What 1,200 Calories Looks Like [Infographic]

Share it:
What 1,200 Calories Looks Like [Infographic]

OK, first things first: 1,200 calories per day is not a lot. If your goal is weight loss, it’s close to the minimum the National Institutes of Health recommends for women, and it is literally the lowest count recommended for men. Dipping too far below this range isn’t safe or healthy, and MyFitnessPal follows suit when you’re setting your weight-loss program. So if this is your target, the idea of eating 1,200 calories per day can seem pretty daunting.

The good news is it doesn’t mean you have to survive on rice cakes and boiled chicken, either — you really can eat a variety of satiating and nutrient-rich foods. Here’s a sample menu that illustrates how delicious and satisfying 1,200 calories can be. (Scroll to the bottom for how to make lunch and dinner.)

How to make…

Mediterranean chicken salad: 2 cups spinach, 1/3 cup chickpeas, 1/2 cup chopped cucumber, 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, 3 oz. chicken breast, 1 tbsp. feta cheese, 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon olive oil.

Shrimp, veggie and avocado tacos: 2 corn tortillas, 4 oz. shrimp, 1/2 cup shredded lettuce, 1/4 cup chopped tomato, 2 tbsp. salsa, 1/4 avocado.

Related Articles

  • Thurber Mingus
    • BuckeyeBeth7

      lol Sweet!! 😉

    • Andrew Sargent

      Brilliant! 🙂

    • Southofsomewhere

      Yes!

      • I discontinue earning a living at shopritte and at this point I’m earning Seventy five $ – Ninety Seven $ per/hr. How? Now I am working on the internet! My task didn’t make me satisfied hence I have decided to take a chance on something new…after four years it wasn’t easy to leave my day employment but now I couldn’t be happier.>>> URLFAT.COM/4DY

    • JOYCE

      LOL! PARTY!

    • Madmelly

      YAY!! One for breakfast, one for snack, one for lunch, one for snack ,one for dinner and one for supper. I equate that to 6 small meals a day.
      I Love the way you think! 😀 😀 😀

    • Love Handles

      I love IT!! Party time, the only way to loose weight.

    • eugene perkins

      Exaaaaaactly.

    • Jiya Shakti

      LOL, perfect. I think that’s what’s been happening anyway …drinking most of my calories 🙂

  • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

    Talk about a carb heavy diet. That looks horrible for health.

    • Rachel

      Oh my lord no it is not. It’s got only 150 carbs for the day. There are worse things they could be eating.

    • Southofsomewhere

      Healthy carbs are not unhealthy.

      • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

        I eat less than 50 grams of carbs per day and feel better than I ever have in my life. I have seen many classically trained dietians. Their advice has never helped me. I started eating less carbs and I feel a million times better!

        • Southofsomewhere

          That works for you so great but that doesn’t mean carbs are unhealthy. A protein heavy diet makes me feel terrible and gives me lot digestion issues. Everyone is different.

          • joeldinis

            Have less protein. Not more carbs.

          • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

            A Ketogenic diet is NOT a high protein diet.

          • Teri Williams

            This is so true. My adult daughter doesn’t lose weight at all on a low carb diet and has digestive issues but I only lose on a low carb diet. Find what works for you. I also don’t do well on 1200 calories either but have found I lose on 1800-2000. Everyone is different. One dietician told me to remember that you didn’t gain weight in 3 months so don’t expect to lose it in that short a time.

          • Jennifer Miller

            Agreed Teri Williams

        • Mickey M.

          I eat less than 50 grams of carbs per meal and I feel better than ever. It’s amazing what not over obsessing about every gram of food you digest does for you…

          • Agak

            50g carbs “per meal”?? Or am I reading it wrongly. Isn’t that way too much in carbs?

        • Gregory Le Grand

          Absolutely.

        • Corey Colson

          Are you able to sustain your diet long term?

          • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

            Yes, it is very easy to eat long term.

        • Lydia Scott

          That’s excellent! It’s wonderful you’ve found the WOE of that works best for you! Mine is different from yours (not low carb), but isn’t so nice to be able to eat and have it make you feel good, not bad? It’s fantastic!

        • Agak

          Hello Stephanie, If that’s not too much to ask, could you share your typical day of meals on the 50g carb diet. I am just starting to shed my lbs and am on the lookout for ideas on what to eat. Thanks.

          • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

            general outline:

            Breakfast: coffee with cream
            Lunch: salad with meat, olive oil and vinegar dressing
            Dinner: protein (chicken, pork, fish, etc) and vegetables (green beans, Brussels sprouts, spinach, etc) with butter.

            When I am lifting quite a bit, I add Isopure Zero Carb protein shake.

            I like to keep it simple

          • Agak

            Thanks so much. I think I can do that. It sounds common sense and real to me. All the things I normally eat, just have to pull out rice and bread, that I’m very fond of. Ok, gonna start with this lunch. Thanks again for these ideas!

          • Agak

            One more question: How about dairy?: Greek yogurt (Plain), Kefir, Milk? great sources of calcium; do you eat those?

          • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

            Dairy doesn’t agree with me. I don’t add much dairy to my diet because of it. Everyone is different. It might agree with you.

            I have had my vitamin D and bone density checked. I have very dense bones. I am not worried about dairy or my bones.

          • Agak

            Got it. Thanks!

        • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

          A general outline:

          Breakfast: coffee with cream
          Lunch: salad with meat, olive oil and vinegar dressing
          Dinner: protein (chicken, pork, fish, etc) and vegetables (green beans, Brussels sprouts, spinach, etc) with butter.

          When I am lifting quite a bit, I add Isopure Zero Carb protein shake.

          I like to keep it simple

      • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

        Crackers, oatmeal and tortillas are all processed garbage.

