If you're just starting the Atkins diet, you may think there isn't anything to eat. In the plan's first phase, known as the Induction phase, dieters are instructed to avoid fruit, dairy products such as milk and yogurt, starchy vegetables like potatoes or corn, and any form of sugar and all grains, including bread, pasta or rice. You can, however, eat plenty of lean beef, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, cheese and non-starchy vegetables during the two weeks of phase 1 of the plan.
Begin with a High-Protein Breakfast
During phase 1 of the Atkins diet, followers should eat a protein-rich breakfast within three to four hours of waking, advises the Atkins website. A typical breakfast could consist of a spinach and cheese omelet topped with fresh salsa and diced avocados, lean strips of steak sauteed with allowed vegetables such as sliced onions and bell peppers, or smoked salmon served with cream cheese and cucumber. Traditional breakfast meats like ham or bacon are allowed, but Atkins dieters should eat them in moderation since they are usually cured with sugar and contain added preservatives like nitrates.
Eat Lunch Before You Get Hungry
An Atkins dieter should not wait until she's hungry to eat in the afternoon. Instead, she should plan to have lunch at most four hours after eating breakfast. A salad of mixed greens topped with diced raw vegetables and grilled chicken could serve as lunch, as could tuna salad spooned into fresh avocado halves or an Atkins-brand frozen entree like Italian sausage primavera. Use commercial dressing on your salad as long as it has no more than 2 grams of net carbohydrates per serving. If you make your own mayonnaise-based dressing, choose a mayonnaise that contains no added sugars.
Don't Skip Dinner
Dinner during phase 1 of the Atkins diet could be grilled fish served with steamed vegetables and a salad, a ground beef burger -- minus the bun -- paired with your favorite vegetables, or a broiled pork chop with mashed cooked cauliflower mixed with cheese. Season your meals with salt, pepper, herbs or spices, as desired, but avoid condiments like ketchup that are high in carbohydrates. Have at least 8 ounces of fluid with each meal. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily; coffee, tea, plant milks, like almond milk, and diet soda are also allowed.
Snack Throughout the Day
Have at least two snacks in between your three main meals of the day. Atkins-friendly choices during phase 1 include raw celery sticks with salad dressing as a dip, cherry tomatoes with cubes of your favorite allowed cheese or cucumber slices spread with cream cheese. You may also choose one of the low-carbohydrate snack shakes or diet bars marketed by Atkins. When planning your snacks, Atkins dieters should always pair a relatively high-carbohydrate food -- broccoli or avocados, for example -- with a rich source of protein or fat, such as cheese or meat.