Sonoma Diet

Sonoma Diet

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Sonoma Diet: A Mediterranean Way of Losing Weight

The Sonoma Diet is a mediterranean type diet from author and dietitian Connie Guttersen. The name “Sonoma” comes from a region in Northern California, USA, that has a prominent wine industry.

UPDATE: The new edition – The New Sonoma Diet has revised over half the content of the original. Highly Recommended.

Sonoma Diet Principles

The principles of the Sonoma Diet are based around the Mediterranean Food Pyramid. Enjoyment of food, gourmet cooking, and moderate portion sizes are the keys of this diet.

The weight loss program has 3 stages (called waves).

    1. Wave 1 is a more restrictive phase lasting 10 days. The idea is to break ties and addictions with sugary and fatty foods – however this is not a severe induction phase.
    2. Wave 2 is the primary weight loss phase where each meal is created with appropriate portions. There is no calorie counting or special foods or supplements.
    3. Wave 3 is a lifelong eating pattern for weight management.

The New Sonoma Diet comes with a wine guide to assist in selecting the appropriate wine to accompany the evening meal.

Power Foods

The Sonoma Diet singles out a selection of foods that it calls “power foods”:

      • Almonds
      • Bell peppers
      • Blueberries
      • Broccoli
      • Grapes
      • Olive oil
      • Spinach
      • Strawberries
      • Tomatoes
      • Whole grains

Sonoma Diet Plan

Whole grain cereal and milk
Wild Rice Salad with Chicken
1 cup raw baby carrots and celery with 2 tbsp. hummus
Pork Chops with Rosemary
Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto
1 slice of rustic whole grain bread
1/2 cup fresh fruit of choice1 glass Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Syrah (optional)
Whole Wheat Pita with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Apple-Blueberry Tart

Sonoma Diet Book or Online

The New Sonoma Diet Retails for $15.85.

The Sonoma Diet online program is fee-based and contains the following tools:

  • Meal Planner
  • Recipe Search
  • Message Boards
  • Printable Shopping Lists
  • Eating Guides
  • Weekly Q A
  • Over 500 Recipes
  • Wine Guide
  • Exclusive E-mails
  • Food Diary
  • Portion Guide
  • Online Dietitians
  • Weight Tracker

The online Sonoma Diet is free for the first 7 days and then $4 per week. The official website.


Sonoma Salad with Tomatoes and Feta

Start to finish: 20 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

  • 8 cups torn mixed salad greens
  • 12 ounces cooked skinless chicken or turkey breast, lean beef, or pork, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup sliced, halved cucumber
  • ¼ cup small fresh basil leaves
  • 1 recipe Red Wine Vinaigrette (see recipe, page 152)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (1 ounce)
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
  1. In a very large bowl combine greens, meat, tomatoes, cucumber, and basil. Drizzle with Red Wine Vinaigrette. Toss to coat. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper. Top with feta cheese and pine nuts. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 267 cal., 13 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 80 mg cholesterol, 318 mg sodium, 6 g carbo., 2 g fiber, 30 g pro.

California Chicken Salad

Start to finish: 35 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

  • 1 pound cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup light dairy sour cream
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 6 cups torn mixed salad greens
  1. In a large bowl combine chicken, apples, celery, green onions, and parsley. Stir in sour cream, red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, kosher salt, and pepper. Stir walnuts into chicken mixture. Divide greens among 6 serving plates; top with chicken mixture.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 258 cal., 12 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 288 mg sodium, 11 g carbo., 3 g fiber, 26 g pro.

Grilled Tuna with Rosemary

Prep: 10 minutes
Grill: 8 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen tuna, halibut, or salmon steaks, cut 1 inch thick
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon minced)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or tarragon, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers, slightly crushed
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
  1. Thaw fish, if frozen. Rinse fish; pat dry with paper towels. Cut fish into 4 serving-size pieces. Brush both sides of fish with oil and lemon juice; sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Sprinkle garlic and rosemary evenly onto fish; rub in with your fingers.
  2. For a charcoal grill, place fish on the greased rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium-hot coals. Grill for 8 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, turning once halfway through grilling. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Place fish on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.)
  3. Top fish with capers. If desired, garnish with fresh rosemary.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 145 cal., 3 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 51 mg cholesterol, 179 mg sodium, 1 g carbo., 0 g fiber, 27 g pro.

Broiler method: Place fish on the greased unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 8 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, turning once halfway through broiling.

Garlic and Mint Chicken Breasts

Prep: 15 minutes
Marinate: 4 to 24 hours
Grill: 12 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (1¼ to 1½ pounds)
  • Fresh mint sprigs (optional)
  1. For marinade, in a blender combine mint leaves, lemon juice, oil, soy sauce, chili powder, pepper, and garlic. Cover and blend until smooth.
  2. Place chicken in a self-sealing plastic bag set in a shallow dish. Pour marinade over chicken. Seal bag; turn to coat chicken. Marinate in refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours, turning bag occasionally.
  3. Drain chicken, discarding marinade. For a charcoal grill, place chicken on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 12 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink (170°F), turning once halfway through grilling. Place chicken on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill as above.) If desired, garnish with mint sprigs.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 202 cal., 6 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 82 mg cholesterol, 228 mg sodium, 2 g carbo., 0 g fiber, 34 g pro.

Tunisian Carrot Salad

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Stand: 30 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

  • 1 pound carrots, sliced ¼ to ½ inch thick
  • ¼ cup Harissa Sauce (see recipe, page 142)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (½ teaspoon minced)
  • ¼ cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese (1 ounce)
  • 4 lemon wedges
  1. In a covered large saucepan cook carrots in a small amount of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water to cool quickly. Drain well. Place carrots in a medium bowl. Add Harissa Sauce and garlic; toss to combine. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to develop flavors; stir occasionally.
  2. Sprinkle servings with olives and feta. Serve with lemon wedges.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 136 cal., 8 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 8 mg cholesterol, 340 mg sodium, 18 g carbo., 6 g fiber, 3 g pro.

Shrimp with Serranos

Start to finish: 25 minutes
Makes: 4 servings

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped shallots-
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1½ teaspoons minced)
  • ¼ cup chopped red sweet pepper
  • 2 to 3 fresh serrano or jalapeño chile peppers, seeded and finely chopped*
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and garlic; stir-fry for 1 minute. Add peppers. Stir-fry for 1 minute more. Add shrimp; stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Drizzle with lemon juice. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 195 cal., 9 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 172 mg cholesterol, 171 mg sodium, 5 g carbo., 0 g fiber, 24 g pro.

*Note: Because hot chile peppers contain oils that can burn your skin and eyes, wear rubber or plastic gloves when working with them. If your bare hands do touch the chile peppers, wash your hands well with soap and water.


The Sonoma Diet is a healthy and balanced diet from an author well-versed in the Mediterranean style of eating.

Whilst growing popularity may cause some to see the diet as a fad, it remains an excellent diet none-the-less.

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

  • Guttersen, C. (2005). The Sonoma Diet: Trimmer Waist, Better Health in Just 10 Days!. Meredith Books.
  • Guilford, J. M., Pezzuto, J. M. (2011). Wine and health: a review. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, ajev-2011. abstract
  • Richard, C., Couture, P., Desroches, S., Lamarche, B. (2013). Effect of the Mediterranean diet with and without weight loss on markers of inflammation in men with metabolic syndrome. Obesity, 21(1), 51-57. abstract

Last Reviewed: January 14, 2018

Watch the video: Sonoma Diet (July 2022).


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