1600 Calorie High Protein Meal Plans

A plate of diced chicken, rice, and veggies on a table for 1600 calorie high protein meal plans main header image.

Striking the right balance of calories and protein is widely known to be an effective strategy for weight management. Use these 1600 calorie high protein meal plans as a guide, and customize based on your preferences and lifestyle.

Figuring out your caloric needs can depend on a number of various factors – your sex, physical activity level, weight, etc. 1600 calories may be ideal for some women wishing to lose weight, and in some cases, maintain their weight. 

Reviewing the meal plans below, you’ll find that 1600 calories isn’t too restrictive – and you can still enjoy some of your favorite foods. 

The Link Between protein and Weight Management

Eating a high protein diet can have a huge impact on weight management. Several clinical studies have found that consuming more than the recommended daily allowance of protein can help to reduce body weight and decrease fat mass. It can even help prevent weight regain after weight loss. 

When in a calorie deficit, eating a higher protein diet helps to preserve lean muscle mass – which correlates with the number of calories we burn at rest. Protein is the macronutrient which takes the longest to digest and is important for satiety – keeping us full for a longer period of time.

Therefore, if we prioritize protein at each and every meal and snack – there is less likelihood to turn to convenience foods or processed snacks, which may decrease overall caloric intake and maintain a healthier lifestyle. 

Fiber and Weight management

Like protein, the benefits of fiber have been widely-researched – and can offer similar benefits when it comes to meal satiation and stabilizing blood sugars. It has also been shown to help create a healthy gut microbiome, decrease cholesterol, and improve bowel regularity- just to name a few.

A recent systematic review and meta-analysis found that consuming soluble fiber helps improve body weight regardless of the amount of calories consumed. This is often thought to be from the fact that soluble fiber slows down digestion, keeping us fuller (for longer) and potentially reducing appetite. 

Determining Calorie Needs

When determining caloric needs, it is best to stay above your basal metabolic rate- or the calories your body burns at rest. In fact, there aren’t many situations I can think of where I would recommend any diet less than 1500 calories. 

However, each person’s caloric needs are different! Work with a registered dietitian for a more specific and individualized meal plan. 

Below is a detailed infographic to use as a guide to determine an estimate of your caloric needs, and calculate your macros (optional).

Detailed Infographic on How to Calculate Macros for Macro Diet Meal Plans

Recommended Daily Allowance for Protein

The recommended daily allowance for protein is currently 0.8 g/kg/day, however, this is just the minimum amount of protein needed to preserve lean body mass. 

For those with a more active lifestyle, 1.2-1.7 g/kg/day is more ideal. This is about 82-116 grams of protein per day for a 150 pound person.

Infographic on building healthy meals: making sure half your plate is vegetables; eating healthy as a busy mom

As an Amazon affiliate, this post does contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I receive a small compensation when a purchase is made. However, I only promote products I love and feel would be useful to you!

Related Posts:

1600 Calorie High Protein Meal Plans

After reviewing the latest research, I have found that 20-30 grams of protein per meal is most ideal for muscle protein synthesis and for increasing overall protein intake. Most studies suggest it is best to distribute your protein intake throughout the day, rather than consuming a meal with over 40 grams of protein.

The majority of animal protein sources contain at least 20 grams of protein in a 4 ounce serving, which is about the size of a deck of cards. 

Nutritional information is just an estimation, and may vary depending on individual preparation and ingredients. 

For a 1600 calorie high protein meal plan, meals should range from 300-500 calories with at least 20 grams of protein, and 1-2 snacks with 5-15 grams of protein.

Meal Plan #1

  • 1610 calories.
  • 114 grams of protein.
  • 149 grams of carbohydrates.

Breakfast

Chia Breakfast Bowl: 2 tablespoons of chia seeds mixed with Greek yogurt and topped with fruit and chopped nuts. 

400 calories, 22 grams of protein, 41 grams of carbohydrates.

The chia mixture in two large white bowls on a cutting board that is garnished with raspberries and walnuts.

Lunch

Mediterranean Quinoa BowlA fresh and healthy quinoa bowl topped with diced chicken, cucumber, red bell peppers, feta cheese, and chopped nuts with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing.

472 calories, 33 grams of protein, 44 grams of carbohydrates.

Mediterranean grain bowl on a cutting board.

Dinner

Buffalo Chicken Crockpot PastaShredded chicken, red bell peppers, and rotini pasta with a whipped cottage cheese and buffalo sauce. 

550 calories, 44 grams of protein, 50 grams of carbohydrates.

A small bowl of buffalo chicken crockpot pasta next to a larger bowl on a cutting board.

Snacks

Mini Strawberry Cheesecake Cups: These mini cups are made with protein powder, Greek yogurt, and topped with graham crackers and fresh strawberries.

