As I have been able to maintain my weight loss the past 6 months, I noticed a pattern for my daily meals that helped me stay on track! Here’s the exact, yet flexible, low calorie meal plan I’ve been following.
Maintaining my recent 20 lb weight loss has been possible by continuing to count and track my calories. (you can read my weight loss story here)
But, I can be stubborn about my meals. I like eating the same foods every day, but I also have a rebellious streak where I crave variety. I don’t like being ‘boxed into a plan’. It doesn’t even make sense to me. I’m complicated, I know!
It wasn’t until I started documenting my meals more consistently for Instagram, that I realized I eat was eating the same foods every day, but with so much variety! I think it’s my method is the perfect balance of predictability and flexibility.
My Low Calorie Meal Plan
I thrive on a high protein, balanced carb, low fat diet. I’ve written several meal plans with macros split between 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat. (here’s my 1500 calorie one)
But at the heart of it all, I attribute my success to starting with a calorie deficit and sticking to my calorie goals. End of story.
If I eat too many grams of carbs, I’ll reduce my portions of protein. As long as I don’t go over my calorie budget for the day and maintained a calorie deficit, I kept losing weight. (you can see what calories you need to create a calorie deficit for you at my macro calculator)
I try to avoid snacking, which was the biggest hurdle in my weight loss, and kind of still is. My main meals range between 300-500 calories.
So, even when I can eat the same foods every day, the meals can have a great deal of variety. Whatever I add or season the meals with need to be weighed, measured, and tracked in MyFitnessPal (or any calorie and macro tracking app.)
This printable is how my diet breaks down by meals that I call predictable, yet flexible!
30 Healthy Meal Ideas for the Low Calorie Plan
So, here I listed 30 meal ideas that give variety to the meal plan template. I realize the table is a bit squishy, so feel free to print the 30 days here.
Breakfast Options (300-400 calories)
What I noticed in my weight loss meals, was that every morning I would eat eggs and oatmeal. But, it would be a variety of ways to prepare them.
Sometimes, I’d make low calorie pancakes which were just oats, egg whites, and cottage cheese.
Other times, I’d make an omelets with oatmeal and fruit.
Low Calorie Lunches (300-400 calories)
For lunch, I’ve been having a salad every day. In fact, I just started documenting on Instagram my salad a day streak so I can remember all the salads I like!
For my green salad, I use 4 ounces of meat, a lot of veggies, and then a low calorie dressing. My favorite dressings right now are the
- Bolthouse Dressings (35-45 calories per two tablespoons and you can find it in the produce department at the grocery store)
- Walden Farms Dressing (zero calories!)
- or Olive Garden Italian Light (30 calories for 2 tablespoons.)
Protein Snack (200 calories)
This is easy, and right now, my favorite meal of the day!! I will either have 200 calories worth of Greek yogurt, a recipe made with protein powder (like protein peanut butter cups) or both together!
Nonfat Plain Greek yogurt with protein powder! (jump to the spreadsheet for 30 ideas here!)
My favorite right now is just mixing nonfat plain Greek yogurt with sugar free pistachio pudding mix! I could eat this EVERY MEAL OF THE DAY!
High Protein Dinner (400-500 calories)
This is a super easy one, and a meal that the entire family can get behind. You don’t have to make it a diet meal at all.
Pairing 4 ounces of meat, like chicken, fish, steak, pork, etc., with some cooked or raw vegetables can be the pattern for any dinner meal.
Then, add some starchy carbs or regular carbs. I’ll have pasta, bread, potatoes, fruit, tortillas, etc.
