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Zone Diet Recipes: 14 Easy Delicious Zone Meals

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Zone Basics

The Zone Diet was developed by Dr. Barry Sears and presented in his first published book on the subject entitled, Enter The Zone, which was written with Bill Lawren and published in 1995 by Harper Collins. 

The diet is intended to balance your hormone and insulin levels while decreasing body fat and increasing mental and physical productivity. The basics of the diet include drastically limiting grains and processed foods while adhering to a prescribed calorie ratio of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. The carbohydrates are obtained from eating fruits and vegetables, while the fat (ideally) is consumed from sources of monounsaturated fats such as almonds, avocados, and olive oil.

The Zone Dieter calculates his or her percentages of lean body mass and fat mass, then combines this body mass index with their activity level to obtain their protein prescription.
For example, for my body mass index and activity level, I should eat 13 blocks of protein per day. I would divide the daily 13 blocks of protein (combined with their attendant blocks of carbs and fat) into a series of 3 or 4 block meals and 2 block snacks no more than five hours apart.

It is also recommended that you drink at least eight ounces of water with each meal, and drink mainly water throughout the day. High-glycemic index foods, such as rice, corn, and fruit juices are kept to a minimum. Combining these concepts with the formula of protein, carb, and fat blocks for your body mass results in a Zone diet. 

Eating this way is said to put you in the zone nutritionally speaking. It is quite easy to accomplish once you get used to the food blocks and calculations needed to arrive at a Zone favorable meal. 

In the one month I have been practicing the Zone Diet, I have lost seven pounds, one inch from my waist, and I sleep through the night for the first time in years. The diet is fun, easy, and I feel like I have control over what I eat. I also walk one hour per day.

The protein prescription gives you a baseline to build Zone favorable meals using the 40/30/30 percent ratio of carbs/protein/fat. Maintaining this ratio of macronutrients is done by calculating food sources into Zone blocks.

  • 7 grams of protein equals 1 protein block. (1P)
  • 9 grams of carbs equals 1 carb block. (1C)
  • 1.5 grams of fat equals 1 fat block. (1F)

The recipes listed here each conform to the Zone Diet ratios of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat.

A Zoned Refrigerator

A Zoned Refrigerator
Credit: (c) 2015 Mr. Les Goodrich / all rights reserved

Preparation and pre-measuring are key for initial success on the Zone Diet.

Prepare For The Zone

Preparation and pre-measuring food items into blocks is key when mastering the Zone Diet. I found that when I have pre-measured and organized my food into blocks of protein and carbs that building Zone favorable meals is faster and easier. You will need a small food scale and at least one good measuring cup. Two measuring cups is better since you may often be measuring wet and dry ingredients for one meal.

Once you get the hang of what three blocks of chicken salad looks like (for instance) you can breeze through assembling a meal quickly. However, in the beginning, you will benefit from having a few things ready to go in your refrigerator.

Also be ready to buy tons of delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. Since I have started the Zone Diet, fruits and veggies around my house never have the chance to go bad.

In addition to being a healthful way of eating for anyone, the Zone Diet is also popular with people who practice a crossFit exercise regime. CrossFit is a fitness program centered on nutrition, wellness, and sound exercise. CrossFit has combined a common sense approach with real-world results to help it become a worldwide phenomenon. CrossFit has created an alternative for many people between the skinny-minnie crash diets and the pump-you-up body building camps. 

The Zone Diet can be enjoyed whether you are a CrossFit athlete or not. 

A Zone Home Fruit Bowl

A Zone Home Fruit Bowl
Credit: (c) 2015 LG / all rights reserved

A Zone home will always have a full fruit bowl. 

Ozeri Pronto Digital Multifunction Kitchen and Food Scale, Elegant Black
Amazon Price: $39.99 $13.00 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 16, 2015)
A digital food scale with "tare" function like this one makes measuring food blocks easy and preparing Zone meals quick and accurate. This scale has over 2,900 reviews and is rated at 4.5 out of 5 stars.

