The Art of Mom Hacking

7 Day 1200 Calorie Meal Plan – 4 Week Collection From Around The Web

I had a great idea for making meal planning simple.  First, I would go to Pinterest and find a few 7 day meal plans for 1,200 calories per day.  The calorie number isn’t essential to this story, but it happened to be my search criteria.  The problem with these meal plans is that half the time there’s a crazy recipe with ingredients I’ve never heard of and can’t find in the grocery store.

Enter Instacart.

Then it occurred to me that lately I’ve been getting my groceries delivered with a service called Instacart.  It saves me a boatload of time and I don’t buy a bunch of impulse junk.  I realized that with Instacart, I don’t have to try to find the organic-monkey-finger-tarts on the shelves.  I just need to search the site and have someone else find it for me.  No extra time or effort would be spent trying to plan my meals.  To make it even easier, I could make a list of all the ingredients I would need to make all of the foods on the plan for an entire week, save it and just re-order each time I wanted to use that plan again.

I felt like a genius!  But there was a problem.

I still don’t know what edamame is and I’m not so sure I want to try it.  What do I not know about poached eggs?  And please stop putting apples on everything.  If it wasn’t sweet to start with, it usually shouldn’t be.  The thing is, I feel like I’m reasonably willing to try new things but I’m a normal person who likes normal food and maybe I just don’t want cranberries on my fish.  I feel like that was a pretty profound statement, so I’m going to go ahead and put it in quotes.

The thing is, I feel like I’m reasonably willing to try new things but I’m a normal person who likes normal food and maybe I just don’t want cranberries on my fish.

It was time to take matters into my own hands.  I returned to my search for 1200 calories, 7 day meal plans.  As an aside, this time I just Googled it because Pinterest sort of let me down on this one.  Here are the links to the options I found, in case you want to try them out.

  1. A 7-Day, 1,200-Calorie Meal Plan by Good Housekeeping – This one actually didn’t seem all that bad until I hit day 3 and they put apples in the damn chicken salad.  I’ll be keeping quite a few of the ideas from this plan.
  2. Your Week-Long 1,200-Calorie Meal Plan, Straight From an Expert by Redbook– I was nervous immediately when I saw the word “expert” in the title.  When it comes to diets and food, that usually translates directly into “too fancy for my blood”.  On day 2 we had a veggie burger inside a piece of lettuce already, but I am a trooper and willing to stay on board through that.  However, that does NOT mean I will stand by while you tell me to roast a pear and put goat cheese on it.  Things continue downhill from there with beets, kale and quinoa.  As per protocol, you’ll be seeing an assortment of fruits combined with things they shouldn’t be.  I’d say I may use about 50% of the recipes on this list.
  3. 7-Day 1200-Calorie Meal Plan for Weight Loss by Taste of Home – I have to be honest.  The very first breakfast on this list is called Carrot Cake Oatmeal and you are instructed to top it with ground walnuts or pecans.  This was already way more effort than I am willing to expend for more than one meal even while I still have a fresh fire lit under my ass.  Alas, I didn’t even look further so I’m going to go back and skim over that really quick……. Ok, I’m back.  The entire article isn’t terrible, but there’s definitely a heavy mix of goofy stuff in there.  It’s a little better than Redbook so I’ll keep a few more from this list.
  4. 7-Day Weight-Loss Meal Plan for Winter: 1,200 Calories by EatingWell – It was while reading this article that I started to recognize a pattern.  They always start off with fairly familiar foods to sucker you in and then just drop you off the deep end.  This particular article is the most dramatic example of the method.  The first few days were decent and then things just got silly.  It seems like day 4 is about where they throw in something absolutely ridiculous to see if you’re still paying attention.


As much as I enjoyed this rant, there’s a ton of good ideas in these menus.  In my next post, I’ll be creating my own mix ‘n’ match 1,200-calorie meal planner using some of the edible foods from these experts and adding in a few old standby’s that I love.  Maybe I’ll even throw in an Instacart shopping list to make it easy!

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