As a bodybuilder, knowing how much to eat is important but so is knowing the right foods and in what amounts to eat to feel your best.
The 1700 calorie bodybuilding meal plan below does just that, providing a series of meals and snacks that promote lean muscle growth, give you plenty of energy for your workouts, all while keeping you feeling full and satisfied.
I’ll give you:
- A complete food list, which includes the quantities and portion sizes
- Exact meals to eat with the breakdown of protein, carbs, and fats
- Options to customize your meals based on personal preference
First, let’s discuss the ideal macronutrient split for a bodybuilder eating 1700 calories per day.
The Macronutrient Split For An 1700 Calorie Bodybuilding Diet
While calories are the first piece of your diet to nail down, it’s also important to consider your macronutrient split, especially as a bodybuilder where performance is a priority.
Simply put, a macronutrient split is the amount of protein, carbs, and fat that you will be eating to reach your 1700 calorie goal each day. We can tailor the amount of each macronutrient to ensure you are feeling energized and able to meet your bodybuilding goals.
Most bodybuilders perform best on a diet that is 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 30% fat. This ratio provides bodybuilders with enough protein to build muscle, enough carbs to fuel their workouts and enough fat to keep their bodies functioning optimally.
It is important to remember that some people may have individual circumstances that could impact this. If you are looking for a more custom macro ratio, talk with one of our coaches.
Who Is The 1700 Calorie Bodybuilding Meal Plan For?
Individuals that would generally benefit from a 1700 calories meal plan would be:
- Women between 120 – 140lbs looking to lose bodyweight
- Women between 100 – 120lbs looking to maintain body weight
- Women less than 100lbs looking to gain muscle mass
For most men, I do not recommend a 1700 calorie diet as this is likely too few calories, even where the goal is weight loss.
You may be wondering what the best approach is to determine your caloric needs. A great place to start is with an online macro calculator. Macro calculators can help you determine what your caloric intake is likely to be given your age, height, weight, and activity level.
It’s important to remember that these calculators are simply a starting point and it’s likely you will need to make some small adjustments based on how you’re progressing towards your goals with an intake.
Once you have these calories, ensure you are accurately following them for at least 3 weeks. During those weeks, assess your progress through things like your body weight, fit of your clothes, and progress photos.
If you are progressing towards your goals, continue to follow those calories. If you are not progressing, either increase your calories by 150 (if your goal is weight gain) or reduce by 150 (if your goal is weight loss). Once again, follow these calories for at least 3 weeks and continue to assess your progress.
You will continue to follow this approach until you have reached your goal.
As a bodybuilder, I recommend using the following inputs into the macro calculator:
What Foods to Eat On A 1700 Calorie Bodybuilding Diet?
Protein plays a very key role in a bodybuilder’s diet, providing the body with the building blocks it needs to repair and build muscle. Therefore, we want to aim for 30% of our calories to come from protein, which on a 1700 calorie diet is 130g.
Most bodybuilders have the goal of increased muscle mass, and while training is an important piece of that, protein is the other critical factor. Protein is what our body will use to repair muscles post-workout, which is what will ultimately lead to muscle growth.
Protein also plays a role in bodybuilders’ diet when they are cutting. To lose weight, we are eating fewer calories than we are burning which can often lead to hunger. Protein is a slower digesting macronutrient though and can help you stay full and satiated for longer after eating.
Therefore, if we can consume adequate protein when cutting, we are more likely to feel hungry making it easier to stick to our diet in the long run.
The best lean sources of protein for bodybuilders are meat, dairy and soy. Lean sources of protein are a better choice for bodybuilders so you aren’t overconsuming fat to get enough protein in your day.
Some lean protein sources that I recommend for bodybuilders are:
- Chicken breast
- Pork tenderloin and pork chops
- Lean steak
- Extra-lean ground meats
- Low-fat Greek yogurt
- Low-fat cottage cheese
Now that we know it’s important to eat protein, and where you can find it, you may be wondering what ‘enough’ protein is. Well, research shows that to best optimize lean muscle mass, 1.2 – 2.2g of protein per kg of body weight is ideal.
