Dieting to lose weight can feel so hard, but it doesn’t have to be. You just need a plan. Knowing what you’re going to eat, when and how to best plan for your week’s meals sets you up for success. The plan I am sharing today is following a 1,200 calorie meal plan for weight loss.
1,200 calories may not sound like much. If you eat a standard American diet there’s a chance you’re eating a lot more than that. But if you’re careful about which foods you are eating, it can actually be quite satisfying, even more so than eating mountains of unhealthy, low-nutrient food.
When you choose foods that are higher in protein and fats and lower in carbohydrates, you get fewer calories per meal. But the lean protein and quality fats will still leaving you feeling full when you’re done eating.
Here’s a 1200 calorie meal plan that’s low carb & filling!
What is a low carb way of eating?
A diet low in carbohydrates – which can mean a LOT of different things. But generally, it means less than 150 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Starches are higher in carbohydrates than other foods. Try to get any carbohydrates that you do eat from high fiber foods instead. This means that you’re getting additional nutrients alongside your carbohydrates. Starches include grains like bread, rice, pasta, and quinoa, but they also include starchy vegetables like beans, peas, corn, sweet potato and potatoes.
Simple switches like swapping rice for brown rice might be healthier in some metrics, but it’s not going to make a difference to your overall carbohydrate intake. Other changes need to be made. One thing for vegetarians to note as well is that make of your protein sources also contain carbs, things like black beans or veggie burger patties. Therefore you need to look at your macros differently to reduce your carbohydrate intake.
Other foods also contain carbohydrates, including:
and protein and fat sources like – dairy, nuts, avocado
What are the benefits of a low carb way of eating?
Strong research supports lower carb approaches for healthy, sustainable weight loss. Eating fewer carbs can:
reduce appetite (1) (helping weight loss be effortless!)
aid in more weight loss, 2 to 3 times as much in fact, compared to low-fat diets (2,3,4) – AND weight is typically lost around the abdomen, which is the most dangerous location of body fat
lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides, and raise HDL (the good kind) and improve the pattern of LDL (the bad kind) cholesterol (5,6)
In addition, many ladies find eating fewer carbs:
Improves mental clarity
Decreases bloating, and
And improves skin complexion
So let’s get started with some meal prep!
7 Day 1200 Calorie Meal Plan, Low Carb & High Protein
Please note! This specific meal plan’s calories and foods may not be appropriate for you. Always check with your doctor before starting a new meal plan.
Groceries for the Week
Fruit & Starch:
Orange, medium (7)
Quinoa, cooked (1 3/4 cups)
Tortilla chips (3 1/2 oz)
Nuts (2 5/8 cups)
Yogurt, plain, Greek, 2%, single-serving container (7)
Cheese, Parmesan, grated (14 Tbsp)
Vinaigrette dressing, more than 50 calories per 2 Tbsp (7 Tbsp)
Cheese, shredded, mozzarella (2 1/3 cups)
Salmon filet (28 oz)
Cabbage, shredded (3 1/2 cups)
Squash, spaghetti (3 1/2)
Leafy greens, arugula, raw (14 cups)
Broccoli (7 cups)
Cilantro (7 Tbsp)
Lime, slice (7 slice)
Hot sauce (7 tsp)
Dash: garlic salt
1200 Calorie Plan Recipes
Breakfast: 1 Orange + 1/8 Cup Nuts
1 orange, medium
1/8 cup nuts
Feel free to swap out these nuts for another nut or seed you prefer. Roasted & salted nuts and seeds are fine.
Lunch: Copycat SweetGreen Fish Taco Salad
4 oz salmon filet
1/2 cup cabbage, shredded
1 Tbsp cilantro
1/2 oz tortilla chips
1/4 cup quinoa, cooked
2 cups leafy greens, arugula, raw
1 tsp hot sauce
1 Tbsp vinaigrette dressing, more than 50 calories per 2 Tbsp
1 slice lime
Cook quinoa as instructed on package.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (if you have it, if not – just go without!) & spray it with an oil spray. Bake salmon for 15 minutes or until flakes easily.
Crumble tortilla chips.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
Top with dressing, hot sauce & lime juice.
No salmon? Use chicken or tofu.
Snack: One 2% Plain Greek Yogurt with 1/4 Cup Nuts
1 yogurt, plain, Greek, 2%, single-serving container
1/4 cup nuts
Switch out for non-fat and/or flavored yogurts (<15 gm sugar/serving) if prefer
Dinner: Broccoli Cheese Spaghetti Squash
1/2 squash, spaghetti
1 cup broccoli
1/3 cup cheese, shredded, mozzarella
2 Tbsp cheese, Parmesan, grated
Dash: garlic salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Scoop out seeds of spaghetti squash.
Line baking sheet with parchment paper, spray it with an oil spray.
Bake spaghetti squash, cut side faced down on the baking sheet, for 35 minutes.
Shred spaghetti squash with a fork when it has cooled down for a few minutes.
While spaghetti squash is baking, spray a pan with an oil spray.
Stir fry broccoli for 5-6 minutes.
Once spaghetti squash is shredded, mix with cheese and broccoli.
If it needs heating, microwave or stir fry with an oil spray briefly.
Top with garlic salt.
Meal Planning for Weight Loss
Your meal plan is your greatest tool on your weight loss journey. When you have a solid plan you will succeed more easily. The above plan is just a sample. Feel free to make substitutions where needed, just make sure to keep each meal’s calorie count roughly the same. Don’t worry a few calorie difference won’t be a problem.
Want an UNLIMITED number of meal plans that you can customize based on your specific calorie needs and your taste preferences? Check out Best Body here!