The 3 Stages of the Sonoma Diet
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The 3 Stages of the Sonoma Diet

This guide introduces you to the Sonoma Diet's 3 waves, with sample menus and healthy eating choices for your diet.

Wave 1: Simple Meals

The main goal of the first stage is to introduce you to fine, simple meals prepared with healthy, whole foods. Wave 1 will rid you of three destructive habits: an overdependence on highly refined foods that turn your metabolism into a body-fat production factory; the haphazard eating of whatever happens to be available, easy, or familiar; and the tendency to eat too much. The 10 days of Wave 1 bring your most rapid weight loss.

How to Fill Your Plate or Bowl

  • Your breakfast plate will have 75 percent protein and 25 percent grains, or your breakfast bowl 50 percent dairy and 50 percent grains.
  • Your lunch plate will consist of 40 percent protein and 60 percent vegetables.
  • Your dinner plate will call for 30 percent protein, 20 percent grains, and 50 percent vegetables.

Healthy Food Choices for Wave 1

Breakfast: Two scrambled eggs with whole-grain toast

Lunch: Greek salad with broiled shrimp, half a whole-wheat pita

Dinner: Marinated flank steak with sauteed broccoli, roasted peppers, and goat cheese

Wave 2: Define Your Diet Plan

This is the main segment of the diet, the eating plan you'll stay with until you reach your target weight. It's the meat and potatoes of the diet -- without the potatoes! Weight loss isn't as fast as in Wave 1, but it's healthy, noticeable, and easier. More than anything else, Wave 2 is about variety: Your food choices multiply significantly to include fruits and a wider variety of vegetables. And a glass of wine can be part of lunch or dinner. Wave 2 should never feel like sacrifice, partly because you've reduced your cravings for sugar and white flour.

How to Fill Your Plate

  • Breakfast remains the same as in Wave 1, but now you can include fat-free yogurt.
  • Your lunch plate consists of four equal parts of protein or dairy, grains, vegetables, and fruit.
  • Your dinner plate consists of four equal parts of protein or dairy, grains, vegetables, and fruit.

Healthy Food Choices for Wave 2

Breakfast: Whole-grain cereal and nonfat milk

Lunch: Turkey roll, 1 cup Southwestern grain medley, fresh fruit

Dinner: Hearty lentil soup, fish with zucchini relish, 1 cup mixed greens with vinaigrette

Wave 3: Healthy Eating for Every Day

This phase begins on the day you reach your target weight. Go ahead and celebrate. You've earned it. You've rid your body and mind of their fattening dependence on foods made from refined flour. You've eliminated sugar cravings, so that sugar-sweetened items are back to being what they're meant to be -- occasional treats. You've banned harmful hydrogenated fats from your diet and learned to keep saturated fats down to the bare minimum. Most important, you've made the connections between eating for pleasure, for health and to stay at your best weight -- and you have the skills to stay on course even when the going gets tough. Wave 3 is all about extending these healthy eating habits into a permanent way of existing happily on this planet.

The food list expands to include all fruits and vegetables. Continue to avoid fatty meats, hydrogenated fats, and refined grains. Stick with the plate portions you learned in Wave 2. Try to turn all your meals into slow, soul-satisfying, sociable experiences. Do whatever you think best to stay within the Sonoma Diet guidelines. It's your diet now.

Healthy Food Choices for Wave 3

Breakfast: Oatmeal and milk

Lunch: Tuna salad sandwich, banana

Dinner: Herb roasted chicken, cauliflower in parmesan cheese, wild rice, 1/2 cup mango

Excerpted from The Sonoma Diet, by Connie Guttersen, RD, PhD. Copyright 2005 Meredith Corporation.

Originally excerpted in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, January 2006.