The Complete Atkins Induction Diet Food List

The Atkins Induction Diet food list is absolutely necessary to be successful on this diet. This list will be your Bible for eating during the crucial Induction Phase, when you are converting your body from carb and sugar-burning to a fat-burning metabolism.

Fortunately, Dr. Atkins and the Atkins Institute have outlined exactly what you can and can’t eat when starting this low carb diet. Below I have outlined which foods on the list are acceptable while you are in the Induction Diet Phase:

You Can Eat Liberally:

Fish Fowl Shellfish Meat Eggs
tuna chicken oysters beef  
salmon turkey mussels pork  
sole duck lobster lamb
trout goose clams bacon  
flounder game hens shrimp ham  
sardines pheasant sqid veal  
herring quail crab venison

The only rule with the above foods is to limit processed meats (such as lunchmeats and pepperoni) to cut down on possible added sugars or preservatives. Also limit organ meats and oysters to less than 4 ounces a day.

Cheeses are Good!

You can eat as much as four ounces of cheddar, gouda, mozzarella, the various blue cheeses, Swiss, cream and most sheep and goat cheeses.

Salad Greens/Vegetables:

You can get plenty of fiber and nutrients by eating up to three cups of the following:

Alfalfa sprouts daikon mushrooms chives
arugula endive parsley lettuce
bok choy escarole peppers romaine
celery fennel radicchio sorrel
chicory jicama radishes cucumbers

Other Vegetables:

artichoke hearts celery root pumpkin    asparagus
chard     sauerkraut  bamboo shoots   collard greens
scallions   snow peas dandelion    spaghetti squash
bean sprouts beet greens eggplant      hearts of palm
broccoli   string beans wax beans Brussels sprouts
kale tomato  summer squash  spinach
kohlrabi   leeks  turnips    cabbage
water chestnuts  okra   cauliflower     onion


Dr. Atkins’ Diet food list allows these herbs and spices liberally during the induction phase, but watch out for seasoning blends that contain sugar!

garlic basil oregano  rosemary     tarragon
cayenne   ginger     sage cilantro thyme
dill     pepper        

For seasoning salads, vinegar and oil are great, but it should be plain or apple cider vinegar. Balsamic vinegar has sugar, so don’t use it. Another alternative for a zesty salad is simply adding a few squirts of lemon juice and some herbs.

Fats and Oils

Atkins Induction Diet Food List

You can cook with butter or olive oil for great taste. Most other vegetable oils are allowed on the Atkins Induction diet food list, especially any that are cold-pressed. Some good alternatives to olive oil include sunflower, safflower and soybean oils. You may want to try a few to see if there is one that has a flavor you prefer. Don’t use margarine! It is full of hydrogenated oils (trans fats) that aren’t at all good for you.


  • Broths – check the labels to make sure they don’t have additives or sugars
  • Club Soda
  • Heavy or light cream (up to three tablespoons)
  • Coffee or tea that is decaffeinated (to prevent fluctuations in blood sugar)
  • Diet pop, but only if sweetened with sucralose (a brand name is Splenda)
  • Herbal tea
  • Water

What to NEVER Eat During Induction

There are a few foods that you will be tempted to eat during Induction that you should avoid at all costs. This includes any starchy vegetables, bread or dairy products that aren’t cheese, cream or butter. Also be sure you don’t eat any fruit. Fruit is not on the Atkins Induction Diet Food List at all. You may be used to thinking of fruit as a “diet food,” but they are high in sugars that will convert to starch, so they must be avoided during Induction.

Don’t forget that gum, mints and hard candies all contain sugars, so don’t use them during Induction. These are loaded with sugar and will derail you quickly if you think of them as “freebies” because they aren’t food!

What You Should ALWAYS Have During Induction

  • Vitamins, vitamins, vitamins. I can’t stress this enough – a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement is extremely important during the induction phase period (and all phases of the Atkins Diet program). The food supplements on your list should have a wide range of nutrients, but especially B vitamins and vitamin C. Fish oil or other fatty acid supplement should also be taken.
  • Lots of water – eight glasses of water a day at least. This helps flush toxins out of the body and keeps you from becoming dehydrated.

My Advice

By now you can see that the Atkins induction diet food list is really pretty long, especially if you do some looking around for good recipes. There are plenty of Atkins Diet Induction recipes in Dr. Atkins’ own books. You can also find thousands of them on the web. Today even many restaurants provide dieters with an Atkins Diet induction menu section on their regular menus to make eating out more enjoyable – so enjoy!

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