1200 Calorie Diet Food List

1200 Calorie Diet Food List

The body requires caloric energy to keep its critical systems working smoothly. The memory, respiration, cardiovascular and digestive system all need calories, among other diets.

However, many people trying to lose weight believe that they need to eat fewer calories to attain their objectives. Essentially, consuming fewer calories helps with weight loss. 

Depending on age, dietary guidelines advise a daily caloric intake of 1,600 to 2,000 calories for moderately active women and 2,000 to 2,600 calories for moderately active men, according to the same recommendations.

You may require as many as 2,400 calories per day for females and 3,000 calories per day for a male if you are physically active – or even more.

What Is A 1200-Calorie Diet?

The 1200-calorie diet is a meal plan that restricts your daily calorie intake to no more than 1200. Using the diet for an extended period might lead to your body not getting the nutrient it needs for its essential functions.

Because the diet plan falls below the recommended dietary guideline, you should follow it under a doctor’s supervision or other healthcare specialists.

Any doctor or nutritionist prescribing a low-calorie diet will ensure proper monitoring, ensuring that what you eat does not hurt your overall health.

However, you can maintain the diet plan by incorporating nutrient-rich, low-calorie foods with different flavors to make your meals exciting and healthy.

Simple 1200-Calorie Diet Plan

1200 Calorie Diet Food List

1200 Calorie Diet Food List

Fresh fruits and vegetables in various colors, healthy fats, lean proteins, and whole grains should always be in a typical diet plan to maintain healthy eating at any caloric level.

The importance of fat restriction increases as you reduce your calorie intake.

Fat contains a staggering 9 calories per gram, while protein and carbohydrates include just 2 and 4 calories per gram, respectively. If you consume fats, make sure they are good healthy fats found in fish and plant oils.

Avoid unhealthy saturated and trans-fats and processed meals. Processed foods are also likely to provide the most negligible nutritious value for your calorie intake. Here is a simple 1200-calorie meal plan.


Breakfast is the first meal of the day, and it is necessary to have it if you want to maintain your energy throughout the day or before your next meal. A simple breakfast recipe can look like this:

  • Sandwich made with 1 slice of whole-wheat bread and two teaspoons of jam.
  • A half-cup of shredded wheat or whole-grain cereal in a cup of one percent milk is a delicious breakfast option.
  • A cup of black coffee and a cup of orange juice to complete the meal
  • You can also include half a cup of fruit in your breakfast meal plan

Your 1200-calorie breakfast should be low-calorie with approximately 10% or 389 fat content.


Lunch comes many hours after breakfast, and by this time, many people are usually starving. Even if you are on a low-calorie diet, you should not skip your lunch.

It would help re-energize your body and raise your blood sugars for better focus and concentration. If you are on a 1200-calorie diet, your lunch can look like this:

  • Two slices of lean meat slices with two slices of whole wheat bread slices
  • Veggie salad with low-calorie seasoning
  • One or two fruits or a dessert with some berries

Ensure that the calories in your lunch plate do not exceed far content of 305 or 16%.


You have a variety of recipes to make for your dinner when you are on a 1200-low calorie diet.

  • You can have
  • Grilled shrimp quinoa
  • Turkey broccoli wrap
  • Baked fish
  • Grilled salmon
  • Accompany any of these with
  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Slices of whole wheat bread
  • Carrots
  • Shredded low-fat cheese
  • Green beans
  • Steamed veggies

Ensure that you do not exceed 454 calories.

1200-Calorie Diet Food List

The above meal plan is for a day or two, but you can enjoy making many other recipes with various ingredients from the grocery store.

When preparing your meals, learn how to calculate the nutritional value of each ingredient, ensuring that you do not exceed the required calorie content. Here is the complete shopping list for your 1200-calorie diet.


1200 Calorie Diet Food List

1200 Calorie Diet Food List – Proteins

When you are on a 1200-calorie diet, you need proteins for the micronutrients. The appropriate amounts of proteins in the body help to boost immunity, faster healing, energize the body, and muscle recovery.

Among other benefits, proteins are also satiating, which helps to prevent eating in between meals. The best proteins for the 1200-calorie diet are:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Lean pork
  • Lean beef
  • Egg whites
  • Lean fish-cod, tilapia, sole, flounder, shrimp, salmon


1200 Calorie Diet Food List

1200 Calorie Diet Food List – Veggies

Vegetables are essential irrespective of the diet plan you are on. Moreover, they are low in carbs and calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients.

