The Atkins Diet works by switching the body’s metabolism. Restricting the number of carbohydrates you eat makes the body burn fat for energy instead of relying on carbohydrates. This leads to weight loss. Atkins.com states that balancing carbohydrates, protein and fat in the diet can also increase energy levels. The amount of carbohydrates a person can eat during the day depends on different phases of the Atkins plan. Once a person knows what foods are allowed in each phase, snacks can be planned and prepared.
The induction phase of the Atkins Diet aims to jump start weight loss and switch the body from burning carbohydrates to burning fat. The induction phase restricts net carbohydrate intake to 20 grams a day. Fish, shellfish and poultry do not contain carbohydrates and can be eaten during the induction phase. Processed meat, cold cuts and bacon can contain sugar, which adds to a person's daily carbohydrate count. Cheeses contain about 1 gram of carbohydrate and should be restricted to 3 to 4 ounces a day. Combining meat and cheese provides a high protein, low carbohydrate snack. Eggs contain a high amount of protein and are highly recommended during the induction phase. Hard-boiled eggs can be prepared in advance. The bulk of carbohydrates during the induction phase come from vegetables. A small salad with salad dressing that does not contain added sugar and has less than 2 carbohydrates per serving is an excellent snack. The salad can be topped with a hard boiled egg, crumbled bacon that does not contain sugar, cheese or sautéed vegetables. Raw vegetables are easy to prepare and carry for a snack.
During phase two, also called the ongoing weight loss phase, a person begins to add more carbohydrates to his diet. Phase two allows for 25 grams of net carbohydrates. Phase two provides a broader selection of carbohydrates and can be combined with food from the induction phase. Nuts and seeds, including almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios and walnuts are allowed during phase two and can be conveniently packed for busy people who are on the go. Blueberries, cantaloupe, honeydew melon and raspberries can be combined with cottage cheese, which are all allowed in phase two. Tomato juice is a healthy, convenient snack that does not require any preparation. It is important to remember that these foods must be eaten according to the recommended Atkins Diet serving size. Atkins bars and shakes, which are available at most supermarkets can also be eaten during phase two.
The goal of phase three is to slowly lose the last 10 pounds to reach a desired goal weight. A person increases the daily carbohydrate in increments of 10 carbohydrates every week or every few weeks. Foods from phase one and two can be eaten, plus whole grains such as oatmeal, rice and whole grain pasta. Apples, bananas, cherries, grapes, grapefruit, kiwi, mango, watermelon, peaches and plums can be eaten as snacks. White potatoes, yams, black beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, lentils and lima beans are also allowed during phase three. A person can experiment by combining a wide variety of foods for creative and healthy snack options.
When a person enters phase four, he has learned the appropriate amount of carbohydrates needed to maintain his weight loss. He can combine foods from phases one to three for snacks throughout the day.