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Phase One Overview: Beginning a Low Carb Diet

Our low carb food list is an easy guide to your Phase 1 low carb eating plan. Most fish, poultry, and meat do not contain carbs so you can feel free to enjoy them, but use this list of low carb foods to be sure you are getting your 12 to 15 grams of net carbs in vegetables as well.**

All fish including:
  • Flounder
  • Herring
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Sole
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Cod
  • Halibut
All fowl including:
  • Cornish hen
  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • Pheasant
  • Quail
  • Turkey
  • Ostrich
All shellfish including:
  • Clams
  • Crabmeat
  • Mussels*
  • Oysters*
  • Shrimp
  • Squid
  • Lobster

*Oysters and mussels are higher in carbs so limit to about 4 ounces per day.

All meat including:
  • Bacon*
  • Beef
  • Ham*
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Veal
  • Venison

*Some processed meat, bacon, and ham is cured with sugar, which will add to the carb count. Avoid cold cuts and other meats with added nitrates, if possible.

Eggs in any style, including:
  • Deviled
  • Fried
  • Hard-boiled
  • Omelets
  • Poached
  • Scrambled
  • Soft-boiled

Eggs are one of nature's most nutritious creations. That's why eggs are a staple breakfast in the Atkins Nutritional Approach.

Feel free to get creative with your eggs: Add mushrooms and onions, or even green pepper. Top the dish off with feta cheese or add basil, oregano and other herbs.

Fats and Oils

There are no carbs here, but keep in mind that the serving size is approximately 1 tablespoon.

  1. Butter
  2. Mayonnaise – make sure it has no added sugar
  3. Olive oil
  4. Vegetable oils – Those labeled "cold pressed" or "expeller pressed" are especially good and olive oil is one of the best.
    • Canola*
    • Walnut
    • Soybean*
    • Grape seed*
    • Sesame
    • Sunflower*
    • Safflower*

*Do not allow any oils to reach overly high temperatures when cooking. Use olive oil for sautéing only. Use walnut or sesame oil to dress cooked veggies or salad, but not for cooking.

Artificial Sweeteners

Sucralose, saccharine or stevia – one packet equals 1 gram of net carbs

Beverages
  • Clear broth/ bouillon (make sure it has no sugars added)
  • Club soda
  • Cream, heavy or light
  • Decaffeinated or regular coffee and tea*
  • Diet soda (be sure to note the carb count)
  • Flavored seltzer (must say no calories)
  • Herb tea (without added barley or fruit sugar added)
  • Unflavored soy/almond milk
  • Water – at least eight 8-ounce glasses per day including...
    • Filtered water
    • Mineral water
    • Spring water
    • Tap water

* One to two cups of caffeinated tea or coffee is allowed as desired and tolerated by each individual. If you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia or cravings as a result, do not use caffeine. If you have a true caffeine addiction, it is best to break the habit during the induction phase.
* Limit lemon and lime juices to 3 T per day
* Limit cream (heavy or light) to 3 TBSP or 1.5 fl oz per day

