The Zone Diet separates food into good or bad choices. The author of the diet believes eating foods in the good category will help you stabilize insulin levels and reduce the amount of fat stored by the body. The author suggests you can lose as much as 1 to 1.5 pounds every week by following the program.
Approved Zone Diet Foods
You can choose from a variety of foods on the Zone Diet. Seafood, lean poultry, most fruit, non-starchy vegetables, low-fat dairy products, egg whites, barley and oatmeal, and small amounts of olive and canola oils are allowed. Leafy greens are strongly encouraged. Ideally, each meal should include 9 grams of protein and 7 grams of carbohydrates. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables when possible.
Combine foods or purchase combined foods for meals and snacks. For example, you can enjoy cinnamon French toast, turkey sausage, a blintz with apples, a Denver omelet with turkey, roasted vegetables with rosemary, a three-bean salad, or a grilled chicken club sandwich. The combined foods must conform to portion and ration rules.
A Zone-approved breakfast menu includes egg whites, asparagus, oatmeal and strawberries. You can scramble the egg whites and asparagus together with a small amount of olive oil. For lunch, have a salad with mixed greens, tomato, chicken and a tablespoon of olive oil. For dessert, choose one of the Zone-approved fruits. For dinner, enjoy broiled salmon with almonds and steamed vegetables. Have one cup of berries for dessert. Select snacks from Zone-approved menu items.
Forbidden or Restricted Foods
Avoid foods that are high in starch, fat and carbohydrates. Foods on the forbidden or restricted list include red meats, sweets, bread and bread-like products, dairy foods, processed foods and egg yolks. Carrots and corn are on the taboo list, as are bananas. Your intake of grains should constitute a very small portion of meals. You should avoid common snack items, such as potato chips.
Eat a meal with Zone Diet-approved foods within one hour of waking up. The longest period you can go without eating is five hours. Optimally, you should eat five times a day, including three meals and two snacks. Consume at least 64 ounces of water daily. Eat foods that are in the right ratio: 40 percent carbohydrates; 30 percent fats and 30 percent proteins. Engage in moderate exercise and meditate on a daily basis.
The Zone Diet is restrictive, which may impede your chances of sticking with it. If you decide to try the diet, take a multivitamin supplement. While on the diet, you may find that you tire easily due to the restriction of carbohydrates. To succeed on the diet, you must calculate the amount of protein and carbohydrates in meals, which can be time-consuming or difficult, especially when dining out.