According to Kathleen Zelman, director of nutrition for WebMD, a 1,200 calorie-per-day diet should consist of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meats and low-fat dairy, and avoid unhealthy fatty meat and dairy, starchy and salty foods. Zelman suggests eating enough food to feel full, both physically and emotionally. The National Institutes of Health, Good Housekeeping and EatingWell all offer menu plans for following a 1,200-calorie diet.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute from the National Institutes of Health, a typical day on a 1,200-calorie diet includes whole-wheat bread with jelly, shredded wheat and orange juice for breakfast; a roast beef sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes and an apple for lunch; and 2 ounces of salmon, a baked potato, cooked green beans and carrots and a roll for dinner. For a snack, eat popcorn.
The Good Housekeeping diet recommends a banana and bran flakes in skim milk for breakfast and a turkey sandwich with roasted peppers and lettuce, string cheese and two kiwis for lunch. For dinner, the diet suggests broiled fish, cooked plum tomatoes, couscous and broccoli. For dessert, the diet may include a fat-free pudding cup.
The EatingWell meal plan suggests a fruit smoothie for breakfast; a pita with feta cheese, grape tomatoes, spinach, olives and hummus for lunch; and chicken and brown rice for dinner. For snacks, it recommends an apple or raw sugar snap peas.