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Dr. N.V. Perricone's Menu Plan

By Dr. N.V. Perricone

The Perricone nutritional program provides the foods that reduce inflammation and avoids those that provoke it. Study the lists of foods that are approved and those that need to be to be avoided. There are 10 simple rules to the program:

  1. Each meal needs to include lean protein and carbohydrates (in the form of fruits and/or vegetables), and essential fatty acids from olive oil or fresh unsalted nuts.
  2. Be sure to include up to one tablespoon of olive oil and 1 cup of low fat yogurt 3x/week. (You can eat the yogurt for breakfast or as a snack between meals)
  3. Women need to consume 400 grams of lean protein per week, two servings of fruit and at least 4 servings of approved vegetables each day. (a apple or pear, 340 grams of berries or 113 grams of cut up fruit). Men need the same number of servings of fruits and vegetables, but should take in 450 grams of protein/week.
  4. Drink 8-10 glasses of water/day.
  5. Limit coffee to 1-2 cups/day.
  6. Take prescribed supplements at the recommended times, rather than all at once.
  7. Calories and quantities should be consumed evenly throughout the day.
  8. Don't go longer than 4-5 hours without eating to keep blood sugar level.
  9. Don't add fat to food when you cook.
  10. Don't cheat-- it will show up on your skin before it pads your hips!

If you are a traditionalist, the egg white or oatmeal breakfasts will fit into your routine. If time is short in the morning, these items can be picked up at the local coffee shop instead of the usual latte and bagel. If you tend to wake up hungry; the fish breakfast will be wonderfully satisfying. If eating is too much effort in the morning, a cool cup of yogurt will give you much needed protein and you don't even have to chew.

  1. Egg white omelet (made with 3 egg whites), 1 serving of fruit
  2. 113 grams unflavored oatmeal with skim milk, egg white omelet/1 serving of fruit
  3. Fresh fish, preferably broiled or poached/serving of fruit
  4. Non-fat unflavored yogurt fruit salad of melons, berries, apples, pears, 5 grams of slivered almonds

Lunches are designed to meet nutritional needs with easily obtainable foods. Don't use commercial salad dressings. Sprinkle the salads with 1/4 -1/2 ounce of extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Make sure you get at least 4 ounces of protein at lunch. You can substitute 1/4-cup bean salad or 28 grams of bean dip for the fruit.

Lunch Menus:

  1. Small can of tuna fish, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers (top with chopped onions if you wish)(serving of fresh fruit from approved list)
  2. Steamed vegetables and shrimp, chicken or tofu (season with Chinese mustard or low sodium soy sauce/ 1 serving of fruit.)
  3. Smoked or grilled salmon (can use canned salmon, just drain off liquid they way you do with tuna) or sliced fresh turkey on a bed of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced radish, green pepper/ 1 serving of fruit
  4. Grilled chicken breast/tossed green salad/1 serving of fruit
  5. Grilled or poached shrimp make sure you eat at least six shrimp over a green salad, 1 serving of fruit
  6. 1/4 roast chicken (do not eat skin), green salad, 1 serving of fruit
  7. Broiled salmon/green salad/1 serving of fruit
  8. Turkey burger/ green salad or sliced tomatoes and lettuce/serving of fruit
  9. Small can of salmon/green salad/1 serving of fruit
  10. Small can of sardines in olive oil/green salad/1 serving of fruit

You should be eating fish at least 10 times a week, which works out to at least one fish meal each day. To meet these goals, plan out what you are going to eat. Think about the demands of the upcoming day, and analyze what foods will be available for you. For example if you know that you are going to be in meetings all day, try to start off with a good supply of protein. If you're going out with friends steer them to a restaurant where you can get fish and a fresh salad rather than pizza or burgers and fries. The dinner menus that follow can be easily found in restaurants or made at home. If you like to cook, indulge your creativity with fresh fish and approved vegetables and seasonings. If you consider heating up a Lean Cuisine in a microwave cooking, you can find appropriate foods in restaurants and take out stores. If you haven't had two servings of fruit that day, finish the meal with melon or berries. Dr. Perricone recommends a daily salad that consists of lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers. To vary flavor each meal he advises adding on raw sliced mushrooms, green pepper strips, sliced radishes, and/or slivered celery. Toss salad with 1/4 - 1/2 ounce of olive oil and a few drops of fresh lemon juice to taste. Use black pepper and fresh herbs, but don't add salt. Keep in mind that these menus are just suggestions. You can mix and match any of the protein and vegetable choices as long as they are on the list of approved food items. Your chicken, fish and vegetables should be roasted, broiled, grilled, steamed or poached rather than fried or sauted.

