Sign Up for Updates
Looking for sample menus for a 1200 calorie diet plan? This 3-day diet plan packs a lot of nutrition into 1200 calories.
A 1200 calorie diet plan calls for some careful planning. Not that higher calorie level diet plans don’t, but when you only have 1200 calories to work with and you want to hit all your nutritional targets, every calorie really counts. This 1200 calorie sample diet plan gives you three nutrition-packed daily menus to follow.
A 1200 calorie diet plan would be appropriate for an adult woman who gets little to no activity and who desires weight loss. If this applies to you, I recommend that you start with a 1200 calorie plan, and that you also begin a regular exercise program as well. A 1200 calorie plan may also be appropriate for small-to-medium framed women over the age of 50 who are only lightly active. This calorie level is probably too low for most men.
A drop of no more than 2 pounds (1 kg) per week is considered a safe rate of weight loss. If you are losing weight more quickly than that, move up to the next highest calorie level. If you are losing more slowly, you should not eat fewer than 1200 calories per day. Instead, you need to step up your activity level.
This plan calls for three meals and two snacks each day. Here is the basic breakdown for the 1200 calorie diet plan:
Breakfast: 1 Protein + 1 Fruit (+ vegetables if desired)
Lunch: 1 Protein + 1 Vegetable + Leafy Greens + 1 Taste Enhancer
Snack: 1 Protein Snack + 1 Fruit or Vegetable
Dinner: 1 Protein + 1 Starch/Grain + 2 Vegetable + Leafy Greens + 1 Taste Enhancer
Snack: 1 Fruit
Daily Totals: 3 Protein, 2-3 Fruit, 3-4 Vegetable, 1 Starch/Grain, 1 Protein Snack, Leafy Greens – no limit, 2 Taste Enhancers
I’ve structured the diet this way so that your meals and afternoon snack will be evenly spaced throughout the day, providing the proper nutrition to help keep your energy level up. However, feel free to move foods around if it suits you better. For example, if you feel that you need a snack mid-morning, you can move the evening fruit snack to the mid-morning instead. As long as you don’t exceed the daily totals for each food group, you’re good!
Take a look at my “How to Create Your Own Sample Diet Plan” article which provides all the details on portion sizes for each food group. This will help you when it comes to designing your own 1200 calorie diet plans. Also, you can always swap out one or two meals for a Herbalife Formula 1 Healthy Meal Drink or an Express Meal Bar, if you’re on the go or don’t feel like cooking from scratch.
Large salad made with:
Veggie stir-fry. Sauté together:
Grain salad with protein. Toss together:
Susan is the Sr. Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife, where she is responsible for the development of nutrition education and training materials, and is one of the primary authors of the Herbalife-sponsored blog, www.discovergoodnutrition.com. She is a Registered Dietitian and holds two Board Certifications from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, and a Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management. Susan is also a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Susan graduated with distinction in biology from the University of Colorado, and received her master’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition from Colorado State University. She then completed her dietetic internship at the University of Kansas. Susan has taught extensively and developed educational programs targeted to individuals, groups and industry in her areas of expertise, including health promotion, weight management and sports nutrition.
Prior to her role at Herbalife, she was the assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, and has held appointments as adjunct professor in nutrition at Pepperdine University and as lecturer in nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Susan was a consultant to the (then) Los Angeles Raiders for six seasons, and was a contributing columnist for the Los Angeles Times Health Section for two years. She is a co-author of 23 research papers, 14 book chapters, and was a co-author of two books for the public: “What Color is Your Diet?” and “The L.A. Shape Diet” by Dr. David Heber, published by Harper Collins in 2001 and 2004, respectively.