Those consuming a 1700 calorie diet are roughly between 50kg – 64kg, meaning 130g of protein per day falls nicely within this range.
Lastly, I want to touch on plant-based protein sources, such as beans and legumes, as I’m often asked whether these are good protein sources for bodybuilders. While these have some protein, they are primarily carbs which means you are likely to over-consume carbs if you are trying to get all your protein from these sources.
Instead, these can be great carb sources that provide some bonus protein.
Our body’s primary source of energy is carbohydrates so as bodybuilders, it’s important to consume enough to fuel heavy training sessions. About 40% of our daily calories is a good intake, which is 167g on a 1700 calorie diet.
Many of my nutrition clients come to me on a low carb diet, especially with the rise of paleo, keto, and other low carb diets recently. While this works for some, it is not ideal for anyone with athletic goals as carbs are a key factor in performance.
Instead, we want to focus on consuming whole food carb sources that are primarily slow-acting carbs with some fast-acting carbs strategically positioned around a workout.
Slow-acting carbs are your starchier carb sources that will provide you with a nice steady stream of energy throughout several hours. Good sources for bodybuilders include:
- Whole grain bread
- Whole-wheat pasta
Fast-acting carbs will provide a quicker boost of energy so they are great just before, or during a workout. We don’t want to be consuming the majority of our carbs from these sources though as you will find the spikes and crashes of energy are not ideal. Good sources of fast-acting carbs for bodybuilders include:
- Maple syrup
- Dried fruit
- Coconut water
Fat plays an important role in hormone production, regulation, and nutrient absorption so consuming enough is important. Around 30% of your daily calories, which on a 1700 calories diet is 57g, is a great place to be.
Fat is an interesting macronutrient for bodybuilders. Many will undereat fat in favor of carbs and protein without realizing the impact that has on their bodily function. Fat plays a key role in hormone production, regulation, and nutrient absorption, which means without enough fat your body will not function at its best.
While this may not seem like a big deal, bodybuilders are looking to achieve aesthetic and performance goals that push their physical limits. These are much easier to accomplish with a body that’s functioning at its best.
Similar to protein, fat is also a slow-digesting nutrient. This means adding fat to your meals will help keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer after eating. This is particularly beneficial for bodybuilders that are cutting as it can make sticking to your diet much easier in the long run.
When we consider how much fat to eat, The World Health Organization recommends 20-35% as optimal. Sticking to 30% puts us right within that range while still providing enough calories left over for the protein and carbohydrate needs that bodybuilders also have.
The focus with fat-rich foods is getting the majority from unsaturated sources such as:
- Olive oil
- Nut butters
Many protein sources, such as fattier meats, eggs, and dairy, also contain fat so it’s important to consider those as well.
What Foods To Avoid On An 1700 Calorie Bodybuilding Diet
I generally recommend avoiding processed food as it’s likely to be high in calories, without being very filling, making it easy to over-consume on a 1700 calorie diet.
When we consider a 1700 calorie diet, our meals are generally between 400 – 500 calories with a snack that is 200 – 300 calories. When you fill those calories with whole foods, you will find your food has plenty of volume making you feel full and satisfied after consuming it.
If you are filling those calories with processed food, however, you are likely to get very little volume. For example, an individual bag of chips is about 450 calories, which would be equivalent to an entire meal. Similarly, one fast food meal is typically 800 – 1200 calories which would be the equivalent of 2-3 meals!
As you can imagine, if you are filling your day with unsatisfying processed food, you are likely to overeat your calories and struggle to achieve your goals. Therefore, I recommend keeping this food out of your diet for the most part and consuming them as a treat on occasion to maintain a balanced diet.
The 1700 Calorie Bodybuilding Meal Plan
The meal plan below includes two options for each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) plus a snack option.
Both options 1 and 2 for each meal have the same nutrition so you can pick and choose based on what you like to eat and the amount of variety you are looking for.
Lunch and dinner meals also all have the same nutrition giving you even more options to pick and choose from.
