Two very different examples of 2,500 calories (how processed foods are almost always higher in calories)

Two very different examples of 2,500 calories (how processed foods are almost always higher in calories)


The idea for today’s blog comes directly from a conversation I had with someone earlier this week, when I was trying to illustrate how huge a difference there can be in the energy content of different types of foods.

The individual I was talking to had seen a recommendation of 2,500kcals per day for the “average” male, on some food packaging, and he didn’t see how he could eat that little without being constantly hungry. So purely out of interest, I pulled out my own food log on my phone and showed him a recent day that totalled almost exactly that number; and he was very surprised at how much food there was.

The point I was trying to make to him was that 2,500kcals can be a lot of food, or a little, depending on what food choices you make. Typically the more processed a food is, the more calorie-dense it will be (ie a lot of energy in a small amount of food) and usually it will be a lot less nutritionally valuable too. It may end up leaving you unsatisfied, still hungry and prone to overeating, thereby putting on unwanted weight.

So what follows, purely for illustrative purposes, is a list of the foods I ate the day that I used as an example, complete with pictures. We can compare it at the end with another example of some food that contains the same number of calories.

Meal 1: A four-egg omelette with 75g of smoked salmon slivers and a banana.


Meal 2: A Salmon fillet with Cajun seasoning, 250g baby potatoes and 100g roasted carrots.


Meal 3: A large chicken breast, 250 baby potatoes, 90g tenderstem broccoli and a banana.


Meal 4: Roasted Duck Leg and 250g mashed turnip.


Meal 5: Sirloin steak, 250g baby potatoes, 100g sugar snap peas.


Wow. It seems like a lot of food, doesn’t it? Now compare all that to something else that comes to 2,500kcals, the exact same amount of energy;

One large Mighty Meaty pizza with thick crust from Dominos.


Conor Kennedy

Personal Trainer & Fitness Coaching

Conor has worked in the field of strength and fitness coaching full time for 8 years, and has single-handedly coached over 8,000 sessions (both group sessions, and one-on-one).
Read more about Connor Kennedy