        • Amanda Ketola

          Oatmeal is definitely not garbage.

      • samueladamsfan

        too many of them are, whether from sweet potatoes or potato chips or rice or onions or sugar — they are basically all broken down to glucose in order to be used or stored by the body. Keep to under 20 or 30 a day (some people may be able to go as high as 50, but only if otherwise healthy).

    • Ian

      Agreed. My current diet has me at about 1800 cals/day, but only 8 net carbs per day. Never felt better than when I’m on keto!

      • ?Everything

        Unfortunately, ketosis is an unhealthy state for your kidneys, and the fat that tends to be prevalent in a no or low carb diet stresses the liver. Best to eat healthy carbs and fats in moderation, lean proteins, lots of veggies and some fruit.

        • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

          Ketosis is a very happy state for your kidneys. Ask Dr Jason Fung…a kidney doctor. Google home for better information.

          Your information is ill informed and out dated.

    • James

      Stephanie I seen your pics your not even fit or in shape to pass judgement on other people’s diet. Please! Spare the BS! What ever ‘diet’ plan you are on, seems to not be working. I eat carbs and so do many runners and athletes and they are way more fit then you!

  • Steve Martinson

    Oh the comedy of carb errors… Permeating everything, including MyFitnessPal…

    • Gregory Le Grand

      Yeah, I just posted way too high in carbs.

    • Nicole H

      These are suggestions that I’m sure you could modify to fit your needs and likings. Carbs are not the enemy. We just need to be smart about the ones we choose.

  • Andrew Sargent

    Skip those snacks and you could have a much more balanced main meal in the evening. We are not designed to snack.

    • Rachel

      There is no one size fits all. I do better with 6 small meals a day than 3 large ones. Everyone is different but you are right. If they do not want to snack, having a larger meal at dinner is an alternative option.

      • Andrew Sargent

        Actually (and sorry to be pedantic) but physiologically one size does fit all. We are all the same metabolically. Sure, you can condition yourself to have snacks and then feel rough if you go for a long period without food but that is not a healthy approach. In fact, that is exactly the same mechanism that causes overeating in the first place.
        We are designed to eat well but only periodically. Any excess carbohydrate is stored for later use as glycogen. The processes by which we store excess and then liberate that stored energy become more efficient as we use them.
        Having lots of small meals does not properly utilise the processes by which we free up stored glycogen, making them less efficient. Hence, it takes longer to bring your blood sugar up and you feel unwell if you don’t eat for several hours.
        To lose weight, you have to recondition yourself to eating less often (no snacks) and eating good portions of food.

        • jo

          Perfect reply.

          • Andrew Sargent

            Thank you 🙂

          • Shawn

            Ya we are all the same metabolically, that’s why I’m twice the size of my buddy at work and he eats more then me but I’m far stronger then him. The reality is that it is not one size fits all, and you need to listen to your body plain and simple. People get too hung up on the science and ignore what gets them results. Sure maybe the numbers say one thing in a study but it wouldn’t be the first stidy that was incomplete or just plain wrong.

          • Andrew Sargent

            The physiological processes are identical, it is only your basal metabolic rate that is different.

          • Well said throughout. What do you feel is the downside to intermittent fasting? I am in the middle of a weight loss period of my life and I have evolved into fasting for best results. I have never been hungry in the morning anyway.

          • This is exactly what I started doing. It’s how I ate when I was at my thinnest. I don’t like to eat breakfast!

        • Dean Zweck

          What about the people with the FTO gene that genetically are more hungry than someone without the gene. Are they the same physiologically? No of course not! For them snacking may be a beneficial strategy for diet adherence. We are not all the same metabolically!

          • Andrew Sargent

            Being hungry (whether it be because of habit or a chromosonal disorder) and needing to eat (because you are becoming hypoglycaemic) are not the same thing.

        • Ragenation

          Sorry to butt in, but hey, I have a chronic auto immune disorder that makes me hypoglycaemic (not diabetic) and my body can’t actually store glycogen properly, so I don’t get a long term release from sugars. I also have Crohn’s disease, so I don’t absorb nutrients as much as I should. So I do have to eat every two hours, or I start to feel my sugars drop. In an ideal world where people didn’t have disorders and illnesses, and digestive problems, yeah sure, one size might fit all. But it actually doesn’t because of reality.

          • Andrew Sargent

            Of course there will always be specific alternate cases here. But I was referring to normal physiology which is what the original post was aiming at. The article is promoting a ‘normal’ diet of <1200Kcal that is actually abnormal according to normal physiological processes.
            I agree that we are not ALL the same metabolically, but (disorders aside) there are general principles here.

    • shawnlawn

      hey andrew its too bad you dont snack because if you did i’d tell you to eat shit

      • Andrew Sargent

        Well, aren’t you just lovely?

    • PRK

      We’re not “designed” to do anything. We evolved over millennia in a multitude of different environments, each with its own dietary challenges. Some people groups were vegetarian and others survived entirely on fish. Some have raised dairy cattle for centuries and others have never had non-human milk. Do you really think they’ve all remained physiologically identical? Why is it that, all other things being equal, people from some ethnicities have a greater tendency to develop diabetes on a standard American diet than others do?

  • Greenegirl

    This portion sizes in the graphic are misleading and should be pulled because those 1/2 cup containers are way bigger than 1/2 a cup. If this is supposed to teach us what a proper portion size looks like why lie and misrepresent? It is doing the members a disservice when so many people already have a hard time determine serving sizes. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/264b1ed6f253be763e15c0dcd3c08e8e3284b3e8b29ed2d59a263ddef767142a.jpg

    • robinbishop34

      Everything should be measured with a scale… in grams or 1/10ths of ounces.

      • Agak

        But that’s so impractical to do.

