1200 Calorie Diet: Foods Allowed and Forbidden (with Sample Menu)

The 1200 calorie diet is ideal for losing weight, especially if you are a woman. It is not a very strict diet as it follows a healthy diet to ensure that the body receives the nutrients it needs.

The 1200 calorie diet that we are going to show you is very high in fiber. It is thus designed because eating fiber helps you feel satiated and not starve.

To be able to become successful in a low calorie diet, it is essential not to go hungry. In this article, you will find out what exactly is a 1200 calorie diet.

1200 Calorie Diet

Our readers LOVE this 1,200 Calorie Diet Meal Plan and Guide!

What is 1200 Calorie Diet?

It is a regime that consists of eating a diet where you cannot exceed the consumption of 1200 calories per day. It is a fast diet based on the diet of the typical Mediterranean diet.

The objective that is pursued with this type of diet to lose weight is to reduce daily the calories that are ingested and force your body to have to go to the fat reserve to be able to satisfy our daily demand.

It is not a regime as restrictive as the 1000 calorie diet so it is ideal for medium-sized women and small men with a moderate level of physical activity. To find the ideal diet for each case, it is recommended to use a calorie consumption calculator.

Foods Allowed

If you want to start a 1200 calorie diet, it is important that you start checking the amount of calories in the foods you are going to eat each day. We know that it can be a somewhat complicated task. However, you should know that there are many applications for the mobile that will help you keep track of the calories that each food has.

In general terms, a 1200 calorie diet is based on eating foods that are hypocaloric and healthy. In this way, you can eat without starving and not exceed the amount of calories stipulated.

You should know that 1200 calories are really very few, therefore, it can be difficult to enjoy a satisfactory diet with these calories. On many occasions, people go hungry because they must consume lower amounts to avoid exceeding the daily caloric amount.

Therefore, it is recommended that large amounts of vegetables be consumed with each meal because it is a very low-calorie and satiating food.

Here is a complete list of foods allowed for a 1200 calorie diet:

VegetablesVegetables have to be a very prominent part of your diet. It is best that, before each meal, take a good portion of vegetables in the form of salad, cream, broth, and so on. Each dish should also be accompanied by vegetables. By increasing fiber in the diet, you will get completely satiated.
Seasonal fruitsThese should also be part of your diet because they are very nutritious, contain a lot of water, fiber and hardly contains any calories. It is recommended that fruits are consumed in the middle of the morning or in the afternoon, individually, and as a snack. These will help you have a better day and avoid feeling hungry.
Light proteinsLean meats, fish, skim milk and eggs are perfect to incorporate into your diet. In the case that you are vegetarian or vegan you have to know that vegetable proteins (soy, tofu, etc.) are also perfect for this diet. Of course, you will have to cook everything lightly to avoid increasing the amount of calories they give us.
CarbohydratesCarbohydrates should not be missing in your diet. However, you should always bet on the integral version of these foods and never opt for too abundant dishes. In addition, you have to limit its consumption at breakfast or lunch and avoid them both at snack time and at dinner.

Foods Forbidden

It is important that you know the foods you should avoid on a 1200 calorie diet. As we have already indicated, it is best to avoid all those foods that are high in calories or very fatty because, precisely, what we are looking for is the opposite.

Therefore, in this type of diet you should avoid all these foods:

Sugars or sweetsThese are very caloric and hardly give us nutrients. Therefore, sugars and sweets are not satiating and soon you will feel hungry.
Sugary drinks or packaged juicesAs the name implies, these drinks are very rich in sugars and empty calories. Therefore, you must avoid them at all costs in a diet to lose weight.
Fried or batteredIt is best to opt for grilled, baked or steamed meals as they contain their maximum nutrients without additives.
Fast foodFatty foods from fast food should also be avoided in this type of diet. Keep in mind that a full menu in a fast food restaurant can have 1000 calories. Therefore, you will already consume most of the calories for the day in only one meal. Avoid them to the fullest.
AlcoholAlcoholic beverages should also be minimized in a diet to lose weight because it provides us with many empty calories and toxins.

1200 Calorie Diet Sample Menu

Below is an example 3-day menu of a 1200-calorie diet.


Breakfast100 grams of fresh cheese
2 kiwis
1 green tea or 1 single coffee
Midmorninga green tea
a green apple
Lunch2 slices whole wheat bread
3 slices of turkey
half tomato
1 slice of cheddar cheese
a cup of strawberries
Snack20 grams of nuts
Dinner1 Avocado and lettuce salad with onion.
Dress the salad with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt


Breakfast1 omelette with 2 eggs
2 kiwis
1 green tea or coffee without milk
Midmorning1 cup raspberries
Lunch1 salad with lettuce, broccoli, 8 cherry tomatoes, 1/4 medium avocado, diced and 1 tablespoon grated cheddar cheese
Accompany the salad with 1/3 chickpeas
You can dress the salad with 2 teaspoons olive oil and vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper
Snack1 large pear
Dinner150 grams of tuna
1/2 cup (150 g) cooked quinoa


Breakfast(100 g) fresh cheese
1 banana
1 tea or coffee without milk
Midmorning1 medium orange
Lunch1 whole wheat pancake
2 tablespoons hummus
1 avocado
2 cups (160 g) of vegetables such as (tomatoes, peppers, carrots, cucumber, onion) seasoned with little olive oil and salt
20 grams of nuts
Snack1 cup of strawberries
nonfat yogurt
Dinner150 grams of grilled chicken
1 plate of cooked cauliflower (200 grams)

Easy Recipes

If you want to do the 1200 calorie diet, you have to know that there are many dishes that are ideal to incorporate into this diet. In this way, you will not get bored of always eating the same.

As we have said, the key is to eat ingredients that do not contain many calories and, always, add vegetables to your meals to increase fiber and, therefore, that feel more satiated.

For examples of easy recipes for a 1200 calorie diet, click here.

1200 Calorie Diet Recipes

1200 Calorie Diet Risks

Although the 1200 calorie diet can help you lose weight effectively, the truth is that these are very few calories per day. On average, we need 1800 to 2200 calories daily, so reducing so many calories a day can be harmful to our body.

Some of the risks you may suffer include:

  • Excessive hunger: you can experience a great feeling of hunger during the diet, something that can cause us to fall into very unhealthy “temptations”.
  • Tiredness: hunger and low amount of calories a day can make you faint, feel tired, exhausted, and so on.
  • Bad mood: not being well fed can also affect our mood. Irritability and bad mood are frequent in diets that are strict and difficult to endure.
  • Bounce effect: being in a strict diet can make you feel hungry or bored. In effect, you might let yourself go and gain the kilos you lost very quickly.

Does It Really Work?

YES. A 1200 calorie diet can help you lose weight in a progressive, balanced and definitive way. However, it is important that, once you finish the diet, you should continue to eat healthy and exercise. You should never exceed the amount of calories you need per day in order to keep your weight.

The 1200 calorie diet is an effective diet that, if you manage to do it completely, will help you achieve the weight you want at a specific time.

Our Recommendation

It is best to be supervised by a nutritionist if you want to go on a 1200 calorie diet. This is because, in addition to losing weight, you need to consider the need to lose weight while being healthy, following a nutritious and balanced diet.

When making your menu, it is important that you think not only of reaching or not exceeding the amount of calories to be consumed, but also of eating balanced meals in the nutritional point of view, which do not interfere with the balance of your health.

If you want proper guidance, Bistro MD offers a meal delivery service that makes your 1200 calorie diet simple and effective to follow.


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