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

If you’ve decided to try a high-protein, low-carb diet you will want to know what a typical meal plan is for the day. Many diets such as the South Beach diet, the Atkins diet, Protein Power, and the Paleo diet approach emphasize low-carb eating, choosing higher protein options, and keeping fat in your diet.

A good diet has you looking forward to meals, thinking creatively about what’s next, and enjoying what you eat.

Although you may be eating less, you won’t be missing meals and you’ll enjoy flavorful food.

A Day 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.

Mealtime Foods
  • 3 eggs, any style, such as 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
  • Large salad with 6 ounces of protein, such as a green salad with chicken and strawberries (add 2 ounces of extra chicken) topped with strawberry vinaigrette dressing
  • 1/2 cup regular cottage cheese (you can substitute ricotta for one more gram of carbohydrates) or, for those on the Paleo diet, a handful of nuts or olives.
  • 1 medium wedge of cantaloupe
  • 2 tablespoons flax seed meal
  • 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)

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.

If You Need to Adjust the Menu

The calories in this daily plan 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, adding 5 or 10 grams of carbohydrate to the daily total, with preference given for the sources being low-carb vegetables, dairy foods that are high in fat and low in carbs, nuts and seeds, and berries or cherries.

If you need fewer carbohydrates, omit the melon at snack time and the strawberries on the lunch salad.

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