1200 Calorie Diet Meal Plans - Weekly Menu

A 1200-calorie diet is a highly restrictive eating plan typically prescribed for rapid weight loss in individuals with a smaller body size. In terms of pure theory, it is not recommended for male individuals taller than 5 feet 3 inches (160 cm) and female individuals taller than 5 feet 5 inches (165 cm). For those with a larger body size, it is advisable to pursue weight loss with higher calorie diets, such as a 1400-calorie or 1600-calorie diet, while incorporating regular physical activity.

1200 Calorie Diet Meal Plans - Weekly Menu

1200 calorie diet: The day

Let's first of all see how to set up a 1200 calorie diet.

  • Breakfast is 200 calories.
  • Lunch is 300 calories.
  • Dinner is 700 calories.

In the diet plan we propose, there are various options for each meal. Snacks are not included, as relying on snacks indicates an inability to adhere to the low-calorie diet.

Unlike other questionable dietary approaches, we do not suggest any exceptions when it comes to food choices. Incorporating a single day per week with an additional 700 calories, for instance, would essentially transform the diet from a 1200-calorie one to a 1300-calorie one. From a psychological standpoint, it is more beneficial to have a slight daily increase of 100 calories rather than a large spike of 700 calories once a week. However, it is worth mentioning that occasional dietary exceptions, such as a lunch with friends, can be accommodated but should be compensated for through physical activity. Failure to do so can significantly hinder the effectiveness of the diet plan. For more information, please refer to the management of food exceptions.

Since personal preferences play a role in any diet, it is important to familiarize yourself with the calorie content of foods purchased at the supermarket by accurately reading the nutritional labels. Specifically, if you make changes to your diet, it is essential to maintain the same calorie count. For example, if you choose to replace your breakfast with specific bars, and your target is 200 calories for breakfast, you need to refer to the information on the product label to determine the appropriate number of bars. If one bar contains 220 calories, consuming only one would be sufficient. However, if a bar contains 140 calories, one bar may be insufficient, but two would be excessive. While minor variations of 10-20 calories can be accommodated, it is important to avoid deviations of 80 calories or more. Remember to track these variations to ensure they do not disrupt the overall calorie balance of your daily diet.

1200 calorie diet: Breakfast

Note: The possible alternatives are separated by a hyphen.

The breakfast is the same for every day and includes one of the following possibilities:

1) Tea and biscuits + 125 g of whole natural yogurt. The biscuits must bring 100 kcal (i.e., for example, a packet of McVitie’s Digestive Thins).

2) Milk (and coffee) + 30 g All Bran Kellogg's (about 120 kcal). The milk used is partially skimmed milk (0.16 l, or 160 cc). Coffee is at will.

3) Coffee (or tea) + 125 g of whole natural yogurt + 2 toasts with jam (12 g per slice).

4) Coffee (or tea) + 125 g of natural whole yogurt + 1 slice of toasted bread with Novi Cream (15 g of cream in total). It is the same recipe as before except that the jam is replaced by Crema Novi.

5) (Coffee) + milk + bar (120 kcal). For those who do not have time. 150 cc of milk, coffee to taste and a bar of those substitutive of the meal (or half, check that the calories taken are about 120). Coffee is optional, since only milk can be used.

6) (Coffee) + milk + biscuits. As in breakfast 1) the biscuits are 100 kcal. Partially skimmed milk 200 cc.

Banana cake porridge

Banana cake porridge (428cals)
20g oats, 30g ready brek, half a mashed banana, cinnamon, mixed spice and milk, zapped in the microwave for 2 mins, stirred, then another minute. Topped off with peanut butter, chia seeds and raspberries. 

1200 calorie diet: Lunch

Lunch is 300 kcal. In a 1200 kcal diet lunch is necessarily low in calories, leaving in the evening a certain food satisfaction. The subject who is on a diet must take advantage of the fact that work often forces him to a hasty meal to take a few calories at lunch, but then gratify himself at dinner. Six possible lunches are defined; the choice is purely subjective.

1) 250 g of natural whole yogurt + 125 kcal of fruit. The chopped fruit is eaten with the yogurt.

2) Tea + bar + apple of 250 g. For those who do not have time. Tea to taste and a bar of those substitutive of the meal. Using 200-220 kcal bars each, the amount of fruit is about 100 kcal. An apple is fine; alternatively a banana always 250 g gross. Instead of tea, you can use a diet drink.

3) Tomato paste (60 g) + 125 g of low-fat fruit yogurt. For lovers of pasta, the tomato sauce should bring 45 calories: use sauces with a clear nutritional label (frozen or not).

4) Low-fat raw ham (70 g) + 20 g of bread + 125 g of low-fat fruit yogurt

5) Natural salmon (100 g) + 125 g of low-fat fruit yogurt

6) Steak (100 g) + salad.

1200 calorie diet: Dinner

The various days are interchangeable. If you particularly like the menu of one day, it can replace the unpleasant menu of another day.


Mushroom and eggplant soup (172 kcal) + Omelette with artichokes and scamorza cheese with 20 g of bread (350 kcal) + Cream (20 g) + 125 kcal of fruit

Alternative - Veal or horse steak with 300 g steamed potatoes. The steak is 150 g of lean meat. + 200 g of whole yogurt + pieces of fruit (160 kcal): yogurt salad.


