The Atkins Diet is a low carbohydrate meal plan that fires up your metabolism and turns your body into a “fat-burning machine.” When you reduce your intake of carbs by eating chiefly protein, fat and fiber, your body will produce less insulin and when your blood sugar levels-out, you won't crave the carbs as much. The carbohydrates you do eat are in the form of vitamin rich, high fiber, whole foods, such as vegetables. When you eat carbs that metabolize slowly, you have more energy.
How the Atkins Diet Works
Your body turns carbs into glucose, which enters the blood stream and raises your blood glucose level. The hormone insulin rushes in to stabilize the glucose and that creates a cycle of your blood sugar spiking then crashing, which makes you hungry and crave more carbohydrates. The body doesn’t store more than a half-day supply of energy from glucose. If you eat more carbohydrates than can be used, your body stores it as fat, even if you're limiting your daily caloric intake.
When following the Atkins Diet Plan, you work your way through your weight loss in four phases. You can combine your vegetables to make tasty dishes and that will help you stay on track. For example, make an asparagus and leek soup or try a pepper and zucchini soup. In warm weather, enjoy a cool and crunchy cauliflower salad, or a cobb salad. Or fix yourself some comfort food and create a spinach, swiss chard and cheese bake.
1. Vegetables You Can Eat in Phase 1
In Phase 1, or the Induction Phase, you should eat 12 to 15 grams of carbohydrates (net carbs) per day. In general, the serving size is one-half to one cup, where a one-cup serving is approximately the size of a baseball.
Vegetables that have 0 to 1 net carb(s):
- Alfalfa sprouts
- Artichoke hearts
- Bok choy
- Broccoli (raw)
- Chicory greens
- Daikon radish
- Hearts of Palm
- Iceberg lettuce
- Olives, black (5)
- Romaine lettuce
- Spinach (raw)
Vegetables that have over 1 to 2 net carb(s):
- Bamboo shoots
- Broccoli (cooked)
- Broccoli rabe
- Spaghetti squash
- Summer squash
- Swiss chard
Vegetables that have over 2 to 5 net carbs:
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Olives, green (5)
- Water Chestnuts
2. Vegetables You Can Eat in Phase 2
In Phase 2, or Ongoing Weight Loss (OWL), you add variety to your meal plan and gradually increase your net carbs. In Phase 2, you eat the same vegetables as in Phase 1.
3. Vegetables You Can Eat in Phase 3
Phase 3, or Pre-Maintenance, is the next step after you’ve lost most of the weight, with only around 10 pounds to go. In this phase, you can eat all of the vegetables from Phase 1, plus:
- Acorn Squash
- White potatoes
4. Vegetables You can Eat in Phase 4
The Atkins Diet Lifetime Maintenance phase, or Phase 4, is where you begin your new life at your goal weight. By this time, eating well has become your lifestyle and all you need to do is commit to being in charge of what you eat for the rest of your life. You can eat all of the vegetables in phases 1 and 3.