size of your fist. Alternate over the course of the week between chicken breast, red meat, and fish. You should also have a serving of vegetables that takes up around two-thirds of your plate.
Here is a sample of what you might eat for dinner …
- Chicken Breast
- Green beans
- Mixed vegetables
- Salad Dressing
- Olive oil
Your final meal of the day should take palace at around 8:30 pm. Rather than indulging in the normal high-carb desserts that many people go for, I recommend a healthy option that combines healthy fats, carbs, and proteins. One great option is to combine walnuts, chopped apple, and sliced cheese in a bowl.
- Chopped apple
- Sliced Cheese
The 3000 calorie diet meal plan will help you to gain muscular bodyweight so long as it is done consistently and with healthy foods that promote muscle gain and minimize fat gain. If you are a person who finds it difficult to eat 5 meals per day, you should limit your liquid intake with meals. Drinking your water between meals will allow room in your stomach for food.
Be sure to complement your 3000 daily calorie meal plan with a good weight training program so that you can make use of the extra caloric intake to build lean muscle mass.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of protein foods should I eat on a 300 calorie per day meal plan?
The best proteins to include on a 3000 calorie plan are chicken breast, steak, turkey breast, tuna, salmon, and pork. Non-meat sources of protein can include quinoa, beans, and broccoli. You should also include a whey isolate protein shake one or two times per day.
Should carbs be eliminated from a 3000 calorie per day diet?
No, carbohydrates should not be eliminated from a 3000 daily calorie intake per day diet. Carbs are needed as an energy source to provide vitamins and minerals. Focus on low glycemic index carb foods that are low in sugar and be sure to get 7-10 servings of vegetables and fruits every day.