Lose weight by restricting your daily caloric intake to 1,200 calories. When you drastically cut the number of calories you consume, you need to ensure every calorie counts. Eat healthy meals full of fiber and protein and low in fats and refined sugars. Meals high in fiber will keep you feeling full even when you are eating less than usual. Make sure you have your doctor’s permission before starting on a 1,200-calorie meal plan.
Start Your Day with Breakfast
Wake up the right way with a protein-packed 400-calorie breakfast. Scramble or fry one large egg, which will give you about 100 calories and 6 grams (g) protein. If you don’t eat eggs, you can try scrambled tofu instead, which has about 100 calories per serving and 5.5g protein. Make a sandwich by placing the egg or tofu on a toasted, whole wheat English muffin. Top the sandwich with sautéed onions, bell peppers and mushrooms and a slice of low-fat cheese. Garnish with a slice of tomato.
What’s for Lunch?
Although you are limited to 400 calories, you have many options for a healthy and filling lunch. You can slice up one apple and spread 1 1/2 tbsp. peanut butter on it. Pair it with 1 oz. cheddar cheese (or 2 oz. low-fat cheddar) and five wheat crackers for a varied and delicious 400-calorie meal.
Two cups of raw vegetables, such as celery sticks, carrots and bell peppers, dipped in 1/2 cup hummus makes for another delicious 400-calorie lunch. You can also try a simple homemade pizza. Shred a 1/4 cup mozzarella and place on top of a wheat pita. Top with 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes, 1/2 cup mushrooms, onions and peppers and a minced clove of garlic. Broil until the cheese melts.
A tasty, satisfying 400-calorie dinner is possible, and it doesn’t have to come from a box. Start with a salad made of 1 cup of mixed greens or chopped romaine lettuce. Toss with 2 tbsp. light salad dressing. For the main course, try 1/4 cup brown rice or another whole grain, such as quinoa, which will give you about 50 calories. Add 1 cup of steamed broccoli, carrots or a leafy green vegetable, such as kale or chard. Finish the meal by preparing 2 to 3 oz. lean chicken and fish, such as salmon or lean steak. A 3-oz. portion of meat will generally provide fewer than 200 calories. If you don’t eat meat, try 2 oz. fried tofu or 1/2 cup cooked beans.
Fast Food Meals
If you plan it right, you can occasionally enjoy a fast food meal while on a 1,200-calorie diet. A plain hamburger from McDonald’s has 250 calories. Skip the fries and pair your burger with a side salad and low-fat dressing and you will consume just under 400 calories. You could also order a 6-inch sub from Subway with lean meat, no cheese and plenty of raw veggies and come in at 400 or fewer calories.
What to Drink
The calories in beverages count towards your daily 1,200 calories. When on the 1,200-calorie diet, you will want to skip sugary juices and sodas. Look at your drinks as you would any other food item. Soy milk or regular milk will provide you with protein and calcium, so you may want to add an 8-oz. glass of either to one of your meals. Make sure you drink plenty of water. If you get bored with plain water, try drinking a zero-calorie flavored sparkling water or sugar-free hot or iced tea.
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