What to eat on a 1200 calorie diet

Any ideas?


  • DoogCampbell
    DoogCampbell Posts: 53 Member
    I could be flippant and just write 'food totaling no more than 1200 cal' but that's not really helpful :)

    For me I would cut out processed carbs (bread, pasta, rice etc), stick to green vegetables, seasoned and spiced meats and watch my fat intake.I work on 1800cal at the moment and I am cutting, my body responds well to low carb diets but that's me.

    Really you need to include a bit more info:

    - Why 1200 cal?
    - Whats the goal?
    - What kind of activity levels?
    - What sorts of things do you eat currently?

    You could have a Macdonalds big mac meal once a day on 1200 calories but I don't think that's realistically what you want to hear.
  • dizzieblondeuk
    dizzieblondeuk Posts: 286 Member
    That's my target so I'll tell you what I have:

    Breakfast: oatmeal, milk, blueberries = 200 cals
    Lunch: salad, soup, rye crispbreads or similar (i.e. not much with bread), plus greek yogurt, fruit and raw veggies = around 350 cals
    Dinner = basically just a portion controlled and low cal version of what I ate before - curry, stir fry, poached/grilled/baked lean meat or fish, with veggie/salad sides and a small amount of carbs (potato, sweet potato, rice, pasta etc) = around 500 cals

    I'm usually left with 150 cals for snacks, which are mostly fruit based, but can easily be a small portion of frozen yogurt or a piece of chocolate but I exercise to earn some extra calories, and am able to have a 'proper' treat if I want. This is what works for me. I couldn't skip breakfast, and need the fuel for the start of my day, but plenty of other people will have vastly different opinions about that. I have a pretty decent lunch, again, I'm working and am not interested in those 3pm slumps, so control it by having a good lunch but avoiding too much sugar. Dinner is my main meal, and so it's the largest cal intake of the day. I'm not a massive snacker, so don't need to hold a huge number of cals back for that, just enough that I can have a small amount mid-morning, in the afternoon, or later in the evening.

    It's a case of trial and error, whatever your calorie goal - what fills you up, what keeps you feeling full for longest? What are the things you couldn't live without - it'll take some time to work those things out.
  • jnz17
    jnz17 Posts: 17 Member
    I think you should plan around your existing lifestyle, focusing on making your eating habits easy to stick to but compatible with your body. I personally switch between modified intermittent fasting when I'm in school and eating 4 times per day when I'm on break.

    My intermittent fasting foods:
    Dinner: some combo of not-cream-based soup, veggie burgers, eggs, baked chicken, roasted vegetables
    Snacks: nuts, cheese, clementines (clementines will seriously help you here with calories and hunger)

    My 4x per day foods
    around 7 am: choose from some combo of whole grains, yogurt, milk, eggs
    around 11 am: combo of fruit(s), cheese, raw veggies with small side of dressing or oil
    around 6 pm: my biggest meal--meat, cooked veggies, pasta/rice. I try to offset overeating by eating a bowl of lentil soup and drinking a few glasses of water before eating.
    around 10 pm: (this is apparently a bad habit because of sugar before bed but..) blended fruits in a smoothie, bowl of cereal, chia pudding

    When planning meals, remember to balance your food groups. I didn't do this ahead of time, just logged food and MFP told me what I was missing and what I was eating too much of. You can balance accordingly the next day--don't expect your discipline to be perfect everyday or in the beginning and remember it's for the long run.
  • rushfive
    rushfive Posts: 603 Member
    My goal is 1250,
    I don't eat much breakfast, coffee, 2%milk, 1/4teas. sugar spread out on 2-4 cups...
    Lunch tuna salad, avocado. and whatever veggies I have.... cucumbers, etc..
    Dinner, grilled marinated blsl chicken breast, veggies; roasted = baby carrots, swt potato, red potato, green beans, etc...whatever veggies you like.
    snack.... fun size snicker, bit o honeys.... whatever calories I have left.
    If I get a hour walk done in the evening I have a bowl of ice cream.
  • bigorangemichael
    bigorangemichael Posts: 27 Member
    I've been working on the same level of calories for a while now and I find I want to get "bang for my buck" in terms of calories.

    Protein is always great and it can help curb my appetite and cravings. I keep thinly sliced deli meat on hand and will have it for a snack. You get the most bang for your buck from poultry I've found.

