1200 Calorie Keto Meal Plan
In recent years, high-protein, low-carb eating plans have been garnering more and more attention from people who would love to shed a few pounds. The 1200 calorie keto meal plan is an example of such diets. However, despite all the hype around this weight loss approach, is a Ketogenic diet good for you?
What is a Ketogenic diet?
While most of us are just learning about Keto, its benefits and multiple variations, the ketogenic diet is not something new. This diet has been used in medicine for almost 100 years to treat illnesses such as drug-resistant epilepsy (9). The Keto diet is highly restrictive of carbohydrates, and it relies on protein and high-fat contents to keep people going throughout the day. Specific plans vary, but usually Keto dieters aim to eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrate per day.
How does keto work?
Since on a Keto diet one tends to consume tiny amounts of carbs, the body and cells lack blood sugar (glucose) that it gets from carbs to turn into energy. In turn, this causes the body to convert fat into ketones, releasing them into the bloodstream. This process is referred to as ketosis, and the body turns to breaking down stored fat into molecules that can be used for energy (9).
In short, once you reach ketosis, your body will start breaking down and using its stored fats for energy. This is said to help burn fat faster thus helping you lose weight quickly.
Read More: 30 Day Keto Challenge: Will Upping Your Fat Intake Help You Lose Weight?
What kinds of foods are allowed on a 1200 calorie easy keto meal plan
Seeing as keto itself is quite a restrictive diet, here are some foods to avoid and some that are allowed while under this dieting plan (8):
You are allowed to have full fat natural/plain yoghurt and cheese, butter and cream. However, stay away from milk, ice-cream, non-fat and sweetened yoghurt.
Nuts and seeds
You can enjoy a variety of nuts and seeds such as macadamia, almonds, chia seeds, pecans, flax seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and peanuts. However, you should avoid cashews and any sweetened and chocolate-covered nuts.
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Meat and poultry
Chicken, grass-fed beef, organ meats, pork and turkey, are allowed on Keto. However, processed and breaded meats are not.
Asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, celery, eggplant, leafy greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, and peppers are okay while starch-filled vegetables such as butternut squash, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes and pumpkin are off the table.
Oils and fats
Do not consume processed vegetable oils or margarine. You should replace these with avocado, coconut, olive, and sesame oils. Healthy fats such as avocados are also highly encouraged.
This is a hard one for any fruit lovers. Since most fruits are packed with carbohydrates, you are not allowed to consume them. The only exceptions are such berries as raspberries, blackberries and strawberries.
Fish and Eggs
You can have eggs on this diet just try and ensure that they are organic. As for fish, you can choose either herring, mackerel or wild salmon.
All beans and legumes are forbidden from this diet. If you would like to have condiments, make sure that they are fresh or in powder form. Do not consume any pre-made condiments as you cannot tell the amount of sugar added to them. When it comes to salad dressings, it is best to make your own and do not add any sugar to them.
Almond or flax milk, bone broth, unsweetened teas and coffees are considered okay while sugary alcoholic drinks, beer, soda and fruit juice are discouraged.
Is the 1200 Keto meal plan healthy?
Yes and no. Generally, the keto diet has a lot of advantages. This diet has been used in seizure treatment in children with epilepsy. Aside from that, it is said to have significant results in weight loss. In 2004 a study found that a long-term ketogenic diet was beneficial to a group of obese patients.
In 24 weeks, not only did the patients lose a significant amount of weight, but they also experienced a decrease in the level of total cholesterol. Levels of triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and blood glucose also decreased (11).
While Keto has been proven to be effective, limiting yourself to a 1200 calorie Keto meal plan might not be sustainable long-term. While it will help you lose your weight, it should be noted that an average adult requires 1,600 – 3,000 calories every day to sustain their body weight (3). Always discuss with your physician before embarking on a very low calorie diet to make sure that it is safe and appropriate for you.