2 Block Breakfast #1

2 Block Breakfast 1
Credit: (c) dv8now.com / all rights reserved

2 Block Breakfast #1

Ingredients
2 egg whites (1 protein block) or (1P)
1 oz Canadian bacon [ 1.5 slices] (1 protein block) or (1P)
1 cup strawberries (1 carb block) or (1C)
1/2 apple (1 carb block) or (1C)
1/3 tsp olive oil (1 fat block) or (1F)
1/2 tsp almond butter [or peanut butter] (1 fat block) or (1F)
Dashes of cayenne pepper and sea salt
All ingredients total 2 blocks protein / 2 blocks carbs / 2 blocks fat or (2P/2C/2F)

Preparation
Rinse, de-core, and slice apple and clean strawberries.
Top apple slices with almond butter.
Fry diced Canadian bacon in olive oil over medium heat until lightly browned.
Scramble egg whites into pan.
Season with cayenne pepper and sea salt to taste.
Serve scrambled egg whites and Canadian bacon with fruit and enjoy this filling 2 block breakfast. 

 

2 Block Breakfast #2

2 Block Breakfast #2
Credit: (c) LesGoodrichIII / all rights reserved

2 Block Breakfast #2

Ingredients
2 egg whites (1P)
1 oz Canadian bacon [ 1.5 slices] (1P)
1 cup strawberries (1C)
1/2 cup blueberries (1C)
olive oil cooking spray
6 to 8 raw almonds [depending on size] (2F)
Dashes of pepper and sea salt
All ingredients total 2P/2C/2F

Preparation
Rinse strawberries and blueberries then drain.
Fry diced Canadian bacon in olive oil sprayed pan over medium heat until lightly browned.
Scramble egg whites into pan.
Season with pepper and sea salt to taste.
Serve scrambled egg whites and Canadian bacon, almonds and fruit. This is a fast and easy 2 block breakfast. 

Enter The Zone: A Dietary Road map
Amazon Price: $27.99 $0.89 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 16, 2015)
Enter The Zone is the introductory book on The Zone Diet. It covers the basic ideas and calculations for the diet and explains how the research led to discoveries that became the Zone Diet program.

2 Block Breakfast #3

2 Block Breakfast #3
Credit: (c) L.G. / all rights reserved

2 Block Breakfast #3

Ingredients
2 egg whites (1P)
1 oz smoked deli turkey [ 1.5 slices] (1P)
1 cup strawberries (1C)
1/2 apple (1C)
1/3 tsp olive oil (1F)
3 - 4 raw almonds [depending on size] (1F)
Dashes of dried dill and sea salt
All ingredients total 2P/2C/2F

Preparation
Rinse strawberries. Rinse, slice, and de-core apple.
Fry diced smoked turkey in olive oil over medium heat until lightly browned.
Scramble egg whites into pan.
Season with dill and sea salt to taste.
Serve dill scrambled egg whites and smoked turkey with fruit and enjoy this delicious and unique 2 block breakfast. 

2 Block Lunch #1

2 Block Lunch #1
Credit: (c) 2015 espressoforyourgoals.com / all rights reserved

2 Block Lunch #1

Ingredients
2 oz cooked chicken [canned chicken breast is fine] (2P)
1 tbs diced onion
1 orange sliced (2C)
1 tsp light mayonnaise (1F)
3 - 4 raw cocoa almonds [depending on size] (1F)
Dashes of cumin and sea salt
All ingredients total 2P/2C/2F

Preparation
Slice orange and arrange in a circle on plate. Add cocoa almonds on the side.
Prepare chicken salad by mixing cooked chicken, diced onion, mayonnaise, cumin, sea salt, and the juice from one of the orange slices. Stir to combine well and serve with orange slices and cocoa almonds. (Cocoa roasted almonds can be found in most grocery stores, or plain almonds can be used as well.)

This is a light but yummy lunch for summer, when fresh oranges are available. 

Mastering the Zone: The Next Step in Achieving SuperHealth and Permanent Fat Loss
Amazon Price: $25.00 $1.24 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 16, 2015)
Mastering The Zone is Dr. Barry Sears's second Zone Diet book. It includes over 150 recipes and many say that this book explains the material in the best way.

2 Block Lunch #2

2 Block Zone Lunch #2
Credit: (c) 2015 dv8now.com / all rights reserved

2 Block Lunch #2

Ingredients
2 oz cooked chicken [can chicken breast is fine] (2P)
1 tbs diced onion
1/4 cup black beans (1C)
1/2 apple (1C)
1 tsp light mayonnaise (1F)
1/2 tsp almond or peanut butter (1F)
Dashes of balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and pepper
All ingredients total 2P/2C/2F

Preparation
Slice apple and top with almond or peanut butter.
Prepare chicken salad by mixing cooked chicken, diced onion, mayonnaise, pepper, and sea salt. Stir to combine well. Add balsamic vinegar to black beans and heat in microwave for 30 to 45 seconds (depending on oven strength).

