By April 21, 2008 7 Comments Read More →

The Top 100 Zone Foods

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I’m currently researching the Zone diet to learn more patterns and practices for health, fitness, and vitality.  This post is a list of the Top 100 Zone Foods. 

This list is organized by carbohydrates, proteins, fats, spices and condiments.  Each item includes a note on what portion equates to a Zone Food Block.  After the list, I summarize important points about Zone Food Blocks.  The main way to use the list is to become familiar with high-quality foods and the relative portions.  This way you can make more effective food choices when you want to improve how you think and feel. 

This list is based on the book,  The Top 100 Zone Foods: The Zone Food Science Ranking System, by Dr. Barry Sears.

Zone Food Blocks

According to Dr. Sears, each Zone meal consists of Protein Blocks, Carbohydrate Blocks, and Fat Blocks:

  • Protein Block.  One Protein Block contains 7 grams of protein.  The average male needs four Protein Blocks and the average woman needs three Protein blocks.  
  • Carbohydrate Block.  One Carbohydrate Block contains 9 grams of carbohydrates.  3 Carbohydrate Blocks would contain 27 carbohydrates.  4 Carbohydrate Blocks would contain 36 carbohydrates.
  • Fat Block.  One Fat Block contains 3 grams of fat.  3 Fat Blocks would contain 9 grams of fat.  4 Fat Blocks would contain 12 grams of fat.

The keys to the Zone Blocks:

  • The number of Protein Blocks you need depends on whether you are a man or a woman.
  • Eat the same number of Carbohydrate Blocks at every meal as Protein Blocks.
  • Eat the same number of Fat Blocks at every meal as Protein Blocks.

The Average Woman Zone Food Blocks

According to Dr. Sears, a typical woman needs the following blocks for a Zone meal:

  • 3 Protein Blocks.  The average woman will need three Protein Blocks for each meal (21 grams of protein.)  That translates into about 3 ounces of high-quality protein.
  • 3 Carbohydrate Blocks.  The average woman will need three Carbohydrate blocks for each meal (27 grams of carbohydrates.)
  • 3 Fat Blocks.  The average woman will need three Fat Blocks (9 grams of fat.)

A typical Zone meal for a woman would contain about 9 grams of fat, 21 grams of protein, and 27 grams of carbohydrates.

The Average Male Zone Food Blocks

According to Dr. Sears, a typical man needs the following blocks for a Zone meal:

  • 4 Protein Blocks.  The average man will need four Protein Blocks for each meal (28 grams of protein.)  That translates into about 4 ounces of high-quality protein.
  • 4 Carbohydrate Blocks.  The average man will need four Carbohydrate Blocks for each meal (36 grams of carbohydrates.)
  • 4 Fat Blocks.  The average man will need four Fat Blocks for each meal (12 grams of fat.)

The typical Zone meal for a man would contain about 12 grams of fat, 28 grams of protein, and 36 grams of carbohydrates.

Alphabetical List of The Top 100 Zone Foods

According to Dr. Sears, here is an alphabetical list of the Top 100 Zone Foods:

Alfalfa Sprouts – Almonds – Apples – Apricots – Artichokes – Asparagus – Avocados – Barley – Basil – Beef Tenderloin (Well-trimmed) – Black Beans – Blackberries – Blueberries – Bok Choy – Broccoli – Brussels Sprouts – Cabbage – Canola Oil – Cashews – Cauliflower – Celery – Cherries – Chicken Breast (Skinless) – Chickpeas – Chili Peppers – Cinnamon – Cod – Cottage Cheese (Low-Fat) – Crabmeat – Cucumber – Curry – Eggplant – Egg Whites – Emu – Fennel – Garlic – Ginger – Grapefruit – Grapes – Green Beans – Haddock – Kale – Kidney Beans – Kiwi – Kohlrabi – Leeks – Lemons – Lentils – Lettuce – Lobster – Macadamia Nuts – Mackerel – Milk (Skim) – Miso – Mushrooms – Mustard Greens – Navy Beans – Nectarines – Oats (Slow-Cooked) – Okra – Olive Oil – Onions – Oranges – Parsley – Peaches – Peanuts – Pears – Plums – Pork Tenderloin – Protein Powder – Radishes – Raspberries – Red Bell Peppers – Salmon – Salsa – Sardines – Scallops – Sea Bass – Sesame Seeds – Shrimp – Soybeans (Boiled) – Soybean Hamburger Crumbles – Soybean Imitation Meat Products – Soy Cheese – Soy Milk – Spinach – Strawberries – Swiss Chard – Tangerines – Tempeh – Tofu – Tomatoes – Trout – Tuna – Turkey Breast (Skinless) – Turnip Greens – Wine – Yellow Squash – Yogurt – Zucchini