        • robinbishop34

          Couldn’t be easier, and becomes second nature in no time. I put a plate/bowl/glass on the scale and zero it out for everything that goes in or on. Read label, write it down and keep track. You’ll be surprised.

      • Paula Brunt

        I agree. I weigh everything in grams.

    • Paula Brunt

      I have 1/2 cup dishes and if I took a photo of them by themselves they would not look like dishes that small because there would be nothing to compare the size to. I’m realistic and know this. For me, common sense tells me what a 1/2 cup looks like. I think it photos in the original article are very realistic. Just depends on whether you’re trying to discredit a sensible eating pattern or not.

      • Greenegirl

        It isn’t a matter of common sense. Simply put, many people have a hard time determining portion sizes. If this graphic is trying to show what a half a cup portion looks like, then provide a realistic depiction.

  • sarahannelily

    But 1200cal is maintenance for a toddler, nowhere near enough food for an adult.

    • WTFReally?

      Horseshit

    • HelloLeland

      Agreed. But I’m creating a deficit on purpose. My maintenance is 2600 lbs. I weigh 315. My body has plenty of fat stores to supply the needed calories. Now, if I were ever to get down to my recommended weight of 200, then, yes, my body would go into starvation mode but I have quite a while for that.

      • Debbie Russell

        I believe you mean 2600 calories!!! lol

        • HelloLeland

          Oh, goodness. Editing.

      • Ricky Cue

        If your goal weight is 200 then you should calculate your calories as a 200 pound person instead of 315. Good luck with the weight loss, I’d recommend trying a ketogenic diet.

        • Amber Poginy

          ketogenic diet is unhealthy and not sustainable. It is a short term fix with long term issues, Eating a healthy balance of protein, healthy carbs, and healthy fats in moderation with correct portions in mind will teach you how to eat properly and give your body all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals it needs to function effectively. losing weight is about learning how to eat healthy so you can obtain long term.

  • Mr Cailer

    This helps so much when you see pictuees the diet and the numbers side by side..makes it real

  • brochali

    1200 calories daily is well below a persons required intake to stay alive.

    • WTFReally?

      lol no

    • Julia Sophia Soares Varra

      Considering some people in concentration camps survived (barely) on 500-800 cal a day I’m pretty sure that’s false….

      • brochali

        Julia, if your intake calories are below your basal metabolic calorie requirements ,ultimately you are going to be in a very ill state. The body will try to compensate initially by burning fat , but as fat resources run out protein will be utilised to provide energy and ultimately severe health problems will be inevitable.

        • La Bandita

          Untrue. False. Nope. That’s too many calories for some people and too little for others. Dont speak in generalities.

    • yesilovemylife

      I’ve survived–and thrived–on 1,200 calories daily for a year. And lost weight, too.

    • HelloLeland

      Only if you have no fat stores.

  • Dave
    • Madmelly

      I would go for best of both, Half the bacon with 3 beers. That’s 3 decent square meals a day. YUM!

  • WTFReally?

    All those carbs.

  • Johnny Pho

    Horrible. You only have 1200kcals and you are still eating 130g of carbs and only 90g of protein.

    At such a low caloric intake I would propose to up the protein significantly and aim for something like 150g Protein and 70g carbs.

  • Lo Compriendo

    ”Mediterranean chicken salad” 24 carb 11 fat?
    what a hell is dat shit salad? are u sure mediterranean? Dude, here we dont cook dat shit like this.
    So, if i add salad and fresh tomatoes at my fried bacon, i got Mediterranean Bacon?
    Damn americans.

    • Susan Sumner

      LOL

    • RobinC

      Calm down. What bacon? There’s no bacon listed in the above recipe.

      • fb

        Maybe he had too much beer for breakfast!

    • Mimi1017

      You cook salads?

  • joeldinis

    For many this is an example of a healthy diet. And if you’re counting calories, 1200 will put you at a deficit and, according to calories in/calories out rule, it would allow you to lose weight.

    But for the majority, however, the carb centric meals and the frequency will eventually make actually make you gain weight. Either by the promoting insulin resistance and/or by forcing your body to reduce metabolism to compensate for lack of calories and/or by not satiating hunger and therefore hard to stick to it.

    Most of us have eaten this way or know someone that still does. And for some that may be fine, for most it is misleading. There’s so much sugar in this example, and so little fat.

    • C.

      Walnuts, cottage cheese, eggs, avocado, and chickpeas all have loads of fat in them. There’s literally fat at every meal. What are you on about? It may not be a fat-centric diet (which some people cannot eat and do not do well with), but there’s sufficient fat at every meal and snack to reach daily goals (or stay under them, depending on diet).

  • Thats 800 calories too many

  • Reese

    Wow, reading all these negative comments… It seems you think you are experts. Do what works for you, I think it’s a great meal plan. So much so, that I have been eating this way for the last year and have lost 55 lbs. and have reached my goal weight. Again – do what works for you and stop being so negative. 😀

    • Shawn

      You hit the nail on the head. Do what gets you results!

    • Amanda Fojtik

      So very True and !! Isnt it great to reach goals Congrats stay positive:) Dont understand why these people bother with the sight if they dont agree with the diet :/

    • TunaonRye

      That’s awesome, congratulations!!

    • MJ77

      I found the 1200isplenty reddit forum and was inspired by the delicious meals shared there, and for the last 3 weeks I’ve been eating 1200 – 1500 a day and have lost 7 lbs. I feel great, I’m not hungry, and I don’t feel overwhelmed or anxious about what I’m eating either.

      • LEANNE MARIE

        KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, THAT’S GREAT!!!

      • OAH

        Thanks for the reddit share, great site. I know I will use this a lot.

    • Jessica

      AGREE!

