If you eat the right foods, says the Abs diet creator David Zinczenko, you'll burn fat and gain lean muscle mass. Zinczenko originally designed the six-week plan for men, but in his 2010 book, "The New Abs Diet for Women," he alters the program to address weight-loss concerns unique to women. The meal plans for the Abs diet are all based around 12 "powerfoods": nuts, legumes, green vegetables, low- or non-fat dairy products, instant oatmeal, eggs, lean meats, peanut butter, olive oil, whole grains, whey powder and berries. U.S. News & World Report says women should get ample nutrition on the Abs diet, but talk to your doctor before starting the program.
Women following the Abs diet are instructed to eat six times a day -- breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks two hours before lunch, two hours before dinner and two hours after dinner. Every meal must contain at least two of Zinczenko's list of powerfoods; each snack needs to have at least one. According to Zinczenko, the more of these foods you eat, the more fat you'll burn. The women's version of the Abs diet provides between 1,400 to 1,600 calories per day.
A typical breakfast on the Abs diet for women might consist of an 8-ounce smoothie prepared with low- or non-fat milk, whey powder, yogurt, fruit and a juice like orange juice. Smoothies are included in a number of the sample menu plans in Zinczenko's book since they are a quick way to consume your required powerfoods. This breakfast smoothie provides three of the powerfoods: whey powder and two servings of dairy. If you use a fruit like raspberries, you'll pack in four powerfoods.
While you're on the Abs diet, lunch might be a salad of romaine lettuce and spinach leaves topped with sliced fresh strawberries, diced onion and roasted chopped turkey or chicken. Toss the salad with a vinaigrette made from olive oil, red wine vinegar and seasonings like garlic. With only 215 calories, this lunch provides four Abs diet powerfoods. For a different-tasting dressing, you can use sesame, peanut or canola oil instead of the olive oil; all four are considered powerfoods.
For dinner, a woman on the Abs diet might have chili prepared with ground turkey, black beans, diced tomatoes and corn served over cooked brown rice. By adding ground flaxseed to the chili, you can increase the powerfood total of this dinner since Zinczenko counts seeds such as flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in the same powerfood category as nuts, though both need to be unsalted. Avoid white rice and any product made from refined grains like white breads or pasta.
Recommended snacks on the Abs diet for women include nuts, fresh fruit, smoothies, lean deli meats, whole-wheat crackers with low-fat cheese, vegetable sticks with homemade bean dip, sliced apples spread with peanut butter and yogurt.