Zone Diet

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Zone Diet quick guide

by Sasha Marvin & Dr. Marta Molinari Phd (update Oct 15, 2012)


We always recommend that you consult your doctor before changing your diet even if you think you are healthy, and of course if you are undergoing treatment or taking medication, or if you know you have some health problems: drastically change your eating habits could influence the outcomes of prescriptions. We are not aware of your health status, and any action on your part is solely at your own risk. If you have even the slightest doubt, take this precaution.


In this section we will give you the minimum to start, but we consider essential reading at least one book about the Zone Diet. The original book that describes this lifestyle is "The Zone Diet" by Barry Sears, invaluable.


Since the Zone Diet is a lifestyle you cannot follow along without understanding the fundamental principles that underlie it. You will also learn what foods are "favorable" and why, and how to balance what you have to manage yourself at home, at bars, at pizzerias or restaurants, in motorway restaurants and on holiday.

You certainly have doubts about the breakfast, but do not be intimidated if you find it different from your usual routine, choose the one that seems best suited to your tastes.


Change your diet at once, not gradually, as you will have immediate answers from your body: you will feel better right away and the satisfaction will give you the motivation to continue on your new path.



The Zone Diet uses the block, the simple units to define meals more easily.

1 block meal

1 block (in grey) is made of 1 block of Proteins + 1 block of Carbohydrates + 1 block of Fats.

In detail:

1 block of protein is given by 7g of proteins, for example, contained in 30g of chicken fillet.

1 block of fat is given by 3.04 g of fat, contained for example in 1/3 of a teaspoon of olive oil, or 3 almonds.

Note: In book tables this value is about 1.5 grams. Meals in our compiler are set to 3.04 g.

1 block of carbs is given by approximately 9g of carbs, such as in 100-150 g of fruit or 13g of pasta.

A main meal: breakfast, lunch or dinner; it usually consist of 3 or 4 blocks, depending on your demand.


It is advisable to limit to 4 blocks the main meals to avoid saturating the blood with sugar and maintain a low quantity of insulin, which hinders fat consumption.


A snack is given by 1 block or 2 blocks.

3-blocks meal

3 blocks meal

3 block of proteins + 3 blocks of fats + 3 blocks of carbs


1-block snack

1 block meal

1 block of proteins + 1 block of fats + 1 block of carbs

3-blocks meal

you build it with:

  • 70g chicken breast - raw weight (3 blocks proteins)
  • 100g grapes + 100g raw carrot + 300g green radish (3 blocks carbs)
  • 9g olive oil (3 blocks fats)

Vinegar and salt for seasoning. Should not be calculated as insignificant in intake.

1-block snack

you build it with:

  • 70g apple, i.e. approx. half an apple (1 block carbs)
  • 30g seasoned ham without fat (1 block proteins + 1 block fats)
  • 0g fats as already present in the ham


  • 140g low-fat Yogurt (1% fats)
  • 2 almonds

Yogurt is a balanced food, but it has to be consumed with moderation. Better to choose low-fat yogurt and add some almonds to balance the fats. The normal yogurt contains saturated fat, so it should be limited.



The day is usually divided into 5 or 6 meals and it is possible to manage in several ways, depending on your needs for blocks in total:



Example - day with 5 meals


breakfast 3 3 blocks meal 8.00 am
lunch 3 3 blocks meal 1.00 pm
snack 1 1 block meal 5.00 pm
dinner 3 3 blocks meal at 8.00 pm
snack 1 1 block meal at 12.00 pm



Example - day with 6 meals


breakfast 2 2 blocks meal 7.00 am
snack 1 1 block meal 10.00 am
lunch 3 3 blocks meal 1.00 pm
snack 1 1 block meal 5.00 pm
dinner 3 3 blocks meal at 8.00 pm
snack 1 notte 1 block meal at 12.00 pm



Example of 18-blocks day


breakfast 4 pasto da 4 blocchi 7.00 am
snack 2 2 blocks meal 10.00 am
lunch 4 pasto da 4 blocchi 1.00 pm
snack 2 2 blocks meal 5.00 pm
dinner 4 pasto da 4 blocchi at 8.00 pm
snack 2 2 blocks meal at 12.00 pm




11 blocks are the MINIMUM requirements. It's everything you need and you will NOT be hungry. Kcal are having a higher yield because they consume fat reserves as an energy source and the Zone Diet the priority is given to the rich sources of nutrients, so it's not a problem, but DO NOT go below the 11 blocks as a rule of thumb.



