The Volumetrics Diet: Foods, Menus, FAQs, and Recipes

Volumetrics Diet

Everything you need to know about the Volumetrics Diet plan including foods, to eat, menus, FAQs, shopping lists, and more. 

The Volumetrics Diet is a lifestyle diet that is based on low-calorie water-based foods along with nutrient-dense foods that are intended to keep you fuller longer while losing weight. The goal is to focus on around 1400 calories per day. On this diet no foods are off-limits however you are encouraged to modify your meals and portion size. It is also recommended to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day. It’s encouraged to also keep a food journal, so you can monitor and adjust your food intake.

What is the Volumetrics Diet Plan?

The Volumetrics Diet basically breaks your food into four categories based on their calorie density. Here’s the breakdown below.

  • (Extremely low-calorie density) Category 1: calorie density of less than 0.6
  • (Low energy density foods) Category 2: calorie density of 0.6–1.5
  • (Medium calorie density, eat in moderation) Category 3: calorie density of 1.6–3.9
  • (High-calorie density) Category 4: calorie density of 4.0–9.0

The easiest way to find out your calorie density is to divide the number of calories in a serving size by its gram weight. You will end up with a number between 0 and 9. Then you can place that food into the correct category. You want to stay around category one and category two. Category three and category four are encouraged to eat in moderation as a sometimes food. The most common foods approved foods on the Volumetrics Diet are in the categories below. This will give you a good starting point on how to begin this diet.

Category 1

This category should be the majority of foods you consume and they have an extremely low-calorie density.


  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Coconuts
  • Oranges
  • Pears
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Tropical fruits

Vegetables (non-starchy)

  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chile Peppers
  • Collard Greens
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Olives (actually a fruit)
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Shallot
  • Snow Peas
  • Squash
  • Tomato
  • Zucchini

Soups (broth-based)

  • Chicken noodle
  • Lentil
  • Minestrone
  • Vegetable soups

Non-fat Dairy

  • Almond milk
  • Cheese (low-fat)
  • Coconut milk
  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Non-fat yogurt
  • Skim milk
  • Soy milk


  • Black coffee
  • Unsweetened tea
  • Water

Category 2

This category includes low energy density foods and should be enjoyed in moderation.

Whole Grains

  • Couscous
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa
  • Tortillas (whole-grain)
  • Rice
  • Whole-grain breads
  • Whole-grain pastas


  • Chickpeas
  • Black beans
  • Lentils
  • Kidney beans
  • Yellow split pea
  • White beans

Lean Protein(s)

  • Lean beef or pork
  • Skinless chicken
  • Turkey
  • Whitefish

Download our free checklists with all the approved Volumetrics Diet foods (and what you should avoid.)

Category 3

When consuming these foods is important to keep an eye on serving size. These are considered medium calorie density foods.


  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Seafood
  • Veal

Refined Carbs

  • Bread (white)
  • Crackers
  • White pastas
  • White rice

Dairy (full fat)

  • Cheeses
  • Creamers
  • Greek yogurt
  • Ice cream
  • Whole milk
  • Yogurt

Category 4

These foods are high energy density and contain lots of calories per serving. They should be eaten sparingly.

Nuts and Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Capers
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnut
  • Peanuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pine nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts


  • Butter
  • Lard
  • Margarine
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oil

Processed Foods

  • Cakes
  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Fast foods
  • Sugary cocktails and drinks

The Volumetrics Diet Menu Sample Menu (One Week)

Here’s an example of a simple first-week Volumetrics Diet plan menu. So if this doesn’t seem to motivate you, there are many great recipes available. Check Pinterest for a huge variety of hundreds of different recipes and ideas. You can also purchase this book, The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet by Barbara Rolls, who is also the founder of this diet, to help you with more recipe options. This menu is a really simple one just to get you started. 


  • Breakfast: oatmeal and fruit
  • Lunch: skinless chicken breast and green beans 
  • Dinner: baked cod with vegetable couscous


  • Breakfast: fresh fruit
  • Lunch: minestrone soup
  • Dinner: skinless chicken with a side of asparagus


  • Breakfast: a cup of non-fat yogurt with some berries
  • Lunch: whole-grain sandwich with grilled vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini, bell pepper, and onion
  • Dinner: turkey chili with kidney beans


  • Breakfast: oatmeal and fruit 
  • Lunch: a salad with lots of veggies and use oil and vinegar as dressing
  • Dinner: whole grain pasta with turkey meatballs and sautéed vegetables


  • Breakfast: a cup of non-fat yogurt with some berries
  • Lunch: chicken noodle soup 
  • Dinner: turkey burgers


  • Breakfast: cup of oatmeal with fresh fruit
  • Lunch: lentil soup
  • Dinner: whitefish with fresh vegetables


  • Breakfast: non-fat yogurt and a side of fruit 
  • Lunch: skinless chicken breast with a side of vegetables
  • Dinner: turkey chili with kidney beans

The Volumetrics Diet: Pros and Cons


  • Mostly nutritionally balanced and can improve diet quality
  • Naturally lose weight and can help you reduce high blood pressure and diseases related to heart disease
  • Not as restrictive as other diets and can be relativity easy to follow
  • Limits processed foods


  • Figuring out calorie density can be time-consuming and confusing
  • Not many online resources
  • Limits healthy fats
  • Too much emphasis on calories and not on types of healthy fat foods


Thank you for reading our guide on the Volumetrics Diet. Please feel free to download and use our free embedded checklists. This will be helpful when creating your menus and making your grocery shopping list.