1200 Calorie Diet: Meal Plan and Menu


A diet based on 1200 calories daily is the recommended minimum for safe and healthy weight loss.

This is because 1200 calories will generally provide an adequate nutritional intake for most individuals, yet still allows the reduction of calories to the level that most dieters require in order to lose weight.

Many diet plans for weight loss that are developed by nutritionists and health professionals are based on 1200 calories daily.

1200 Calorie Diet Basics

This diet plan is centered around the concept of calorie control. If dieters are consuming fewer calories than they are expending then this will result in weight loss.

Dieters are to consume 1200 calories daily. This will involve the need to consult with either books or online resources that list the calorie content of each food.

Recommended Foods

There are no specific foods recommended on this plan however dieters are likely to experience a greater degree of success when the diet is based on fresh and unprocessed foods including fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and lean proteins.

Sample 1 Day 1200 Calorie Meal Plan

Breakfast1 cup bran cereal (128)
1 cup skim milk (90)
1 small banana (89)
LunchTuna (2.9 ounces) sandwich on whole grain bread with 1 Tbs. low fat mayo (310)
2 cups raw vegetable crudités (carrot, red pepper, celery) (55)
1 small apple (80)
Afternoon SnackSmall Nectarine (57)
Sparkling water with lemon wedge (0)
Dinner3 oz grilled chicken breast (75)
1 cup steamed green beans (44)
Salad with 1 cup lettuce, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, ½ cup grated carrot (45)
2 teaspoons olive oil and balsamic vinegar (90)
1 fresh small peach (51)
Evening Snack1 small pear (86)

Note: Calorie amounts of each food are in parenthesis and derived from amounts listed on calorieking.com.

3 more days of 1200 calorie meal plans are found for free here.

Exercise Could be Difficult

There are no specific recommendations for this diet however dieters should be aware that daily exercise is important for maintaining weight loss and for general health.

Excessive exercise may actually not be beneficial on this plan because the calories and nutritional intake is too low to sustain high levels of physical activity.

Dieters on a 1200 calorie diet plan may feel fatigued or exhausted when doing intense exercise.

Costs and Expenses

There are no expenses for this program other than perhaps a calorie counting tool such as a book or computer program however free online services are also available such as MyFitnessPal.

The Easy Way

The easiest way to follow a 1200 calorie is diet by getting the meals delivered:

  • Try BistroMD’s Standard Plan for women (3 meals + 2 snacks).


  • If wholesome foods are selected many dieters will not experience hunger on this diet.
  • Low calorie diets are a proven effective method of weight loss.
  • Dieters have freedom to choose whatever foods they like as long as the daily caloric intake is not exceeded.
  • Can be adapted to suit special diets such as vegetarian, diabetic etc.
  • Rapid initial weight loss may increase motivation to stick with a long term weight loss plan.


  • Necessary to count calories and measure foods.
  • Diet will need to be planned carefully so as to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
  • Many dieters will experience fatigue and hunger on a low calorie diet.
  • Not suitable for physically active individuals.
  • High risk of rebound weight gain when calorie intake is increased.

At Least Short Term Results Expected

A 1200 calorie diet is likely to produce results for most individuals, at least in the short term. However in order for weight loss to be sustained it will be necessary to incorporate healthy lifestyle changes.

Dieters will have an increased chance of success if they learn how to select nutritionally balanced meals, to manage psychological stress and to incorporate daily physical activity into their routines.

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