Cheese
 Serving SizeNet Atkins Count™
Parmesan, grated1 TBSP.2
Goat, chevre1 oz.3
Bleu cheeses2 TBSP.4
Cheddar1 oz.4
Gouda1 oz.6
Mozzarella, whole milk1 oz.6
Cream cheese, whipped2 TBSP.8
Parmesan, chuck1 oz.9
Swiss1 oz1.0
Feta1 oz1.2
Foundation Vegetables
 Serving SizeNet Atkins Count™
Alfalfa sprouts (raw)1/2 cup0
Chicory greens (raw)1/2 cup.1
Endive (raw)1/2 cup.1
Escarole (raw)1/2 cup.1
Olives, green5, each.1
Watercress (raw)1/2 cup.1
Arugula (raw)1/2 cup.2
Radishes (raw)1, each.2
Spinach (raw)1/2 cup.2
Bok choy (cooked)1/2 cup.4
Lettuce, average (raw)1/2 cup.5
Turnip greens (cooked)1/2 cup.6
Heart of palm1, each.7
Olives, black5, each.7
Radicchio (raw)1/2 cup.7
Button mushroom (raw)1/2 cup.8
Artichoke (marinated)1, each1
Celery (raw)1 stalk1
Collard greens (cooked)1/2 cup1
Pickle, dill1, each1
Spinach1/2 cup1
Broccoli rabe (cooked)1/2 cup1.2
Sauerkraut (drained)1/2 cup1.2
Avocado, Haas1/2 fruit1.3
Daikon radish, grated (raw)1/2 cup1.4
Red/white onion, chopped (raw)2 TBSP1.5
Zucchini (cooked)1/2 cup1.5
Cucumber, sliced (raw)1/2 cup1.6
Cauliflower (cooked)1/2 cup1.7
Beet greens (cooked)1/2 cup1.8
Broccoli (cooked)1/2 cup1.8
Fennel (raw)1/2 cup1.8
Okra (cooked)1/2 cup1.8
Rhubarb (raw)1/2 cup1.8
Swiss chard (cooked)1/2 cup1.8
Asparagus (cooked)6 stalks1.9
Broccolini (cooked)3, each1.9
Bell pepper, green, chopped (raw)1/2 cup2.2
Sprouts, mung bean (raw)1/2 cup2.2
Eggplant (cooked)1/2 cup2.3
Kale (cooked)1/2 cup2.4
Scallion, chopped (raw)1/2 cup2.4
Turnip (cooked)1/2 cup2.4
Tomato, small (raw)1, each2.5
Jicama (raw)1/2 cup2.6
Portobello mushroom (cooked)1, each2.6
Yellow squash (cooked)1/2 cup2.6
Cabbage (cooked)1/2 cup2.7
Green beans (cooked)1/2 cup2.9
Bell pepper, red, chopped (raw)1/2 cup3
Leeks (cooked)2 TBSP3.4
Shallots, chopped (raw)2 TBSP3.4
Brussel sprouts (cooked)1/2 cup3.5
Spaghetti squash (cooked)1/2 cup4
Cherry tomato10, each4.6
Kohlrabi (cooked)1/2 cup4.6
Pumpkin, mashed (cooked)1/2 cup4.7
Garlic, minced (raw)2 TBSP5.3
Snow peas (cooked)1/2 cup5.4
Tomato (cooked)1/2 cup8.6
Salad garnishes
 Serving SizeNet Atkins Count™
Crumbled bacon3 slices0
Hard-boiled egg1 egg.5
Sautéed mushrooms1/2 cup1.0
Sour cream2 Tbsp1.2
Grated cheeses(see above carb counts)
Herbs and spices
 Serving SizeNet Atkins Count™
Basil1 TBSP0
Cayenne pepper1 TBSP0
Cilantro1 TBSP0
Dill1 TBSP0
Oregano1 TBSP0
Tarragon1 TBSP0
Parsley1 TBSP.1
Chives (fresh or dehydrated)1 TBSP.1
Ginger, fresh, grated1 TBSP.8
Rosemary, dried1 TBSP.8
Sage, ground1 tsp.8
Black pepper1 tsp.9
Garlic1 clove.9
Salad Dressings
 Serving SizeNet Atkins Count™
Red wine vinegar1 TBSP0
Caesar2 TBSP1
Ranch2 TBSP1.4
Lemon juice2 TBSP2.0
Bleu cheese2 TBSP2.3
Lime juice2 TBSP2.4
Balsamic vinegar1 TBSP2.7
Italian, creamy2 TBSP3

** If you have decided to stay in Induction longer than 2 weeks, you may swap out 3g NC of other foundation vegetables for 3g NC of nuts or seeds. Do not let your Foundation Vegetable levels drop below 12g NC.

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FAQ

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Atkins Diet and the Atkins principles.

Learn More »
FAQ

Science/Library

Read nutrition articles, learn the science behind Atkins, and sample the extensive amount of peer-reviewed published studies in major scientific journals demonstrating the effectiveness and the health benefits of the Atkins diet.

Learn More »
Science Library

Atkins Blog

Enjoy our blogs and learn about weight loss and healthy eating!

Learn More »
Atkins Blog

Free Weight Loss Tools

All the Atkins tools you need to succeed on the program, and they’re all 100% free!

Learn More »
Free Weight Loss Tools

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