This meal plan, with 1200 calories per day, is simple to follow and comes with delicious recipes.

 When it comes to all things weight loss, the simplest, fastest way to make impactful, lasting change is to form habits you can actually stick with for life. That’s why this plan involves an easy-to-follow meal planning guide. This full week of (delicious!) food will take the guesswork out of grocery shopping and prepping with nutritionist-approved breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas. 

Being at a healthy weight is linked with a lower chance of developing some chronic diseases and health problems, but weight is not the be-all and end-all, and is only one of many elements that affect overall health. Many experts agree that the only way to lose weight in the long term is to make healthy food choices regularly. Incorporating nutrient-rich foods into a balanced diet and staying hydrated are key and can have benefits that go beyond the number on the scale. When it comes to bettering your eating habits, the most straightforward, rapid way to make lasting, impactful change is to form habits you can stick

According to Stefani Sassos, M.S., R.D., C.D.N, Deputy Nutrition Director for the Good Housekeeping Institute, 1,200 calories may be the right amount for some people, but it can be very restrictive for most. This plan is designed to use 1,200 calories as a base and to be built upon by doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling up on veggies at any opportunity and adding more fruit at snack time, too.

If you’re feeling hungry and like you need more food, you can add 1-5 ounces of protein to any meal. The combination of fiber from produce and lean protein makes this a flexible plan that will help you lose weight gradually — one meal at a time. You might want to think about taking a daily multivitamin as well.

This full week of food, which we consulted registered dietitians about, will take the guesswork out of grocery shopping and prepping with nutritionist-approved breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas. If you have a higher activity level, we also have 1,300-, 1,400-, 1,500-, and 1,800-calorie meal plans available.

It’s important to understand that weight loss, health, and body image are complex topics. Before deciding to go on this diet, we suggest that you read our piece on the dangers of diet culture to get a well-rounded

Day 1: Breakfast

In a bowl, mix together 3/4 cup bran flakes, 1 banana, and 1 cup fat-free milk.

Day 1: Lunch

Create a pita sandwich by combining 1 mini whole wheat pita, 3 ounces turkey breast, 1/2 roasted pepper, 1 teaspoon mayo, mustard, and lettuce. Serve with 1 stick part-skim mozzarella string cheese and 2 kiwis.

Day 1: Dinner

For this meal, enjoy 4 ounces of broiled flounder or sole with 2 sliced plum tomatoes. Sprinkle on 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese and broil until golden. On the side, have 1 cup of cooked couscous and 1 cup of steamed broccoli. For dessert, have single-serve ice cream (

Day 2: Breakfast

Make a smoothie by blending 1 cup of frozen berries, 1/2 banana, and 8 ounces of low- or fat-free milk. Bring 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs with you as you leave the house.

Day 2: Lunch

Vegetarian vegetable soup (1 cup) and a veggie burger on whole grain and seed toast or an English muffin make a great meal. Add some fresh grapes (1 cup) on the side

Day 2: Dinner

Coat 4 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast with barbecue sauce and grill. Top chicken with chopped scallions and a squeeze of lime juice. Mix 2 heaping cups of sautéed spinach with garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes and serve with 1/2 plain baked or sweet potato (if desired).

Day 3: Breakfast

In the microwave, cook 1/2 cup of quick-cooking oats with low-fat or unsweetened soy milk. Add 1/2 apple (sliced or chopped), 1 teaspoon of honey, and a pinch of cinnamon.

Day 3: Lunch

In order to make chicken salad, mix 4 ounces of shredded skinless roast chicken breast with 1/4 cup sliced red grapes, 1 tablespoon slivered almonds or other nuts, 1/4 cup chopped celery, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, and 1 tablespoon plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt. Serve over lettuce. Eat with one large piece of multigrain toast.

Day 3: Dinner

For this meal, enjoy 4 ounces of steamed shrimp with 1 baked potato topped with 3 tablespoons salsa and 1 tablespoon unsweetened Greek yogurt. On the side, have 3 cups of steamed spinach. To finish the meal, have a small dessert of 1 ounce chocolate or a 100-

Day 4: Breakfast

You can make a delicious yogurt parfait by layering 1 cup of plain or low-sugar Greek yogurt, 1 cup of berries of your choice, and 1/3 cup of low-sugar granola.

Day 4: Lunch

Make tomato soup by heating 1 cup. Serve it with a sandwich that has 1 mini whole-wheat pita, 3 ounces of thinly sliced roast beef, 1 teaspoon of horseradish, mustard, tomato slices, and lettuce. Eat the soup and sandwich with 2 cups of raw veggies and 1/4

Day 4: Dinner

For this meal, serve 4 ounces of poached salmon with a slaw made by tossing 1 1/4 cups of coleslaw mix and 2 sliced scallions with 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar and 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. Add spices, herbs, and seasoning as desired. Pair with 1 cup of a 100% whole grain quinoa

Day 5: Breakfast

In a bowl, mix together 1 cup Cheerios, 1/2 cup berries, 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, and 6 ounces of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt.

Day 5: Lunch

You can make a quesadilla by spreading 1/4 cup of fat-free refried beans over a 100% stone-ground corn tortilla. Add 1 ounce of shredded part-skim cheese on top of that. Put salsa and another tortilla on top; microwave for 45 seconds on high or grill it. Serve with cucumber spears and 1/2 cup of 2% cottage cheese or Greek yogurt

Day 5: Dinner

For dinner, have 3 ounces roasted pork tenderloin with 1 cup baked acorn squash, mashed with a pinch of cinnamon; 2 to 3 cups salad greens with a dash of olive oil and as much vinegar as desired; and chocolate or an ice cream bar for dessert (100 to 150 calories).

Day 6: Breakfast

Toast a 100% whole-grain frozen waffle. Spread 2 tablespoons of nut butter on top and add 1 small sliced banana. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on top. Serve with 8 ounces of fat-free

Day 6: Lunch

For a delicious tuna pita, you will need one mini whole-wheat pita, 2 ounces of water-packed tuna, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, mustard, cucumber, and onion slices. Serve with 10 baby carrots and 2/3 cup plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt with a small pear

Day 6: Dinner

To make jambalaya, mix 3/4 cup cooked brown rice with 1/2 cup corn, 2 ounces cooked sliced turkey sausage, 1/3 cup salsa, and 1/4 cup no-salt-added black or navy beans. Once everything is heated through, top with 3 cups spinach sautéed with garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil

Day 7: Breakfast

Layer 1/2 toasted English muffin with 1-ounce reduced-fat sliced cheese, 1 sliced tomato sliced, 1 cup steamed and drained spinach, and 1 poached egg. Serve with one grapefruit.

Day 7: Lunch

To make black bean salad, mix 1/2 cup canned black beans, 1/2 cup orange slices, chopped red bell peppers, red onion, scallions, and any other desired veggies with 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Serve over salad greens and alongside one 100% stone ground corn tortilla and a piece of fruit.

Day 7: Dinner

Three ounces of broiled or grilled flank steak, one baked sweet potato with one teaspoon of butter, steamed zucchini, and 1 1/2 cups of berries make a perfect meal

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