7 Day Heart Healthy Meal Plan: 1200 – 1500 Calories

Parul Dube

December 6, 2022

A general 7-days meal plan of 1200-1500 calories might seem an attractive and quick solution for you. But are you aware that this meal plan might not be healthy for your heart? So first, let us go through some details about the 1200 calories diet. This article will help you better understand its effect on your body and heart.

What is a 1200 Calorie Meal Plan All About?

You should strictly follow this diet under the supervision of a certified nutritionist. Calorie restriction to 1200 does not mean restriction in the variety of foods in your diet. Instead, it emphasises more on portion control to make sure you do not exceed the consumption of 1200 calories per day. However, even with a 1200 calorie meal plan, This should be a 5 plus a day message – wherein, we should opt for 2 seasonal fruits and 3 fruits – of the 3 fruits, one should be a green leafy vegetable, one a non-starchy vegetable and one a root vegetable to meet your day-to-day nutritional requirements and keep it a heart-healthy meal plan. And never forget to stay hydrated throughout the day!  

{Note: that your body requirements of nutrition may vastly vary. Thus, it is imperative to take your doctor’s or nutritionist’s advice and choose your diet plan wisely.}

1200 Calorie Meal Plan and Heart Health

You must be wondering how and where your heart came into the picture when it comes to a diet? Let us clear the fog for you! Sudden loss of weight can be fatal for the heart, so a word of caution; do not do anything drastic. Weight loss has to be slow and steady. Moreover, common knowledge tells us that sudden extreme loss of weight results in severe electrolyte reduction, which becomes a bigger risk for heart related problems. So, you need to make sure that your diet is actually ‘heart healthy’.

A heart-healthy meal for a healthy lifestyle that suits your taste buds might seem like a difficult task. So, to make the task easier for you, we have taken responsibility for the calculative task!

Mathematics of a 1200 Calorie Meal Plan

The sudden cut of calorie intake to 1200 may lead to weight loss as per its basic idea. But as mentioned before, the results may vary from person to person. That is because weight loss goes hand-in-hand with the rate of consumption and burning calories and how the body reacts to these changes. 

Depending on a person’s calorie consumption, the body may change how it burns those calories. So a heart-healthy meal plan should have lower levels of sodium and saturated fats and higher levels of fibre, including hydrating fresh fruits and veggies.

What to include:

  • Choose and customise your meals so that the calories stay within the 1200-1500 calorie range.
  • Divide your meals into small portions to avoid starvation. Restricting yourself to just 2 or 3 meals per day would leave you in constant hunger, along with a host of other symptoms like weakness, dizziness, anger, irritation, etc. Moreover, it will ultimately render the standard rate of body functions, including your precious heart. Hence, it is best to divide your daily meals into 5-6 meals, wherein you can have 3 main protein rich meals and 3 small nutritious snacks..
  • Be creative: Being on a diet is usually portrayed as living on salads that taste like eating blades of grass. Real experimental diets are far from it; you can swap your meals, use your leftovers, go for a cheat day once a week and try out new recipes experimenting with your taste buds. Isn’t it far from the bland taste diet you thought of?
  • Maintain regular self-check-ups: Making a note of your bodily changes is quite essential to keep your heart safe from risks of sudden abnormalities. For example, are you losing too much weight than planned? Are you gaining weight instead? What are the withdrawal symptoms of your body due to a sudden cut in calorie intake? These are some critical questions to be noted throughout the diet.

Does Your Body Need a 1200-1500 Calorie Meal Plan?

Mostly, the nutrition labels base their recommendations on a 2000 calorie diet. In such a case, the restrictive diet, which requires a person to reduce their daily intake of calories to 1200-1500 calories, may lead to malnourishment in some cases.

Typically, more calories for older adults, young males, active individuals, breastfeeding or pregnant women or medically conditioned people are critical than the other people. In addition, the number of calories required for a person each day varies vastly depending on different factors, including age, sex, activity level, body size along with any medical conditions. For example, people who are overweight or obese and lead a sedentary lifestyle would need fewer calories, thus making the 1200 calories meal plan somewhat safe and potentially effective for them.

Heart Healthy Meal Plan within 1200- 1500 Calories: Foods to Eat

Since a 1200-1500 calorie meal plan would surprise your body with its sudden impact on body weight and functioning, it is essential to safeguard your heart health. Hence, it is crucial to plan your meals smartly. As mentioned above, you should add adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables that are healthy for your heart. Let us look at some foods that are low in calories and enhance your heart health.

