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.)
MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN SALAD: Combine 2 cups spinach, 1/3 cup chickpeas, 1/2 cup chopped cucumber, 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes, 3 oz. chicken breast and 1 tbsp. feta cheese. Top with 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon olive oil.
SHRIMP TACOS: Place 4 oz. shrimp, 1/2 cup shredded lettuce, 1/4 cup chopped tomato, 2 tbsp. salsa and 1/4 avocado into 2 corn tortillas.