The Zone Diet

Foods You Eat on this Diet 
Low-fat protein foods such as skinless chicken breast, fish, low-fat cottage cheese, some fruits and vegetables, and small amounts of olive or canola oil.

Emphasis is on eating a specific balance of foods at every meal so that you stay in “the zone” for peak efficiency and energy. The focus is on eating on low-glycemic index foods.

Can you keep it off on this type of diet?
This diet is quite low in calories (800-1200 Calories), designed for short-term, quick weight loss, not long term.

Positives: Good amounts of fruits and low starch vegetables, and low in saturated fat. Restricts refined carbohydrates that are low in nutrition.

Drawbacks: Meals must be calculated with the exact balance of fat, protein and carbohydrate for proper “zone”. Diet is very restricted in calories, so it is difficult to stay on long enough to lose weight, especially if you exercise. 

Safety and Health Issues
Basically safe on the higher calorie level (1200) but too low in essential nutrients. 

  • Low in whole grains and calcium
  • Low in carbohydrate – eliminates many highly nutritious foods without proven scientific rationale

Diet Surf Recommendations
Not recommended

Dietitians comments:
The challenge of combining certain foods may be too complex and a hassle for many people to follow for an extended period of time.  Amounts of carbohydrate-containing foods (even the good ones like whole grains and beans) are restricted so that it may be difficult to stay on this diet long enough for long-term results. Overemphasis is placed upon the notion that carbohydrates promote fat storage due to increased insulin levels, and that reducing carbohydrates is the solution to obesity. Restricting total calories and amounts of food cause weight loss and improves insulin sensitivity, not just restriction of carbohydrates. Any diet that restricts calories (of any source – fat, carbohydrate, and protein) will cause weight loss. There is no magic in restricting carbohydrates and it is unnecessary to limit the “good” carbohydrates like starchy vegetables, whole grains, and beans.

Barbeque Chicken – The Zone Diet Recipes


Barbeque Sauce

  • 4 tsp cornstarch [1C]
  • 1 cup tomato puree [2C]
  • 1/2 cup unsweetend applesauce [1C]
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke flavoring
  • 4 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup strong chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder


  • 1 pound of chicken breasts [16P] 
  • Zone salad (prepare individually or in large bowl)
  • 2 heads Iceburg lettuce 6 inch diameter [1C]
  • 2 tomatoes -3 inch diameter cut into slices or wedges [1C]
  • 2 1/2 green or red peppers, diced or strips [1C]
  • 1 pear, sliced into small wedges [2C]

Salad dressing

  • 1 tbsp olive oil & 1 tbsp vinegar [12F]
  • Zoned Mashed “Potatoes”
  • 10 cups cauliflower [3C]
  • Dessert Fresh fruit of choice totaling [4 C]
  • choose from the following:
  • 2 apples [4C], 4 plums [4C], 4 kiwi [4C], 4 peaches [4C], 4 tangerine [4C]


Barbeque Sauce

  1. Combine all barbeque sauce ingredient in a small saucepan to form a sauce. (Mix corn starch with a little cold water to dissolve it before adding to saucepan.)
  2. Heat sauce to a simmer, constantly stirring with a whip until mixture thickens.
  3. Transfer sauce mixture to a storage container, let cool and refrigerate. (Sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance.)


  1. Marinate chicken in barbeque sauce for at least 1 hour
  2. Grill chicken over hot barbeque grill


  1. Individual instructions: divide all ingredients equally on 4 plates.
  2. Zone Mashed “Potatoes”
  3. Boil cauliflower until cooked.


  1. In food processor, mix until desired consistency.
  2. Salt and pepper to taste.


Remember, only choose one. Example: You can create a fruit salad by combining 1 plum, 1 kiwi, 1 peach and 1 tangerine.

Total: 16 Protein, 16 fat and 16 carbohydrates.

Antipasta Salad with Grilled Chicken & Grapes – The Zone Diet Recipes


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1c. prepared corkscrew pasta (1/2c. dry) [4 C]
  • 2T LF Sour Cream [2 F]
  • 1T LF Plain Yogurt
  • 2T chicken broth
  • 1T + 1/3 tsp olive oil [10 F]
  • 1 1/3 T red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 8 c Romaine lettuce, torn [2 C]
  • 1/2 c rinsed & drained artichoke hearts, chopped [2 C]
  • 1 c sliced red peppers [1/3 C]
  • 6 pimiento-stuffed green olives, sliced [2 F]
  • 1/2 c sliced red onion [1/2 C]
  • 1/2 c kidney beans, drained & rinsed [2 C]
  • 4 oz LF Monterey Jack cheese, cubed [4 P]

Serve with:

  • 10 oz. grilled chicken [10 P]
  • 1 1/2 c green and/or red grapes


  1. Prepare pasta according to package instructions, rinse, set aside.
  2. Combine first 9 ingredients except pasta, stir to combine.
  3. In large bowl or rectangular container line bottom with Romaine, artichoke hearts, red peppers, kidney beans, red onion slices and olives. 
  4. Add pasta and cubes of cheese, toss with dressing. 
  5. Serve with chicken and grapes on the side.

Yield: 2 – 3 blocks & 2 – 4 blocks

Hint: If preparing ahead of time, add red onion slices, cubed cheese and dressing just before serving.

A Quick Lunch Soup – The Zone Diet Recipes


  • 2 2/3 tsp. Canola Oil [8F]
  • 6 cups Red pepper [3C]
  • 6 cups Asparagus [3C]
  • 8oz. Deli Baked Ham (cut into 1/2′ strips) [8P]
  • 1/2 Cup Egg Noodles (cooked) [2C]
  • 15 oz. Can of Fat-Free Chicken Broth


  1. Heat 3 cups of water, and the can of Fat Free Broth until boiling, keep simmering until step 4.
  2. In non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add red pepper and asparagus until vegetables are tender-crisp (approx. 7 minutes).
  3. Stir in ham and cook one minute or until ham is thoroughly cooked.
  4. Stir noodles into water, cook until tender.
  5. Remove saucepan from heat, do not drain the water. Stir in ham and vegetable mixture.