  1. Broiled Salmon/asparagus/salad
  2. Teriyaki salmon/snow peas/salad
  3. Mussels in white sauce/spinach/salad
  4. Clams in red sauce (no pasta)/escarole/salad
  5. Sauted scallops with garlic and parsley/zucchini/salad
  6. Pan roasted salmon/cauliflower/salad
  7. Egg white omelet with smoked salmon/sliced tomatoes/salad
  8. Roast fresh turkey/Brussels sprouts/salad
  9. Baked chicken/green beans/salad
  10. Broiled chicken/asparagus/salad
  11. Broiled swordfish/broccoli/salad
  12. Shrimp cocktail/broccoli rabe/salad
  13. Broiled filet of sole/green beans/salad

Don't get too hungry. Use these snacks to feel energetic and fulfilled. Remember- each snack needs to contain the same components as a full meal-- lean protein, carbohydrates in the form of fruits or vegetables and essential fatty acids from olive oil or nuts.

  1. 14 grams of whole almonds or Macadamia nuts, one small apple, sliced low fat ham
  2. 6 black and green olives/celery sticks/ 2 slices smoked turkey
  3. A grilled or poached shrimp/280 grams of cantaloupe/14 grams of macadamia nuts
  4. 1 small pear, 2 slices turkey breast/14 grams of slivered almonds
  5. Raw veggies (green pepper strips, cherry tomatoes. sliced cucumbers)/ 28 grams of bean dip


Foods to Avoid
Alcoholic beverages, bacon, bananas, breads, bagels, beef, beer, brandy, butter, breads, carrots, cream cheese, candy, cake, chocolate, cookies, cereals (except oatmeal), cornstarch, corn, corn syrup, croissants, dried fruit, duck, doughnuts, fruit juice, fried foods, flour, gin, grapes, goose, granola, hard cheese (except for feta and parmesan), honey, hot dogs, ice cream, jams and jellies, lamb, mango, margarine, molasses, mayonnaise, muffins, noodles, oranges pancakes, papaya, pastry, peas, pie, pizza, pasta, pickles, popcorn, pork, potatoes, pudding, pumpkin, raisins, relish, rice, rum, sherbet, soda, scones, sherry, sugar, tacos, veal, waffles, watermelon, whiskey, wine, whole milk

Foods to Enjoy
Almonds, asparagus, avocado, beans (black, kidney, lima), apples, bell peppers, broccoli, broccoli Rabe, blueberries, blackberries, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupe, clams, cottage cheese, lowfat), crab meat, chicken (white meat), capon, cauliflower, celery, Chilean sea bass, cod fish, coriander, cucumbers, dill, egg whites, eggplant, endive, escarole, fat-free milk, feta cheese, fennel, flounder, filet of sole, garlic, grapefruit, ginger, halibut, honeydew melon, kiwi fruit, kale, legumes, lentil soup, lobster, lemons, leafy greens, lettuce, monkfish, mushrooms, mussels, nectarines, nuts, oatmeal, onions, olive oil, olives, parmesan cheese, peaches, pecans, parsley, pears, plums, radish, raspberries, spinach, scallops, Swiss chard, scallions, snow peas, smoked salmon, sardines, shrimp, salmon, salmon trout, soy beans, sour cream, swordfish, tea (black and especially green), tomatoes, tomato juice, tofu, turkey, yogurt, (non-fat, unflavored), walnuts, zucchini

Putting together antioxidant-rich meals while avoiding foods that will send your blood sugar sky high is simple once you have an idea of what to look for. Here are a few lists to use as a guideline.

Good Carbohydrates (those low on the glycemic index)
Asparagus, Citrus fruits, Plums, Beans, Honeydew melon, Spinach, Broccoli, Kiwi fruit, Most nonstarchy vegetables, Blueberries, Leafy greens, Cabbage, Peaches, Cantaloupe, Pears

Bad Carbohydrates (those high on the glycemic index)
Bananas, Corn, Pasta, Breads, Fruit juices (eat whole fruits), Potatoes, Carrots Mangoes, Rice, Cereals processed with added sugar, Pancakes, Sugar, Papaya, Waffles

Antioxidant Best Bets
Avocado(but high in fat and calories), Cantaloupe / honeydew melons, Pineapple (but high in sugar), Bell peppers, Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale (lightly cooked), Salmon (fresh, broiled or poached), Berries, Orange-colored squash, Tomatoes