88 calories, 15 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates.

Two Oreos: If you’re craving a sweet treat, oreos can easily fit into a healthy 1600 calorie meal plan!

100 calories, 0 grams of protein, 8 grams of carbohydrates.

An infographic comparing different foods and their protein content per serving.

Meal Plan #2

  • 1606 calories.
  • 95 grams of protein.
  • 123 grams of carbohydrates.

This meal plan is a little lower in carbohydrates, with one larger snack. 

The latest research shows a diet with less than 130 grams of carbs per day is just as effective as a keto diet. It’s not necessary to follow a restrictive diet like keto for long-term weight loss goals! 

Breakfast

Eggs (with 1/2 Tbsp. of butter), Toast and Strawberries: 2 eggs any style, 2 slices of 100% whole wheat toast, and 1/2 cup of strawberries.

400 calories, 24 grams of protein, 44 grams of carbohydrates.

Lunch

Grilled Chicken Salad (Dinner at the Zoo): An easy, filling grilled chicken salad topped with cherry tomatoes, corn kernels, sliced cucumber, bacon, bleu cheese, and sliced avocado.

480 calories, 23 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrates.

Dinner

Chili Spaghetti Squash Casserole (Eat the Gains): This is a lower carbohydrate, yet filling meal that’s high in protein from the ground beef. Packed with the flavors of chili but as a casserole!

358 calories, 32 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbohydrates.

Snack

Apple slices with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 8 ounces of skim milk.

368 calories, 16 grams of protein, 42 grams carbohydrate

Meal Plan #3

  • 1619 calories.
  • 99 grams of protein.
  • 211 grams of carbohydrates.

Breakfast

— Banana Cinnamon Overnight Oats: Overnight oats are so easy to meal prep! This recipe is creamy and delicious – utilizing protein powder and chia seeds to make it high in protein and fiber. 

385 calories, 30 grams of protein, 48 grams of carbohydrates.

— Coffee with 2 Tbsp. Cofee Mate Vanilla cream.

70 calories, 0 grams of protein, 10 grams of carbohydrates

A masor jar of banana cinnamon overnight oats topped with whipped cream with a spoon in it.

Lunch

— Lean Cuisine Features Chicken Club Panini: I included a frozen meal because they can be a convenient, healthy choice if you pick the right one. Read labels and pay attention to the protein and sodium content. 

340 calories, 24 grams of protein, 45 grams of carbohydrates.

— Apple slices (one medium apple).

95 calories, 1 grams of protein, 25 grams of carbohydrates.

Dinner

— Salmon Stir-Fry Bowl: Bake salmon and combine with sautéed edamame and veggies. Serve over a 1/2 cup of rice with 1 tablespoon of stir-fry sauce.

400 calories, 28 grams of protein, 47 grams of carbohydrates.

Snack

— 2 Cookie Dough Protein Bites (Eating Bird Food).

222 calories, 10 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbohydrates.

— 1 ounce of almonds.

170 calories, 6 grams of protein, 6 grams of carbohydrates.

Tips to Increase Protein Intake

  • Add nuts and seeds to meals: Chopped nuts add a little protein and healthy fats to any meal – plus they add a nice crunch!
  • Nutritional yeast seasoning: This nutritious and nutty seasoning contains 5 grams of protein per serving and is great as a substitute for parmesan cheese.
  • Incorporate Greek yogurt and cottage cheese: These two ingredients are so versatile as great replacements for heavy cream or mayonnaise. 
  • Read food labels: You’d be surprised at the difference in protein content of products at the grocery store. For example, my favorite pasta is Barilla Protein+ with 10 grams of protein per serving.
  • Include beans and lentils more often: including plant-based protein sources, like beans and lentils, are an easy way to add more protein and fiber to any meal. 

Underestimating Caloric Intake

It’s very common for people to underestimate their caloric intake, as counting calories is difficult to do accurately. Be mindful of portion sizes, and follow these tips:

  • Focus on meals high in protein and fiber – and make half your plate vegetables or fruits instead of strictly counting calories.
  • Eat smaller portions.
  • Choose more nutrient-dense foods, and less foods with empty calories.
  • Be aware of the little calories that can add up – like the cream in your coffee, that Starbucks beverage you order, or that handful of chocolate chips you ate.
  • Try not to be hard on yourself! This can often backfire. It’s more about consistency than perfection!

Additional Thoughts

Hopefully, this post provided you with the information to customize your own 1600 calorie meal plan utilizing foods higher in protein and fiber which have been been shown to assist with weight management. 

Meal tracking apps can be helpful to track calories and macronutrient intake at the start of this journey. Hopefully, after some experience doing it – you won’t even need to count calories anymore! You might just find that following these meal principles will allow you to manage your weight without even having to think about it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *