A 1,200-calorie MyPlate diet is a weight loss diet based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA's, newest edition of the food guide pyramid called MyPlate. Following a MyPlate diet is a good way to plan healthy, well-balanced meals based on individualized characteristics such as your age, gender, current body weight, height, activity level, and weight management goals.
Key MyPlate Recommendations
- Avoid oversized portions
- Make at least half your grains whole grains
- Switch to fat-free or one percent milk
- Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables
- Avoid high-sodium foods
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks
- Reduce sugar-sweetened beverages
Is a 1,200-Calorie MyPlate Diet Right for Me?
If you're overweight or obese, a 1,200-calorie MyPlate Diet may help you achieve a healthier body weight. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, effective weight loss diets range from 1,000 to 1,600 calories per day depending on your gender, current weight and activity level. More specifically, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends diets containing 1,000 to 1,200 calories per day for most overweight women and 1,200 to 1,600 calories per day for overweight men, active women and women who weigh more than 164 pounds.
MyPlate 1,200-calorie Meal Plan
MyPlate Daily Food Plan is based on your age, gender, height, weight, activity level, and weight management goals. A MyPlate 1,200-calorie meal plan, also included in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, includes:
- 4 ounces of grains
- 1 cup of fruits
- 1.5 cups of vegetables
- 3 ounces of protein foods
- 2.5 cups of dairy or other calcium-fortified products such as soy milk
- 4 teaspoons of oils
- 121 extra calories from solid fats or added sugars
Sample MyPlate Menus for a 1,200-Calorie Diet
Use the MyPlate Food Groups feature if you have questions about portion sizes when planning your menus, and the USDA national nutrient database if you have questions about the calorie content of your favorite foods.
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|Breakfast|| || || |
|Snack|| || |
|Lunch|| || || |
|Snack|| || || |
|Dinner|| || || |
History of the Food Guide Pyramid
The food guide pyramid has changed drastically since 1992. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 and the old food guide pyramid became MyPyramid. In January 2011, the USDA released the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 and MyPyramid became MyPlate, the newest edition of the old food guide pyramid.
Old vs. Newer Food Pyramids
|Food Guide Pyramid||MyPyramid||MyPlate|
|Shape||Pyramid with horizontal blocks symbolizing different food groups||Pyramid with vertical stripes symbolizing different food groups||Plate of food divided into different food groups|
|Food Groups|| || || |
|Meal Plans|| |
One standard meal plan for all adults consisting of:
| || |
You can use other types of 1,200-calorie diets for weight loss including:
- 1,200-calorie ADA diet
- 1,200-calorie, low-carb diet meal plan
- Commercial 1,200-calorie programs
- 1,200-calorie high-protein plan
Consuming a MyPlate 1,200-calorie diet will help ensure you consume a well-balanced diet including adequate amounts of all the food groups. However, talk with your doctor before beginning any type of weight loss diet. You can use MyPlate Daily Food Plan to determine an appropriate diet and calorie level based on your body's needs. You may find that 1,200 calories per day is too few for you, even for weight loss.