  • Eat more seasonal fruits and vegetables, as the minerals and vitamins in them are heart-healthy.
  • Include more fibre-rich foods such as green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds along with whole pulses and legumes in your diet. They keep you satiated for long and prevent excess calorie-consumption
  • Add whole grains to your diet. They are complex carbohydrates like multi grains and millets (e.g Ragi, Jowar, Bajra, foxtail millet, pearl barley millet, finger millets etc) that take time to convert into sugar and are healthy for your heart.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent heart diseases by reducing the free radical damage of cell walls. Hence, you should consume them. The best sources are fatty fish, walnuts and flax seeds. You can also opt for Omega 3 supplements to further reduce the free radical activity.
  • If you crave chocolates, do not hesitate in consuming a piece of dark chocolate. It is rich in antioxidants, which can help boost heart health.

7 Day Heart Healthy Meal Plan: 1200-1500 Calories

Here is an easy-to-follow 7-day heart-healthy meal plan with 1200 calories to help you cut down on those calories and protect your heart from any damage.

Day 1 Meal Plan

Breakfast (251 Calories)

Scramble Eggs : One Serving (146 Calories)

  • Lightly coat a pan with cooking spray
  • Add 1/2 cup no-fat egg substitute
  • Put 1/2 cup mushroom
  • Add 1 tbsp each of diced red bell pepper and scallions
  • Finally, add one oz. of low-fat Swiss cheese

One medium Banana (105 Calories)

Mid-Morning Snack (51 calories)

Dried Apricot Halves: 6 (51 calories)

Lunch (330 calories)

Veggie Pita Meal: One Serving (289 Calories)

  • Low-fat Feta cheese: 28.3 g.
  • Tomato slices: 3
  • Sliced avocado: 1/2
  • 4 inch wholewheat Pita bread: 1

Fruit Break

Fresh Pineapples: Two Cups (41 Calories)

Mid-Meal Snack (135 calories)

  • Hummus: 2tbsp (52 calories)
  • Sugar Snap Peas: 15 (21 calories)
  • Orange: 1 (62 calories)

Dinner (407 calories)

  • North Country Braised Chicken (268 calories)
  • Whole-wheat fettuccine: (87 calories)
  • Steamed broccoli: 4 spears, with a squeeze of lemon (52 calories)

Day 2 Meal Plan

Breakfast (279 Calories)

  • Steel cut Oats: 1 medium (139 calories)
  • Strawberries: ¾ cup (40 calories)
  • Nonfat plain Greek yoghurt: 6 oz. (100 calories)

Mid-Morning Snack (46 calories)

Prunes: 2 (46 calories)

Lunch (330 calories)

Veggie Cottage Cheese: One Serving (278 Calories)

  • 1% Cottage cheese (no salt added): 1 cup 
  • Cherry tomatoes for topping: 18 
  • Diced red bell pepper: 1 cup
  • Sliced cucumber: 1 cup

Fruit Break

Kiwi: One (42 Calories)

Mid-Meal Snack (198 calories)

  • Plain Almonds (unsalted): 12 (103 calories)
  • Medium Apple: 1 (95 calories)

Dinner (336 calories)

Paprika-Herb Rubbed Chicken (127 calories)

  • Boiled couscous: 3/4 cup cooked wholewheat couscous 
  • Diced red bell pepper: 1tbsp
  • Scallions: 1tbsp

Green Beans: 1½ cups (209 calories)

Day 3 Meal Plan

Breakfast (274 Calories)

Egg sandwich: One (232 Calories)

  • Lightly coat pan with cooking spray
  • Scramble 1/2 cup egg
  • Tomatoes (sliced): 3 
  • Low-fat cheese: 1 oz. 
  • Multigrain sandwich bread (thin): 2

One Kiwi (42 Calories)

Mid-Morning Snack (51 calories)

Dried Apricot Halves: 4 (34 calories)

Lunch (330 calories)

Hummus Pita Meal: One Serving (238 Calories)

  • Hummus: ¼ cup
  • Tomatoes (sliced): 3
  • Low-fat cottage cheese cheese: 1 oz.
  • 4 inch wholewheat Pita bread: 1

Fruit Break

Orange: One (62 Calories)

Mid-Meal Snack (130 calories)

  • Brown Rice Cake: 1 slice (35 calories)
  • Vanilla/Strawberry non-fat frozen yoghurt: ½ cup (95 calories)

Dinner (434 calories)

  • Lemon and Dill Chicken (170 calories)
  • Roasted Potatoes (roast with skin and use 1tsp olive oil: 1½ cups (198 calories)
  • Steamed green beans with a squeeze of lemon: 1½ cups (66 calories)

