Skip To Main Content

List of Low Carb Foods for Atkins 20, Phase 1

Our "Acceptable Low Carb Foods List" is an easy guide to Atkins 20, Phase 1. During this phase, you will kick start induction by reducing your daily net carb intake to an average of 20g a day. Of these, 12-15 grams should be in the form of foundation vegetables. Enjoy any of the foods from the below list of acceptable low carb foundation vegetables, proteins, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, and most cheeses. Don’t see your favorite foods on the list? They are likely included in the next phases!**

Use this list of acceptable low carb foods as your guide to serving sizes and net carbs per serving. Aim to eat at least three meals and two snacks every day. Never starve yourself or go more than 3-4 hours during the day without eating. And plan ahead so you aren’t tempted to eat foods not found on the following acceptable list! Visit our recipe page for hundreds of meal ideas using Phase 1 ingredients.

Fish:

Fish is rich in healthy fats and protein, and is a great source of vitamins D and B2, calcium, and minerals like iron and potassium. While all fish are acceptable low carb foods for Phase 1 and do not have net carbs, we recommend sticking to a 4-6 ounce serving of the types listed here a couple times a week.

  • Flounder
  • Herring
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Sole
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Cod
  • Halibut
Fowl:

While there are no net carbs in poultry, eating a variety of foods is important to any healthy diet. Make sure to get your protein from different categories and aim for three 4-6 ounce servings of protein each day.

  • Cornish hen
  • Chicken
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • Pheasant
  • Quail
  • Turkey
  • Ostrich
Shellfish:

Shellfish is another great source of protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, healthy fats, and minerals like zinc, copper, iron, and magnesium. Although shellfish does not contain any net carbs, oysters and mussels are higher in carbs so limit to about 4 ounces per day.

  • Clams
  • Crabmeat
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Shrimp
  • Squid
  • Lobster
Meat:

Protein plays a key role in weight loss and protects lean muscle mass, so you only lose fat. Meat is an excellent, no net carb source of protein. One serving is approximately 4-6 ounces.

  • Bacon*
  • Beef
  • Ham*
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Veal
  • Venison

*Some processed meat, bacon, and ham is cured with sugar, which will add to the carb count. Avoid cold cuts and other meats with added nitrates, if possible.

Eggs:

Eggs are packed with protein, vitamin A, and antioxidants. Get creative with your eggs by adding acceptable vegetables and topping with feta cheese and herbs. Enjoy eggs in any style including:

  • Deviled
  • Fried
  • Hard-boiled
  • Omelets
  • Poached
  • Scrambled
  • Soft-boiled
Fats and Oils:

Consuming a healthy amount of fat is an important part of Atkins. There are no carbs here, but keep in mind that the recommended daily intake for added fats is 2-4 tablespoons daily. Do not allow any oils to reach overly high temperatures when cooking, and use olive oil for sautéing only. Use walnut or sesame oil to dress cooked veggies or salad, but not for cooking.

  • Butter
  • Mayonnaise – make sure it has no added sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oils – Those labeled "cold pressed" or "expeller pressed" are especially good and olive oil is one of the best:
    • Canola
    • Walnut
    • Soybean
    • Grape seed
    • Sesame
    • Sunflower
    • Safflower
Artificial Sweeteners:

Limit your sugar substitutes to no more than three packets a day. One packet equals 1 gram of net carbs.

  • Sucralose
  • Saccharine
  • Stevia
Beverages:

Pay close attention to your beverages, as they are often a major source of hidden sugars and carbs. It is important to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day during Atkins 20, Phase 1. Drinking enough fluid assists with weight loss and is essential to maintaining good health.

  • Clear broth/ bouillon (make sure it has no sugars added)
  • Club soda
  • Cream, heavy or light
  • Decaffeinated or regular coffee and tea*
  • Diet soda (be sure to note the carb count)
  • Flavored seltzer (must say no calories)
  • Herb tea (without added barley or fruit sugar added)
  • Unflavored soy/almond milk
  • Water – at least eight 8-ounce glasses per day including:
    • Filtered water
    • Mineral water
    • Spring water
    • Tap water

* One to two cups of caffeinated tea or coffee is allowed as desired and tolerated by each individual.

Cheese
 
Serving Size
Net Carbs
Parmesan, grated
1 TBSP
.2
Goat, chevre
1 oz
.3
Bleu cheeses
2 TBSP
.4
Cheddar
1 oz
.4
Gouda
1 oz
.6
Mozzarella, whole milk
1 oz
.6
Cream cheese, whipped
2 TBSP
.8
Parmesan, chunk
1 oz
.9
Swiss
1 oz
1.0
Feta
1 oz
1.2
Foundation Vegetables
 
