1200 Calorie Diet Plan

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The 1200 Calorie Diet Plan is a nutrient-dense eating plan containing about 1200 calories. Rapid weight loss is only sustainable by following a balanced food plan which provides adequate dietary nutrition, so please pay attention to the recommendations for what types of food to eat within each food group. Eating fewer than 1200 calories can cause weight reduction to slow down or stop altogether (weight loss plateau), and will deprive you of the necessary nutrients (vitamins and minerals) to maintain an efficient metabolism and healthy body.

1200 Calorie Diet Plan

Food Groups
No of Daily Servings
Serving Portion Size
Quantity equivalents for each food group
2 servings
(1 cup)
Fruits - 1 cup chopped raw or cooked fruit, 1 cup fruit juice.
Dark green vegetable.
Orange vegetable.
Starchy vegetable.
Other vegetables.
3 servings
(1.5 cups) 1.5 cups/wk
1 c/wk
1 c/wk
2.5 c/wk
4.5 c/wk
Vegetables - 1 cup chopped raw or cooked vegetable, 1 cup vegetable juice, 2 cups leafy salad greens.
Grains Whole grains
Other grains
4 oz 2 oz
2 oz
Grains - These each count as 1 ounce-equivalent (1 serving) of grains: half cup cooked rice, pasta, or cooked cereal; 1 ounce dry pasta or rice; 1 slice bread; 1 small muffin (1 oz); 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal flakes.
Lean Meats, Beans (Legumes), Nuts
3 oz
Meat and beans - These each count as 1 ounce-equivalent: 1 ounce lean meat, poultry, or fish; 1 egg; quarter cup cooked dry beans or tofu; 1 Tbsp peanut butter; half ounce nuts or seeds.
2 cups
Milk - These each count as 1 cup (1 serving) of milk: 1 cup fat-free milk or yogurt, 1.5 ounces natural cheese such as Cheddar cheese or 2 ounces processed cheese.
Oils and Fats
Representing the amounts that are added to foods during processing, meal-preparation cooking, or at the table.
17 grams
Oils/fats should be free of trans-fats.
Remaining Calorie Allowance
The discretionary calorie allowance is the remaining amount of calories in each food pattern after selecting the specified number of nutrient-dense forms of foods in each food group. The number of discretionary calories assumes that food items in each food group are selected in nutrient-dense forms (that is, forms that are fat-free or low-fat and that contain no added sugars).
171 calories
If as part of your eating plan you choose foods with a higher fat or sugar content than those recommended, these extra calories should be taken from your remaining calorie allowance.
Source: USDA Food Guide (Dietary Guidelines 2005)

When is a 1200-Calorie Diet Appropriate?

Eat about 1,200 calories a day if you are:

Diet Nutrition and Weight Reduction on a 1200 Calorie Diet Plan

A healthy body loses weight more efficiently than an unhealthy body. Pay close attention to the nutritional value of your diet as well as calories. 1200 calories is quite a low-energy diet, which means you should choose only eat the most nutritious foods. Avoid \'empty-calorie\' foods (like regular sodas and cookies) and consider taking a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. This diet if for short term use only.

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