Read More: Is Heavy Cream Keto Approved: The Truth And Nothing But The Truth
How to make a 1200 calorie keto meal plan
If you would love to try this eating plan but are wondering, ‘How do I start a 1200 calorie keto meal plan’, here is a five-day meal plan sample that you can use as a starting point on your journey.
Free 1200 calorie easy keto meal plan
Breakfast – Classic bacon and eggs
- 35 grams of bacon and 2 eggs.
- Calories 272, Fats: 22 g, Carbs: 1 g, Protein: 15 g
Lunch – Lettuce and ham sandwich
- 2 slices of cheddar cheese, 2 slices of deli ham, and 2 slices of lettuce rolled together with 2 tbsp of mayonnaise.
- Calories: 480, Fats: 42 g, Carbs: 4 g, Protein: 20 g
Dinner – Zucchini pasta
- 2 large spiralized zucchini, 1 cup of spinach, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsp of butter, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup feta cheese, 5 cloves of garlic, 10 kalamata olives. Add black pepper and salt to taste.
- Calories: 231, Fat: 20 g, Carbs: 6.5 g, Protein: 6.5 g
Snack – Keto Cheese Chips
- 200 g cheddar cheese or provolone cheese and 1/2 tsp shredded, tsp paprika powder.
- Calories: 200 Fat: 19 g, Carbs: 2 g, Protein: 13 g
- Total Calories for the day: 1,183
Breakfast – Cheese rollups
- 50 g of cheese covered in 15 g of butter.
- Calories: 331, Fat: 30 g, Carbs: 2 g, Protein: 13 g,
Lunch – 250 g Italian style ham, 125 g prosciutto, 50 g salami soppressata, 150 g genoa salami, 2 avocados, green onions and 2 lettuce leaves.
- Calories: 270, Fat: 22 g, Carbs: 2.5 g, Protein: 18.6 g
Dinner – 113 g ribeye steak with 1 cup broccoli and 1 tablespoon of butter.
- Calories: 409, Fat: 31 g, Carbs: 4 g, Protein: 24 g
Snack – Melt 1/2 cup of coconut butter and coconut oil, 1/4 cups of shredded coconut. Mix and freeze for an hour.
- Calories: 172, Fat: 18 g, Carbs: 2 g, Protein: 0 g
- Total Calories for the day: 1,182
Breakfast – Dairy-free latte
- 2 eggs, 2 tbsp coconut oil, 350 ml boiling water, 1 pinch vanilla extract, 1 tsp ground ginger
- Calories: 191, Fat: 18 g, Carbs: 1 g, Protein: 6 g
Lunch – 227 g of rotisserie chicken
- Calories: 475, Fat: 30 g, Carbs: 0 g, Protein: 51 g
Dinner – Curried pork chops
- 2 pork chops, 1 g curry powder, 1 tsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
- Calories: 480, Fat: 18 g, Carbs: 0 g, Protein: 78 g
- Total calories for the day: 1,146
Breakfast – No bread sandwich
- 2 tbsp butter, 4 eggs, salt and pepper, 30 g smoked deli ham, 50 g cheddar cheese
- Calories: 354, Fats: 30 g, Carbs: 2 g, Protein: 20 g
Lunch – Lettuce sandwich
- 2 slices deli turkey or ham, 1 slice cheddar cheese, 1 piece of lettuce, and 1 slice of tomato rolled together with 1 tbsp mayonnaise.
- Calories: 220.7, Fat: 18.7 g, Carbs: 1.3 g, Protein: 12.3 g
Dinner – Burrito Bowl
- 113 g of steak, 2 tbsp of guacamole, 2 tbsp cheese OR sour cream, and a small handful of lettuce
- Calories: 495, Fat: 36 g, Carbs: 3 g, Protein: 29 g
Snack – 1/4 cucumber and 1 tbsp ranch dressing
- Calories: 80, Fat: 7 g, Carbs: 3 g, Protein: 1 g
- Total calories for the day: 1,149
Breakfast – Egg Muffins
- 1⁄3 scallion, 25 g chopped cooked bacon, 2 eggs, 1⁄3 tbsp red pesto or green pesto (optional), salt and pepper, 30 g shredded cheese.