The balsamic vinegar adds a bright, tart flavor to the black beans, making this a delicious and satisfying two block Zone lunch.

3 Block Zone Berry Bowl

3 Block Zone Berry Bowl
Credit: (c) LesGoodrich.com / all rights reserved

3 Block Zone Berry Bowl

Ingredients
3 oz non-fat cottage cheese (3P)
1 cup chopped strawberries (1C)
1/2 cup blueberries (1C)
1/2 oz (1/4 cup) dry oatmeal (1C)
9 cocoa roasted almonds (3F)
All ingredients total 3P/3C/3F

Preparation
Rinse and chop strawberries. Tip: add strawberries to measuring cup as you chop each one to cut up the exact amount. Add strawberries, blueberries, cottage cheese, oatmeal. and cocoa almonds to a bowl. Toss lightly and enjoy.

This is one of my favorite zone delights. It can be eaten as breakfast or lunch. As you can see in the photograph, I went a little crazy with the cocoa almonds, but hey, you gotta live. This is just as good with 9 almonds and I usually make it that way.

This is probably the meal that made me love and stick with the Zone Diet in the beginning. I still love making it. It is rocking good!

3 Block Zone Salad

3 Block Zone Salad
Credit: (c) espressoforyourgoals.com / all rights reserved

3 Block Zone Salad

Ingredients 
2 cups chopped lettuce (1/2C)
1/2 cup kidney beans drained (2C)
1/4 apple chopped (1/2C)
3 oz deli chicken breast chopped (3P)
1 tsp might mayonnaise (1F)
2/3 tsp olive oil (2F)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
3-4 shakes of dried Italian seasoning
All ingredients total 3P/3C/3F

Preparation
Whisk mayonnaise, olive oil, dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, and Italian seasoning in a small bowl to create salad dressing. Add dressing to remaining chopped ingredients and toss lightly. This 3 block Zone salad is awesome because it has all of the Zone-favorable combinations in one bowl. It is great for lunch or dinner. 

3 Block Zone Dinner

3 Block Zone Dinner
Credit: (c) 2015 LGIII / all rights reserved

3 Block Zone Dinner

Ingredients
1 thin boneless pork chop (3P)
1/2 cup honeydew melon (1C)
1/4 cup black beans (1C)
1/2 apple (1C)
1/4 Haas Avocado (3F)
2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
salt, garlic powder, and pepper to taste
All ingredients total 3P/3C/3F

Preparation
Marinate pork chop in balsamic vinegar for thirty minutes in a zip-closure plastic bag. Sauté marinated pork chop in a small dash of olive oil. Add garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
Serve with sliced apples, heated black beans, cubed melon, and avocado.  

2 Block Zone Snack #1

2 Block Zone Snack
Credit: (c) Leslie Goodrich III / all rights reserved

2 Block Zone Snack #1

Ingredients
1/2 cup pineapple cubed (2C)
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (2P)
6 raw almonds (2F)
All ingredients total 2P/2C/2F

Preparation
Combine fruit, yogurt, and almonds in a bowl and enjoy this 2 block Zone snack. 

 

 

2 Block Zone Snack #2

2 Block Zone snack #2

2 Block Zone snack #2

Ingredients
1 cup blueberries washed and drained (2C)
1/2 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (2P)
6 raw almonds (2F)
All ingredients total 2P/2C/2F

Preparation
Serve blueberries, yogurt, and almonds on a plate for an easy filling 2 block Zone snack.

My Bento Style Divided Plastic Plate with Lid

perfect for Zone meals to go

Divided Plastic Plate with Lid
Credit: (c) dv8now.com / all rights reserved

This Bento Style divided plastic plate with lid makes eating in the Zone easy when you are on the move.

3 Block Zone Lunch To-Go #1

3 Block Zone Lunch To-Go
Credit: (c) 2015 LesG / all rights reserved

3 Block Zone Lunch To-Go #1

Ingredients
3 oz tuna canned in water - drained (3P)
1 cup strawberries - cubed (1C)
1 cup honeydew melon - cubed (2C)
1 tsp light mayonnaise (1F)
6-8 raw almonds [depending on size] (2F)
All ingredients total 3P/3C/3F

Preparation
Prepare tuna salad by draining tuna well and mixing with mayonnaise. Package tuna salad along with fruit and nuts in a divided plastic to-go plate with lid and head out. Be sure to keep food cool in a cooler or refrigerator until eaten. 

