When you think of diet the first words that most likely come to mind are restriction, calorie counting, and bland foods.
This can most likely be attributed to the fact that one of the most popular approaches to weight loss is caloric restriction often taking the form of What a 1200 Calorie a Day Plant Based Diet Looks Like
This diet plan has become somewhat infamous within the weight loss community and for a good reason.
Although calorie restriction has been shown to be an effective approach to weight loss, it’s extremely important to always focus on the quality of the food over quantity and never consume any less than 1200 calories per day for safety and health reasons.
Still committed to attempting a 1200 calorie per day diet but hesitant about the restrictive nature of this sort of meal plan? What if I told you that your new diet plan doesn’t have to be boring and restrictive to be effective?
One of the major criticisms of 1200 calorie diet plans is that when you significantly decrease your intake of calories, you risk decreasing essential nutrients.
This is a fair criticism as the less food you are able to consume the less opportunity you will have to meet your daily nutrient requirements.
For this reason, it is important to use your daily allowance of calories wisely and choose highly nutritious foods to fill up your daily meal plans.
This is where the vegan aspect comes into play. The vegan diet consists of plant-based products that often offer a much higher nutrient to calorie ratio making it an ideal candidate for those looking to limit their calories in order to lose weight.
While there are many delicious plant-based alternatives to traditional animal products, such as vegan mac n cheese, vegan sausage, vegan chicken nuggets, you name it, these products are often highly processed and contain higher calorie counts than plant-based whole foods.
It is often best to shy away from vegan junk food as it doesn’t contain as many nutrients and will rack up your calorie count very quickly.
By simply switching out heavily processed vegan alternatives for plant-based whole food alternatives, you’ll see not only that your intake of major nutrients will increase, but your portion sizes will increase as well.
Now enough with the small talk, let’s get to the meat and potatoes, or in this case, the fruits and veggies.
Here is an example of what a day in the life of a vegan, 1200 calorie based, diet looks like.
What a 1200 Calorie a Day Plant Based Diet Looks Like In Breakfast
Smoothie bowls provide a great alternative to traditional cereal meals because they can pack in a ton of micronutrients into a quick meal to get your day started off right.
Let’s start off by highlighting the nutritional benefits that are contained in this first meal.
The strawberries will provide you with a ton of vitamin C as well as fiber. In addition to making your smoothie bowl extra creamy and delicious, the banana will also contribute to your daily needs of fiber and potassium.
Blending the spirulina powder into this concoction is an easy way to contribute to your daily iron requirements as well.
Vitamin B12 is a major concern that I hear time and time again when the topic of vegan diets come up in conversation. Luckily, adding unsweetened coconut milk that is fortified with vitamin B12 is enough to cover your daily requirements of B12.
When you top off this breakfast bowl off with chia seeds, you are reaping the benefits of vitamin K as well as your omega-3s! Don’t care for the consistency of chia seeds? Try flax seeds instead. The possibilities are endless!
There is plenty of room for creativity in the preparation of your own smoothie bowls so don’t feel obligated to stick to the fruits that are listed below. This is an extremely flexible recipe, and any sort of combination of fruit will be delicious!
To prepare this simple smoothie bowl just blend one frozen banana, one frozen cup of strawberries, and one teaspoon of spirulina powder, with one cup of unsweetened fortified coconut milk.
Pour into a bowl and add half a cup of fresh blueberries or raspberries, and a dash of unsweetened coconut flakes. Top it off with a spoon full of chia seeds and enjoy the most important meal of the day!
What a 1200 Calorie a Day Plant Based Diet Looks Like At Lunch
When your midday lunch break finally comes around, you’ll be glad that you packed a meal that is not only low calorie but delicious and filling as well!
Open-faced sandwiches are a great way to enjoy the satisfaction of a yummy sandwich.
A simple calorie hack is to skip the second piece of bread and eat the sandwich open faced. Skipping the second piece of bread allows for extra calories where it counts. Um did someone say avocado?
Coat 2 teaspoons of hummus on to each of the two toasted (if preferred) pieces of Dave’s Killer whole grains bread.
I prefer Dave’s Bread because it contains almost half of your daily requirement of fiber which makes you feel full and satisfied. Any whole wheat bread of your choosing will suffice, however.
Thinly slice ¼ of an avocado and spread evenly between the two slices of bread. Add three slices of tomato to each piece of toast.
Top it off with a little salt, pepper, and even a little hot sauce if you’re feeling extra spicy!
If the sounds of these tasty sandwiches haven’t got you sold yet, a breakdown of the nutrients included in this meal should assure you that you are getting the most bang out of your caloric buck.
The two slices of bread as noted before will provide you with a substantial portion of your daily fiber needs, but will also provide you with iron, manganese, and vitamin B1.
The hummus will provide you with some protein, fiber and iron, which will help you feel full without weighing you down. No one likes having to push through that tired, heavy feeling for the rest of the workday.
The avocado contains a variety of B vitamins, as well as folate and the tomato slices contain vitamins A and C. With all these nutrients, who could resist a guilt-free sandwich like this?
Dinner: Spinach Quinoa Salad
Arguably, the best way to sum up your day is to reward yourself with a big beautiful salad. This meal is light yet filling and is a perfect way to prepare your body for an overnight fast while you sleep.
This is a super easy spinach toss salad that will be a simple meal to throw together after a long day at work. Don’t care for some of the veggies in this salad? Let your creativity take charge and add your favorites!
Just simply throw 4 cups of raw spinach into a bowl, add half a cup of cooked quinoa, five slices of cucumber, ¼ of a cup of cooked edamame beans, ¼ of a cup of black beans, ¼ of a cup of chopped broccoli, and three teaspoons of chopped walnuts.
Mix it all up in a bowl sprinkle with lemon juice and balsamic vinaigrette to taste, and you’ve got dinner!
I’ll sum up this final meal by highlighting the nutritional benefits of this tasty salad. For starters, your body will thank you for the generous amount of vitamin A, folate, and vitamin C from the spinach.
The protein and folate in the edamame beans are an added bonus. The levels of vitamin C and vitamin A in the broccoli are great, and it adds a nice texture to the salad.
Meanwhile, the walnuts add not only a little crunch to the salad but also that pesky omega-3s which can be tricky at times to squeeze into the typical American diet.
All in all, this salad is a great way to end the night on good terms, with a full belly and a healthy body.
With such a huge variety of food, you wouldn’t think that this meal plan consists of only around 1200 calories at first glance.
With just a little bit of effort, creativity, and adjustment, you can succeed in your diet and achieve your weight goals. This can be done without sacrificing the necessary nutrients that your body needs.
You don’t need to deprive yourself of exciting and delicious food in order to reach your weight goals.
While 1200 calories per day tend to be the buzz number in the weight loss community, it is important to keep in mind that prioritizing whole foods is much more important than any number.
Food should be something that you enjoy. Always listen to your body and do what feels right.