    • lamusatumusa .

      Me too I lost 43lbs in 9 months eating this way

      • LEANNE MARIE

        THAT’S WONDERFUL, CONGRATZ!!!

    • LEANNE MARIE

      RIGHT ON DOLL, STAY POSITIVE, I AGREE!!

    • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

      I am an expert, I am a personal trainer and coach. I have seen too many athletes, including myself, who have been negatively effected by poor advice, like Danielle’s. Personally, I am very sick and tired of the damaging advice given my “experts” that are based in faulty science (Google Ancel Keys and Lipid Hypothsis).

      • Nik

        Just wondering. What’s poor about the advice? Is it the low calorie count?

        • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

          Weight gain and obesity are driven by hormones—in everyone—and only by understanding the effects of insulin and insulin resistance can we achieve lasting weight loss.

          Danielle’s diet recommends 6 meals a day with a total of 120 grams of carbohydrates per day. That is not a good diet for weight loss. In order to lose weight sustainably, there needs to be an absence of carbohydrates in the blood stream.

          The body can not access its fat stores with more than 8 grams (1 teaspoon) of carbohydrates in the blood stream at one time. The body releases insulin to lower the blood sugar if there is more 8 grams of carbohydrates in the blood stream. As long as insulin is present, glucagon is low the body does not like to burn fat for fuel, it burns mostly carbohydrates. You only have about 2000 calories of carbohydrates stored in the liver and the muscles. Once you run out of the glycogen your body will lower leptin and signal your body to be hungry.

          When you limit carbohydrates to approximately 20 grams per day the body does not release insulin because their is not enough carbohydrates in the bloodstream to signal an insulin response. When there is an abstinence of insulin in the bloodstream, glucagon rises and signals the body to burn fat its fat stores.

          If you try to burn lose weight with a steady supply of carbohydrates that raise insulin levels the body will lower leptin and send a signal to the body that it is hungry. Thus, no amount of will power will help you outrun your hormone signals. You can try to not overeat by weighing and measuring everything, but the body is designed to stay alive.

          Eventually the hunger will win and you will overeat. You can not outrun your hormones.

          • Jennifer Miller

            I got way more cut eating Danielle’s diet plan than cutting out carbs. I actually had a 6 pack and still ate plenty of carbs and felt full and wasn’t brain dead. Was actually down to 15% body fat eating this way, but not with the low carb diet. I was doing the same amount and types of exercise with both diets.

          • Kitten

            Depends on body types, too. I’ve seen the same results from people who do the low carbs. If you’re an endomorph, you can basically look at a carb and gain weight haha!

      • Nancy S Rymer

        Please be more specific. What exactly are you disagreeing with. The calorie count? Some of the example menu? Please share what you consider damaging.

        • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

          Nancy,

          Weight gain and obesity are driven by hormones—in everyone—and only by understanding the effects of insulin and insulin resistance can we achieve lasting weight loss.

          Danielle’s diet recommends 6 meals a day with a total of 120 grams of carbohydrates per day. That is not a good diet for weight loss. In order to lose weight sustainably, there needs to be an absence of carbohydrates in the blood stream.

          The body can not access its fat stores with more than 8 grams (1 teaspoon) of carbohydrates in the blood stream at one time. The body releases insulin to lower the blood sugar if there is more 8 grams of carbohydrates in the blood stream. As long as insulin is present, glucagon is low the body does not like to burn fat for fuel, it burns mostly carbohydrates. You only have about 2000 calories of carbohydrates stored in the liver and the muscles. Once you run out of the glycogen your body will lower leptin and signal your body to be hungry.

          When you limit carbohydrates to approximately 20 grams per day the body does not release insulin because their is not enough carbohydrates in the bloodstream to signal an insulin response. When there is an abstinence of insulin in the bloodstream, glucagon rises and signals the body to burn fat its fat stores.

          If you try to burn lose weight with a steady supply of carbohydrates that raise insulin levels the body will lower leptin and send a signal to the body that it is hungry. Thus, no amount of will power will help you outrun your hormone signals. You can try to not overeat by weighing and measuring everything, but the body is designed to stay alive.

          Eventually the hunger will win and you will overeat. You can not outrun your hormones.

          • SHays

            Hi Stephanie,
            What about those of us who have Type 2 Diabetes? Is your answer the same for us? I was told by my doc to eat about 45 carbs per meal (three meals a day)…

          • samueladamsfan

            ketogenic diet or banting diet. No more than 20 carbs a day. do your research, you’re causing your own type 2 diabetes by eating that many carbs at each meal. In times before insulin, banting, keto was what people used to live. Look into how damaging insulin is to the heart. You really dont’ want your body producing enough insulin to deal with that many carbs per meal.

          • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

            Please read Dr Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution or Dr Jason Fung’s work. Both are diabetes doctors with sensible solutions for Type II diabetics.

          • davedave12

            jjjOur brain and red blood cells rely on the plentiful glucose in carbohydrates. Through gradual adaptation, the brain can learn to use fat in the form of ketone bodies, but our blood cells will always rely on glucose. In fact, our body fights really hard to keep our blood glucose levels within a narrow window. Once you dip below the minimum threshold of 20mg glucose/dL of blood you risk slipping into coma or having a seizure. This biological fact is partly what drives the daily recommendations for carbohydrates by major health organizations (see below).

          • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

            You don’t know human biology very well. Ketones are the preferred fuel for the heart and the brain.

          • davedave12

            I’ll take a dietitian over so stranger on the internets.

          • Kitten

            Keep in mind that you are just a stranger on the internet too. Neither of you know what the other does for a living.

          • davedave12

            i know I looked up advice from a registered dietitian and I quoted it

          • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

            The heart and the brain actually do better on ketones.

