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1,200-Calorie Diet for Men

author image Joseph Eitel
Joseph Eitel has written for a variety of respected online publications since 2006 including the Developer Shed Network and He has dedicated his life to researching and writing about diet, nutrition and exercise. Eitel's health blog,, has become an authority in the healthy-living niche. He graduated with honors from Kellogg Community College in 2010 with an Associate of Applied Science.
1,200-Calorie Diet for Men
A bowl of green salad. Photo Credit: ehaurylik/iStock/Getty Images

Most adult men can safely lose weight at a healthy pace by following a 1,200-calorie-a-day diet plan, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Losing weight is important for overweight men because it can greatly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which affects one out of every three adult men, according to the American Heart Association.

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Meal Schedule

When planning a 1,200-calorie diet plan, spread your calories out over three meals and one snack. Each meal should consist of about 350 calories, and the remaining 150 calories can go toward your snack or several snacks throughout the day. Eating something every three hours will help keep you feeling full during the day and keep you energy levels up. The best way to transition into a low-calorie diet is over a period of weeks or months. For instance, cut 100 calories from your daily caloric intake each week until you reach 1,200.

Food Suggestions

Portion control and food choices are key. The Department of Health and Human Services suggests consuming 4 ounces of grains each day, 1 cup of fruit, 1.5 cups of vegetables, 3 ounces of lean meat or beans, 2 cups of milk or other dairy products and 17 grams of fats and oils. This 1,200-calorie plan also allows for about 171 discretionary calories that you can use for added sugar, seasonings or an added snack like a piece of fruit. A sample low-calorie breakfast could include 1 cup of bran cereal with 1 cup of skim milk and a banana. Dinner or lunch may consist of a 3-ounce portion of chicken breast, ¾ cup of green beans, a small salad with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a fresh peach.


In addition to lowering your risk of heart disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that modest weight loss of just 5 to 10 percent of your current body weight can help improve your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. These factors are all an important part of your health. Other benefits of losing weight and eating healthy include increased energy levels, better mood and self-confidence.


The weight-loss potential is high when following a 1,200-calorie diet plan. For instance, it’s not uncommon for adult men in the United States to consume 2,500 or more calories per day to maintain their current body weight. Eliminating 1,300 calories from this amount yields a net loss of more than 2 pounds per week. The CDC’s recommendation for safe weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week, so the potential for safely losing 50 to 100 pounds over the course of a year is high.

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