What does a 1,200 calorie healthy eating meal plan look like? This is a question I am frequently asked by my weight loss clients. While I shy away from imposing my healthy eating meal plan on my clients, I’m always happy to provide a sample of a healthy eating meal plan.
The reason I don’t suggest that clients follow a prescribed healthy eating meal plan is that in my experience they will only follow it for a while and then go back to eating what suits their tastes and preferences. My general approach to a healthy eating meal plan is to start with the client’s existing diet and modify it to make it healthier in terms of portion sizes and food selection.
A Healthy Eating Meal Plan
A healthy eating meal plan means eating real food. That’s why I like the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is inspired by the way Mediterraneans eat. It emphasizes lots of fruits and vegetables, fish, healthy fats and olive oil. It avoids packaged and processed foods. Wine and chocolate are fine in moderation. I prefer this diet because it favors fresh foods and is a healthy eating plan that you can stick with because the food is tasty. It is not based on excluding healthy food groups or depriving yourself of wholesome foods.
Women’s Health Magazine interviewed Keri Glassman, R.D., founder of NutritiousLife.com and author of The New You (and Improved) Diet and asked her about a healthy eating meal plan and the Mediterranean diet.
Here are some of her comments:
• The Mediterranean diet is rich in inflammation-fighting antioxidants and healthy fats and is linked to health benefits.
• One study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that the diet is better than low-fat diets at spurring weight loss.
• Don’t consume fewer than 1,200 calories if you are trying to lose weight. Otherwise you risk depriving your body of the nutrients it needs and throwing your body into starvation mode, which will ultimately backfire and slow down your metabolism.
• Of course, how many calories you need depends on how active you are—and your unique metabolism. That’s a big part of why Glassman discourages people from counting calories.
• According to Glassman, “I’m more about thinking about proportions, eating the right types of foods. When you listen to your body and pay attention to proportions, you don’t really need to count calories.”
A Healthy Eating 1,200 Calorie Mediterranean Meal Plan
Here is a sample healthy eating meal plan designed by Glassman. This sample adds up to 1,212 calories. Note that she recommends eating the most calories for breakfast. In fact, a recent study conducted at Loma Linda University confirmed the validity of the saying: “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.”
Breakfast: Greek Yogurt Parfait (449 calories)
• 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt (276 cal)
• 1 cup blueberries (85 cal) and
• 2 Tbsp chopped pistachios (88 cals)
Note: Choose full-fat yogurt because it will help you feel full longer.
Lunch: Shrimp Spinach Salad (255 calories)
• 4 cups spinach
• tossed in 1 tsp olive oil (80 cal)
• 1 tomato (11 cal)
• 1/4 cup sliced cucumber (4 cal)
• 3 Tbsp crumbled feta (75 cal)
• 2 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette (45 cal)
• 5 large roasted shrimp (40 cal)
Note: You can overdo it with ingredients like oil and feta, so just be conscious of your portion sizes when you’re trying to lose weight.
Snack: Nuts (152 calories)
• 1/4 cup almonds (152 cal)
Note: Nuts contain healthy fats, but they’re another ingredient that people often go overboard on. Limit yourself to a quarter-cup for a snack.
Dinner: Fish with Quinoa and Broccoli Rabe (356 calories)
• 4 oz whitefish (like cod or halibut) with oregano (196 cal)
• 1 cup broccoli rabe sautéed in 1 tsp oil (49 cal)
• 1/2 cup cooked quinoa (111 cal)
Note: Make sure to measure your olive oil. It’s easy to over-pour.
Click here for full 1,200 calorie healthy eating meal plan.