            The very reason that epilepsy is treated with a Ketogenic diet.

            The food industry and phamacuital companies have not interest in this way of eating because it makes people healthy.

          • davedave12

            I like your hat — reynolds wrap???

          • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

            One more thing…if humans HAD TO HAVE glucose to survive the human race would have died out long ago. Use just a little bit of logic!!!

          • davedave12

            so stupid

          • davedave12

            why? would the human race have died out ???

        • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

          My general menu outline:

          Breakfast: coffee with cream
          Lunch: salad with meat, olive oil and vinegar dressing
          Dinner: protein (chicken, pork, fish, etc) and vegetables (green beans, Brussels sprouts, spinach, etc) with butter.

          When I am lifting quite a bit, I add Isopure Zero Carb protein shake.

          I like to keep it simple

          • Anniegator

            Stephanie, I am curious about a few things:
            1. What is the breakdown of portion sizes in the meals you consume?
            2. How long do you maintain a diet like this? is it an everyday all the time or only when you are lifting?
            3. How do you keep a diet like this from getting dull or boring? How much wiggle room do you give yourself for changing it up a bit with fruit or dairy like yogurt and cottage cheese?

            I’m looking for simple guidelines to follow for my weight loss goals and docs and nutritionists don’t seem to be very forthcoming. I like the idea you’ve laid out here and wouldn’t mind more information.

          • Stephanie Blair Holbrook

            Hi Annie,

            There are tons of recipes online. No it does not get boring. I don’t eat fruit because it wrecks me for days. I am very sensitive to fructose.

            There is no reason you can’t eat cottage cheese or sugar free yogurt. They don’t have a lot of carbs.

            I don’t do much dairy, but that is a personal preference.

            I have maintained this diet for years. I stick to it because I feel the best on it. When I deviate from the diet I feel like crap. It is a good feedback loop.

            I eat this diet everyday.

          • Anniegator

            Thanks Stephanie. I appreciate your response 🙂

    • different people different lifestyles, genetic health issues. Could go on. No way that diet will be good for all. Great suggestion, hope to see alternatives suggested.

    • Carrie Rainwater

      I second that. On a 1200 calorie diet you need anywhere from 135-180 in carbs. You need carbs to exercise which is what you need to do to lose weight.

      • samueladamsfan

        There is no nutritional need for carbs. Check out ketogenic diet. Banting diet. Dr. Peter Attia (Medical doctor — his website or youtube). No, carbs are not needed for exercise or to lose weight.

        • davedave12

          from Mayo Clinic (not some anonymous nut on internet) Because of their numerous health benefits, carbohydrates have a rightful place in your diet. In fact, your body needs carbohydrates to function well.

          • Kitten

            You’re a nut if you think keto is about NO carbs. It’s about lower carbs. You still get them, and you eat them around your exercise time to use them as energy.

    • Cynthia Meridith

      I have about 30 pounds to lose – realistically. I want to be healthy. No longer am I trying to be a size ??? or 140 lbs. I want to lower blood sugar, cholesterol, triglyceride, as well as weight #! I am taking the step and this time is for real! I’m going to do this!

      • jenby1

        You are definitely focused on the right thing. My weight was always up and down but when I finally got clear that I cared more about health than being skinny for some upcoming event, I finally lost weight and kept it off. Skinny is a nice side effect but I no longer eat sugar, lost my cravings, lost my up and down energy, I work out more and I know I’m so much healthier. Good luck on your journey.

  • Jo Gillespie

    Great ideas!! I wish you would do more like this. Very helpful, thanks.

  • Gregory Le Grand

    Much too heavy on the carbs. Post some with high protein and very few carbs than you’ll have the right balance. Have to get rid of the carbs to really lose weight. And lots of water.

    • Heather Thompson

      I eat over 300g carbs a day, 125g of protein and over 79g of fat and Have lost over 35 in and added lots of muscle. Carbs are not the enemy. You need to fuel your body to workout.

      • Gregory Le Grand

        I’m pleased for you. I’m on a high protein diet and I’ve lost 40 lbs. If you’re going to include building muscle, you need more protein in your diet. Not as a body builder, which I’m not, just for all around good health.

  • Ashley Wells

    lol this isnt the best example, More days needed. Plus crackers? why would you waste precious calories on rubbish food like crackers??

    wow

    who writes this crap

  • this is a great post – thanks!

  • Alan

    I came to the comments section to ‘keto-educate’ but it looks like everyone has already beaten me to it. Its a good sight to see 🙂

  • Mihir Shah

    Appreciate if you can suggest a similar infographic for vegetarian?

  • Florin Anton

    Intermittent fasting is the best way to lose body fat alternating with the idea to eat 1200 calories in the one meal and excluding carbs and sugar from your diet .I was starting this diet two weeks ago and loss 15 kg and I feel great and happy ! on my first 3 days I was using 3 hours window to eat my meal and then I change it to one hour window and I realize that I loss all most 1 kg a day without to feel weaker but more stronger and with more energy ! If I knew this I was doing this 20 years ago but better late then never !

  • nicky .ywilliams

    Everybody is an expert. Not… like many have said do what works for you. Period.

  • Justin

    “Dipping too far below this range isn’t safe or healthy” – what about all the practitioners losing weight, cleansing their bodies, and improving health on fasting diets?

  • Johnny Crawford

    I like this post. What does 1500 calories look like?

  • bigsmiles

    So that’s all fine and dandy but what about when you have allergies?! I’d love – just ONCE for someone to show how to eat on a ” diet ” and not have gluten or dairy because that’s where I’m stuck as well as most of my family. Mrs Danielle Omar- got one for that???

  • Stephanie Tate Hynds

    I love this! I hope to see more like it soon, along with the easy recipes. Thanks so much!

