Some who promote a 1200 calorie high protein plan to lose weight claim rapid weight loss of up to 20 pounds a month. Is this achievable, or is this eating plan just another fad diet?
How Much Protein Do You Need?
How much protein is ideal for health and weight loss is a topic of debate even among experts. Some say there are negative side effects to eating high protein diets including increased risk of cardiovascular disease when the protein consumed is high in saturated fats like many meats and other animal products.
The truth is that just like any nutrient, how much protein is right for you will be determined by your size. To calculate the amount of protein right for you, use the following formula:
(Your weight) ÷ 2.2 = (your weight in kilograms) Once you have this number follow this formula:
(Your weight in kilograms) x .8 = the number of grams of protein you should consume each day.
Follow the recommended amount of protein for your size, and while you're at it take it a step further and choose protein that's good for you.
1200 Calorie High Protein Plan
Actually, a healthy approach to a 1200 calorie plan that's high in protein means that you'll include protein at every meal. The fact is that not all this protein has to include animal products high in saturated fat. For example, you can find healthy breakfast cereals or cereal bars that are high in protein and good for you. A nutritionally dense meal is perfect for starting the day. The Kashi brand offers a variety of cereal products that taste good and are good for you. Other brands to look for include:
- South Beach
- Kay's Naturals
- Dymatize Nutrition Elite
If you're not much of a cereal eater, be creative. An egg white omelet is a nice alternative.
To Snack or Not to Snack
Diets often recommend eating several small meals throughout the day, but when limiting yourself to 1200 calories, some people worry they won't have enough food on their plate to satisfy them at meals if they use some of their precious calories on snacks. This does not have to be the case. Snacks help maintain blood sugar levels and control appetite. What many people don't realize is that fruits and vegetables also contain protein. If you decide to eat one cup of sliced banana as a snack, you'll be adding another 1.635 grams of protein to your intake. Here are a few more nutritional values that show a sample of the protein content available in fruits and vegetables:
- 1 cup of quartered or chopped apple is only 65 calories and has .325 grams of protein
- 1 cup of naval orange is 80 calories and 1.5 grams of protein
- 1 cup of grapes is 61 calories and .58 grams of protein
- 1 cup sweet green pepper is only 29 calories and has 1 gram of protein
- 1 cup broccoli is 30 calories and 2.5 grams of protein
- 1 cup chopped carrots has 52 calories and 1 gram of protein
If you're considering a 1200 calorie high protein plan then be sure to look up your favorite fruits and veggies and make them part of your diet.
Protein for Lunch
Whole grain breads are another good source of protein. Check labels because protein content varies from one brand to another. However, you can easily find whole grain bread that offers 8 grams of protein per serving. Nut butters make a good source of protein, too. Almond butter, for instance, is 101 calories for two tablespoons and provides another 2 grams of protein to your diet.
Options are limitless. Here are a few more possibilities:
- Salad with cottage cheese and ground almonds
- Hearty soup made with clear broth
- Omelet salad made with egg whites and your favorite vegetables
How big your portions are at dinner will depend on how much you've eaten earlier in the day. If you know you enjoy a bigger dinner, then only eat half of your calories or less during the first part of the day. A 600-700 dinner gives you more than enough calories to play with when filling your plate. Here are a few menu ideas to get you started:
- Grilled salmon with vegetables
- Chicken breast with green beans and mushrooms
- Baked halibut, brown rice, with vegetables
No matter what foods you decide to eat on your 1200 calorie diet, it is important to check labels. Each brand is a little different and it doesn't hurt to check to make sure they haven't changed how the product is made since the last time you ate it. Counting calories is not hard once you get used to it, and if you use A Calorie Calculator it will help you calculate protein in grams as well as calories.While this is not a fad diet, it is unrealistic to think you can lose 20 pounds a month. A slow natural reduction of 2-3 pounds a week is more realistic