A Day of Food on a High-Protein, Low-Carb Diet

A Menu That Goes Well With the South Beach Diet, Low-Carb, or Paleo Plans

salmon with kale in pan
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Just because you're going on a diet to get healthier doesn't mean you have to starve, eat flavorless foods, or miss meals. In fact, a good diet has you looking forward to meals, thinking creatively about what's next, and enjoying what you eat.

A lot of diets, like the South Beach diet, the Atkins diet, Protein Power, or the Paleo diet approach, emphasize low-carb eating, choosing higher protein options, and keeping fat in your diet.

A Day's Worth of Low-Carb, High-Protein Food

The following daily menu has 32 grams of net carbohydrates (55 grams of total carbohydrates), 23 grams of fiber, 103 grams of protein, 1,604 calories, and all the daily requirements for vitamins and minerals except for calcium and vitamin D. It's also a little low on iron for premenopausal women.

This menu includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack, and would work for almost any low-carb, high-protein plan.

MealtimeFoods
Breakfast
  • 3 eggs, any style, like a vegetable omelet or a frittata 
  • 1 or 2 servings mixed vegetables (use leftovers from the previous night) to go with eggs in any way you want, like Mediterranean vegetables in a scramble or omelet, or with fried or poached eggs on top
Lunch
Snack
  • 1/2 cup regular cottage cheese* (you can substitute ricotta for one more gram of carbohydrates)
  • 1 medium wedge of cantaloupe
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
Dinner
  • 6 ounces of salmon, grilled, broiled, or baked 
  • 2 cups of non-starchy, low-carb vegetables, such as spinach, asparagus, broccoli, or cauliflower
  • Optional dessert (not counted in analysis)

*Cottage cheese: On the South Beach diet, you would need to eat nonfat cottage cheese. If you're on the Paleo Diet, you would not be able to eat cottage cheese at all. Instead, substitute the cottage cheese for a handful of nuts or olives.

Meal Planning Takes Practice

Once you learn what's acceptable and what's to be avoided on any diet plan, it becomes easier to start mapping out your own meals.

You can look at other sample daily menus or use an online nutritional analysis calculator to count your carbs, protein, and calories. There's no guesswork needed.

Need More Food? Need to Adjust Your Menu?

Calories can be varied most easily by adding and subtracting protein and fat. If you feel you're still getting hungry, you could use more fat to cook your eggs or salmon, add cheese to your morning omelet, use more dressing on your salad, or add butter to your vegetables.

If your particular carbohydrate needs are higher than this, then add more carbs. You can use the Atkins carbohydrate ladder as a guide. If you need fewer carbohydrates, omit the melon at snack time and the strawberries on the lunch salad.

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