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Whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply eat healthier, meal planning can be a helpful tool to keep you on track. Research shows that planning meals ahead leads to better outcomes, including eating a wider variety of healthy foods.

If you are new to meal planning and don’t know where to begin, one of the first things you should do is determine how many calories you need. The USDA’s calculator uses factors like your height, weight, and activity level to find the value that would best meet your body’s needs. From there, you can plan out your meals and snacks based on this target.

Many people require 2,000 calories per day to maintain a healthy weight and have enough energy to get through the day, without battling hunger pangs. That’s why you’ll find a weeklong, 2,000-calorie meal plan in the slides ahead. While meal planning is relatively simple to do on your own, a sample plan can help eliminate the guesswork, and sometimes that’s just what you need to get started.

Each day of this plan includes three meals and two snacks, containing a total of about 2,000 calories, along with a nice balance of macro- and micronutrients. The menu is also filled with a variety of foods and flavors, so you’ll always have something fun (and nutritious) to look forward to!

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