Sticking to a low calorie diet that allows you to eat something of sustenance besides salads and fruit is a nearly impossible challenge. Most low calorie diets cause the dieter to lose weight because of its drastically low calorie intake, but leave the dieter lethargic and malnourished.
Integrating a healthy, balanced diet into 1200 calories isn't an impossible feat, but requires careful organization. First, ask your nutritionist, dietician or doctor if a 1200 meal plan is ideal for you. 1200 calorie diets should not be sustained for lengthy periods, but can be a good starting point towards proper nutrition.
A favorite Italian magazine of mine, called "Starbene," recently proposed a well-balanced and nutritious diet plan tweaked to 1200 1300 calories. The diet and serving sizes are ideal for women and are realistic and filling, without leaving the dieter hungry or deprived.
Breakfast-A small cup of coffee, sweetened with sugar and a non-fat glass of milk plus a 3.5oz (100 gram) fat-free yogurt, along with one slice of whole wheat toast slathered with a teaspoon of unsweetened fruit jam.
Condiments-The only permitted condiment is 4-5 daily teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, used either in cooking, or as a flavor enhancer for food and salads.
Fruit_Three 5.2 oz (150 gram) )portions of fresh, seasonal fruit. Dried fruit is not permitted in this diet, due to its high sugar content.
Starches-2.45 oz (70 grams) of starches are permitted each during lunch and dinner. The dieter can choose from breads, rice, pasta, or potatoes.
Vegetables-Four to six servings of vegetables, either grilled, steamed, boiled or sauteed, as snacks or side dishes.
LUNCH AND DINNER ADD-ONS
Meats-Three 4.2 oz (120 gram) portions of meat per week, alternating between ultra-lean cuts of red and white meat.
Fish-Three 5.2 oz (150 gram) servings of all types of fish per week, avoiding those conserved in oil.
Cheeses-Three 3.5 oz (100 gram)portions of fresh, spreadable cheeses and a total of 2.1 oz (60 grams) of hard cheeses per week.
Cold Cuts-Two 2.1 oz (60 gram) servings of lean cold cuts per week, with visible fat removed.
Legumes- Two 2.8 oz (80 grams) of lentils including chickpeas, peas, and lentils twice a week.
Eggs-Two eggs once a week are allowed, scrambled, poached, raw or prepared in an omelet.
Beverages-The only beverage permitted is water.
The success of this diet is based on its strong emphasis on single dishes that blend carbohydrates and proteins with elements of all the food groups. Examples of good lunch and dinner meal choices that work with this plan can include:
*Linguine with Seafood*- 2.1 oz (60 grams) of linguine pasta tossed in fresh tomato with a few grilled shrimps, crab meat, mussels and clams.
*Pitas filled with Tofu and Vegetables*-
*Chicken and Rice Mixed with Middle Eastern Spices*-Grilled chicken pieces with basmati rice and Middle Eastern spices.
Sticking to an ultra-light menu can work out to be truly tasty, nutritious and healthy. To stick to the above plan, be sure to weigh the food prior to consumption to ensure that you are staying within the correct portion sizes.