Atkins Diet Food List

Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Grilled Fish

Want to shed pounds using the Atkins diet and need a food list for each of the four phases? You may associate this weight loss plan with being very restrictive but might be surprised to find out you can indulge in many of your favorite foods. Just be sure to meet daily carb restrictions during each phase when following the Atkins diet.

Phase 1

During phase 1 of the Atkins diet, which is the phase where you'll shed pounds quickly, be sure to limit carbs to 20 to 25 grams of net carbs daily (total grams of carbs minus grams of dietary fiber). Choose from the following phase 1 food list when following phase 1:

  • All meats. Avoid processed meats cured with sugar, cold cuts, and meats with added nitrates.
  • All shellfish (shrimp, lobster, clams, etc.) Limit oysters and mussels to 4 ounces daily.
  • All fowl/poultry (chicken, goose, turkey, etc.)
  • All fish (cod, halibut, trout, etc.)
  • Eggs cooked your way (fried, hard boiled, soft boiled, etc.)
  • Fat and oils (butter, olive oil, mayonnaise). Avoid mayo with added sugars.
  • Cheese (cheddar, cream, etc.) Limit cheeses to 4 ounces per day during phase 1. Avoid very soft part skim cheese like ricotta and cottage.
  • Pre-made salad dressings with no added sugar. Read labels.
  • Herbs and spices
  • Artificial sweeteners (sucralose, stevia, etc.)
  • Low-carb beverages, including: water, coffee, unsweetened tea, club soda, unflavored almond milk, clear broth, etc.
  • Lemon and lime juice (limit to 3 tablespoons daily)
  • Cream (limit to 3 tablespoons per day).
  • Non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, celery, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms). Avoid starchy veggies, such as carrots or potatoes.

Phase 2

During phase 2, stick to 25 to 50 grams of net carbs daily. Choose from the following phase 2 food list when picking acceptable foods:

  • All foods from phase 1
  • Atkins bars and shakes
  • Legumes (1/4 cup each)
  • Lemon, lime, or tomato juice. Avoid all others.
  • Berries and melons, such as: strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon (1/4 cup). Avoid watermelon, which is very high in sugar.
  • Nuts, seeds, and nut butters, such as chia, almonds, cashews, peanuts, flaxseed, pecans, and sunflower seeds (1 to 2 ounces)
  • Additional dairy foods, such as: Plain unsweetened Greek yogurt, plain unsweetened whole-milk yogurt, whole milk, ricotta cheese, and cottage cheese

Phase 3

In phase 3 of the Atkins diet, you're allowed to eat 50 to 80 grams of net carbs each day. Choose from the following phase 3 food list:

  • All foods from phase 1
  • All foods from phase 2
  • High-fiber grains, such as: quinoa and oatmeal (1/4 to 1/2 cup)
  • A wider variety of fruits, such as: mangos, peaches, kiwi fruit, apples, cherries, grapes, pears, oranges and bananas (1/2 to 1 whole fruit serving)
  • Starchy vegetables, including: carrots, beets, peas, corn, squash, and potatoes (1/2 cup)

Phase 4

Phase 4 of the Atkins diet allows you to eat 80 to 100 grams of net carbs daily. While you're allowed slightly more net carbs than in phase 3, your phase 4 food list is the same as phase 3:

  • All foods from phase 1
  • All foods from phase 2
  • All foods from phase 3

Enjoy a Variety of Foods

While the Atkins diet is generally lower in carbohydrates than traditional diets, you likely won't feel deprived when following it. That's because a variety of nutritious (and delicious) food options are available to you, especially during phases 3 and 4 of the Atkins diet.

Atkins Diet Food List