Zone Diet Food Menu

The Zone Diet, created by Dr. Barry Sears, is a popular diet that focuses on balancing the ratio of carbohydrates, protein, and fat in each meal to optimize hormonal balance and control inflammation. The diet emphasizes lean protein, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and low glycemic carbohydrates. Following the Zone Diet can be challenging, as it requires careful planning and portion control. In this article, we’ll provide the Zone Diet Food Menu, and Tips to help you achieve your health and weight loss goals.

Food Menu that can be Consumed

Here are some special foods to enjoy as part of your zone diet plan:

1. Proteins

  • Skinless poultry: chicken, turkey, goose, duck
  • Lean meat cuts include beef, lamb, veal, and hog
  • Seafood: fish and shellfish
  • Low-fat dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese
  • Soy products: tofu, tempeh, miso, natto
  • Egg whites

2. Carbohydrate

  • Fruits: strawberries, apples, blackberries, blueberries, melons, oranges, nectarines, plums, peaches, apricots
  • Vegetables: asparagus, cucumber, celery, radish, carrots, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, kale
  • Whole grains: quinoa, barley, buckwheat, oats

3. Fat

  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pistachios, pecans, macadamia nuts
  • Jam: peanut butter, almond butter, and cashew butter
  • Seeds: flaxseed, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds
  • Vegetable oils: peanut oil, sesame oil, and extra-virgin olive oil
  • Avocado

Food Menu to Avoid

In the Zone diet, nothing is strictly forbidden. However, certain food choices are considered bad because they trigger inflammation, including:

  • Fruits with high sugar content, such as raisins, bananas, grapes, dried fruits, and mangoes.
  • high-sugar or starchy vegetables: such as corn, carrots, peas, and potatoes.
  • Refined carbohydrates: such as bread, bagels, pasta, noodles, and other products made with white flour, including breakfast cereals and muffins.
  • Foods with added sugar: such as candy, cakes, and pastries.
  • Soft drinks: such as sweetened or sugar-free drinks are not recommended.
  • Coffee and tea: as little as possible, the main choice is water.

Food Menu Tips

As for some general guidelines for implementing a zone diet, they are as follows:

  • Eat a meal or snack within an hour of getting up in the morning.
  • Start each meal or snack with low-fat protein, followed by a meal that contains healthy carbohydrates and fats.
  • Whether you’re hungry or not, eat small, frequent meals throughout the day, every 4-6 hours after eating or 2-2.5 hours after snacking.
  • Consume lots of omega-3s and polyphenols, as they have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Drink at least eight glasses of water a day, or 2 liters.

To determine whether you are in the “Zone” or not, Dr. Barry recommends getting your levels of three clinical markers tested, including:

  • Triglyceride (TG)/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol ratio
  • Arachidonic acid (AA)/eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ratio
  • hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c)

If all three of these levels are within reach, your body is said to be in the “Zone,” meaning you can reap the full benefits of the diet.

The Zone diet has food choices similar to the Mediterranean diet, but there isn’t enough research to support its long-term effects on chronic disease risk. Regardless of your diet choice, it is advisable to consult your doctor or nutritionist.

Zone Diet Recipes

The instructions provided in Dr. Barry Sears’ book The Zone can be used to enter the Zone as he describes it. Recipes for the zone diet don’t have to be difficult or take a lot of time. You may plan your meals and start cooking right away with the assistance of the following Zone recipes.

1. Veal Goulash

Veal Goulash - Zone Diet Recipes

  • 8 oz. veal, cut into ½” cubes
  • 3 c. onion, diced
  • 2 c. tomato puree
  • 4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 3 tsp. olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 c. beef stock
  • ¼ tsp. caraway seeds
  • 2 tbs. paprika
  • 1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • Pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Apply oil to the baking dish’s bottom. Place all ingredients, except cornstarch and basil, in the prepared dish. Using foil, tightly cover and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Together with water, combine cornstarch and basil to create a paste-like consistency. Remove the casserole from the oven and stir in the cornstarch and basil mixture. Continue stirring until thoroughly coated. Return the casserole to the oven, covered it, and cook it 10 minutes longer.

Servings and Zone Information

  • Makes 2 servings
  • Block Size: four blocks each of protein, carbohydrates, and fat

2. Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff - Zone Diet Recipes

  • 6 ounces beef, the eye of the round
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 6 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups green beans
  • 2 2/3 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red cooking wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a sizable skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and beef; cook for 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, mix the cornstarch and Worcestershire sauce in a small saucepan over low heat.
  3. Add yogurt, wine, and beef stock to the bowl and mix thoroughly; continue to simmer sauce, stirring until thickened and heated through about five minutes. Do not allow the sauce to boil.
  4. Cook beef, onion, and mushrooms with sauce for one minute. Cook the green beans for five minutes after adding salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Servings and Zone Nutrition Information

  • Makes 2 servings.
  • Each serving contains four protein, four fat, and four carbohydrate-building elements.

3. Mexican Bean Stew

Mexican Bean Stew

  • 8 oz. skinless white chicken meat (breast meat), diced
  • 1 c. black or red beans, canned, rinsed
  • ½ c. onion, chopped
  • ¾ c. zucchini, chopped
  • 1 c. tomato puree
  • ½ c. salsa
  • 3 tsp. olive oil
  • 2/3 c. water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs. parsley


  1. Heat 2 tsp. oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Cook the beans, onion, and zucchini for 5 minutes or until they are soft. Add tomato puree, water, parsley, and salsa. Cook for another 5 minutes or until well cooked.
  2. While vegetables are cooking, heat 1 tsp. oil in a small skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until done about 5 minutes.
  3. Add chicken to vegetables and simmer for 5 additional minutes.

Servings and Zone Information

  • Makes 2 servings
  • Block Size: four blocks each of protein, carbohydrates, and fat

4. Fish with Salsa Topping

  • 12 ounces of your preferred white fish, such as flounder, haddock, or cod
  • 2 cups prepared salsa
  • 4 cups snow peas or green beans
  • 2 2/3 teaspoon olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray a large baking dish with cooking spray. Place fish in a baking dish and top with salsa. Bake for 30 minutes with a foil cover on tightly.
  3. In a medium-sized saucepan, add snow peas or green beans and just enough water to cover the vegetables. Cook over medium heat until tender.
  4. Place six ounces of fish apiece on two dishes of veggies. Serve immediately.

Servings and Zone Nutrition Information

  • Makes 2 servings.
  • Per serving: 4 blocks of protein, 4 blocks of fat, 4 blocks of carbohydrate

5. Spiced Apples

Spiced Apples

  • 1 c. low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 ½ apples, peeled and chopped (place in lemon juice until ready to cook to prevent browning)
  • 1 ½ tsp. olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. allspice
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 5 tbs. water


  1. In a skillet, heat oil and sugar, stirring constantly until sugar melts. Add apples and spices; stir to coat evenly.
  2. Add 3 tbs. water while continuing to stir. Cook apples until they are just beginning to brown.
  3. Take apples off of the heat and allow them to cool somewhat.
  4. Place the cottage cheese on four plates, evenly dividing it. Top with cooked apples.
  5. Cook the sauce in the skillet with 2 tbs. of water until it slightly thickens. Pour over apples.

Servings and Zone Information

  • Makes 4 servings
  • Block Size: four blocks each of protein, carbohydrates, and fat
Zone Diet Food Menu, and Tips
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