  • Dee

    The truth of the matter is this… to each his or her own. I really believe it depends on your body chemistry and what works best with your own metabolism or lack there of etc. I myself was on the low carb atkins and did lose 30lbs but it made me dizzy and light headed. That can’t be healthy. So I switched it up to low calorie but not so stuck just on the 1200 limit. Toggle it between 1200 and 1500. With light exercise too. And that works for me, “for me” is the key statement. OH but hey…. I will take some of that “Leffe Blonde” brews anyday!!!! ahahahahaha! You go Thurber Mingus!

  • Thanks for this. I am doing 1200 a day myself. Could you now do 364 more of these daily meal suggestions? 🙂

  • Marlene Foust

    I have deluxe app love it but wish it had space for several snacks during day which I need to do as diabetic

  • Olivia S

    Why are you telling us to waste our precious calories on a very low 1200 diet with stupid things like crackers and tortillas. Those are not satisfying for the amount of calories they take up. Eat more protein. Have a string cheese. Have a giant plate of veggies. Not a stupid yuck tortilla.

  • Nancy Reilly

    If you all gave up meat and ate fruit, veg, whole grains, etc., you could eat as much as you wanted. You’d probably also be healthier.

  • Sharon Koehler

    This looks like a great sample menu! There are so many combinations to hit 1200, but this looks like a realistic example. Eating right is hard for many people. This looks so much better than what most people are eating these days. We need a good combination of healthy fat, protein, good carbs, good sugars from fruit, etc. Most American diets are high in all the bad fats, carbs, and sugars, and so low in nutrition. I think this is very encouraging. As someone who’s looking for a boost to hit my goals, this seems like a great option. Thanks for the post and all the positive comments!

  • Todd Martineau

    Nice job with this Danielle. Thanks for putting it together.

  • Brooke Witham

    This is great. Love to see an option for users to put in foods they like and then come up with 1200, 1300, 1400 and 1500 versions.
    For instance due to my busy schedule I teed to prep the same breakfast for the entire week (lunch too) and dinners somewhat. I like to interchange from one week to the next. Also the food Database needs to be cleaned up. (that is the catloging librarian in me ) .THanks
    Brooke

  • Brian Fisher

    I really wish you’d show the sodium also since that figures greatly into my diet!

  • Barbara Straub

    I love the Fitness Pal tracker. Stay around 1000 calories a day but still do not lose weight. Gets a bit depressing but with the tracker it has been eye`opening to learn about calories in the food we eat and especially quantity.

    • Nat

      You aren’t losing weight because 1000 calories is not enough. You have essentially messed up your metabolism by not eating enough. I would see a dietician about getting back on track.

      • Barbara Straub

        Probably right, Nat. Initially I lost 20 pounds which was great. I do know I should eat something for breakfast but just don’t do it. Coffee is about it with an occasional peanut butter cracker. Seem to have plateaued at my current weight which stays pretty much the same. I also know I am not quite as careful now that I hit my target weight as I was earlier.

  • Van Hammersly

    Been doing a 50/25/25(Carb/Prot/Fat) diet since Jan, and not exactly eating clean or “the best”, but I’ve lost 36+ lbs. Been alternating 1600/1500/1400 cals every couple weeks. Carbs are not the enemy, as long as you choose wisely and balance everything else. Snacking is good too – 3 times daily. Add in a couple weekly workouts, a gallon of ice water daily, nightly 30 min walks, and good sleep – I’ve never felt better/worked for me. It’s been a welcome lifestyle change.

    • Teresa Champion

      Yes, exactly…. a “life style” change. Why diet (suffer, stress) and hopefully lose weight just to gain it back and then some?
      You need to learn to live a way of life that works best for you and maintain it…happily. Healthier.
      You can’t think once you’ve reached your goal that Twinkies are ever coming back.
      Find new, healthful choices in all kinds of foods, spices and even they way you cook/prepare your favorites.
      Becoming bored is common, so I love trying new things, New recipes.
      I liked the pictures with caloric value handy in the beginning.
      With true life style changes, you’ll know pretty much the calories/carbs/protein/sugar/fiber all most foods.
      Being diabetic, I made my life style changes, stuck with it.
      I followed the American Diabetes association “diet” … lost 125lbs in about 2 years.
      Kept it off and then began exercising.
      I’m down more and have so much more energy, being fit.
      Being consistent is very important.
      As is portion control.

      Fasting? I would not be able to do that.
      And having to do that as a maintenance plan?
      Nah…

      Good luck everyone!
      You can do it!!!

  • patstar5

    Reduce calories in and your body reduces calories out. You don’t lose weight and you wreck your metabolism.

  • Jessica

    Wow. People get so fired up about their preference/experience and therefore this MUST be a crap article. Just do what works for you and quit telling others what they are doing is wrong. SMH

  • David

    I would be STARVING

  • Dizzie Ferguson

    Yeah. No, 1200kcals is just no.

  • Pat Perry

    What works best for me is to first set the protein at 1-1.5g per lb of body weight. then fats at .25 g per lb of body weight. then fill the rest in with carbs.. This will maintain the Muscle and shed fat.

  • Luana

    I lost 31 lbs. within 3 months on a 1200 calorie diet and never felt deprived.

  • donna clagett

    I have MS and I am 70 years old but need to lose some weight. Exercise is difficult for me because walking is, so what do you suggest?

  • Ellen Tejan

    Its bad advice like this that got me abandon Myfitness pal for better apps, that calculate your BMR and use that as a baseline. You should never dip below your basal metabolic rate. 1200 calories is below that most people. 1200 C is not what fitness apps should provide as a calorie target.
    Its simple. Calculate your BMR – you should eat AT LEAST this. this is the amount of calories your body uses in a day for metabolic function, just to keep you alive and healthy. Now, do enough activities during the day to burn and additional 500 calories. You will lose 1 lb a week. Do enough to have a 1000 calorie deficit and you will lose 2 lb a week. But to not hit your gap by eating less than your BMR.

