Zone Diet: A Beginner’s Guide and Meal Plan

Are you looking for a straightforward diet that doesn’t remove many foods from your daily meals? If you’re looking to lose weight, you may want to try the Zone diet. The Zone diet plan is all about reducing elevated insulin levels and decreasing inflammation in the human body. It can also help you lose weight since it is a rather low-carb diet with calorie restrictions.

The anti-inflammatory Zone diet food list is vital for improving health. You’ll need to eat Zone diet meals with 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat, and 30 percent protein. The following are some of the benefits of the Zone diet.

  • An inexpensive grocery shopping
  • Low-carb meals to help you lose weight
  • Simple modifications to make your meals vegetarian-friendly and kosher-friendly. 

The Zone Diet works by eating five times per day including three meals and two snacks. Every meal should have no more than 400 calories, and you will need to eat at least every five hours (or less). Ready to learn more about Zone diet recipes and meal plans? Then, let’s get started!

What Is a Zone Diet?

So, what is the Zone diet? The Zone diet is a meal plan that requires a specific amount of protein, carbs, and fats to lower inflammation levels in your body. Along with the 40 percent of carbs and 30 percent of protein and fats, your meals will need to include carbohydrates with a low glycemic index.

What is a Zone Diet
What Is a Zone Diet?

Such carbs will release sugars more slowly into your system and keep you full for a longer period. You’ll also need to consume monounsaturated fats and lean proteins. 

Now, what is the Blue Zone diet? One type of Zone diet includes the Blue Zone diet, which focuses on helping people live longer lives. 

How Does the Zone Diet Work?

The Zone diet focuses on consuming only 400 calories per meal while following the Zone diet 40 30 30 ratio. The diet works by stabilizing the hormones in the human body to better control inflammation. It also ensures you can more easily lose body fat. You’ll also slow down aging, stay healthy into old age, and perform better.

Your TG/HDL ratio compares the good fats and bad fats in your body to showcase your risk of heart disease. The Zone diet will help you gain a lower ratio, which means you’ll have more good cholesterol and lower heart disease risk.

The Zone diet improves the AA/EPA ratio, which compares the omega-3 fats to the omega-6 fats in your body. A lower ratio means you have more of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids in your body. 

HbA1c, which is also known as glycated hemoglobin, shows your average blood sugar levels over three months. The diet should help lower your HbA1c levels.

To truly improve these levels, the diet recommends you take certain supplements like omega-3 supplements and polyphenol supplements.

What Are the Foods That You Can Eat While on a Zone Diet?

The type of foods you can eat when following a Zone diet includes lean protein, healthy fats and nuts, low-carb vegetables, fruits, and grains. As always, portion control remains an important component.

What are the foods that you can eat while on a Zone Diet
What Are the Foods That You Can Eat While on a Zone Diet?

The type of protein you can consume is below.

  1. Lean beef, lamb, and pork
  2. Skinless chicken and turkey breast
  3. Egg whites
  4. Fish and shellfish

The monounsaturated fats you can eat are below.

  1. Avocados
  2. Nuts like peanuts and almonds
  3. Peanut butter
  4. Oils like olive oil and peanut oil

For grains, choose low-carb options like barley and oatmeal. The fruits you can eat are below.

  1. Apples
  2. Oranges
  3. Plums
  4. Berries

You can also consume various vegetables. The Zone diet food list includes veggies outlined below.

  1. Spinach
  2. Cucumbers
  3. Bell peppers
  4. Yellow squash 

If you’re following a Keto Zone diet, you can eat foods like fruit, berries, nuts, seafood, fish, lean red meat, poultry, avocados, spinach, cucumbers, oils, and egg whites. 

Now, for the Mediterranean Zone diet meal plan, you’ll need to focus on the foods below.

  1. Nonfat Greek yogurt
  2. Berries
  3. Nuts like almonds
  4. Lean pork and red meat
  5. Lean chicken and other poultry meats
  6. Apples
  7. Onions, eggplants, asparagus, and other low-carb veggies
  8. Olive oil and hummus
  9. Egg whites

What Are the Foods You Should Avoid While on a Zone Diet?

The Zone diet calculator requires you to add up only 400 calories per meal. Therefore, you should avoid foods that are high in calories. The type of carbohydrates and grains to avoid are below.

  1. Cereal
  2. Bagels 
  3. Bread
  4. Pasta
  5. Other processed grains

The vegetables to avoid while following Zone or Blue Zone diet recipes are below.

  1. Corn
  2. Peas
  3. Potatoes
  4. Other starchy vegetables

You will also need to avoid high-sugar fruits like raisins and other dried fruits as well as bananas. The protein you should avoid includes the following.

  1. Fatty red meat
  2. Liver and organ meats
  3. Egg yolks
  4. Processed meats high in saturated fat

You also can’t have high-fat yogurt, whole milk, cream, or other high-fat dairy products. You should avoid chicken with skin, but you’re free to consume most poultry, fish, and shellfish. You should avoid the foods listed here because they’re high in fat, carbohydrates, and sugar. Therefore, these foods increase inflammation.

What Are the Best Recipes for the Zone Diet?

You may want to purchase a Zone diet book or a Blue Zone diet book to check out the best recipes to reduce your inflammation and help you lose weight. The best five recipes for Zone diet meals are outlined below.

