That magic – and elusive – number does not have to be boring!

 

Calories in, calories out. That’s the basic concept when you need to get those pounds off. And while there are good calories and bad calories, the basic math doesn’t change. It’s up to us to make the most of those precious calories and choose the foods that will keep up full, healthy and satisfied through the day.

 

After following the 1200 calorie diet plan for quite a while and taking pictures when I was able to, I put together a visual of what 5 days on such a diet might look like. And you’re probably thinking something along the lines of, “But I’m not a food photographer so my food doesn’t look that good.” But your food can look that good. Every single one of these images is real food I prepared in my real kitchen then and ate after I took the photograph. One of the most important tips I can give you is to make sure the food looks good. A nicely prepared plate will make you feel happier and more satisfied when eating smaller amounts of food that may not be as fun as you’d like. If it looks blah, add some color. Slice a couple of tomatoes. Sprinkle on some herbs. Quarter a ready-cooked beet and add it to your salad. These things make a real difference.

 

The following meals are not presented as a diet plan. I am deliberately not writing portion sizes because everyone has to calculate what works for them. These are just sample meals that worked for me. And note that I like to keep my meal totals between 900 to 1000 calories to leave room for snacks.

 

Day 1

Breakfast – 250 calories

Wasa Crackers with goat cheese and herbs

Soft boiled egg

Mushroom and tomato salad – lightly dressed

 

Lunch – 328 calories

Baby arugula

Roasted carrots

Pre-cooked beets

Edamame

Feta cheese

Toasted sesame seeds

Dressing

 

Dinner – 380 calories

Grilled chicken

Spinach

Tomatoes

Cashews

Grilled sweet potatoes

Total: 958

 

Day 2

Breakfast – 264 calories

Plain greek yogurt

Maple syrup

Fresh cherries

Sliced almonds

 

Lunch – 336 calories

Whole grain bread

Shredded cheese

Jumbo olives

Cucumbers

Tomatoes

Peppers

 

Dinner – 355 calories

Grilled oyster steak

Spinach

Grilled sweet potato

Broccoli

Grilled peppers

Grilled onions

 

Total: 955

 

Day 3

Breakfast – 300 calories

Whole wheat roll-up

Goat cheese

Low-fat latte

Poached egg

Broccoli

Dressing

 

Lunch – 318 calories

Sushi rice

Kani

Cucumbers

Jicama

Spicy mayo

Sweet sauce

 

Dinner – 334 calories

Shwarma spiced chicken

Whole wheat crackers

Spinach

Tomatoes

Cucumbers

Pickles

 

Total: 952

 

Day 4

Breakfast – 294 calories

Whole grain bread

Goat cheese

Avocado

Arugula

 

Lunch – 280 calories

Arugula

Tomatoes

Toasted whole wheat croutons

Fresh mozzarella cheese

Pistachios

Dressing

 

Dinner – 459 calories

Farro

Roasted chick peas

Poached egg

Feta

Cucumbers

Beets

Zaatar

 

Total: 1033

 

Day 5

Breakfast – 377 calories

Acai packet

Almond milk

Kiwis

Mangos

Shredded (unsweetened) coconut

Slivered almonds

 

Lunch – 286 calories

Whole wheat roll-up (half)

Eggs

Spinach

Edamame

Tomatoes

Mushrooms

Dressing

 

Dinner – 314 calories

Baked salmon

Spinach

Tomatoes

Dressing

Pretzel crisps

 

Total: 977

 

And now it’s your turn. What are some of your bang-for-your-calorie-buck favorites? How do you stay on track? And what else would you like to hear from us? We’re all in this together, so let’s help each other make the best of it!

5 COMMENTS

  1. Esti this is amazing and so helpful can’t wait to try these out. 1200 calorie plan is great. But for many its too little. Too little food = starvation and body holding onto fat. Before one decides to follow this ask someone professional to look at your height, weight, life (preg or nursing) and amount you exercise daily. To help you decide what caloric I take is good for you. If your not loosing weight it may be because you are eating too little!

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