After following a diet that consists of little more than homemade cabbage soup for a full week, you may feel exhausted, grumpy and ravenous. Since you’ve been neglecting your recommended daily intake of several essential nutrients while on the cabbage soup diet, a smart first priority is to ease back into a balanced, complete eating plan.
The cabbage soup diet does not provide balanced nutrition. Although MayoClinic.com recommends that you get about 55 percent of your daily calories from carbohydrates, 25 percent from fat and 20 percent from protein, cabbage soup provides very little fat or protein and is short on the vitamins and minerals that you’d get from whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Thus, it’s important to get enough of those nutrients in the period immediately following the diet.
The cabbage soup diet “should be followed by at least two weeks of a normal, balanced diet to ensure proper nutrition,” states Katherine Zeratsky, registered dietitian and nutritionist for MayoClinic.com. That means daily servings of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean proteins and whole grains. At each meal, ChooseMyPlate.gov recommends achieving balance by making at least half of your foods fruits or vegetables, a quarter of your plate protein-rich foods and a quarter of your plate a grain, preferably a whole grain.
Suggested Eating Plan
On the morning after you end the cabbage soup diet, try a breakfast of whole-wheat toast and an egg-white omelet made with three egg whites, some fresh spinach and about a tablespoon of grated cheese. For lunch, have a whole-grain wrap with lean turkey or tofu and mustard, lettuce and tomatoes. Serve your wrap with coleslaw or a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese and fresh fruit. At dinner, make a whole-wheat pizza crust and top it with a small amount of part-skim mozzarella, low-sodium tomato sauce, lean ground turkey and a variety of healthy veggies.
In the days following the cabbage soup diet, you may be tempted to reach for sweets or other high-calorie indulgences. This can set back any weight loss progress you achieved on the diet, however, and rich foods will not meet your body’s nutritional needs. Instead of giving in to cravings, make a balanced and low-calorie eating plan a high priority. If you have specific nutritional questions or concerns related to effects from the cabbage soup or individual health issues, speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian.