1200 Calories Meal Plan: 3 Menu Options, a Grocery Basket, the Right Dishes, Benefits.

Updated on  February 7, 2023

Riddhi Rayekar ‧ Nutritionist & Health Coach

Riddhi is a certified nutritionist with more than a decade of experience of changing people's lives with nutrition and diet. She love to help people with clients to achieve their personal goals. 

Many people believe that it is impossible to eat at 1200 kcal in any way.

Sometimes it is possible to fall below the base level. It's not forever, it's not easy, but it works.

"Eating everything, but a little bit" is a very bad idea. Let's learn to distinguish smart eating from smart self-bullying.

A month on the right diet, and everything will go well: from weight to mood and energy level.

A 1200-calorie plan - what is it?

This is a balanced, nutritionally dense diet, which energy value is slightly lower than the basic level of your metabolism.

1200-Calorie Plan Advantages:


Weight loss.

For some people, a simple or lazy diet is enough, others require some additional loads.

It is lost with a lazy diet plan from 500 grams to 1 kilogram per week.


Prolonging youth.

This diet improves the condition of the skin, smoothes the signs of aging, reduces the level of inflammation and various biomarkers of age.[1]


Reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Such a diet contains a sufficient amount of protein and few carbohydrates, and this strengthens the body and creates conditions for effective prevention of chronic diseases.

A properly formulated low-calorie diet reduces blood sugar levels, puts insulin in order, has a positive effect on blood pressure and cholesterol.[2]

For example, such an unpleasant symptom as a rapid pulse at rest disappears.


Flexibility and ease of use.

All you need to know is 1200 kcal from the right products within a certain schedule. Meals during the day can be varied as you like.

Of course, it is more than desirable that there should be no more than 3-4.

1200 is far from the final figure.

It is not for a man, nor for an active woman.

To calculate a deficit diet, you choose a certain calorie content and see how the weight behaves after a week.

If it has fallen by about 500 grams or 1 kilogram, the diet is suitable for you.

If you experience weakness, lack of energy, or a bad mood-increase your calorie intake by 100-200 kcal.

Your starting point for weight loss can be 1300, 1500, even 1800 kcal. It all depends on the metabolism. Until you test it, you will not understand how much is optimal.

But most importantly, this diet does not consist of bread and rolls, keep this in mind. It is normal, balanced, complete with protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. There will be examples below. Take it and use it.

People with any peculiarities of the body should definitely agree on a diet with a doctor.

Is it possible to sit on 1200 kcal for a long time?

It’s better to go on the diet for prevention once a year.

First, you use it for weight loss - as long as it takes, and then you can just take a calorie restriction for a month or two for general unloading and good tone.

It is important to get used to food control, especially if you have already encountered problems with excess weight and metabolism.

After a diet, it makes sense to eat, observing the caloric content of support - whether it is 1800 or 2500 kcal, it’s peculiar.

Uncontrolled behavior is forbidden, no endless flow of food or garbage food. Take the same, decent diet and just add one meal or slightly increase the portions themselves.

Three Types of the 1200-Calorie Plan Diet:

Option 1

1. Breakfast. 50 grams of oatmeal, 100 grams of various berries, a teaspoon of oil.

2. Lunch. 150 grams of baked chicken + 100 grams of boiled buckwheat / quinoa + 150 grams of any vegetables to choose from (but already non-starchy).

3. Dinner. 200 grams of meatballs from lean meat, zucchini baked with garlic-200 grams, olive oil-a tablespoon.

4. One snack to choose from. 30 grams of nuts and a small unsweetened fruit; 2 tablespoons of peanut paste or any other urbech; protein shake + something with fiber (berries, chia seeds, etc.); a strip of bitter chocolate + coffee.

Option 2

1. Breakfast. Omelet of 2 eggs, spinach, mushrooms, onions to taste, a small spoonful of oil. Banana.

2. Lunch. 150 grams of any fish in ready-made form + a large portion of stewed vegetables (200-250 grams of cabbage, broccoli, mix-whatever you like). You can supplement it with cereals within the calorie content. I prefer to use these calories for oil (instead of cereals, a tablespoon of high-quality olive oil).

3. Dinner. Half of a zucchini baked with minced turkey and a small pinch of cheese (up to 30 grams).

4. Snacks alternate from option 1. Coffee with cream / chocolate / fruit + a few nuts. You can use cottage cheese or baked fruits (for example, apple with cinnamon).

Option 3

1. Breakfast. A glass of Greek yogurt + 15 grams of chia seeds + 2 kiwis or 100 grams of berries.

2. Lunch. 150 grams of any offal (liver, hearts, etc.) + 100 grams of boiled brown rice + a portion of any non-starchy vegetables. In this place, again, I replace carbohydrates with good oil, and I get protein + oil + a lot of vegetables.

3. Dinner. 120 grams of chicken breast with garlic, 150 grams of baked cauliflower.

4. Snack: fruit or vegetable salad (100 grams) + 30 grams of walnuts.

What we make up the diet from:

Fruits. Apples, bananas (once a week), plums, apricots, citrus fruits, any berries. On average, 100-200 grams per day of these products will be enough. No kilograms of strawberries and cherries "in season"! For the future, you will not be saturated with vitamins, and you will hurt the liver, it does not like so much fructose at once.

Vegetables. White cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin, cucumbers, onions, garlic, eggplant, peppers, leafy vegetables of all kinds.


Meat. Poultry, veal, beef, lamb. Pork is an individual thing. My love is veal and chicken breast, as well as turkey thigh fillet. The rest does not go.

By-products: liver, heart, stomachs, tongue, and so on, for which there is enough imagination.

Fish. Not any of them. Do not take tuna, tilapia, for example. Sardine, herring, capelin, mackerel, sockeye salmon, coho salmon, cod, pollock are optimal.

Eggs are required.

Nuts and seeds. Walnuts, almonds, Brazilian, cashews, hazelnuts. Chia, flax, sunflower.

Cereals. Quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, couscous. Oatmeal - if the gastrointestinal tract takes it well.

Legumes. You need to choose your own - lentils, chickpeas, beans.

Fats. Only unrefined cold-pressed oils or animal fats. Olive oil, avocado, ghee, lard, goose fat. If you do not abuse it too much, raw sunflower, sesame, grape seeds are useful.

Natural spices. Mustard, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, rosemary, peppers, thyme, basil, fennel, anise, turmeric.

Herbs and spices. Turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, rosemary, thyme, basil, black pepper.

Wrapping Up

The main meaning of the power mode:

1. Come to discipline.

Eat according to your own, comfortable schedule. But there should be one.

2. Realize that weight gain does not come from the fact that we eat a lot. It's all because we eat thoughtlessly. 

You can eat a lot and not get fat. We get fat from chaos, the predominance of carbohydrates, food poor in trace elements and rich in calories, a mess in the diet and an endless flow of insulin when you eat an hour ago, grab a spoonful of pilaf or candy.


1. Changwei Cao, Zhichao Xiao, Yinglong Wu, and Changrong Ge, Diet and Skin Aging—From the Perspective of Food Nutrition, retrieved from, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146365/
2. Charlene Laino, Laura J. Martin, MD, Very Low-Calorie Diet May Reverse Diabetes, retrieved from, https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20110624/very-low-calorie-diet-may-reverse-diabetes

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