To find out how many blocks you need you must calculate your lean body mass, then the daily protein requirement based on an index of physical activity.


To simplify the task, in the Home screen of proZoneApp 1.0.0 you find the link to the functions for calculating your requirement.

With the blocks requirement you can start determining how to organize meals for the day.


This list of rules to follow increases the effectiveness of the food program. Is not as restrictive, and it is not necessary that you put all into practice immediately.


With a little perseverance and a bit of experience, by reading and learning over time you will be able to introduce new principles into your eating habits, without haste.

  • It should be fun, not a constraint, and the Zone Diet allows it.

  • The minerals, enzymes and antioxidants (micronutrients) are as important as proteins, fats and carbohydrates (macronutrients). Prefer fresh and ripe foods. Avoid complex processed foods and those made from flour.

  • Do not be fundamentalists. Every now and then, moderately indulge in unfavorable food, but don't make a habit of it.

    3 meals and 2 or 3 snacks. The reason for this splitting meals into 5 or 6 times is twofold: it stimulates the metabolism by promoting all processes in the body and prevents that much of what we eat is converted into fat.

  • In the compilation of the best meals you have to maintain the proteins / carbs ratio. The compiler of the meals is easy; you just have to get the same three values of PCF. If sometimes you slightly exceed in the lipids it is not a problem. Do not exceed more than 1 block and do not make a habit of it.

  • Do not be hungry because hunger slows metabolic processes. With the Zone Diet you never get hungry if the calculations are correct. If hunger occurs add a few more blocks in the previous meal.

  • Eat the components (P / C / F) of the meal all together or with no more than 15/30 minutes between them.

  • Never stay longer than five hours without eating. If you do early breakfast, you need a snack between breakfast and lunch. Remember that the best time to eat is before hunger comes up. If we approach a meal with hunger, as well as if we finish the meal in a nanosecond, we bend to the compulsive side, and we are not careful with the quantities.

  • Mostly choose favorable sources. In SW proZoneApp favorable sources will smile at you. The others a little less.

  • Do not associate too many different protein sources together, try to compile simple meals.

  • If you happen to be in front of an unfavorable, questionable, doubtful source, balance it always with a favorable one. For example, if you decide to eat pork do not use bread but only fruits and vegetables, to balance proteins with carbs; so no potatoes or pasta, maybe even with cheese. In addition to dangerously raise the acidity of the blood flow and tissue, it predisposes the body to latent infections that eventually could lead to more serious conditions.

  • Drink plenty of fluids between meals. During meals drink at least a glass or two of water. Or a glass of red wine, to be calculated as a carbohydrate source.

  • Avoid fruit juices because they are disproportionate sources of carbs and contain no nutrients but only sugar. With juices you lose part of the nutritional content and you increase the rate of absorption of sugars.

  • Vary meals as much as possible in order to have, in alternating phases, all vitamins and all types of proteins, without insisting on a food only.

  • Absolutely AVOID eating foods which are difficult to dispose of for several days in a row, such as yogurt, (which is not a problem for some, but for others it is).

  • Do not repeat the same menu every day at the same time.

  • If by chance you happen not to make a meal in the Zone Diet do not worry too much, because with the next meal you will return in the Zone Diet. (Try not to do it too often, say max once a week if you need to lose weight, twice or 3 times max. if you are maintaining).

  • Do not finish a meal at all costs if you are with your friends at dinner. Pizza for example: choose a combination that contains proteins and little mozzarella cheese; eat just half, leaving the edges. Take the other half home to eat it the next day or share it with your friends.

  • Read again the above basic rules every now and then.


Generally, in preparing a complete and balanced meal you start from the proteins, choosing from a favorable source (lean protein) such as chicken, turkey, fish or soy products. Then you choose carbs, preferably raw vegetables and ripe fruit. Pasta, bread and cereals should be avoided and used moderately. If needed you add fats last, like olive oil, walnuts or almonds.


Once chosen the ingredients, switch to the quantities needed to determine how many grams of various macronutrients you need. The compiler of the SW proZoneApp is designed to make meal preparation fast, fun and above all accurate, while with the tables it is not always successful...


The shopping is a factor. Avoid buying unfavorable foods. Keeping unfavorable and tempting foods at home often frustrates your efforts, especially for those suffering from compulsive hunger. Opening the doors and not finding anything to munch on solves the problem. So with the Zone Diet or any other food plan you begin by shopping! Only buy what you need for the diet, fresh food and seasonal ripe fruit, preferably from your own region.


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