The Best Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Fats

The list is organized by carbohydrates, proteins, fats, spices and condiments.  Each item includes a note on what portion equates to a Zone Food Block.  After the list, I summarize important points about Zone Food Blocks.  The main way to use the list is to become familiar with high-quality foods and the relative portions.

Category Top Items
Carbohydrates
  • Cauliflower. 4 cups of cauliflower = 1 Carbohydrate Block
  • Blackberries. 3/4 cup of blackberries = 1 Carbohydrate Block
  • Blueberries. 1/2 cup of blueberries = 1 Carbohydrate Block
  • Broccoli.  3 cups of cooked broccoli = 1 Carbohydrate Block
  • Kale.  2 cups of cooked kale = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Lettuce.  10 cups of shredded lettuce = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Mustard Greens.  4 cups of mustard greens = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Raspberries.  1 cup of raspberries = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Spinach.  3 and 1/2 cups of cooked spinach = 1 Carbohydrate Block
  • Strawberries.  1 cup of strawberries = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Swiss Chard.  2 and 1/2 cups of cooked Swiss chard = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Kohlrabi.  1 cup of cooked kohlrabi = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Turnip Greens. 4 cups of cooked turnip greens = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Apricots.  3 apricots = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Artichokes.  4 artichokes or 1 cup of artichoke hearts = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Asparagus.  12 asparagus spears = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Bok Choy.  3 cups of cooked bok choy = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Barley.  1/2 tablespoon of dry barley = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Red Bell Peppers.  2 red peppers = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Black Beans.  1/4 cup of black beans = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Cabbage.  3 cups of cooked cabbage = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Eggplant.  1 and 1/2 cups of cooked eggplant = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Fennel.  3/4 cup of raw fennel = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Grapefruit.  1/2 grapefruit = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Green Beans.  1 and 1/2 cups of cooked green beans = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Brussels Sprouts.  1 and 1/2 cups of cooked Brussels sprouts = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Kiwi.  1 kiwi = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Lentils.  1/4 cup of cooked lentils = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Nectarines.  1/2 nectarine = 1 Zone Block.
  • Oats (Slow-Cooked).  1/3 cup of cooked oatmeal = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Okra.  1 cup of cooked okra = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Oranges.  1/2 orange = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Plums.  1 plum = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Radishes.  4 cups of radishes = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Tomatoes.  2 tomatoes = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Wine.  4 ounces of wine = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Apples.  1/2 apple = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Celery.  2 cups of sliced celery = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Chickpeas.  1/4 cup of cooked chickpeas = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Cucumbers.  1 and 1/2 cucumbers = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Cherries.  8 cherries = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Yellow Squash.  2 cups of cooked yellow squash = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Grapes.  1/2 cup of grapes = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Kidney Beans.  1/2 cup of cooked kidney beans = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Leeks.  1 cup of cooked leeks = 1 Carbohydrate Block
