What to Eat When You’re Starting The Virgin Diet or Sugar Impact Diet

by JJ Virgin on December 4, 2023

If you’re just beginning The Virgin Diet or The Sugar Impact Diet, you may be wondering the best way to swap the foods that hurt you for healthier options. On both plans, I teach you how to swap your favorite foods for healthier versions that are equally satisfying, but without the guilt. You’re not going to go hungry, ever.  

As for flavor, whichever plan you’re on, you’ll find lots of easy-to-make meals that fit within the guidelines on my recipes page. With these protein-packed recipes, you’ll squash the between-meal cravings you usually get with other diets, and have longer-lasting energy and a more stabilized mood that keeps your mind off food. 

Below, I’ve chosen some of my favorites (including from my books as well as The Virgin Diet Cookbook and Sugar Impact Diet Cookbook) to show you how simple eating by these plans can be. With a few exceptions, these recipes work for all three cycles of The Virgin Diet or The Sugar Impact Diet. Every recipe will be clearly marked, such as below: 

Virgin Diet compliant: Cycles 1, 2, and 3 
Sugar Impact Diet compliant: Cycles 1, 2, and 3 

An Overview Of Both Plans

“Which plan should I go with?” people sometimes ask me, here’s a brief synopsis: 

  • I wrote The Virgin Diet to show how many healthy foods can hurt you. I’ve uncovered the real secret behind weight gain: food intolerance. On The Virgin Diet, you’ll eat plenty of anti-inflammatory, healing foods, will never feel hungry or deprived, and in just one week, you can drop up to 7 pounds, lose belly bloat, gain energy, clear up inflammation, and look and feel years younger – all by eliminating seven highly reactive (hi-FI) foods.
  • Sugar hides in places you’d never expect: whole foods, diet foods, packaged foods, dressings, and sugar substitutes. Cutting out or cutting back on sugar isn’t enough. In the Sugar Impact Diet, you’ll learn how different sugars react differently in the body. By swapping high-sugar impact foods for low-sugar impact foods, you’ll lose weight, rev up your metabolism, banish cravings, and become metabolically flexible to burn fat, not sugar. 

Both books provide many more recipes. The ideas below will inspire you to see how delicious taking control of your health can be!

Break Your Fast With These Recipes 

Overnight fasting is one of my favorite ways to balance blood sugar, steady your hormones, boost your metabolism, and reach your goal weight.  

You’ll want to break your fast by 9 or 10 am by eating protein first. I recommend going with a fast, filling, protein-based loaded smoothie. While I’ve got tons of loaded smoothie recipes here, this chocolatey Stress-Busting Chocolate Berry Smoothie is a great place to start.  

Want something chewier that’s waiting in your fridge when you’re ready to break your fast? You’ve got to try overnight oats. Unlike traditional versions, these recipes deliver optimal protein (thanks to my All-In-One Shake). Any of these four recipes take breakfast to the next level:

I like to add a scoop of collagen powder for additional protein. 

Sometimes, pancakes just hit the breakfast spot. These Vanilla Quinoa Breakfast Cakes contain ingredients like almond butter, chia seeds, my protein-fueled All-In-One Shake, and quinoa. 

Getting optimal protein is essential, but so is breaking down and absorbing that protein. Protein First Enzymes is a powerhouse formula that works for anyone who needs digestive support to help break down and absorb food. We’ve combined a proprietary blend of digestive enzymes with Betaine HCl for comprehensive digestive support.*  

Brunch or Lunch? These Options Satisfy Both Occasions 

These quick, filling meal ideas work equally well for a busy workweek lunch or a loungey weekend brunch. 

One of my favorite one-dish meals is this protein-rich 15-Minute Chicken & Quinoa Macro Bowl, which you can whip up faster than it would take to stand in line to order at a takeout restaurant. 

Feeling the crunch of a top-shelf restaurant salad without the trouble ingredients? JJ’s Cobb Salad delivers flavorful satisfaction. (If you’re egg intolerant, simply leave out the eggs.) 

Tex-Mex Burgers with Avocado Salsa get major flavor thanks to the addition of bacon, cumin, paprika, and creamy avocado. 

If veggie burgers have left you underwhelmed in the past, you’ve got to try these Lentil Nut Burgers with Cilantro Vinaigrette. The secret? Protein-packed lentils combined with ingredients like fresh cilantro. 

My Vegetarian White Chili combines cannellini beans and hearty quinoa (both great sources of plant protein) for a taste that satisfies carnivores and non-meat-eaters alike. 

Unwind After a Busy Day With These Protein-Packed Dinner Ideas 

After a busy workday, a protein-first dinner helps me unwind and enjoy simple, nutrient-packed foods. Whether you’re dining solo or having friends over, these dishes are certain to satisfy. 

Blackened Salmon and Confetti Quinoa combine clean protein, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, fiber-loaded veggies, and slow-low carbs. 

When you’re feeling meat-centered and Mexican but don’t want the empty carbs, these Flank Steak and Vegetable Wraps with Chimichurri Sauce recipe provides the protein you need to thrive (and the satisfaction of a flavorful, easy-to-throw-together meal).  

For a just-as-flavorful but healthier spin on traditional Italian food, this Paleo Spaghetti Squash with Capers, Onions, and Bell Peppers recipe revamps traditional noodles with fiber-packed spaghetti squash. 

Satisfying Beverages With Benefits 

Whether you’re looking for a caffeinated pick-me-up or an after-dinner cocktail to unwind, these beverages satisfy you while helping you meet your health goals.  

5-Minute Collagen Coffee gives you a caffeine jolt along with 11 grams of protein, plus you can whip it up in less time than it takes to order at your favorite café. 

Power Hot Cocoa spins the traditional classic with good-for-you coconut milk, my All-In-One Shake for protein, and raw cacao powder. 

These adults-only Kevita Margaritas include a sparkling probiotic drink, which makes this margarita recipe healthy and toast-worthy, with none of the added sugar and other junk ingredients in the original. 

Discover More Flavorful, Easy, and Satisfying Ideas on My Recipe Page 

These protein-fueled recipes provide a small taste of what you’ll find on my recipes page. When they first try them, people sometimes ask whether they’re really healthy. They are, I promise!  I’ve also designed The Virgin Diet Cookbook and Sugar Impact Diet Cookbook, which provide many more delicious, healthy, easy-to-prepare recipes. 

But don’t take my word about it. When you start seeing more energy, better skin, renewed focus and vigor, and of course, weight loss… well, seeing is believing. Whether you opt for The Virgin Diet or The Sugar Impact Diet, you can rest assured that both programs embrace tasty satisfaction, one bite or sip at a time!  

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern.