The Atkins Diet focuses on losing weight by limiting your carbohydrate intake and replacing high-carbohydrate foods with high-protein and high-fat foods. A wide variety of foods can be eaten on the diet and many recipes have been created specifically for those who are cutting back on their carbohydrates. A sample meal plan is helpful to see what the typical day looks like through each phase of the Atkins Diet. Talk to your doctor about all weight-loss options before going on the Atkins Diet, as it strictly limits carbohydrate intake and promotes protein intake.
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The Atkins Diet consists of four phases. The first phase is known as Induction, where people typically lose the most weight, up to 15 pounds in the first two weeks. Phase one lasts two weeks and limits you to 12 to 15 grams of carbohydrates per day. Foods that are allowed in this phase include any fish, any fowl such as chicken and turkey, any shellfish, any meat, any kind of eggs, 3 to 4 ounces of cheese, vegetables, fats and oils, herbs and spices and beverages that have no added sugar. Alcohol is not allowed during phase one unless you are on this phase for more than two weeks.
For breakfast in phase one you could have eggs prepared however you like them. For lunch you could eat a Caesar salad with grilled chicken. For dinner you could eat lean meat or steak with steamed or roasted non-starchy vegetables and a salad topped with lemon juice, olive oil and cheese. Snacks in phase one might consist of slices of deli meat and vegetables with cream cheese or sour cream.
Phase two on the Atkins Diet is known as Ongoing Weight Loss, and it allows you to add more foods back into your daily diet and up to 25 grams of carbohydrates per day. It is recommended that you stay on this phase of the diet until you are near your weight goal or are already there. Atkins bars and shakes are allowed in phase two.
The typical breakfast during phase two might consist of two eggs and vegetables with two strips of nitrate-free bacon or you could enjoy a serving of fruit and cheese on the side along with the eggs. Lunch might include a grilled turkey burger with cheese and red cabbage slaw on the side or a salad with bacon, chopped egg and ranch dressing. Dinner could be pork chops with vegetables and low-carb cornbread then for a snack you could try pumpkin seeds, fruit or cottage cheese.
Phase three of the Atkins Diet is called Pre-Maintenance. This is when you continue adding carbohydrates back to your diet. However, in this phase, you get to decide how many carbohydrates you eat each day, as long as you are still losing weight, though Atkins recommends adding in 10 grams of carbohydrates per week.
Breakfast in phase three will look a lot like it did in phase two but you get to add a few more carbohydrates so you could eat Belgian Waffles with strawberries and sugar-free syrup or turkey with vegetables and hash browns. Lunch might contain a salad with tuna or chicken, soup and fruit. Dinner could consist of fish, a small serving of whole wheat pasta or brown rice. Snacks in phase three could be nuts, fruit, vegetables or hard-boiled eggs.
Phase four of the Atkins Diet is called Lifetime Maintenance. This is when you maintain your weight loss and are able to determine how much of which foods you can eat and which ones you enjoy eating the most. Each meal in this phase will contain anywhere from 10 to 20 grams of carbohydrates, so you can choose what to eat more freely and from a wider variety of foods.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in this phase can be anything from eggs to meat and cheese to pasta, as long as the carbohydrates are counted and you do not gain much weight back.