  1. Almond Chicken
  2. Baked BBQ Salmon and Brussels Orzo
  3. Blueberry Yogurt Breakfast
  4. Baked Cod with Beans and Salad
  5. Baby Spinach and Strawberry Salad

The first recipe requires broccoli, olive oil, chicken breast, bell peppers, garlic, and sliced almonds. The second recipe includes salmon, brussels sprouts, garlic powder, olive oil, orzo, and salmon. The breakfast recipe combines Greek yogurt, walnuts, strawberries, and blueberries. 

For dinner, you can also cook cod with green beans, tomato slices, blueberries, and a side salad. A tasty lunch may include a salad with skinless chicken breast, baby spinach, strawberries, and Garbanzo beans. 

What Is a Sample Zone Diet Plan?

You can pick the best Zone diet app with meal plans to figure out your weekly choices. Also, you can follow the sample weekly Zone diet plan below.


1. Vegetable sausage patties and fruit

2. Turkey and bean salad

3. Broiled cod and green beans with grapes


1. Low-fat yogurt, blueberries, sliced almonds, and turkey bacon

2. Pita pizza with vegetables, ham, and salad dressing

3. Tofu and low-carb vegetable stir-fry


1. Scrambled egg whites, turkey bacon, strawberries, and grapes

2. Tuna salad with lettuce, cucumbers, an apple, and cherry tomatoes 

3. Baked flounder with vegetables and an apple


1. Fruit salad with macadamia nuts

2. Veggie burger patties in a lettuce bun with tomato slices and a pickle (green beans and applesauce on the side)

3. Baked barbecued chicken with onions, almonds, and green beans


1. Oatmeal with applesauce, almonds, and Canadian bacon on the side

2. Vegetarian chili with kidney beans

3. Shrimp scampi with spinach, onions, and green bell peppers with apple sauce for dessert


1. Huevos Rancheros with egg whites

2. Grilled chicken salad with lettuce, broccoli, tomato slices, red bell peppers, and one pear

3. Broiled salmon filet with tomatoes, zucchini, onion, lemon, and an apple 


1. Vegetable omelet with egg whites and one tangerine

2. Stuffed tomatoes with tuna, light mayonnaise, onion, celery, and an apple

3. Beef kabobs using onions, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and nectarines with a side salad

What Are the Health Benefits of the Zone Diet?

The Zone diet has five main health benefits; decreased inflammation, insulin support, better nutrition, excellent protein source, weight loss.

What are the health benefits of Zone Diet
What Are the Health Benefits of the Zone Diet?
  1. Decreases inflammation
  2. Supports healthy insulin levels
  3. Better nutrition
  4. Good protein sources prevent muscle loss
  5. Potential weight loss

What Are the Health Risks of the Zone Diet?

The Zone or Blue Zone diet criticism involves the possible inability to prevent or manage the medical conditions below.

  1. Several cancers
  2. Type 2 diabetes
  3. Cardiovascular disease

Since whole-grain bread, pasta, cereal, and beans are taken out of the diet, there isn’t enough fiber in it. 

How To Do a Zone Diet

On the Zone diet, you will need to consume only about 1,200 calories if you are a woman or about 1,500 calories if you are a man. You’ll need to eat no more than 400 calories per meal and have food at least every five hours. The best ways to follow the Zone diet are to use either the hand-eye method or the zone food block method.

1. The Hand-Eye Method

The five fingers on your hand mean you can eat no more than five times per day and eat every five hours. The “eye” portion of the method means you’ll need to keep an eye on your plate. One-third of your plate should have lean protein, and two-thirds of the plate should have carbohydrates with a low glycemic index. Lastly, you’ll need a dash of healthy fats.

2. The Zone Food Block Method

The Zone Food Block Method measures the amount of protein, carbs, and fat you should eat based on your height, weight, and waist/hip measurements. 

Who Should Do the Zone Diet?

The Zone bodybuilding diet is perfect for athletes and bodybuilders due to its focus on protein intake, which builds muscle. The Zone Diet is also perfect for diabetics looking to manage their insulin levels.

What Are Some Facts About the Zone Diet?

Five facts about the Zone Diet are listed below.

  1. You will lose 1 or 1.5 pounds of fat in the first week of the diet
  2. The Zone Diet costs as much as a regular grocery bill, such as about $600 per month for a family of four
  3. The Zone diet differs from the Atkins diet because it includes a moderate amount of fat
  4. The Zone diet works moderately well for weight loss
  5. The Zone diet recommends is naturally low in saturated fat and cholesterol

Is the Zone Diet Considered a Healthy Diet?

Yes, the Zone Diet is considered healthy since it helps reduce inflammation and regulate insulin levels.

Is the Zone Diet Expensive?

No, the Zone diet is not an expensive choice and provides a mostly budget-friendly option when shopping for groceries.

Athletic Insight

Athletic Insight Research


The Athletic Insight Research team consists of a dedicated team of researchers, Doctors, Registered Dieticians, nationally certified nutritionists and personal trainers. Our team members hold prestigious accolades within their discipline(s) of expertise, as well as nationally recognized certifications. These include; National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CPT), National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM-CNC), International Sports Sciences Association Nutritionist Certification.