  • marcelina pineda

    I’m on a gluten/dairy/sugar free diet.
    Need help with recipe meals

  • Carl Feyh

    I keep seeing all these foods you can eat while on a diet, but in my case I can basically eat none of them. I am on a zero Carb diet. I have a list from my doctor of the types of items I am permitted to eat, the problem is that most of what I am permitted to eat I wouldn’t let pass my lips.

    To keep things simple for myself I basically eat the exact same things everyday.

    Breakfast – 2 scrambled eggs

    Lunch – Green Salad with oil & vinegar

    Dinner – 2 Chicken thighs and a green vegetable

    My main problem is I could be called a picky eater, I will not eat any type of fish, the smell makes me sick top the point of barfing. I can’t imagine someone putting things like cottage cheese in their mouth. I’m at the point where I’d almost kill for something that has a little taste to it. Cannot eat cooked tomatoes, carrots, corn or anything that will turn to sugar during the cooking process.

    Anyone have any suggestion or should I just jump off a cliff?

    • Nat

      A lot of seasoning are carb free. Start with finding one with a flavor you love. You won’t be adding any carbs.

      If you like some cheeses, you can add a little cheese in, too.

  • Virginia Blair

    Can I exchange bisson in place of shrimp in the taco?

  • SBC

    I often struggle to eat 1,200 Calories in a day, and as such, I have an incredibly hard time losing weight! I’m not anorexic – I simply have no appetite. And looking at this menu leaves me with a decidedly lower appetite! I HATE cottage cheese with a passion & carrots are in that same vein. Please create a menu that includes Greek Yogurt/normal yogurt, and at least something sweet, even if it’s just raspberries!!!

  • Wanda Robertson

    PLEASE DO MORE OF THESE!! A picture is worth a 1000 words, I want to print the pictures and try to follow them!! Looks like it would be plenty for me!!

  • blakstoneranger

    Who eats cottage cheese? What does that taste like? Who eats shrimp with tacos? One of the reasons why it is so hard to loose weight is because of the bad low cal menus that are full of food that tastes nasty! Shouldn’t have to suffer to loose weight. Because once you loose the weight, you’ll go back to eating really tasty foods!

    • Ricky Cue

      Sounds like someone needs to expand their palate.

  • Or, Skip the lunch and snacks and have a 900 dinner of 16oz center cut pork chops and a 16oz of brocolli.(no butter)

  • Ricky Cue

    Everyone’s an expert nowadays. People need to understand that this meal plan is geared for women. 130g of carbs is not a lot but more than enough for women. Unless you’re doing some variation of paleo or keto, you need carbs. This meal plan is not a diet like keto, its a lifestyle way of eating. Yes, you might feel good eating less carbs but that is not sustainable over a long period of time. I personally do 50/25/25 (C,P,F). With keto type fad diets, you’ll need to cycle carbs back after 3-4 months.

  • Daryl Bright

    Not very helpful for low carb dieters I am afraid. =(

  • JohnnyooBravo

    Let me tell everyone here that some people can not lose weight on 1200 and yes they meed to drop it even lower. If I ate 1200 calories Id stay the weight I am because constant dieting over the last three decades the way we were told to diet by the “experts” has ruined the metabolism of anyone who had a good amount of weight to lose. If I want to lose weight I now have to drop to 800 calories or lower but what works best for me is fasting. Anyone who doesn’t know this is either new to dieting or never had a lot of weight to lose. People who are the most over weight have the best will power and that’s what got them into the situation their in. The facts here are even wrong for women who need to lose just 5 lbs. Don’t ever drop your calories or you’ll also be raising your base weight which is the weight the body will fight to get back to after dieting. Everytime you diet raises your base weight. It’s why they say after a diet you’ll gain all the weight back and then some. Best way to lose “fat” is to fast eitherintermittent or 2-3 day fast and one day eat. Continue to do so till you hit your goal weight. This will lower your base weight and end the gaining it all back. Want more true dieting facts check out Dr. Jason Fong. He’s also on youtube. I lost 268 lbs and I don’t have lose skin. He’ll explain that too. Or just keep doing these stupid diets people are selling the country.

  • Felix

    How unhealthy! Guaranteed yoyo diet.

  • Heather Jo Nowell

    This is an extremely unhealthy menu selection. It’s full of foods known through scientific research to be carcinogenic, artery clogging, and hormone destabilizing. It is just flat out irresponsible given the vast amount of legitimate medical data and studies, including ones done by the NIH and WHO, to include dairy, eggs, and any meat in something that is supposed to be considered “healthy”.

  • Anne_Frank_98007

    I think the point the Dietician is trying to make is that 1200 calories adds up and you can realize that when you weigh and measure your food and are mindful of portions breaking it down to 6 small meals with the micro-nutrient ratios of 50% Carb, 10-30% Fat, and 20% Protein, plus or minus given your fitness/exercise demands…obviously if you are building muscle mass just keep your micro-nutrient ratios as you add calories minus the calories you burn to equal your net calories…it will be different for every body because different bodies need different amounts of calories and depending on daily exercise and fat-burning behavior…Also, the Dietician’s plan also keeps you on a consistent, regular food plan so you can know what to expect and your mind can gauge what a normal portion and way to eat looks like because so many people have been on this bigger, biggest portion and out of control eating that many don’t know what a normal healthy portion looks like, and that’s perhaps why all of the sudden they find fault with the Dietician’s explanations in this article at first sight…but, if you really think about it, many of us need to retrain our minds and expectations about what a normal portion looks like and by weighing and measuring 6 smalls meals over a long time we will begin to reshape our thinking and retrain our eating habits to be healthy and normal once again…also, stop the fast food eating and junk food binging,,,3 meals a day with maybe the snacks if you want the 6 small meal plan and nothing in+betwen except water and zero calorie drinks…then we will be having normal and healthy eating habits and minds once again as a society.