Daily Meal Plan
Total daily nutrition:
- Calories – 1700
- Protein – 130g
- Carbs – 167g
- Fat – 57g
|MEAL||NUTRITION||OPTION 1||OPTION 2|
|Breakfast||Calories - 455|
Protein - 35g
Carbs - 45g
Fat - 15g
- ½ cup / 45g oats
- 1 scoop / 35g protein powder
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp / 20g peanut butter
- 1/2 cup / 75g strawberries
|Egg sandwich |
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup / 60g egg whites
- 4 slices / 50g deli turkey
- 1 slice / 20g cheddar cheese
- 2 slices whole-wheat toast
|Lunch||Calories - 455|
Protein - 35g
Carbs - 45g
Fat - 15g
- 4oz extra lean ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning
- ¼ cup / 50g basmati rice (measured when dry)
- 2 cups romaine lettuce
- ¼ cup /45g halved cherry tomatoes
- ⅛ cup / 15g grated cheddar cheese
- 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
- Hot sauce as desired
|Ham and Cheese Sandwich |
- 2 slices whole-wheat bread
- 120g deli smoked ham
- 1 slice / 20g cheddar cheese
- 3oz baby carrots
- 3oz sliced cucumber
|Dinner||Calories - 455|
Protein - 35g
Carbs - 45g
Fat - 15g
|Southwest Turkey Hash|
- 5oz extra lean ground turkey with fajita seasoning
- 1 small / 75g red pepper
- 1 small / 75g onion
- ½ large / 175g potato, roasted
- ½ small / 50g avocado
|Beef and Broccoli |
- 4oz sirloin (trimmed), marinated in garlic and 2 tbsp soy sauce and pan fried
- 2 tsp sesame oil (use to pan cook the meat in)
- 1 cup / 150g broccoli, roasted
- 3 tbsp / 38g basmati rice (measured dry)
|Snacks||Calories - 336|
Protein - 25g
Carbs - 32g
Fat - 12g
|Cottage Cheese Toast|
- ¾ cup / 170g cottage cheese (2%)
- 1 whole-wheat English muffin, toasted
- 2 slices tomato
- ½ tbsp olive oil to drizzle
- Top with salt and pepper
|Chocolate Banana Smoothie |
- 1 scoop / 35g chocolate protein powder
- 1 small / 100g banana, frozen
- ½ small / 50g avocado, ideally frozen
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 handful spinach
- 1 handful of ice
Weekly Meal Plan
If you’re someone who enjoys variety, then here is an example of how you can set up your week to include a different combination of food each day.
How To Customize The 1700 Calorie Meal Plan
The meal plan above provides a great place to start but we can provide further customization based on when your workouts are within your day, to provide energy and promote recovery.
Before a workout, your meal should be high in carbs and contain some protein to give you the most amount of energy. It’s also important to ensure your meal is not too high in fat as this will slow down your digestion and make it more difficult for your body to use the carbs it’s eating for energy. I recommend eating this meal 1.5 – 2 hours before your workout.
If you eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner as your pre-workout meal, I recommend moving the fat source from that meal to another meal that isn’t around your workout. The fat source in these meals would be peanut butter or cheese.
If your snack is your pre-workout meal, no changes are required. However, some may find this is not enough food to fuel a workout so make sure you pay attention to your energy levels. This is likely a good amount before a workout if you workout earlier in the morning or can’t stomach a big meal.
After a workout, it’s best to eat a meal that is high in protein and carbs within 1 hour after completing your workout. This will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to repair and recover post-workout. If you aren’t eating until hours after your workout, you are likely not going to see the muscle gains that you are looking for.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner all make great post-workout meals without any alterations.
I don’t recommend consuming the snack as your post-workout meal as it’s likely not sufficient calories.
Other Bodybuilding Meal Plans
Check out all our meal plans or view similar calorie specific meal plans.
Helms, E.R., Aragon, A.A. & Fitschen, P.J. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 11, 20 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-11-20
Liu, A. G., Ford, N. A., Hu, F. B., Zelman, K. M., Mozaffarian, D., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2017). A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion. Nutrition journal, 16(1), 53. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-017-0271-4
About The Author
Laura Semotiuk is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She works with athletes and active individuals looking to improve performance and develop healthy nutritional habits and behaviors. She has a passion for cooking, meal prepping, and creating simple and healthy recipes.
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