Description Serving Size Carbs
Animal crackers 8 15
Bagel 1/2 (1 oz) 15
Baked beans 1/3 cup 15
Bran cereals 1/2 cup 15
Bread 1 slice 15
Bread sticks 2 (2/3 oz) 15
Bread, reduced-calorie 2 slices (1 1/2 oz) 15
Bulgur 1/2 cup 15
Cereals, unsweetened 3/4 cup 15
Corn 1/2 cup 15
Corn on cob 1 (5 oz) 15
Cornmeal (dry) 3 Tbsp 15
Couscous 1/3 cup 15
English muffin 1/2 15
Flour (dry) 3 Tbsp 15
Graham crackers, 2 1/2 in. square 3 15
Granola, low-fat 1/4 cup 15
Grits 1/2 cup 15
Hamburger bun 1/2 (1 oz) 15
Hot dog bun 1/2 (1 oz) 15
Kasha 1/2 cup 15
Matzoh 3/4 oz 15
Melba toast 4 slices 15
Millet 1/4 cup 15
Muesli 1/4 cup 15
Oats 1/2 cup 15
Oyster crackers 24 15
Pasta 1/2 cup 15
Peas, green 1/2 cup 15
Pita, 6 in. across 1/2 15
Plantain 1/2 cup 15
Popcorn 3 cups 15
Potato, baked or boiled 1 small (3 oz) 15
Potato, mashed 1/2 cup 15
Pretzels 3/4 oz 15
Puffed cereal 1 1/2 cups 15
Raisin bread 1 slice (1 oz) 15
Rice cakes, 4 in. across 2 15
Rice milk 1/2 cup 15
Rice, white or brown 1/3 cup 15
Roll 1 (1 oz) 15
Saltine-type crackers 6 15
Snack chips, fat-free (tortilla, potato) 15-20 (3/4 oz) 15
Squash, acorn 1 cup 15
Squash, butternut 1 cup 15
Sugar-frosted cereal 1/2 cup 15
Tortilla, corn, 6 in. across 1 15
Tortilla, flour, 7-8 in. across 1 15
Waffle, 4 1/2 in. square 1 15
Wheat germ 3 Tbsp 15
Whole-wheat crackers, no fat added 2-5 (3/4 oz) 15
Yam, sweet potato 1/2 cup 15

Glycemic Index
Rick Mendosa

A glycemic index is basically a classification of how high and how fast particular carbohydrate foods raise blood sugar. This index compares the way carbohydrate foods raise blood sugar with the way white bread raises it. White bread is assigned an index number of 100. (There is another glycemic index that use straight glucose as the comparison). Generally speaking, for a person with diabetes, a low (slow-releasing) glycemic index food is preferred to a high (fast-releasing) glycemic index food. The following chart shows the glycemic index of a variety of foods that have been tested, including indigenous foods of regions around the world. For further information on the glycemic index, see the article The Glycemic Index.

Glycemic Index

Donut 108 Waffles 109

Bagel, white 103 Pumpernickel 71
Melba toast 100 Wheat bread, white 101
Wheat bread, wholemeal flour 99

All-bran 60 Cheerios 106
Cornflakes 119 Cream of Wheat 100
Grapenuts 96 Oat Bran 78
Oatmeal 87 Rice Bran 27
Rice Krispies 117 Shredded Wheat 99
Special K 77 Total 109

Barley, pearled 36 Buckwheat 78
Cornmeal 98 Millet 101
Rice, brown 79 Rice, parboiled 68
Rice, white 83 Sweet corn 78

Stoned Wheat Thins 96

Ice cream 87 Ice cream, low fat 71
Milk, full fat 39 Milk skim 46
Yogurt, low fat, artificially sweetened 20

Apple 54 Apple juice 58
Apricots, dried 44 Apricots, fresh 82
Banana 77 Cherries 32
Dates 141 Grapefruit 36
Grapes 66 Orange 63
Orange juice 74 Peach, fresh 60
Pear, fresh 53 Pineapple 94
Pineapple juice 66 Plum 55
Raisins 91 Watermelon 103

Black beans 43 Black-eyed beans 59
Broad beans (fava beans) 113 Chick peas (garbanzo beans) 47
Kidney beans 42 Lima beans, baby, frozen 46
Navy beans juice 54 Pinto beans 55
Soy beans 25

Fettuccine 46 Linguine 65
Macaroni 64 Spaghetti, wholemeal 53

Beets 91 Carrots 70
Parsnips 139 Potato, baked 121
Potatoes, french fries 107 Rutabaga 103
Sweet potato 77

Popcorn 79 Pretzels 116

Split pea soup 86

Fructose 32 Glucose 137
Glucose tablets 146 Honey 83
Lactose 65 Maltose 150
Sucrose (table sugar) 92

Peas, dried 32 Peas, green 68

Source: Jennie Brand-Miller, et al. The Glucose Revolution: The Authoritative Guide to the Glycemic Index, The Groundbreaking Medical Discovery (New York: Marlowe & Company). Used with permission.

This article appeared originally on the, which is no longer on-line. Last modified: April 16, 2003

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