Day 4 Meal Plan

Breakfast (250 Calories)

  • Shredded Wheat Cereal: 1 cup (167 calories)
  • Milk: 1 cup (83 calories)

Mid Morning Snack (51 Calories)

Dried apricot halves: 6

Lunch (299 Calories)

Raita: 1 serving (146 calories)

  • Mix 6 oz. nonfat plain Greek yoghurt with 1 cup each diced tomato and cucumber
  • Season with cumin and crushed red pepper to taste

Multigrain crispbreads: 2 (48 calories)

Medium banana: 1 (105 calories)

Lunch (53 Calories)

Baby Carrots: 15 (53 calories)

Dinner (438 Calories)

  • Curried tofu salad: 1 serving (128 calories)
  • Whole wheat roll: 1 (114 calories)
  • Sweet potato chips: 1 oz. (141 calories)
  • Cucumber salad: 1 serving (55 calories)
  • One cup sliced cucumber with 1/2 Tbsp. Raspberry Vinaigrette

Day 5 Meal Plan

Breakfast (275 Calories)

Egg Sandwich: 1 serving

  • Coat the pan lightly with cooking spray
  • Scramble ½ cup egg whites
  • Add 2 oz. low-fat Swiss cheese
  • Serve on one thin multigrain sandwich bread

Mid-Morning Snack (84 Calories)

Dried Apricot Halves: 10

Lunch (362 Calories)

Avocado Salad Pita: One serving (262 calories)

  • Mix ½ mashed avocado with ¼ cup rinsed chickpeas
  • Squeeze 1 tbsp lemon juice in the mixture
  • Spread the salad mixture on one 4-inch whole-wheat pita bread.

Non-Fat Plain Greek Yoghurt: 6 oz. (100 calories)

Mid-Meal Snack (53 Calories)

Strawberries: One cup

Dinner (440 Calories)

Penne Arrabiata and Capicola: One serving (311 calories)

Salad: One serving (129 calories)

  • Take two cups of mixed salad greens
  • Add 12 cherry tomatoes and one cup of cucumber to the greens
  • Add 1 tbsp of lemon-mint Vinaigrette 

Day 6 Meal Plan

Breakfast (250 Calories)

  • Whole wheat daliya: One bowl (167 calories)
  • Skimmed milk: One cup (83 calories)

Mid-Morning Snack (35 Calories)

Brown Rice Cake: One slice

Lunch (322 Calories)

  • Unsalted Cottage Cheese: One cup (163 calories)
  • Cantaloupe: One cup (54 calories)
  • Banana (medium): One (105 calories)

Mid Meal Snack (37 Calories)

Cherry Tomatoes: 12

Dinner (423 Calories)

Tomato and Olive Stuffed Portobello Caps: One serving (118 calories)

Cooked Whole wheat Couscous: ¾ cup (204 calories)

Salad: One Serving (101 calories)

  • Mix 2 cups baby spinach with 1/2 cup strawberries
  • Add 1 tbsp. LemonMint vinaigrette for flavour

Day 7 Meal Plan

Breakfast (250 Calories)

Scallion Scrambled Eggs: One serving (170 calories)

  • Lightly coat pan with cooking spray
  • Scramble 1/2 cup egg 
  • Add one tomato slice, 1⁄4 cup diced part-skim Mozzarella cheese and 1 tbsp. scallions

Strawberries: ½ cup (80 calories)

Mid-Morning Snack (57 Calories)

Dried Tart Cherries: 2 tbsp (80 calories)

Lunch (311 Calories)

Veggie Sandwich: One serving (211 calories)

  • Mix 1 oz. Low-fat cottage cheese, three tomato slices, 1⁄4 cup alfalfa sprouts and 1 tbsp. cholesterol-free mayonnaise together
  • Spread the mixture on one thin multigrain sandwich bread

Non-Fat Plain Greek Yoghurt: 6 oz. (100 calories)

Mid-Meal Snack (42 Calories)

Any Fruit: 1 (Medium sized)

Dinner (395 Calories)

Grilled Rosemary Salmon Skewers: One serving (172 calories)

Cooked Quinoa: ½ cup (111 calories)

Salad: One serving (112 calories)

  • Baby Spinach: 2 cups
  • Tomato Slices: ½ cup
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette: 1 tbsp

Heart-Healthy Meal Plan with 1200 Calories: Foods to Avoid

You should especially avoid several food types to make your diet heart-healthy.

