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Sample Meal Plan for Atkins Diet Menu

Phase I - Induction

Deciding what to eat on a daily basis is simple when you begin the Atkins diet plan but eventually you feel like you are running out of options. Here are some suggestions for how to vary your meals. As you move into each phase you bring forward all the foods from the previous phases. Hence, the variety increases as you proceed from phase to phase and that is a reward in itself.

Atkins-style Breakfast -- Choose a single protein to be the main ingredient of your breakfast. Many people combine all the proteins. For example, one morning you can let an omelette be your center piece. You can eat a breakfast salad on the side (dark green lettuce, cheese chunks, bacon bits, with ranch dressing). On another morning you can let ham be your center piece. Now you can have a boiled egg salad (dark green lettuce, boiled eggs, bacon bits OR cheese chunks, with ranch dressing) on the side.

Atkins-style Lunch -- Beef and buffalo make great lunch meals. You can have "hamburger steak" or "protein-style" burgers. Good sides include salads, green beans, and celery, radishes, asparagus, broccoli, and similar vegetables. As an alternative to beef and buffalo you might consider eating baked or grilled chicken and fish (pregnant women should be careful about how much fish they eat). Duck and turkey are also great alternatives.

Atkins-style Dinner -- Eating a hearty salad is a great way to start your dinner. A Caesar Salad topped with grilled chicken or fish is a nice selection but you don't want to eat a Caesar Salad every night. A nice Chef Salad can feature chopped up boiled eggs, green beans, grilled chicken, bacon bits, radishes, black or green olives, a light sprinkling of various cheeses, and an Atkins-friendly dressing.

Phase II - Ongoing Weight Loss

Atkins-style Breakfast -- Now you're able to add some berries to your diet (including blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries) as well as cantaloupe. These are all great breakfast foods and you can combine them with any Phase I breakfast foods. Hence, you might have a fruit entree for breakfast with eggs and bacon on the side. Or you can fall back on that delicious breakfast omelette as the main entree and create a fruity breakfast salad or cocktail.

Atkins-style Lunch -- Along with the fruits mentioned above you are now also allowed to eat some nuts such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and walnuts. All of these nuts can be used to dress up salads and entrees (do not use breading when cooking with nuts). Boiled nuts mixed with a creamy sauce change the flavor and texture of a grilled chicken breast or fish filet to be sure. And as with breakfast you can add a small serving of berries on the side.

Atkins-style Dinner -- Here in Phase II you want to mix it up a little bit. Enjoy a large fruity salad before you dig into that big steak, for example. A fruit-and-nut salad is also a nice break from the traditional Caesar Salad and Chef Salad. You're allowed to add Mozerella and Ricotta Cheeses to your diet at this point. Cheese can be a great standalone item but you can also mix some cheeses with nuts and berries.

Phase III - Pre-maintenance

Atkins-style Breakfast -- Apples and Bananas are back on the menu (in moderation). Grapes, Mangos, and Oatmeal -- yes, Oatmeal! -- are also back in style in Phase II Atkins menu planning. Your breakfasts just became fruitier and oatier. You no longer have to rely on ham, omelettes, and salads as your breakfast mainstays. Oh, some people eat steak for breakfast, to be sure. Phase III is very breakfast-friendly.

Atkins-style Lunch -- Now you're free to eat Lentils, Black Beans, Chickpeas, Carrots, and Baked Potatoes. Lentils can be used in chili (combine them with sausage -- mmmm!). You can have a baked potato on the side with cheese and bacon bits. Go ahead. You have earned it! Carrots can be added to salads, too. Your options are expanding.

Atkins-style Dinner -- If you like grapefruit you can have it for breakfast or use it as a side dish for dinner. Brown rice is also back on the menu, as is watermelon. Cherries will spice up your salad. You're welcome to enjoy Acorn Squash, Yams, and Navy Beans. Dinner is now more relaxed and fulfilling as the number of side dishes available to you (you can still have steamed broccoli, for example) increases.

Phase II - Maintenance

About the biggest change in this phase is that you can add small portions of whole-wheat pasta back into your diet. Is bread forever off the menu? In 2008 Atkins Nutritional relaxed their standards slightly, advising dieters to compensate for use of bread and pasta with an increase in exercise.

Exercise doesn't have to be the chore people dread every day. You can use walking as a mild exercise to supplement any diet plan. Just be sure to walk continually for 15-30 minutes 3-4 times a day. While this can be tiring at first for inactive people, you can build up to the 30-minute walk gradually by starting with a 5-minute walk for 1 week, then adding 5-minutes to each walk every week thereafter. From the 6th week on most people should be able to walk about 30 minutes at a time.

Research has found that walking provides most of the same benefits as running without damaging your joints and muscles the way that excessive running can. If you choose to invest in a higher-energy workout, be sure to work with a professional trainer who knows how to monitor your body's performance; and consult with a physician if you have any chronic health issues.


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