  • Leslie

    Wow very helpful and I will definitely incorporate. Also where can I find a menu like this one for the week? I’m currently on a 1,200 calorie intake per day and I am not reaching my goal for weight loss, therefore making it discouraging for me. Please HELP!!! Thank you very much for some feedback
    Leslie

  • Great way to put things! Maybe you should do more of this type of infographics. Myfitnesspal users might find it very helpful (including the recipe/s).

  • Kathie Häusle

    Reading a “half cup” of something that doesn’t fit into a standard measuring cup is So frustrating! Can we get a weight measurement or a rough count? if we cop the carrot sticks up to fit into a measuring cup they’re not sticks any longer and are probably more calories per half cup.
    Also, how many blueberries and walnuts and how much chicken salad? This is next to useless.

  • TF Beauty

    Okay so those bowls are not accurate. That’s not what a half of anything looks like. Those bowls are much too large! If you are going to show the calories then be honest please.

  • Craig Wood

    Danielle, I have type 2 diabetes, but I am doing better since starting the Ketogenics Diet on May 1, 2017. For whatever reason my body/pancreas is not processing carbs well (Insulin resistant). I have restricted myself to 30 – 50 grams of carbs per day, but really keeping it at 30 grams and below. The oatmeal, blueberries (maybe eat 3 or 4 berries), pear, crackers and taco shells/tortillas I no longer eat. Honestly, I am too afraid to eat them because I don’t have to give myself any more injections of Insulin. I have been taking Novolog (fast acting) and Lantus (slow release) and I don’t want to live like this any more! I want rid of diabetes!!! I’ve only been on the Ketogenics Diet for 23 days and it’s working. Lost a little weight a blood sugar levels are coming down!!! Corn, peas, carrots and tomatoes I have to be careful and not eat too much of them. Occasionally, I will eat a small piece of a Fuji apple (my favorite) & a small piece not to ripe of a banana. I prayed, read and researched for a long time about various ways to eat and exercise. I think I finally found what I needed to be doing a long time a long. I have a bit of neuropathy in my big toe areas on both feet and it is getting better. An endocrinologist told me neuropathy can be improved if you can get the blood sugar under control. I also take a supplements for diabetes (Chromium) and neuropathy (Nerve Shield) among others. I would like to thank you for allowing me to use your forum to tell you and others what I have gone through with diabetes and consuming to many carbohydrates. Diabetes affects your kidneys, eye sight and can lead to amputations as well. Whenever, I start to feel sorry for myself about not eating a certain food I just look down and see I still have 10 toes and 2 feet.

  • Annoyed

    1200 calories is very low and should not be prescribed outside of certain special circumstances. You are spreading a dangerous ideology. If a man or woman exercises, is active, is “healthy” in general, meaning no diseases and not morbidly obese, this diet will make them unhealthy in the end because it will lower their metabolism and set them up for yo-yo dieting. This is stupid. And VERY IRRESPONSIBLE! Ugh. #pleasestoptellingpeopletoeatthisway

  • Michelle

    Ok for the chicken, it says 3 oz chicken. So do I weigh out 3 oz raw chicken and then cook it? Or is it 3 oz after it’s been cooked???

  • Michelle

    What kind of crackers are those? It could be literally any cracker that’s on the market but they kind of look like Triscuits? Can anyone tell?

  • Greg Dahlen

    well i’ve gone from 255 pounds to about 165. for about nine years now i’ve been living more than 90% on fluid milk products, cow milk and cow cream. every day more than 90% of my diet is some kind of milk–skim, 1%, 2%, whole–plus i occasionally buy pints of half-and-half or fluid whipping cream and drink them straight. i’m not certain but i think it might be easier to lose weight with this diet than with a solid food one…part of it might be that when you drink milk it gets into your system faster and nourishes you so your hunger is sated faster

    i want to stress that this diet has not been approved as safe or healthy for human beings by any medical authority. it has worked for me and as far as i know my body functions similarly to a lot of people’s…..

    i do think some days i only drink about a gallon of milk (3.75 liters), so that might be about the 1,200 calories the article mentions.

  • Anna

    No amount of exercise helped me till I started watching my food intake. Small meals 5-6 times a day 1500 calories, it’s possible. ))

  • Kelly Taylor

    Need for suggestions for meals, for a household that doesn’t do chicken, pork or shrimp..food allergies for other family members. Any ideas are appreciated.

  • davedave12

    Our brain and red blood cells rely on the plentiful glucose in carbohydrates. Through gradual adaptation, the brain can learn to use fat in the form of ketone bodies, but our blood cells will always rely on glucose. In fact, our body fights really hard to keep our blood glucose levels within a narrow window. Once you dip below the minimum threshold of 20mg glucose/dL of blood you risk slipping into coma or having a seizure. This biological fact is partly what drives the daily recommendations for carbohydrates by major health organizations (see below).

  • Ressia Fortune

    I WOULD LIKE MORE 1200 CALORIE MEAL PLANS.

  • My name is mel

    What should I use to substitute for the shrimp because I’m allergic to any and all types of fish. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  • Nick Harlow

    It’s all in all good plan, but need ingredients in gramms! How the hell do i know what cups volume does author use?

  • Parastoo

    Just started today to fight with fats 😉

  • Grainshè Loedem

    This actually looks like a ton of food to me…
    How do people eat like this everyday