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7-Day 1200-Calorie Meal Plan for Weight Loss

Think a 1200-calorie diet is impossible to follow? Think again.

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We’ve made sure you won’t feel deprived with these hearty lower-calorie breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Our meal plan comes in below 1200 calories, leaving you 300-400 calories for sides, snacks and drinks to balance out your day.

Continuing your weight-loss journey? Don’t miss these tasty (and healthy!) dinner recipes.

2 / 22

197 calories

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Day 1 Breakfast: Carrot Cake Oatmeal

This warm breakfast cereal made in the slow cooker is a great way to get your veggies in the morning and keep a healthy diet! For extra crunch, I garnish individual servings with ground walnuts or pecans.—Debbie Kain, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Trying to lose weight? Learn about the 4 foods you should consider cutting from your diet.

3 / 22

312 calories

Day 1 Lunch: Chicken Tzatziki Cucumber Boats

I’ve tended a garden for decades, and these colorful “boats” made from cucumbers hold my fresh tomatoes, peas and dill. It’s absolute garden greatness. —Ronna Farley, Rockville, Maryland
Find more low-calorie lunch ideas here.

4 / 22

313 calories

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Day 1 Dinner: Potato-Topped Ground Beef Skillet

The depth of flavor in this recipe is amazing, and I never have leftovers when I take it to potlucks. I love recipes that I can cook and serve in the same skillet. If your butcher has chili grind beef, which is coarsely ground, go for that; it lends an extra-meaty texture. —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas
These delicious dinners are all under 300 calories per serving.

5 / 22

170 calories

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Day 2 Breakfast: Poached Eggs with Tarragon Asparagus

I adapted this recipe from a dish I had in Napa Valley. I decided to add toasted bread crumbs as a garnish. The result was a breakfast option that everyone loves.—Jennifer Tidwell, Fair Oaks, California.
These are the worst foods for weight loss.

6 / 22

298 calories

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Day 2 Lunch: Southwest Chicken Barley Chowder

Mashed squash helps make this chowder creamy but not heavy, and it’s a favorite way to get barley on the table. My kids even ask for leftovers for lunch. —Pamela Cleghorn, Campbellsburg, Indiana

7 / 22

340 calories

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Day 2 Dinner: Cheese Manicotti

This is the first meal I cooked for my husband, and years later he still enjoys my manicotti recipe! —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas

8 / 22

214 calories

Day 3 Breakfast: Lemon Chia Seed Parfaits

These bright and tangy parfaits start the day on a healthy note, but they’re also sweet enough to double as dessert. —Crystal Schlueter, Babbitt, Minnesota
This everyday spice may be the secret to weight loss.

9 / 22

312 calories

Day 3 Lunch: Turkey & Apricot Wraps

For these everyday wraps, I combined the traditional Southern appetizer of jam and cream cheese on crackers and the turkey, apple and brie sandwiches we ate at my bridal luncheon. I like to sneak fresh spinach into all sorts of recipes because it has such a mild flavor. —Kim Beavers, North August, South Carolina

10 / 22

285 calories

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Day 3 Dinner: Spicy Sausage and Rice Skillet

The spicy sausage in this quick skillet dish gives it a kick, and the sliced apples are a pleasant, tart surprise. —Jamie Jones, Madison, Georgia

11 / 22

241 calories

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Day 4 Breakfast: Whole Wheat Pecan Waffles

We bought a new waffle iron, and along with it came a recipe. We finally decided to try it, and after a few changes we came up with these delicious waffles. —Sarah Morris, Joplin, Missouri

12 / 22

324 calories

Day 4 Lunch: Skinny Cobb Salad

This “skinny” version of Cobb salad has all the taste and creaminess with half the fat and calories. You can skip the coleslaw mix and do all lettuce, but I like the crunch you get with cabbage. —Taylor Kiser, Brandon Florida

13 / 22

233 calories

Day 4 Dinner: Lemon-Garlic Pork Chops

My son James created these zesty chops spiced with paprika and cayenne. He keeps the spice rub in a jar to use with chops or chicken. —Molly Seidel, Edgewood, New Mexico

14 / 22

188 calories

Day 5 Breakfast: Calico Scrambled Eggs

When you’re short on time and scrambling to get a meal on the table, this recipe is “eggs-actly” what you need. There’s a short ingredient list, and cooking is kept to a minimum. Plus, with green pepper and tomato, it’s colorful. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

15 / 22

314 calories

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Day 5 Lunch: Chunky Sausage Lentil Soup

Lentils are an inexpensive but nutritious power food, and these days, a hot, filling and flavorful family meal at a great price is a real comfort. My husband just loves this soup and it freezes well. —Donna Scarano, East Hanover, New Jersey

16 / 22

308 calories

Day 5 Dinner: Fish Tacos with Guacamole

Fish tacos are my new favorite thing—lighter and healthier than beef tacos smothered in cheese. Try adding tomatoes, green onions and chopped jalapeno on top. —Deb Perry, Traverse City, Michigan

17 / 22

241 calories

Day 6 Breakfast: Cinnamon Apple Pancakes

My family loves these light and fluffy apple cinnamon pancakes. And best of all, they’re sweet enough to enjoy even without syrup. —Kim McConnell, Tulsa, Oklahoma

18 / 22

279 calories

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Day 6 Lunch: Tuna and White Bean Lettuce Wraps

Say bye-bye to ho-hum tuna salad. Here’s a recipe we actually look forward to eating. —Heather Senger, Madison, Wisconsin

19 / 22

270 calories

Day 6 Dinner: Ginger Veggie Brown Rice Pasta

Once I discovered brown rice pasta, I never looked back. Tossed with ginger, bright veggies and rotisserie chicken, it tastes like a deconstructed egg roll! —Tiffany Ihle, Bronx, New York

20 / 22

143 calories

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Day 7 Breakfast: Goat Cheese & Ham Omelet

As a busy working mom, my breakfast needs to require minimal prep. I often combine the egg mixture beforehand and refrigerate overnight. Then all I have to do in the morning is heat up my skillet. My favorite part is the goat cheese filling, which gets nice and creamy from the heat of the omelet. —Lynne Dieterle, Rochester Hills, Michigan

21 / 22

298 calories

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Day 7 Lunch: Cashew Turkey Salad Sandwiches

One bite and you’ll be hooked on this slightly sweet sandwich. It’s protein-packed so you can feel good while you munch! —Mary Wilhelm, Sparta, Wisconsin

22 / 22

327 calories

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Day 7 Dinner: Pork Tenderloin on Sweet Potato Beds

One bite and you’ll be hooked on this slightly sweet sandwich. It’s protein-packed so you can feel good while you munch! —Mary Wilhelm, Sparta, Wisconsin

Peggy Woodward, RDN
Peggy is a Senior Food Editor for Taste of Home. In addition to curating recipes, she writes articles, develops recipes and is our in-house nutrition expert. She studied dietetics at the University of Illinois and completed post-graduate studies at the Medical University of South Carolina to become a registered dietitian nutritionist. Peggy has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. She’s a mom, a foodie and enjoys being active in her rural Wisconsin community.
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