Serving Size
Net Carbs
Alfalfa sprouts (raw)
1/2 cup
0
Chicory greens (raw)
1/2 cup
.1
Endive (raw)
1/2 cup
.1
Escarole (raw)
1/2 cup
.1
Olives, green
5, each
.1
Watercress (raw)
1/2 cup
.1
Arugula (raw)
1/2 cup
.2
Radishes (raw)
1, each
.2
Spinach (raw)
1/2 cup
.2
Bok choy (cooked)
1/2 cup
.4
Lettuce, average (raw)
1/2 cup
.5
Turnip greens (cooked)
1/2 cup
.6
Heart of palm
1 each
.7
Olives, black
5, each
.7
Radicchio (raw)
1/2 cup
.7
Button mushroom (raw)
1/2 cup
.8
Artichoke (marinated)
1, each
1
Celery (raw)
1 stalk
1
Collard greens (cooked)
1/2 cup
1
Pickle, dill
1, each
1
Spinach
1/2 cup
1
Broccoli rabe (cooked)
1/2 cup
1.2
Sauerkraut (drained)
1/2 cup
1.2
Avocado, Haas
1/2 fruit
1.3
Daikon radish, grated (raw)
1/2 cup
1.4
Red/white onion, chopped (raw)
2 TBSP
1.5
Zucchini (cooked)
1/2 cup
1.5
Cucumber, sliced (raw)
1/2 cup
1.6
Cauliflower (cooked)
1/2 cup
1.7
Beet greens (cooked)
1/2 cup
1.8
Broccoli (cooked)
1/2 cup
1.8
Fennel (raw)
1/2 cup
1.8
Okra (cooked)
1/2 cup
1.8
Rhubarb (raw)
1/2 cup
1.8
Swiss chard (cooked)
1/2 cup
1.8
Asparagus (cooked)
6 stalks
1.9
Broccolini (cooked)
3, each
1.9
Bell pepper, green, chopped (raw)
1/2 cup
2.2
Sprouts, mung beans (raw)
1/2 cup
2.2
Eggplant (cooked)
1/2 cup
2.3
Kale (cooked)
1/2 cup
2.4
Scallion, chopped (raw)
1/2 cup
2.4
Turnip (cooked)
1/2 cup
2.4
Tomato, small (raw)
1, each
2.5
Jicama (raw)
1/2 cup
2.6
Portobello mushroom (cooked)
1, each
2.6
Yellow squash (cooked)
1/2 cup
2.6
Cabbage (cooked)
1/2 cup
2.7
Green beans (cooked)
1/2 cup
2.9
Bell pepper, red, chopped (raw)
1/2 cup
3
Leeks (cooked)
2 TBSP
3.4
Shallot, chopped (raw)
2 TBSP
3.4
Brussel sprouts (cooked)
1/2 cup
3.5
Spaghetti squash (cooked)
1/2 cup
4
Cherry tomato
10, each
4.6
Kohlrabi (cooked)
1/2 cup
4.6
Pumpkin, mashed (cooked)
1/2 cup
4.7
Garlic, minced (raw)
2 TBSP
5.3
Snow peas (cooked)
1/2 cup
5.4
Tomato (cooked)
1/2 cup
8.6
Salad Garnishes
 
Serving Size
Net Carbs
Crumbled bacon
3 slices
0
Hard-boiled egg
1 egg
.5
Sautéed mushrooms
1/2 cup
1.0
Sour cream
2 Tbsp
1.2
Grated cheeses
(see above carb counts)
Herbs and Spices
 
Serving Size
Net Carbs
Basil
1 TBSP
0
Cayenne pepper
1 TBSP
0
Cilantro
1 TBSP
0
Dill
1 TBSP
0
Oregano
1 TBSP
0
Tarragon
1 TBSP
0
Parsley
1 TBSP
.1
Chives (fresh or dehydrated)
1 TBSP
.1
Ginger, fresh, grated
1 TBSP
.8
Rosemary, dried
1 TBSP
.8
Sage, ground
1 tsp
.8
Black pepper
1 tsp
.9
Garlic
1 clove
.9
Salad Dressings
 
Serving Size
Net Carbs
Red wine vinegar
1 TBSP
0
Caesar
2 TBSP
1
Ranch
2 TBSP
1.4
Lemon juice
2 TBSP
2.0
Bleu cheese
2 TBSP
2.3
Lime juice
2 TBSP
2.4
Balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP
2.7
Italian, creamy
2 TBSP
3

** If you have decided to stay in Induction longer than 2 weeks, you may swap out 3g NC of other foundation vegetables for 3g NC of nuts or seeds. Do not let your Foundation Vegetable levels drop below 12g NC.

FAQ

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about the Atkins Diet and the Atkins principles.

Learn More »
FAQ

Science/Library

Read nutrition articles, learn the science behind Atkins, and sample the extensive amount of peer-reviewed published studies in major scientific journals demonstrating the effectiveness and the health benefits of the Atkins diet.

Learn More »
Science Library

Atkins Blog

Enjoy our blogs and learn about weight loss and healthy eating!

Learn More »
Atkins Blog

Free Weight Loss Tools

All the Atkins tools you need to succeed on the program, and they’re all 100% free!

Learn More »
Free Weight Loss Tools