Red and Processed Meat

Red and processed meat are high in saturated fat, which is unhealthy for your heart. However, you can replace them with some plant proteins (nuts, legumes, whole grains, and soy products), ultimately reducing risks to your heart.

Processed Foods

Yes, you shouldn’t just avoid your processed meat but any form of processed food as well. Processed foods contain high salt, sugar, trans fat, saturated fat, additives and food colouring. This long list of ingredients is usually not beneficial for your heart.

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Foods

Energy drinks, soda etc., contain high levels of sugar, which you should avoid to maintain a moderate weight and a healthy heart.


Any form of alcohol will take away several benefits of your 1200-1500 range calories diet. Hence, you should reduce or avoid alcohol consumption. It also includes red wine, which people consider a heart-healthy form of alcohol. 

1200 Calories Meal Plan: Precautions

While you follow a 1200 calorie meal plan, it’s pretty essential to keep your medical history in mind. For example, if you are a person with diabetes or hypertension, a diet low in crucial macronutrients like proteins and fat, micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins may cause you harm. Hence, you must thoroughly go through nutrition labels and take advice from your doctor/dietician before adopting this meal plan.


A low-calorie diet helps reduce weight and helps prevent certain diseases. Nevertheless, weight loss is not the only measure of health. In fact, at times, losing weight may not be linked to a healthier self at all. It can also be a sign of an unhealthy diet, deficiency of nutrients or even a disease. In addition, maintaining such a low-calorie diet can be challenging for many people. So, it is best to consult an expert nutritionist before choosing any meal plan or diet. At the same time, you can reach out to experts on HealthifyMe to get a customised meal plan that suits your body and help you achieve your fitness goals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is a 1200- 1500 calorie diet healthy?

A. Calories and lifestyle go hand in hand. For example, a person with a sedentary lifestyle might not need as many calories as an active person. However, we would prefer individuals to be sufficiently active for better heart health, as in aim to complete their basic step count between 8k-10 k daily. As per the low calorie range diet of 1200-1500 cal this meal plan suits those individuals who are low-moderate active and have desk based jobs.

Q. What is a heart-healthy menu?

A. A heart-healthy menu, as the name suggests, includes everything that protects your heart. But, at the same time, it excludes everything that can be harmful to your heart health. So, say hello to high-fibre fruits, vegetables and whole grains packed with hydrating nutrients and say goodbye to high-fats and high-sodium foods. In addition, canned and processed foods, or foods that contain high sugar and salt levels, cheese, red meat etc., should not be a part of your meal. On the other hand, oats, barley, salmon, oily fish, dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, olive oil etc., are emphasised more in this menu.

Q. What 3 foods do cardiologists say to avoid?

A. Although several foods can potentially cause harm to your heart health, the three most threatening food groups that cardiologists ask you to avoid are processed meat, processed and canned food, and fizzy drinks. 

Q. What 3 foods do cardiologists say to eat?

A.  Several foods help maintain a healthy heart. However, as per cardiologists, the three most essential foods you should eat are vegetables (especially dark and leafy greens), fatty fish and fish oil, and whole grains. These foods are the pillars of a heart-healthy diet.

Q. How can I make my heart stronger?

A. Making your heart stronger and maintaining a healthy heart is easy if you follow some fundamental rules. It is a combined exercise, which includes and excludes specific foods and habits. For example, following a healthy and balanced diet and a physically active lifestyle are essential for a healthy heart. At the same time, you should avoid consuming foods that are not healthy for your heart, avoid tobacco and alcohol, avoid stress and refrain from overeating.

Q. Which drink is best for the heart?

A. You can choose from several options that are healthy for your heart. However, the best beverage is water. It keeps you hydrated and is one of the most essential drinks for your body. At the same time, you can have unprocessed and fresh fruit juice (especially pomegranate, beetroot etc.), vegetable soups or green tea.

Q. What are the signs of an unhealthy heart?

A. You can read your heart health through many symptoms in your body, which includes: 

  • Discomfort, tightness, pain or pressure in the chest
  • Shortness of breath/ breathlessness 
  • Cold, numb or painful arms and legs 
  • Unreasonable pain in the neck or jaw area

Q. What are the symptoms of a weak heart?

A. Some significant symptoms of a weak heart include:

  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in legs (ankle and feet area)
  • Breathlessness (especially during physical activities or while lying down)
  • Chest discomfort, including tightness and pain 

Q. Which fruit is best for the heart?

A. Almost all fruits offer some benefits to your heart. However, the berry family is known to be the healthiest for your heart health. It is rich in antioxidants, prevents oxidative stress and benefits your heart. Some of the berries you can consume are strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. 

About the Author

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!

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