1800 Calorie ADA Diet | Solutions Medical Center

1800 Calorie ADA Diet

1800 Calorie ADA Diet

 The 1800 calorie diet is simply eating no more than 1800 calories a day. To follow the diet, the (ADA) American Diabetes Association recommends either using the exchange method of eating or carbohydrate counting. Often times this is referred to as an 1800 calorie ADA diet.

The exchange diet is simply a way of categorizing food into a healthy method of eating. Food that has approximately the same nutritional value (calories, carbohydrates, fats, and protein) is grouped together and can be exchanged for one another. The key to the system is based on specific portion or serving sizes for any given food’s nutritional value.

Carbohydrate Counting, on the other hand, is somewhat less restrictive than the exchange diet and focuses primarily on the amount of carbohydrates you eat. Carbs tend to raise blood sugar levels more than other foods, thus controlling their intake is important to controlling your blood sugar.

Both approaches view one serving of carbohydrates as 15 grams, about 1 slice of bread. One serving is approximately 65-80 calories. The 1800 calorie diet recommends that 50% of your calories should be in the form of carbohydrates, or approximately 11 servings of carbohydrates.  The National Institute of Health lists the following approximate guidelines for people who may want to follow an 1800 calorie diet.

  • Large woman wanting to lose weight
  • Small man at a healthy weight
  • Medium sized man, low exercise habits
  • Medium to large man who wants to lose weight


Any given menu will depend on your personal tastes in food and whether you are following an exchange plan or carb counting. Regardless of the plan, the diet is typically 50 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat and 20 percent protein.

Here is an example of what this would look like if you were following the exchange diet.


Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks (2) Total
Starches 2 2 3 2 9
Meats 1 2 3 0 6
Veggie’s 0 2 2 0 4
Fruits 1 0 1 1 3
Milk 1 0 0 1 2
Fat 0 2 2 0 4


Now, the next question is how this would translate into an actual meal plan. Let’s take a look at an actual 1800 calorie diet menu plan.


Breakfast Exchange Lunch Exchange Dinner Exchange
1 Cup Cooked Cereal 2 Starch 1 Cup Romaine Lettuce Free 3 oz. Baked Haddock (olive oil brush) 3 Meat/1 Fat
1 Cup Skim Milk 1 Milk 1/2 Cup Carrots 1 Veggie 1 Cup Brown Rice 2 Starch
1/4 Cup Cottage Cheese 1 Meat 1/4 Cup tomatoes 1 Veggie 1 Cup Steamed Broccoli 2 Veggie
3/4 Cup Blueberries 1 Fruit 2 Tbs. Pinenuts 2 Fat 1 1/3 Cup Strawberries 1 Fruit
Coffee or Tea Free 2 oz. 95% Fat Free lunchmeat 2 Meat 2 Walnuts 1 Fat
2 Slices Red. Calorie Bread 2 Starch 1/2 Cup Frozen Yogurt, nonfat, sugar free 1 Starch
Water Free


Snacks Exchange Snack 2 Exchange
15 Grapes 1 Fruit 8 oz. Nonfat Plain Yogurt 1 Milk
2 Rice Cakes 1 Starch 3 Gingersnaps 1 Starch