Choose protein-rich and high-fiber foods at each meal.
Eating 1, 200 calories daily helps the majority of overweight men and women lose weight effectively, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. However, active men and women may require additional calories to lose weight at a safe pace of 1 to 2 pounds weekly. Never reduce your current intake by more than 1, 000 calories a day, because rapid weight loss often leads to weight regain. If a 1, 200-calorie weight-loss diet is right for you, adding healthy foods to your grocery list will help you reach your goal weight.
1, 200-Calorie Meal Plan
A 1, 200-calorie meal plan helps you plan daily menus and is a good guide when making a grocery shopping list. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, a 1, 200-calorie healthy meal plan includes 2.5 cups of dairy foods, 4 teaspoons of oils, 3 ounces of protein-rich foods – such as lean meats, seafood, poultry, egg whites and soy products - 4 ounces of grains, 1.5 cups of vegetables and 1 cup of fruits daily.
According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, 1 ounce from the grains group is equivalent to one-half cup of pasta, rice or cooked cereal, one slice of bread or 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal. Choose whole grains instead of refined grains when following a 1, 200-calorie weight-loss diet. Items to include in your grocery list include whole-grain breakfast cereals, brown rice, quinoa, whole-grain couscous, oatmeal and whole-grain pasta. When using 1, 200-calorie meal plans, you make your own selections. Choose whole grains you enjoy eating and pass on those you loath.
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High-protein foods are important when following a 1, 200-calorie weight-loss diet because protein helps fill you up and actually increases your body’s calorie expenditure, according to a study published in 2009 in the “Journal of Nutrition.” ChooseMyPlate.gov notes that 1 ounce from the protein foods group equals 1 ounce of meat, poultry or seafood, 1.5 egg whites, one-forth cup of tofu, 1 ounce of cooked tempeh, one-half ounce of nuts or seeds, 1 tablespoon of nut butter, one-forth cup of cooked legumes or 2 tablespoons of hummus. If you add red meat to your shopping list choose lean cuts, and when selecting poultry choose skinless, un-breaded varieties.
Dairy, Fats, Fruits and Vegetables
Your grocery list for your 1, 200-calorie meal plan should also include a variety of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods and heart-healthy fats. Choose items – such as low-fat milk, Greek yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese – that are rich in protein and calcium. You can replace low-fat dairy foods with calcium-fortified soy beverages or yogurts if you’d like. Nuts, seeds and nut butters can be counted in the protein foods or oils groups, since they’re rich in both of these nutrients. Other heart-healthy fats include avocados, olives and plant-based oils - such as olive, canola, peanut, walnut, sunflower, safflower and soybean oils.