I am on an alternative plan due to the cost as well. I hesistate to post since I am so new at this none of what I have to say has any value at all. I don't know what I don't know yet. But...after researching and comparing IP products and other products, I went with zero carb isopure from netrition.com (liked the variety of vitamins and amino acids in the mix) and I like the taste.
Breakfast: 1/2 serving isopure shake (a full serving is 220 cal 50g protein so I cut it in half to match more like what an IP packet would be)
lunch: pack of frozen veggies and a shake (sometimes I don't get the shake in or may have 3oz tuna/salmon with mustard)
dinner: 7 oz of high quality protien, 2 cups veggies in big salad. If I exercised that day, I may eat a little more of dinner. Shake before bed.
Multivitamin + Omega3 and a gal of water/day
I bought the cookies and cream isopure shake and just ordered the alpine punch mix which has the same 220 cal 50 grams protein per serving along with a bunch of vitamins/minearls/aminos (thinking of having an herbal tea/punch tottie before bed). Haven't gotten through a week yet but at this rate, I wouldn't be supprised if I easily lost 10 lbs when my week is up (Sunday).
So far it has been pretty easy -but anyone can do anything for a couple of days. I pray each day that I can keep with it and follow through for the duration.
Haven't found any bars yet that I trust. I worry about them having too many sugar alcohols and throwing me off (this happened before when I was on atkins) so the bars make me nervous. Dixie Diner products have low carb stuff, but I haven't compared their products to IP products yet to see if they are comparable or can be made comparable.