You do not have a limit to the types of veggies to include on your list, but you can start with the following:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Tomatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Mushrooms
  • Beets

Grains and Legumes

Whole grains and legumes provide you with the nutritional value you need on a 1200-calorie diet.

They contain fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals that promote better digestion, improved heart health and enhanced regulation of blood sugar levels. Some whole grains to include on your list are:

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Teff
  • Spelt
  • Millet
  • Oats
  • Kamut
  • Whole Wheat
  • Faro
  • Lentils
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Chickpeas


1200 Calorie Diet Food List

1200 Calorie Diet Food List – Fruits

Fruits are necessary for your 1200-calorie diet plan. Include as many colorful fruits as you possibly can in your grocery list.

They contain essential vitamins, flavonoids, fiber and other nutrients that keep you healthy throughout. Some fruits that you should not leave out of the list are:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Avocado
  • Melon
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries


1200 Calorie Diet Food List

1200 Calorie Diet Food List – Dairy

Avoid high fat or high-calorie dairy products. The best dairy items to include in your shopping list are:

  • Low-fat plain yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Feta
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • Low-fat Swiss cheese
  • Low-fat cheddar cheese

Healthy Fats and Oils

1200 Calorie Diet Food List

1200 Calorie Diet Food List – Healthy Fats and Oils

Fats are essential in our diets for healthy sustenance. However, not all fats are healthy if you are on a 1200-calorie diet. Aim for unsaturated fats with low calories and avoid trans-fats that add no value to your health.

You should also limit the saturated fats that you include in your meals. The best fats and oils to include in your grocery list are:

  • Vegetable oils
  • Avocado fats
  • Sunflower oil
  • Fish oil
  • Corn oil
  • Olive oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Walnut oil

Spices, Herbs, and Seasoning

1200 Calorie Diet Food List

1200 Calorie Diet Food List – Spices, Herbs, and Seasoning

Add some flavor to your meals with the following healthy herbs and seasonings.

  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Cardamom
  • Turmeric
  • Saffron
  • Ginger
  • Oregano
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Caraway
  • Chilli Powder
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Cajun Seasoning
  • Thousand Island Seasoning
  • Russian Dressing


1200 Calorie Diet Food List

1200 Calorie Diet Food List – Drinks

It would help if you constantly stay hydrated, and the best option is plain water. However, you can also include the following other drinks in your diet.

  • Herbal tea
  • Ginger tea
  • Apple cider
  • Black tea
  • Vegetable juice
  • Decaffeinated coffee
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice
  • Water

Foods to Avoid

1200 Calorie Diet Food List

1200 Calorie Diet Food List – Foods to Avoid

The 1200-calorie diet restricts high-calorie and high-carb foods. You should therefore avoid the following foods:

  • Sugary drinks
  • Fried foods
  • Processed foods
  • Candies
  • Chips
  • Sodas
  • Sugary energy drinks
  • Whole dairy products
  • High protein meat products

Final Thoughts

A diet that limits you to 1200 calories per day might be challenging to maintain. However, if you are on a weight loss program, it is one of the best diet plans to help you reach your objectives.

Since the diet plan falls under the recommended dietary guidelines, you should do it under the strict supervision of guidance of a physician or nutritionist.

ChickenBrown riceCoriander
Lean porkBarleyCardamom
Lean beefBuckwheatTurmeric
Egg whitesTeffSaffron
ShrimpWhole WheatCaraway
SalmonFaroChilli Powder
LentilsOld Bay Seasoning
Black beansBalsamic Vinegar
Kidney beansRed Wine Vinegar
ChickpeasCajun Seasoning
Thousand Island Seasoning
Russian Dressing
SpinachBananasHerbal tea
KaleApplesGinger tea
BroccoliOrangesApple cider
CarrotsPearsBlack tea
TomatoesAvocadoVegetable juice
AsparagusMelonDecaffeinated coffee
PeppersStrawberriesLemon juice
CucumberRaspberriesLime juice
Low-fat plain yogurtVegetable oilsSugary drinks
KefirAvocado fatsFried foods
FetaSunflower oilProcessed foods
Low-fat cottage cheeseFish oilCandies
Low-fat mozzarella cheeseCorn oilChips
Low-fat Swiss cheeseOlive oilSodas
Low-fat cheddar cheeseSafflower oilSugary energy drinks
Walnut oilWhole dairy products
High protein meat products

See Also

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