Following the Atkins diet means eating in a way that differs considerably from the traditional American diet, which is often very high in carbohydrates from potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and sugar. However, many simple and tasty menu ideas can make your Atkins diet easier to follow so you can achieve and maintain your goal weight.
The traditional Atkins breakfast includes eggs and bacon, which is a perfectly fine breakfast. However, to prevent you from getting bored, you can experiment with simple menu ideas. For example, prepare an omelet or cheesy scrambled eggs with different combination of cheese and nonstarchy veggies. Alternatively, wrap smoked salmon around cream cheese and slices of avocado, broil a portobello mushroom stuffed with ground beef and cheese, or serve leftovers from last night. You can also prepare a smoothie with unsweetened almond or coconut milk, unsweetened whey protein powder and your favorite hypocaloric sweetener.
The easiest Atkins meal to take to work or school is a salad. Select 1 to 2 cups of leafy greens and other of your favorite salad vegetables. Top with any combination of the following ingredients: cheese, eggs, chicken, sliced beef, tuna, ham, bacon, almonds, olives or avocado slices. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tbsp. of your favorite low-carb dressing. Another lunch idea is rice-free sushi. Simply wrap smoked salmon or shrimp, cream cheese, cucumber and avocado slices in nori sheets. Or bring leftovers from the previous day for an easy Atkins lunch.
A dinner appropriate for the Atkins diet should be based on nonstarchy and high-fiber vegetables, protein and healthy fats. Any combination is possible. Atkins menu ideas include chicken breast drizzled with a creamy mushroom sauce and grilled asparagus. Prepare the sauce by first cooking the mushrooms and then adding about 1 to 2 tbsp. cream and season to taste. Serve over a baked chicken breast. For the asparagus, drizzle with olive oil and salt and bake in the oven until tender. Another menu option is a salmon fillet accompanied by guacamole and mashed cauliflower. Simply cook the salmon according to your preference and prepare the guacamole by mashing avocado with lime juice, salt and pepper. The mock mashed potatoes can be prepared by mashing cauliflower with cream cheese, salt and pepper.
Depending on what phase of the Atkins program you are in, your snack options will vary slightly. For example, nuts and nut butter are not allowed during the induction phase but can be a good snack for the subsequent phases. Other interesting options include deviled eggs, half an avocado, string cheese, tuna salad, cheese or meat wrapped in lettuce, melon slices wrapped in ham or celery stuffed with cream cheese or peanut butter.
- Atkins: The Program
- "New Atkins for a New You: The Ultimate Diet for Shedding Weight and Feeling Great"; Eric C. Westman, Stephen D. Phinney and Jeff S. Volek; 2010