A strong case can be made that one should put just as much effort into a toning diet as one puts into workouts and exercise. Toning diets generally emphasize consumption of lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. These diets also require dieters to avoid most alcohol, salt, sugar, caffeine and greasy or fatty foods.
For those who are toning for a competition or for a special event, the foods and drinks on the prohibited list should be completely nixed from the diet. For those who are just trying to tone for general health and a pleasing physique, these things should be avoided in general. Dieters can add sweets, fats, alcohol and other prohibited foods sparingly as treats or rewards occasionally.
There are a few healthier substitutes to the "no-no" foods and drinks on the toning diet. Coffee and black tea can be replaced with green tea, white tea, and herbal tisanes. Alcohol should be avoided as much as possible, but an occasional glass of wine is generally considered to be better for a toning diet than beer, alcopops, or a mixed drink. Fatty sauces can be replaced with marinara and fatty cheeses can be replaced with low-fat varieties made with skim milk. Butter can be replaced with an olive oil spread.
On a toning diet, breads should be consumed in limited portions and in the form of dark brown breads. Potatoes should be substituted with sweet potatoes or yams, which should also be consumed in limited portions. In general, foods heavy in carbohydrates should be consumed in limited proportions and should be replaced with whole grains whenever possible.
While it may seem like there are many foods and drinks to avoid on a toning diet, there are far more to be added to the diet and enjoyed. Two important components of a healthy toning diet are leafy green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli and whole grains such as brown rice and quinoa. Protein should be consumed in the form of legumes, tofu, skinless chicken or turkey, fish, and lean meats. Eggs are also a great protein source.
A great way to make this diet work and satisfy hunger is to eat three small meals during the day instead of three large ones. It is recommended that fruits, which are high in sugar, are consumed earlier in the day. Raw vegetables can be enjoyed as snacks as needed.