These ingredients are pretty much low carb foods, BUT, did you know that just 1 handful of nuts, about 1/4 cup of almonds for instance, has 210 calories?
In Week 1, that would be 20% of your calories for the entire day already, for only 1/4 cup of food! May I add that 1/4 cup is only 4 tablespoons? 4 tablespoons.
Dairy and nuts in general are what we call “calorie dense” meaning that they have more calories for their weight and volume than foods with more protein or carbs in them. In simple terms, most dairy cheeses and all nuts have a lot of calories for very small food.
Example: There are 200 calories in 2 tbsp of peanut butter (no sugar added), but only 31 calories in 2 tbsp of shredded chicken breast and 4 calories in 2 tbsp of raw tomato. Put another way, for 200 calories you can either have 2 tbsp of peanut butter, 1cup of shredded chicken breast, or 7.5 cups of cherry tomatoes.
The point is not that fat is bad and meat and veggies are good (like whose going to eat 7.5 cups of tomatoes for lunch right??)
=======>> KEY POINT! It's the RATIOS that we choose to COMBINE these ingredients that gives us that amazing sweet spot of tasty yet large meals that are truly satisfying and filling.
So once Week 3 hits, we start using very measured amounts of dairy and nuts. Take this delicious dish from Week 10 of P3tolife:
It's got what my mom would call, "Feta-mo-betta" aka feta cheese (2 tbsp) as well as 1.5 tbsp pine nuts, which seeds like nuts, are calorie dense. Honestly, that's all it needs! With the lean turkey meat and veggies and olive-oil based dressing that goes with it, this meal is LARGE, delicious, and has all the elements that your taste buds want while being a calorie level that WORKS day in and day out (568 calories here).
So why do we not use dairy and nuts in Weeks 1 & 2? With the reverse dieting method, our calories in week 1 & 2 are already necessarily lower than your maintenance level will be later, so you need to use those calories more carefully so that you get enough volume to feel satiated those first weeks.
Later in Weeks 3 and beyond, I have found you can get basically the same feeling you want/desire from a smaller amount of dairy and nuts as from a larger amount as I showed in my example (same goes for other calorie-dense ingredient like coconut oil and avocado).
HOW WE DO IT IN P3TOLIFE: Weeks 1&2 we use more lean meat, vegetables & small amounts of fruit to create large meals for low calories. By week 3 and for phase 4 long term eating, we start to use very small amounts of nuts and dairy. You would be surprised that this is really all you need in a well-designed recipe, where these food groups add wonderful taste and texture to a meal, while not using so much that lunch ends up being 1,000 calories.
In terms you can actually implement? Nuts we tend to use in 1-2 tbsp serving sizes per meal, and cheese in 2 tbsp to 1/4 cup serving sizes.