Polenta with prawns and courgettes tails (278 kcal) + Low-fat raw ham (100 g) with 20 g of bread and 50 g of stoned green olives (270 kcal) + Fruit (150 kcal)

Alternative - Cream of carrots and zucchini + Salmon and broccoli + Fruit (80 kcal)


Pasta with Runny sauce: 100 g with 80 g of sauce (500 kcal) + Ricotta (50 g) with 20 g of bread (125 kcal) + Fruit (70 kcal)

Alternative - 1/4 rice salad + cream 30 g + 200 kcal fruit


Penne with peppers and anchovies (340 kcal) + Omelette with asparagus and mushrooms with 20 g of bread (307 kcal) + Low-fat fruit yogurt (60 kcal)

Alternative - Natural salmon 100 g + salad + 160 g of tiramisu with ricotta cheese + Fruit (200 kcal)


Pasta with gorgonzola sauce: 100 g with 80 g of sauce (500 kcal) + 100 kcal of fruit (200 kcal)

Alternative - Two portions of Rio Mare Salad Mais Tuna (520 kcal) + Whole yogurt without added sugar (150 g) (90 kcal) + Fruit (90 kcal)


Seitan 150 g with salad + 150 g of tiramisu with ricotta cheese + Fruit (150 kcal)

Alternative - Cold dish + Fruit 150 kcal


Polenta with shrimp tails and courgettes (278 kcal) + Veal or horse steak with salad (200 kcal, the steak is 100 g of lean meat) + 200 g of whole yogurt + Fruit pieces (90 kcal, ie a fruit salad of yogurt, 230 kcal approx.)

Alternative - Seitan 150 g with salad + 150 g of tiramisu with ricotta cheese + Fruit (150 kcal).

SEE ALSO: The 1200-Calorie Diet: Exploring its Characteristics, Controversies, and Menu Options

1200 calorie diet: Notes

Drinks, fruit and salads - Drinks, which are often responsible for dietary failures, are not counted in the recipes. Those who are used to the meal drinking wine, beer, Coca Cola, fruit juices, milk can drink from 300 to 1,000 kcal per day without knowing it! One liter of wine is equal to 750 kcal, a quantity that causes every diet and every attempt to distribute macro-nutrients correctly to fail. Drinks are also indirectly responsible: four coffees with a teaspoon of sugar are equivalent to 70-80 kcal.

Water - Practically the only recommended drink. To be abolished: wine, beer, aperitifs, digestives, spirits, carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, fruit juices. They are allowed: coffee and tea without sugar or with sweetener (to be abolished also candies), Coca Diet or similar drinks (with sweeteners) where the caloric intake is virtually zero. Milk is only allowed as part of the recipe.

Fruits and vegetables - For fruit it is very useful to have calories gross (see the section Foods). For example, the banana gross brings 58 kcal per 100 g (89 net); just weigh the banana with the skin and you get the calories of the banana peeled and ready to be eaten multiplying the gross weight (in hectolitres) by 43.

For the salad you can use green vegetables in oil, lemon or vinegar. Vegetables (classic salad, spinach, cabbage, asparagus, etc.) can be fresh or steamed, but must be among the low-calorie ones (up to 30 kcal/100 g, certainly not peas, potatoes, etc.). Always use the same quantity for all diets (about 100 kcal): 100 g of vegetables seasoned with 9 g of oil (lemon, vinegar and salt at will) to prevent mega quantities from becoming frustrating.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The oil in the salad cannot be added to the eye. 9 grams is nine grams, not fifteen. Use a special kitchen spoon.

Bread and cream - Bread is a food that causes many dietary plans to fail. It is often used in the cuttings of the meal or to "finish" the sauces of the dish. It would be advisable to use dry bread (it is not possible to dry the sauces); alternatively you can use dietary bread, checking that it contains good ingredients. In the diet, grams indicate bread in a crust without a crumb.

Contrary to the common belief, cream is not excessively caloric (less than grain for example) and very satiating. You can use fresh whipping cream or even cream (animal, because the vegetable cream is less caloric -270 kcal compared to 335 kcal per 100 g- but rich in hydrogenated fats) from sugar-free desserts ready in a cylinder. It is an excellent condiment for fruit.

For those who don't like it we suggest the following equivalences, much less satiating, unfortunately: 100 g of cream -> 100 g gross of walnuts (i.e. weighed in the shell); 100 g of cream -> 85 g gross of peanuts.

Bars - Choose high quality bars (for example Perfect Bar), checking the calories brought by each bar. Do not use the bars with a single espresso: their satiating power is enhanced by the fact that they are consumed with at least 150 cc of liquid.

Cereals - As cereals we have chosen the All Bran of Kellogg's (380 kcal per 100 g); they are not the least caloric, but have the advantage of being everywhere.

Rice salad - The rice salad (4 portions) can be prepared as follows: 150 g rice, 1 packet of vegetables for light rice salads, 3 anchovies, 100 g natural tuna, 80 g fat-free raw ham cut into thin cubes, 100 g natural salmon, oil (35 g), salt, milk flakes (like Jocca) 150 g.

Milk - It is better to use the partially skimmed milk, useful for weight loss purposes (in maintenance diets it is better to use whole milk, more satiating and richer in nutrients).

* The main purpose of the Italian diet is to form a food conscience to ensure that everyone is able to manage their diet independently. It may therefore seem strange, if not even contradictory, to propose a diet for weight loss purposes described by wire and by sign. In reality, the diet that we report here has above all a didactic purpose, that is to say, it wants to be the first step with which it is possible to experiment on oneself the results of a dietary plan, the first level of food awareness. However, we must remember that if you are already thin, following a weight loss diet can have very negative effects:

  • Psychologically predisposes towards an anorexic personality;
  • physically leads to a destruction of muscle masses and a decrease in the efficiency of the body.
1200 Calorie Diet Meal Plans - Weekly Menu

Regardless, it is crucial to consult with your doctor before embarking on any weight loss diet, including a 1200-calorie diet. By discussing your chosen diet with your healthcare provider, you can receive valuable information and reassurance regarding the suitability of your decision, taking into consideration your specific health condition.
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