|EGGS||OATMEAL||SALAD||PROTEIN TREAT OR YOGURT||DINNER|
|Scrambled Eggs||Strawberries and cream||Berry Spinach Salad||Cake batter Ice cream||Tacos with corn tortilla and ground turkey|
|Egg white omelete||Salted Caramel||BBQ Chicken salad||Strawberry ice cream||Ground beef with rice and veggies|
|Hard boiled eggs||Birthday Cake||Taco Salad||Protein PB Cup||Chicken Stir Fry|
|Quiche||PB Banana||Cobb salad||Cookies & Cream protein bars||Steak with potatoes and broccoli|
|Deviled Eggs||PB Chocolate||Chef’s Salad||Protein mug cake||Chicken Fajitas|
|Frittata||Blueberry||Turkey Ranch Salad||Protein pancakes||Hamburger on lettuce w/ homemade fries|
|Egg salad||Raspberry||Asian Salad||Pumpkin Protein Fluff Sandwiches||Fish and Asparagus with sweet potato|
|Egg sandwich||Banana Bread||Hard boiled Egg Salad||Protein cookie dough||BBQ chicken and rice|
|Egg muffins||Coconut||Chicken Caesar Salad||Sweet potato protein pancakes||Chili|
|Baked Eggs||Almond poppyseed||Chicken Cobb Salad||Cake batter protein balls||Homemade Pizza with chicken|
|Overeasy||Lemon Poppyseed||BLT salad||Protein Cheesecake||Chicken Caesar Salad|
|Egg white pizza||Maple & brown sugar||Apple Chicken Salad||Protein Pumpkin Mug cake||Meatball Stroganoff|
|Egg crepes||Cookie Dough||Strawbery and Grilled chicken||Cookies and cream mug cake||Grilled chicken tenders with cucumber salad|
|Chaffles (cheese waffles)||Pumpkin||Thai Chicken Salad||Protein donuts||Sticky Ginger Chicken|
|Microwave eggs||Carrot Cake||Greek Avocado Salad||Cinnamon Vanilla Protein Bites||Italian Chicken and Cauliflower Rice|
|Egg wrap||Apples and Cinnamon||Cranberry Walnut Feta salad||Pistachio Protein Shake||Spaghetti Squash Carbonara|
|Egg white oatmeal||Cinnamon Roll||Maple Burboun Bacon||Blueberries and cream cake||Low Calorie Chicken Alfredo Pasta|
|Cloud Egg||Brownie||Poppyseed salad||Protein powder crepes||Homemade Chick-fil-A|
|Eggs and laughing cow cheese||Blueberry Lemon||Farmhouse Ranch||YOGURT||Italian Stuffed Peppers|
|Poached Eggs||Cherry||Southwest Salad||Caramel||Chicken Fajita Rollups|
|Scrambled egg pizza||Orange creamsicle||Mixed Greens with Dijon||Peanut butter powder||Chicken Lettuce Wraps|
|Breakfast burrito||S’more||Lemon Parmesan Salad||Birthday Cake||Chicken Lo-Mein|
|Cottage Cheese eggs||Pistachio Oatmeal||Broccoli Berry Salad||Pistachio||Spaghetti squash with chicken and Parm|
|Inside out omelette||Almond Butter||Turkey Bacon Salad||Strawberry cheesecake||Spaghetti Squash Tacos|
|Eggs benedict||Peaches & Cream||Chicken Raspberry Nut Salad||Yogurt and cookies and cream powder||Cheesy Meatballs over rice|
|Denver Omelette||Dried fruit & nuts||Turkey Cranberry Sunflower Salad||Yogurt blueberry cheesecake||Chicken Noodle Soup|
|Egg white pancakes||Pumpkin and chocolate||Southwest BBQ salad||Yogurt Pistachio pudding||Sloppy Joes with Ground Turkey|
|Breakfast quesadilla||Peanut butter and Jelly||Pulled Pork Salad||Frozen Yogurt Pie||Pork roast and potatoes|
|Bell Pepper ring Eggs||banana caramel||Roasted Veggie and chicken salad||Yogurt plus chocolate protein powder||Pork loin and Rice|
|Breakfast Egg casserole||Oatmeal raisin cookie||Bell Pepper and Ranch salad||Yogurt plus protein cookie butter||Cauliflower Gnocchi with rotisserie chicken|
What you want to know!
I have a calorie and macro calculator here!
Losing weight on these calories really depends on where you are starting from. The only way to know this is to keep track for at least a week, without making dietary changes. If you don’t lose or gain weight during that week, that is your baseline calories. Once you have a baseline, creating a deficit of 500 calories per day will help you lose 1 lb per week.
The meals on this program can be eaten by anyone in the family! The only difference will be in how much you eat compared to your family. Maybe you’ll have 4 ounces of meat for dinner, and they’ll have 6 ounces.
Exercising while you are eating 1200 – 1500 calories will depend on what you consider exercise, the intensity, and how long you’ve been exercising. Walking is a great place to start, and can be done comfortably on this program. Assess your energy level during the day and make adjustments from there.
I am not. I graduated with a bachelors degree in health education, and recently became a certified personal trainer. This meal plan and my low calorie recipes are for information only. Please visit a qualified provider in your area to discuss your personal circumstances.
Low Calorie Meal Plan For Weight Loss
Breakfast Basics: Oats & Eggs 300-400 calories
- 1/3-1/2 cup oats
- 1 cup egg whites
- 1-2 large eggs
Lunch: Salad – Meat and Greens 300-400 calories
- 4 ounces chicken ,beef, tuna, or pork
- 2 cups greens
- 2 tablespoons low calorie dressing
- 1 cup chopped veggies or other toppings
Snack – Protein powder or Greek Yogurt 200 calories
- 2/3-1 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
- 1 scoop or 30 grams protein powder
Dinner – Meat and Veggies 400-500 calories
- 4 ounces chicken, beef, pork, or other protein
- 2 cups Vegetables
- 1 ounce carbs such as rice, pasta, sweet potatoes, or other starchy carbs
- Each day, select a meal from each category.
- Weight and measure your ingredients to stick to the calorie allotted for each meal.
- For a 1200 calorie diet, select the calorie limit on the lowest end. For the 1500 calorie diet, select the higher number.
- Be flexible and enjoy the meals each day!
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CLICK NEXT FOR MY 1200 CALORIE LOW CARB HIGH PROTEIN MEAL PLAN