- Calories: 336, Fat: 26 g, Carbs: 2 g, Protein: 23 g
Lunch – Tuna Salad
- 1 cup of tuna, 3 tbsp mayonnaise, 1 tbsp onion, salt and pepper to taste
- Calories: 248, Fat: 19 g, Carbs: 2 g, Protein: 20 g
Dinner – Salmon with broccoli and cheese
- 110 g broccoli, 20 g butter, salt and pepper, 35 g grated cheddar cheese, 175 g salmon, ¼ lime (optional)
- Calories: 684, Fat: 52 g, Carbs: 6 g, Protein: 46 g
- Total amount of calories for the day: 1,268
- If you do not consume dairy and would prefer a 1200 calorie dairy free Keto meal plan, just replace all milk with coconut milk and butter with ghee.
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The Bottom Line
The 1200 calorie Keto meal plan is an effective and quick way to lose those extra pounds. However, it may not be a sustainable long-term weight loss plan. For you to maintain the new weight and keep off any new extra weight, you will be required to exercise and increase the number of calories that you consume.
Remember that quick weight loss plans can be detrimental to your health, especially if you have an underlying illness. Before you decide to try this diet, consult your doctor on the way forward.
Can I lose weight on the 1200 calorie Keto meal plan?
Yes, you can. Not only have Ketogenic diets have shown incredible results in obese patients, but also 1200 calories a day are quite restrictive and thus most people are bound to lose some weight. However, you must keep in mind that this is a short-term plan.
Not only is it very low on calories but it is also extremely low in carbohydrates (1). Once you achieve your desired weight goal, you may have to adjust your calorie intake to maintain the new weight.
What are the benefits of the 1200 calorie keto meal plan?
If you choose to start this diet plan, here are some benefits that you can expect from this eating plan:
Rapid weight loss
Sedentary adult women require about 1600 – 2000 calories a day while sedentary adult males need approximately 2,000 and 2,600 calories each day. The 1200 calorie meal plan for weight loss significantly cuts down on the amount of calories required in a day.
If you would like to bump up the number of kilograms lost, remember to exercise while on this diet. A physically active person is bound to lose more weight than someone who lives a pretty sedentary lifestyle (15).
Ketone bodies are said to have an effect on appetite control hormones and are appetite suppressants. Since the eating plan is also high in proteins, you will remain fuller for longer (7).
Reducing the appearance of acne
While there are many reasons and causes of acne, the cure to it can not only be found in topical treatments, but also in your diet and blood sugar levels. Deciding to go on a 1200 calorie easy keto meal plan can be the answer to your acne problems.
Since the diet will significantly decrease the amount of refined carbohydrates that you consume, it may help balance your gut bacteria and reduce your blood sugar levels. This in turn might reduce some acne symptoms (12).
Provides certain kinds of relief to cancer patients
It should first be noted that more research is required to ensure that this is true. That being said, a review published in 2014 discussed that Ketogenic diets have been shown to reduce tumour growth and improve survival in animal models of malignant glioma, colon cancer, gastric cancer, and prostate cancer.
In two human patients with advanced-stage malignant astrocytoma who were fed a calorie-restricted keto diet coupled with normal treatments, their tumours reduced by 21.8%. This diet has also helped cancer patients by improving their emotional functioning, and bouts of insomnia (4).
An easy Keto diet will quickly reduce the amount of glucose in your body. This is thought to be a good thing because cancer cells have been known to grow by depending on the glucose in our bodies. Cancer cells are unable to metabolize ketone bodies as they would blood sugar or glucose. Also, the lack of blood glucose reduces levels of insulin. This in turn is thought to make it harder for cancerous cells to grow in our bodies (6).
