A 3-Day, 1,200-Calorie Meal Plan

Part of slimming down involves a simple, sensible exercise and an easy-to-follow nutrition plan. This full week of meals 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, check out these 1,300-, 1,400-, 1,500-, and 1,800-calorie meal plans as well.

What You Should Know About Nutrition Plans

While 1,200 may be the right number for some, it can be super restrictive for others, says Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Try basing your meals and snacks off this plan and double up on veggies at any opportunity — more fruit at snack time works too! You can also add an extra ounce or two of protein at all meals if you find yourself feeling hungry. The combo of fiber from produce and lean protein makes this an adaptable strategy that’ll help you lose weight safely — one meal (and snack) at a time!

Day 1: Breakfast

Combine 3/4 cup bran flakes, 1 banana, and 1 cup fat-free milk in a bowl.

Day 1: Lunch

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

Day 1: Dinner

Serve 4 ounces broiled flounder or sole with 2 sliced plum tomatoes sprinkled with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, broiled until just golden. Eat with 1 cup cooked couscous and 1 cup steamed broccoli. Enjoy 1 fat-free pudding cup for dessert.

Day 2: Breakfast

Blend 1 cup frozen berries, 1/2 banana, and 8 ounces fat-free milk into a smoothie. Grab 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs on your way out the door.

Day 2: Lunch

Heat up 1 cup vegetarian vegetable soup and serve with 1 veggie burger in a 100% whole-grain pita and 1 cup of grapes.

Day 2: Dinner

Brush 4 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast with barbecue sauce and grill. Combine 2 heaping cups of sautéed spinach with garlic, olive oil, and tomatoes and serve with 1/2 plain baked or sweet potato (as desired).

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Day 3: Breakfast

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

Day 3: Lunch

To make a chicken salad, toss 4 ounces shredded skinless roast chicken breast with 1/4 cup sliced red grapes, 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise, and 1 tablespoon plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt. Serve over lettuce. Eat with 1 banana.

Day 3: Dinner

Serve 4 ounces steamed shrimp with 1 baked potato topped with 3 tablespoons salsa and 1 tablespoon unsweetened Greek yogurt, plus 3 cups spinach, steamed. Finish the meal off with 1 ounce of chocolate or a 100- to 150-calorie ice cream bar.

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