Low Carb Food Lists

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Posted by Linda O'Byrne (Atkins Nutritionist)

The most important question for any dieter is which foods should form part of their new plan, and which should be eaten only in moderation or cut out entirely.

New Atkins involves cutting out foods that are high in refined carbohydrates, yet you can enjoy complex carbs such as green, leafy vegetables from day one. This makes Atkins sustainable for the long term.

We realise that it is not practical to calculate your carb intake on a daily basis, so we have provided you with a few simple lists that will outline the basics of what you can and can’t eat at each phase of your low carb diet.

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Maintaining a varied diet

Knowing what you can eat is something that will become second nature as you settle into your New Atkins plan, and you will soon discover that it is very easy to maintain a varied and exciting diet even as you cut down on carbs. For example, the following foods could all still find their way into your shopping trolley as you progress through the four diet phases:

  • Meat
  • Cheese/some dairy products
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Foundation vegetables
  • Sources of fat such as oils, butter and mayonnaise
  • Herbs and spices

Of course, a key element of New Atkins involves phasing higher carb foods back into your diet as you look to maintain your ideal weight going forward. In the earlier phases of your diet, you can still enjoy all the foods listed above and will look forward to adding even more variety as you progress through the phases.

Phase 1

Getting off to a good start

Phase 1 of the New Atkins diet is where you reduce your carbohydrate intake to 20g or less, with 12-15g of those coming from foundation vegetables that are high in fibre and nutrient. The good news is you will likely see your weight loss progress most quickly during this phase.

You can still eat things like beef, pork, lamb, poultry, fish and shellfish, but you must take care to avoid breaded products, cured meats or products with added sugar. Your low carb shopping list can also include:

  • Eggs
  • Tofu, soya, Quorn and veggie burgers (all unbreaded)
  • Aged and firm cheeses
  • Foundation vegetables (excludes starchy veg)
  • Salad dressings and condiments (no added sugar)

What to avoid

In this first phase, there are a number of foods and drinks you should avoid in order to get off to a good start with your new diet:

  • Pulses, e.g. lentils
  • Fruit
  • Kidney beans
  • Other legumes
  • Fruit juices (except lemon and lime)
  • Grains
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Alcohol
  • Any foods containing added sugar

Remember, Phase 1 will last a minimum of 2 weeks, although you can extend the Induction period further if you have a lot of weight to lose. While berries and nuts are normally introduced in Phase 2, you may wish to experiment by adding them into your diet a little earlier, as long as you stay within the 20g carb total.

Phase 2

Slowly reintroduce good carbs

During Phase 2, carbohydrates are slowly added back into your diet. We recommend that you reintroduce these at a rate of around 5g per week. Ways you can increase the variety in your diet include:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Berries
  • Dairy products such as ricotta, cottage cheese (full fat), whole milk and Greek yoghurt
  • Legumes
  • Atkins baking products
  • Alcohol

Phase 3 and 4

Working out your long term diet

When you reach Phase 3, you’ll be in the final stretch, in which you will reach your goal weight and maintain it for one month before moving into Phase 4. As you approach the stability of the fourth and final maintenance phase, carbs will now be added at a rate of 10g per week for as long as you continue progressing towards your target weight.

Our final list shows you what can be reintroduced here as you begin to see what your long term diet will look like:

  • Fruit juices, e.g. tomato juice
  • More fruit
  • Starchier vegetables such as carrots and parsnips
  • Whole grains
  • Atkins penne pasta

Of course, there are far too many food choices out there for us to list on one page, so you should take your time to familiarise yourself with the carb content of different items and work out where they can fit into your diet plan.

With hundreds of recipes to choose from and a range of support tools to help you along, there really is nothing stopping you getting started with New Atkins right away.