Improved heart health
Keto is a diet that is quite high in fats, and this would lead one to assume that the diet would spike your cholesterol levels. While this is true, it is also important to understand that we have two types of cholesterol; ‘bad cholesterol’ aka low-density lipoprotein and ‘good cholesterol’ aka high-density lipoprotein.
Being on the 1200 calorie Keto meal plan could significantly reduce the ‘bad cholesterol’ in your body while simultaneously increasing the ‘good cholesterol’. This would reduce your chances of heart diseases and complications (2).
Prevention and treatment of nervous system diseases
Research has found that a Ketogenic diet can be beneficial to patients with Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease (5). This high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet brings about the state of ketosis and ketone bodies may have a neuroprotective impact on the aging brain cells.
However, more research is needed to prove whether this diet can be effective and provide relief to such patients.
Improves PCOS symptoms
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects numerous women and causes uncontrollable weight fluctuations, among other symptoms. The good news is that being on this 1200 calorie Keto meal plan may not only help reduce your weight, but it could also alleviate other PCOS markers such as balancing your hormones (14).
What are some side-effects of the 1200 calorie easy keto meal plan?
When you drastically slash your caloric intake, side effects are bound to arise. The most common effects that people feel once they start any variation of the Ketogenic diet is the ‘Keto flu’. While it is not an official medical condition, this flu is a set of minor and short-term symptoms that people may experience for a few days or weeks once they start Keto (17).
Keto flu symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, constipation and fatigue. Doctors suspect that this flu is brought about by sugar and carbohydrate withdrawal (10). Other short-term side effects include bad breath (aka ketosis breath), muscle cramps, diarrhea, general weakness, and a rash. Some adverse effects of this eating plan are kidney stones, excess protein in the blood, and a build-up of fat in the liver (13).
Remember that these side effects differ from person to person. Instead of taking your friend’s word of how their experience was, please consult your doctor before undertaking this 1200-calorie keto meal plan. You do not need to put your health at risk just to lose a couple of kilograms.
Can I change this into a 1200-calorie vegetarian Keto meal plan?
Yes, you can. Since vegetarians consume dairy products and eggs, you can be vegetarian on Keto. However, since vegetarianism avoids meat and fish, your healthy fats can come from other products such as coconut oil, eggs, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
If you are vegan, you can still do a vegan Keto diet. Just be sure to replace your meat, fish, eggs, and dairy with vegan options such as tofu, tempeh, soy milk, sugar-free coconut yoghurt, vegan butter, and soy and nut-based cheeses (16).
1200 calorie meal plan vs Keto diets: what is the difference?
Unlike typical calorie-restrictive diets, the amount of carbohydrates ingested is not a big deal. However, in all Keto diet variations, the daily intake of carbs is highly regulated. Also, Keto has a higher fat intake as compared to other eating plans.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Defining the Optimal Dietary Approach for Safe, Effective and Sustainable Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Adults (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of Ketogenic Diets on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Evidence from Animal and Human Studies (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How to eat 1,200 calories a day (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Ketogenic diets as an adjuvant cancer therapy: History and potential mechanism (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Ketogenic Diet in Alzheimer’s Disease (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Ketogenic diet in cancer therapy (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Ketogenic Diet for Obesity: Friend or Foe? (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Keto diet: 1-week meal plan and tips (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Ketogenic diet: Is the ultimate low-carb diet good for you? (2017, health.harvard.edu)
- Ketosis (2020, webmd.com)
- Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients (2004, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Nutrition and acne: therapeutic potential of ketogenic diets (2012, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Should you try the keto diet? (2019, health.harvard.edu)
- The effects of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet on the polycystic ovary syndrome: A pilot study (2005, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Tips to help you reach your exercise and weight loss goals (n.d, health.havard.edu)
- Vegan keto diet: Everything you need to know (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Why does the keto diet cause flu-like symptoms? (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)