    If you're trying to lose weight, spreading out your calories across the day is a good idea or even going inverted pyramid -- more calories at breakfast, fewer at lunch, fewer at dinner. Eating every three to four hours on a schedule helps as well. (At least I've found it has).

    I probably sound like a lot of people but fruits and veggies. Again, bang for you buck. You can enjoy more baby carrots and get fewer calories than say something crunchy like chips (a weakness of mine because I enjoy crunchy foods)
  • Kalikel
    Kalikel Posts: 9,626 Member
    edited July 2015
    If you want to obtain your vitamins and minerals, it doesn't leave much room for treats! But if you stick with healthier fare, you can nourish yourself and stay very full on 1200 calories.

    Have a variety of fruits and veggies (in a variety of colors), low or no-fat dairy, whole grain breads and lean, white meats. There is so much you can do with that stuff. The options are almost endless.
  • whmscll
    whmscll Posts: 2,254 Member
    edited July 2015
    Feta cheese
    Chicken breast
    Baby spinach salad
    Broccoli, sweet potatoes, all other veggies
    Dark chocolate squares
    Quest bars
    Peanut butter

    These are some of my go-tos. All sorts of things you can eat and keep to 1200. I've been doing it for almost 3 months. Portion size (weighing your food) is very important, as is choosing foods that will help keep you full for a long time. Not a lot of room for stuff like cake, chips, pizza, fast food, ice cream, etc. but it can be done.
  • Carnhot
    Carnhot Posts: 367 Member
    I agree with dizzie blonde that exercising to "earn" the opportunity to eat more is the way to go. I am on 1200 and realise that it is, of itself, unsustainable - for me, anyway. What setting the bar so low does is force me into exercise. I want to eat about 1500 to feel comfortable. MFP exercise estimates are unreliable so I try to exercise to at least 400 calories, as much beyond that as time and circumstances allow. It's a mind game I play with myself, but it is working for me so far.
  • carlaglo
    carlaglo Posts: 3 Member
    Thank you all so much! :#

  • Kellie0908
    Kellie0908 Posts: 1 Member
    Bfast...coffee 50 cals with my creamer
    Lunch ...protein bar fruit yogurt about 320 cals
    Dinner anything under my remainder calories....not always healthy sometimes I'm a low cal junk dieter like 300 cal personal pizzas, cheeze its, pretzels, 100 cal ice cream sandwiches or other snack bags, a huge 0 calorie pickle... thank you baby Jesus for pickles, grilled cheese...I'm hungry ;-)
  • TeaBea
    TeaBea Posts: 14,517 Member
    edited July 2015
    MFP gave you 1200 based on "I want to lose XX pounds per week." 1200 is a minimum default & it doesn't include exercise calories. Add a workout here and there to increase your daily allotment.

    That said, plenty of women eat more that 1200 and still lose weight. Your choice. Just pick something that you can live with for awhile.
  • carlaglo
    carlaglo Posts: 3 Member
    Kellie0908 wrote: »
    Bfast...coffee 50 cals with my creamer
    Lunch ...protein bar fruit yogurt about 320 cals
    Dinner anything under my remainder calories....not always healthy sometimes I'm a low cal junk dieter like 300 cal personal pizzas, cheeze its, pretzels, 100 cal ice cream sandwiches or other snack bags, a huge 0 calorie pickle... thank you baby Jesus for pickles, grilled cheese...I'm hungry ;-)
  • MaryElvsaas
    MaryElvsaas Posts: 1 Member
    edited July 2015
    I am seeing a dietician and she has me on a 1250 cal diet. I have to also have a certain amount of protein, carbs and fat. She has me eat 5-6 mini meals and 1 main meal. Basically.....4 mini meals 2-3 hours apart, than my main meal, then 2 more mini meals.
  • Numberwang22
    Numberwang22 Posts: 213 Member
    Smaller portions of your normal food, or less small with more exercise. Have lost 2 stone doing that.
  • petitehealth
    petitehealth Posts: 148 Member
    I have a 1200-1250 calorie goal. Feel free to add me and check out my food diary. Good luck!
  • plaffo786
    plaffo786 Posts: 71 Member
    I'm hitting 1200 also add and you can check out my diary