Eating 1,200 calories per day requires you to be resourceful and ensure your meals provide proper nutrition. As a vegan, you can’t eat any meat or animal by-products, so you don’t want to squander empty calories. Besides monitoring caloric intake, you want to eat a minimal amount of fats and sodium, along with plenty of fiber, complex carbohydrates and protein. When you know what foods are healthiest, you can safely adhere to a 1,200 calorie diet.
Breakfast is a crucial meal because it's a chance to start your day with the necessary fuel you need. Choose breakfast foods that provide fiber to help you feel full. Stay away from sugary breakfast cereals that provide little nutrition benefit and guarantee an eventual sugar crash that will leave you feeling sluggish. Boil one 1/4 c. red quinoa (163 calories) and mix it with one 1/2 c. blueberries (40 calories) and 1 tbsp. of organic raw agave nectar (60 calories). This meal packs a nutritious 263 calories, along with 8 g of fiber, nearly one-third of your daily needs.
When you bring your own lunch to the office, you can virtually assure yourself it will be healthier than anything you can find in a fast food joint. Morningstar Farms makes a pure vegan burger (100 calories) that can be a flavorful component of any homemade sandwich. Put in on a Brownberry whole-wheat sandwich thin (100 calories) with a slice of soy cheese (40 calories) from Galaxy Nutritional Foods. Vegetables barely raise your overall total calories so add on a tomato, some sprouts and a few cucumbers for crunch and texture, and another 10 calories. This meal provides whole grains, protein and essential vitamins from your vegetables in just about 250 calories.
As a vegan, who eschews meat-centric meals, you can't go wrong with pasta. Choose one 1/2 c. of 7 grain fusilli (360 calories) from Ronzoni's Healthy Harvest Line. Mix in one 1/2 c. of broccoli (15 calories) and 3/4 c. spaghetti sauce (125 calories), then serve it over one cup of spinach (7 calories). This satisfying dinner provides cancer-fighting lycopene, cholesterol-preventing fiber and a great taste in about 500 calories. The best part is that the whole grains are slow to digest, thereby leaving you feeling full and avoiding late-night binge eating.
Don't deny yourself snacks. They break up your long day physically and mentally. Going between meals for four to six hours can leave you feeling exhausted and moody. For nutritionally dense food items, choose fruits and vegetables. This ensures you are receiving adequate amounts of fiber, as well as meeting your required amounts of vitamins and minerals. For a midmorning snack, choose a medium-sized pear, banana or apple for another 80 to 90 calories. To beat the afternoon fatigue, snack on a couple tablespoons of hummus with a handful of baby carrots or pepper slices for a mere 100 calories. Following the basic outline of this plan provides your 1,200 calories for the day.