What Is a 1200 Calorie Diet?

If you’ve thought about losing a few pounds, you may have wondered the following: “What is a 1200 calorie diet?” The answer is actually a simple one, and the benefits of sticking to such a diet will pay dividends for both your waistline and health.

In the following article, we’ll look at the 1200 calorie diet and examine its benefits and drawbacks. I’ve also included a number of sample menus for a 24-hour period, which should get your started down the right path.

What is a 1200 Calorie Diet Plan?

The 1200 calorie diet is beneficial because it provides the body with enough nutrition to allow the weight loss process to kick in. If you consume too few calories, your body will slow down its consumption of calories, and you’re less likely to drop those extra pounds. Consume too many calories, and you’ll end up gaining even more weight.

The 1200 calorie diet is perfect for women, because the number of calories suits their smaller frames. Men, on the other hand, may need anywhere from 1500 to 1700 calories to operate at safe levels. Before you begin a diet, it’s always important to consult with your doctor.

Also keep in mind that numerous factors influence how many calories a person needs to consume in order to promote healthy weight loss. These include body size, the amount of exercise you get, any medical conditions, gender, age, and basal metabolic rate.

1200 Calorie Diet – Pros and Cons

The biggest complaint of the 1200 calorie diet is that people often feel hungry. That’s to be expected if you’ve been eating thousands upon thousands of calories each day. Just keep plugging away, and you’ll soon find yourself growing accustomed to your new caloric intake.

While it should help you lose weight, the 1200 calorie diet is not meant to sustain an intense exercise regimen. It simply does not supply your body with enough energy for that. If you overdo it, expect the 1200 calorie diet to leave you feeling tired.

On the plus side, the 1200 calorie diet will provide enough nutrition to keep you feeling full throughout the day. This should help eliminate overeating, one of the worst culprits of obesity.

NOTE: Pregnant women need more than 1200 calories, as they’re essentially eating for two. Your pregnancy is not the time to start a diet.

1200 Calorie Diet Menu and Recipes

For those of you looking for 1200 calorie diet menus, I’ve put together a number of examples to get you started. You can optimize the diet by combining fats, carbohydrates, and proteins during meals, as well as sticking to unprocessed foods such as lean proteins, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Drinking water with your meals is also highly recommended, and always make sure that the water is cold. You may not know it, but the body actually burns a few calories while heating up any cold water you’ve ingested. During each meal, make it a goal to drink 48 ounces of water. This may seem like a lot at first, but you’ll get used to it in no time.

Menu #1


  • 1 whole wheat English muffin
  • ½ banana
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter

(Snack – middle of the morning)

  • 1 apple
  • 20 almonds


  • 2 oz. low-sodium turkey breast
  • 2 slices low-calorie whole wheat bread
  • 1 oz. cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 orange

(Snack – middle of the afternoon)

  • 8 oz. low-fat yogurt


  • 3 oz. grilled, baked or broiled chicken breast (skinless)
  • 2/3 cup of brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked broccoli (or other vegetable)

(Snack – evening)

  • 1 cup of 1% milk
  • 2 low-fat cookies

Menu #2


  • 1 waffle (plain)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon butter or margarine


  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 salad with romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup each carrots, green peppers, celery, and cabbage
  • 1 tablespoon light salad dressing
  • 1 whole grain roll

(Snack – afternoon)

  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 6 oz. fat free yogurt


  • 3 oz. sirloin steak (lean, broiled or grilled)
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 mixed green salad
  • 1 teaspoon butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup cooked carrots
  • 2 tablespoons of fat free dressing

(Snack – evening)

  • 1 orange

Menu #3


  • 1 cup fruit juice
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup low-fat yogurt
  • Herbal tea or black coffee

(Snack – morning)

  • Smoothie (1 cup berries blended with ice cubes and 1 cup one-percent milk)


  • 2 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1/2 Cup tuna (in water only)
  • Salad (tomato, cucumber, lettuce) with 1 teaspoon mayonnaise and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.


  • 3.5 oz chicken breast (skinless and boneless)
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Rice
  • 1 Cup Broccoli

Menu #4


  • 1 cup bran cereal
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 banana


  • Tuna sandwich with whole grain bread and low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 cups raw vegetables (carrot, celery, and red pepper)
  • 1 apple

(Snack -afternoon)

  • Nectarine
  • Sparkling water with lemon


  • 3 oz grilled chicken breast
  • ¾ cup steamed green beans
  • Salad with 1 cup lettuce, ½ cup cherry tomatoes, ½ cup grated carrot
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil and balsamic vinegar
  • 1 fresh peach

(Snack -evening)

  • 1 small pear

Menu #5


  • 2 slices whole wheat toast with 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 cup canned fruit cocktail (natural juice only)
  • 8 oz of 1% milk

(Snack – morning)

  • 1 medium banana


  • 6 crackers with low-fat cottage cheese
  • Handful mixed nuts
  • 1 medium-sized piece of fruit


  • 3 oz sirloin steak
  • 1/4 cup onions
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • Medium baked potato
  • 1 teaspoon olive or canola oil (cooking)
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables

Now that we’ve answered the question “What is a 1200 calorie diet,” you should have no trouble losing weight. A 1200 calorie diet is easy and healthy to maintain, and the above menus should demonstrate that it can also be pretty darn tasty. Just remember to exercise and drink plenty of water to supplement your diet, and you’ll find yourself shedding the pounds in no time.

See Also:

  1. Lemonade Diet Recipe
  2. Flat Belly Diet and Sassy Water Recipe
  3. Fast Diets that Work
  4. A Healthy Diet that Works
  5. The Cookie Diet