3 Block Zone Lunch To-Go #1 With Lid

3 Block Zone Lunch To-Go With Lid
Credit: (c) LesGoodrich.com / all rights reserved

3 compartment Bento style container with lid

Frigidaire Bento Easy Open Lid Lunch Box Container , 3 Compartments
Amazon Price: $9.99 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 16, 2015)
This 3 compartment Bento style container makes it a breeze to prepare, store, and take Zone meals with you on the go.

3 Block Zone Lunch To-Go #2

3 Block Zone Lunch To-Go #2
Credit: (c) LesGoodrich.com / all rights reserved

3 Block Zone Lunch To-Go #2

Ingredients
3 oz cooked chicken [can chicken breast is fine] (3P)
1/2 cup kidney beans drained (2C)
1/2 apple (1C)
1 tsp light mayonnaise (1F)
1 tsp almond butter (2F)
Dashes of hot sauce, sea salt, and pepper
All ingredients total 3P/3C/3F

Preparation
Slice apple and top with almond butter.
Prepare chicken salad by mixing cooked chicken, mayonnaise, pepper, and sea salt to taste. Stir to combine well. Add Chicken salad and apples with almond butter to your to-go container. Add drained kidney beans to one side, then sprinkle with hot sauce to taste.

Chilled kidney beans are delicious, and adding hot sauce helps this to-go lunch pack a spicy surprise. I took this fishing out on the boat and loved it.

The Zone Fits Well With CrossFit

Learning to Breathe Fire: The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness
Amazon Price: $25.00 $13.00 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 16, 2015)
This highly rated book explores the evolution and underground phenomenon of the CrossFit movement. The Zone Diet integrates well with the CrossFit lifestyle. In fact, much of the information about the Zone Diet can be found on CrossFit information outlets.

3 Block Zone Lunch Or Breakfast

3 Block Zone Lunch Or Breakfast
Credit: (c) 2015 Les G / all rights reserved

3 Block Zone Lunch Or Breakfast #1

Ingredients
2 egg whites (1P)
2 oz lean pork chunks [pork stew meat] (2P)
1 cup strawberries (1C)
1/2 apple (1C)
1/2 cup salsa (1C)
1 tsp olive oil (3F)
All ingredients total 3P/3C/3F

Preparation
Saute pork chunks in olive oil over medium heat until done and browned. Add egg whites and scramble. Add salsa and stir well. Serve with fruit and you will love this satisfying 3 block Zone meal for breakfast or lunch. 

3 Block Zone Lunch

3 Block Zone Lunch
Credit: (c) 2014 LesGoodrichPhotos / all rights reserved

3 Block Zone Lunch

Ingredients
3 oz nonfat cottage cheese (3P)
1 cup strawberries (1C)
1/2 cup black beans (2C
9 raw cashews (3F)
Dash of cumin powder
All ingredients total 3P/3C/3F

Preparation
Mix black beans and cumin powder to taste and heat in microwave. Serve with strawberries, cashews, and cottage cheese.

This is a fast and easy three block Zone lunch that will fill you up and, like all of the recipes in this article, will keep you in the Zone. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Zone Diet created by Dr. Barry Sears is designed to balance hormones and insulin levels. Doing so is said to decrease body fat percentages and increases energy and mental focus. The Zone Diet books explain how to calculate your body mass index, percentages of body fat, and your Zone protein prescription. Knowing the amount of protein you require in a day allows you to calculate the attendant amounts of carbohydrates and fat.

Zone favorable meals consist of calorie ratios that equal 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. The diet breaks these macronutrients into blocks. Seven grams of protein equals one protein block, nine grams of carbs equals one carb block, and one and one half grams of fat equals one fat block. A zone meal or snack consists of equivalent blocks of each macronutrient. 

Each of the recipes in this article conform to the basic calorie ratios of 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat that are required to keep you in the Zone. Use them to build Zone favorable meals and snacks so you can enjoy this healthful way of eating. 

 

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Comments

Apr 10, 2015 10:04pm
Shaddymak
so informative. I really like
Apr 11, 2015 7:59am
LexShadowglide
thank you Shaddymak, I love The Zone Diet. I have never been a "diet" type of person, but a friend showed me the Enter The Zone book and It really works. thanks for reading. --Rock On!
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