  • Mushrooms.  2 cups of cooked mushrooms = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Navy Beans.  1/4 cup of cooked navy beans = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Onions.  1/2 cup of cooked or 1/ and 1/2 cups of chopped raw onions = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Peaches. 1 peach = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Pears.  1/2 pear = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Tangerines.  1 tangerine = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Zucchini.  2 cups of cooked zucchini = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
Proteins
  • Haddock. 1 and 1/2 ounces of haddock = 1 Protein Block.
  • Cod.  1 and 1/2 ounces of cod = 1 Protein Block.
  • Crabmeat.  1 and 1/2 ounces of crabmeat = 1 Zone Block.
  • Egg Whites (or Egg Substitute).  2 egg whites or 1/4 cup of egg substitute = 1 Protein Block.
  • Lobster.  1 and 1/2 ounces of lobster = 1 Protein Block.
  • Mackerel.  1 and 1/2 ounces of mackerel = 1 Protein Block.
  • Milk (Skim).  8 ounces of skim milk = 1 Protein Block.
  • Protein Powder.  7 grams of protein powder = 1 Protein Block.
  • Salmon.  1 and 1/2 ounces of salmon = 1 Protein Block.
  • Sardines.  1 and 1/2 ounces of sardines = 1 Protein Block.
  • Scallops.  1 and 1/2 ounces of scallops = 1 Protein Block.
  • Sea Bass.  1 and 1/2 ounces of sea bass = 1 Protein Block.
  • Soybean Hamburger Crumbles.  1/3 cup of soy hamburger crumbles = 1 Protein Block.
  • Tuna.  1 ounce of tuna steak or 1 and 1/2 ounces of canned tuna = 1 Protein Block.
  • Turkey Breast, Skinless.  1 ounce of skinless turkey breast = 1 Protein Block.
  • Emu.  1 ounce of emu = 1 Zone Block.
  • Chicken Breast, Skinless.  1 ounce of skinless chicken breast = 1 Protein Block.
  • Cottage Cheese (Low Fat). 1/4th cup of low-fat cottage cheese = 1 Protein Block.
  • Shrimp.  1 and 1/2 ounces of shrimp = 1 Protein Block.
  • Soybean Imitation Meat Products.  3/4th soy hamburger patty, 1 soy sausage patty, or 3 slices of soy deli meats = 1 Protein Block.
  • Soy Cheese.  1 ounce of soy cheese = 1 Protein Block.
  • Tempeh.  1 and 1/2 ounces of tempeh = 1 Zone Block.
  • Tofu.  3 ounces of extra-firm tofu, 4 Protein of firm tofu, or 6 ounces of soft tofu = 1 Protein Block.
  • Trout.  1 and 1/2 ounces of trout = 1 Zone Block.
  • Yogurt.  6 ounces of yogurt = 1 Protein Block.
  • Soy Milk.  8 ounces of soy milk = 1 Protein Block.
  • Beef Tenderloin, Well-Trimmed.  1 ounce of well-trimmed beef tenderloin = 1 Protein Block.
  • Pork Tenderloin, Well-Trimmed.  1 ounce of well-trimmed pork tenderloin = 1 Protein Block.
  • Soybeans (Boiled).  1/3rd cup of cooked soybeans = 1 Protein Block.
Fats
  • Macadamia Nuts.  1 macadamia nut = 1 Fat Block.
  • Olive Oil.  2/3 teaspoon of olive oil = 1 Fat Block.
  • Almonds.  3 almonds = 1 Fat Block.
  • Avocados.  1 tablespoon = 1 Zone Block.
  • Canola Oil.  2/3 teaspoon of canola oil = 1 Fat Block.
  • Cashews.  3 cashews = 1 Fat Block.
  • Peanuts.  6 peanuts = 1 Fat Block.
Spices and Condiments
  • Garlic.
  • Basil.
  • Alfalfa Sprouts.  10 cups of alfalfa sprouts = 1 Carbohydrate Block.
  • Chili peppers.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Curry Powder.
  • Ginger.
  • Lemons.
  • Miso.  Caveat – If you have salt-sensitive high blood pressure, you’re better off avoiding miso and using natto, a similar soybean paste that has virtually no sodium.
  • Parsley
  • Salsa.
  • Sesame Seeds.

7 Comments on "The Top 100 Zone Foods"

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  1. josh says:

    Hi,

    Are the measurements for the vegetables by volume or weight? For example, is 4 cups cauliflower meant to be actually 4 cup measures full of cauliflower, or 32 ounces of cauliflower?

    Thanks.

  2. Roxanne says:

    Is the ounce of fish/chicken/meat cooked or raw?

  3. Haylee says:

    The measurements are by volume; meaning, fill up 4 measuring cups with Cauliflower. The meat should be measured after cooked bc it’s the amount you consume that’s important.

    I lost 40 lbs using the Zone plan, and now it’s a way of life! Good luck!

  4. Haylee says:

    Sorry, vegetables are volume BUT…
    Meat is by weight. Getting a small kitchen scale will prove to be very handy.

  5. Beth says:

    How do you determine how many meals a woman or man should consume in a day? My Husband and I did the Zone diet over 10 years ago, and at that time, I was suppose to eat 4 (300 calorie) meals per day. My Husband was suppose to eat 6 (300 calorie) meals per day. Each meal was to fall into the same fat/carb/protein requirements you have listed above.

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