How Do You Plan a 1200-Calorie Diet Menu?

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Various 1200-calorie diet meal plans are available online through a number of publications, including Eating Well and Good Housekeeping magazines. Dieters can also build a custom 1200-calorie diet by combining servings of different foods relative to their calorie count.

The seven-day plans listed on the Eating Well and Good Housekeeping websites offer combined breakfast, lunch and dinner options that do not exceed 1200 calories daily, according to each magazine's website. The Eating Well diet menu contains recipes taken from past issues that many readers may already be familiar with.

The Good Housekeeping 1200-calorie diet menu focuses more on general menu items commonplace in most households, such as oatmeal, chicken, potatoes, brown rice and assorted vegetables.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggests using the American Diabetic Association's food exchange lists to build a custom meal plan. Vegetables, dairy, protein, fruits and starches appear on the list, with total caloric counts for single servings of each food item.

By selecting foods from various groups and combining the appropriate amounts, a 1200-calorie diet menu can be constructed with little difficulty. The variety of foods on the exchange list allows for some flexibility in creating a diet menu, including the ability to adjust meal plans to reflect higher or lower total caloric amounts daily.