What Foods Do You Eat on the Kimkins Diet?

food list

So you've read all about the basics of the plan, and now you're wondering, "What foods do you eat on the Kimkins Diet?" Well, that depends on the version of the diet you choose to follow. On some, your food choices are plentiful; on others, they're severely limited.

What Foods Do You Eat on the Kimkins Diet Basic Plan

On the basic plan, you can't eat "bad carbs", such as sugar, starch, white flour, pasta, and rice. You also limit fats to the bare minimum. Other than that, though, choices are many.


On this, the original version of the Kimkins plan, dieters can have unlimited amounts of lean protein, including:

  • Skinless chicken (breast is best)
  • Skinless turkey (white meat is best)
  • Eggs
  • Egg substitutes
  • Non-breaded fish and seafood
  • Shellfish, but watch the carb count
  • Canned tuna in water not oil
  • Lean ham or pork tenderloins
  • Buffalo
  • Ostrich

Protein should be cooked with minimal fat. Broiled, grilled, baked, poached, steamed, and panfried with nonfat cooking spray are all acceptable cooking methods.


The Kimkins diet allows up to three cups of vegetables daily, but the exact amounts vary depending on the type of veggie. Unfortunately, you have to purchase a membership to find out the amounts for each. In general, though, Kimkins members eat a wide array of veggies, including:

  • Lettuce
  • Bok choy
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Fresh herbs
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Artichoke
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Okra
  • Squash
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms


On any diet, water is the most important beverage you can drink. Although Kimkins creator Kimmer maintains that she does not drink water, even she recognizes the importance of water consumption for optimum health, kidney function, and weight loss. In addition, Kimkins dieters can drink:

  • Diet soda
  • Coffee (no creamer)
  • Tea (no creamer)
  • Crystal Light
  • Energy drinks (zero calorie drinks only)

Maintenance Foods

These starchy veggies, legumes, and fruit are not allowed during the weight-loss phase of Kimkins, but many dieters are able to work them back in and still maintain their loss:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Fruit
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Hominy
  • Lima beans
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Rhubarb
  • Winter squash

Kimmer Experiment Food List

Since the Kimmer Experiment entails a drastic calorie and carb reduction, the food list is understandably limited. Dieters are allowed to eat unlimited lean protein and limited amounts of low-carb condiments, but nothing else. That means no:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Fat (cook with water, diet soda, or no-fat cooking spray)
  • Alcohol
  • Cheese
  • Fatty meat

Kimkins Boot Camp

The food list for the Kimkins Boot Camp is the same as the basic plan; only the amounts are different. For example, the boot camp allows up to 4 ounces of lean protein for lunch, while the basic plan allows unlimited amounts of protein.

Vegetarian Kimkins

The vegetable options for the vegetarian version mimic basic Kimkins. Protein options, of course, differ and include:

  • Tofu
  • Protein powder
  • Eggs (for non-vegans)
  • Egg substitutes
  • Tempeh (limited amounts)
  • Gardenburger products (limited amounts)
  • Boca products (limited amounts)
  • Limited dairy, including yogurt and cheese

Word of Caution

Before you head to the grocery store and stock up on Kimkins-approved foods, check with your doctor to be sure the diet is safe for you. The Kimkins plans, when followed to the letter, are very low calorie diets (VLCD). According to many doctors, VLCDs can be hazardous to your health. There are some instances where a VLCD may be beneficial, but this can only be determined by a medical professional. Such a diet should also be monitored by a doctor so that adjustments can be made as needed.

In addition, higher protein levels and drastically reduced calories, especially in the Kimmer Experiment, are not recommended for many people. There is a widespread belief in the medical community that extremely high protein levels, accompanied by low or no carbohydrates, can be hard on the liver and kidneys.


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What Foods Do You Eat on the Kimkins Diet?