Someone has asked me to help them get started on the Zone diet eating plan, as they are finding it hard to get their head round the books. I originally sent them the example meal plans you can get off the main zonediet.com site, but the feedback was that they were too expensive for someone on a tight budget.
I agreed then to summarise the zone diet and to put together some example cheap recipes, starting initially with breakfast to get the ball rolling. If you are struggling to get started on the zone, or just find it all too confusing and want zone help, hopefully this post will assist you. It’s not meant to be an exhaustive regurgitation of the Zone and it’s not ideal either due to the budgetary restriction, but this is what I came up with, what do you think?
Key Principals of the Zone Diet to Remember
1) At each meal, balance Protein, Carbohydrates (carbs) and a small amount of Fat. It’s this balance that helps you not feel hungry.
2) Examples of Protein: meat, fish, most cheese.
3) Examples of Fat: olive or vegetable oil, nuts, seeds, butter, cream cheese, mayonnaise, salad cream.
4) Examples of Carbs: vegetables, fruit, bread, pasta, cereal, rice, juice (if not diet), most sauces.
5) For carbs, try to eat mostly vegetables and some fruit. Eat bread, pasta, cereals, rice and potatoes very sparingly only.
6) Semi Skimmed milk is a great combination food, it is Protein, Carbs and Fat in perfect balance.
7) In most cases, you can count cheese as a source of protein AND fat.
1) Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks per day.
2) One snack should be last thing as night, this is very important as it puts your body in the right state for when it does all its healing whilst you’re asleep.
3) Don’t go more than 4-5 hours without eating.
4) Don’t wait till you’re hungry before you eat, if you do you are more likely to over eat.
Example Breakfasts as cheap as I can make them
1) 2 oz sliced ham (protein), 1 large apple (carbs), a teaspoon of mayonnaise (fat), 1/3 pint of semi skimmed milk (protein, carbs and fat).
2) 2 eggs (protein), 1 slice of toast (carbs), 2/3 teaspoon of butter (fat), 1/3 pint of milk.
3) 3 oz of any meat, ham, chicken, turkey, beef etc (protein), 3 small fruits, e.g. satsuma, kiwi, and peach, 3 macadamia nuts (fat).
4) Cheese on toast or cheese sandwich: 3 oz cheddar cheese (protein and fat), 1 slice of toast/bread (carbs), 1 small fruit, e.g. apricot (carbs).
5) 3 oz low fat cottage cheese (protein), 1 large apple and a Satsuma (carbs), 9 almonds (fat). Drop the almonds if you get full fat cottage cheese.
6) Bacon and egg butty: 3 rashers of bacon and 1 egg (protein), 1 slice of bread and a good squirt of brown sauce (carbs), 1 teaspoon of butter (fat).
7) Can you come up with a 7th breakfast that balances protein, carbs and fat? Post one in the comments below.
Note the above assumes you are using real meat you’ve prepared yourself. If you get the pre-sliced packs of reformed sandwich meat from the supermarkets (which is not recommended), increase the weight by a half again, e.g. 3 oz instead of 2 oz.
Examples of a Snack (remember to eat one no more than an hour before bed):
1) A really simple one is just a cup (1/3 pint) of semi skimmed milk.
2) 1 oz of cheddar cheese and a small fruit, e.g. peach.
3) 1 oz of any meat, a small fruit and 3 cashew nuts.
4) 1 oz of cheddar cheese and a small glass of wine!
I know I said these were breakfast ideas, but once you get out of the habit of breakfast only being cereal or toast, then breakfast becomes just another meal in the day. Which means the above examples work just as well for lunch too.