Extras and Free Foods 101: Pumping Up the Flavor Factor

Article posted in: South Beach Diet South Beach DIY

On the South Beach Diet, you’ll get to be very familiar with the main food groups that make up your meal plan: Proteins, Healthy Fats and Vegetables. These foods are the backbone of your plan and are used as ingredients for DIY meals and snacks. But there is a lesser-known addition that adds some serious flavor to your food and can give you a big bang for your caloric buck, so to speak: Extras!

Extras are the ultimate way to add extra taste and flavor to your DIY meals. They include optional condiments, spices, seasonings—and, quite literally, the cream to your coffee. We call them Extras because they can be used to add a little “extra” to your food—extra flavor, extra texture, extra enjoyment.

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Read on for a complete guide on what Extras are and how you can incorporate them on the South Beach Diet:

Meet The Extras

There are technically two types of add-ons on your South Beach plan, Extras and Free Foods. Here’s the skinny on these easy flavor boosters:


Extras can be anything between 10 to 35 calories and no more than three grams of net carbs per serving. These are limited to three servings per day on your plan. We’ve listed some of our favorites below, but feel free to get creative and make up Extras on your own using these guidelines!

  • Balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp.
  • Butter substitute, 1 tsp.
  • Cream, whole milk or half & half, 1 Tbsp.
  • Salsa, 2 Tbsp.
  • Seeds, chia, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, 1 tsp.
  • Sour cream, 1 Tbsp.
  • Unsweetened almond milk, 1 cup

Free Foods

Free Foods are comprised of anything with less than 10 calories and no more than one gram of net carbs per serving, and as the name implies, they’re “free”—or unlimited—on your plan, so you can enjoy as much as you like of these items. Here are some of the Free Foods we reach for most frequently to flavor our foods:

  • Beef, chicken or vegetable broth
  • Capers
  • Herbs, fresh or dried
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Mustard (but not honey mustard)
  • Natural, calorie-free sweeteners
  • Soy sauce, low sodium
  • Spices and seasoning blends, low sodium
  • Vinegar, all types except balsamic

How To Use Them

Since Veggies are unlimited on the South Beach Diet (be cognizant of your starchy veggie servings!) they are perfect to pair with your Extras or Free Foods. You can enjoy adding in two to three Extras each day, if you wish. Continue using as many Free Foods throughout the day, too.

So go on—spice things up! Extras and Free Foods allow you to get creative with your South Beach DIY meals and snacks, and really customize the flavors to suit your tastes.