10 Tips for Starting a Low-Carb Meal Plan in 2021

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
a woman looking in the fridge as she preps low-carb meal plan

Americans had high hopes for 2020. YouGov conducted a survey in December 2019 and reported that among those who made New Year’s resolutions, exercise was the most common resolution (50 percent), followed by saving money (49 percent), eating more healthy (43 percent) and losing weight (37 percent).

Knowing what we know now about 2020, it’s fair to say that those diet-related resolutions probably failed in, well, March. And things just kept getting worse. Luckily, 2021 has arrived and we can hit reset.

One of the best ways to get your life and body back begins with a low-carb meal plan. Add a little exercise and plenty of water and the weight you hoped to lose will be a thing of the past—just like 2020.

Check out our 10 tips for starting a low-carb meal plan in the New Year:

1. Go.

a healthy spread of food that includes salmon, avocado, eggs and fruits for a low-carb meal plan

South Beach Diet prides itself on being a realistic diet. Meaning: We advocate a low-carb meal plan. We didn’t say zero carbs. We didn’t say zero fat. You can’t eliminate either from your diet and expect to stay on said diet long term. Your body needs a little of both of these to burn energy and get the nutrients it needs.

In addition to being more realistic, we’ve also touted moderation from day one. If you can’t stop thinking about your son’s birthday cake, eat a small piece and move on. To help with those everyday cravings, stock up on some zero-carb sugar substitutes: erythritol, monk fruit or stevia. Allowing yourself a glass of iced tea or low-carb dessert recipe like our Chocolate Chip Cookies will keep cravings at bay.

2. Purge.

a woman closely examining the contents of her fridge

When you eat too many simple or processed carbs, which come from sugar and refined flour, you gain weight. So your first priority is to get rid of these delicious, addictive temptations. After all: The holidays are over. Get the Christmas cookies, fudge, punch and heavy casseroles out of the house so you can get going with this low-carb meal plan.

In fact, don’t just purge the holiday fanfare. Get after that snack shelf and be ruthless. The pretzels, crackers and chips—even those “baked” ones are no good. Your fridge and freezer can probably use a good clean out, too, and now’s the time. Go drawer by drawer, sanitize and purge. Check condiment expiration dates. Take the rolls, frozen pizzas, ice cream and French fries to a college student.

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3. Re-stock.

a woman happily shopping for low-carb meal plan food at a grocery store

If you’ve made the decision to try South Beach Diet, save space in your now empty pantry and freezer for our fully prepared meals. Your first box will contain breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Some of our plans even have snacks and shakes!

While you’ll enjoy a convenient and easy meal plan filled with our fully prepared meals and snacks, you will also add in some grocery additions and DIY meals for added flexibility and variety. Hit up the grocery store and stock up on low-carb staples like veggies, nuts, meats and dairy products. Let’s get more specific:

Fridge & Freezer

  • Proteins: eggs, meats (fish, chicken breast, lean beef, deli meats, pork), tofu, soy milk
  • Dairy: cheese, butter, Greek yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, milk, ghee
  • Vegetables: bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, mushrooms, squash
  • Fruits: avocado, coconut, limes, lemons, olives, raspberries


  • Nuts & Seeds: almonds, peanuts, walnuts, nut butters, chia seeds, tahini
  • Oils: olive, avocado, sesame, coconut
  • Spices, Seasonings & Condiments: cocoa powder, crushed red pepper, olive-oil based mayonnaise, mustard, salsa, pesto, herbs (all varieties), hot sauce, soy sauce, vanilla extract, vinegar, cinnamon, garlic, oregano
  • Other: almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, broth, tea bags, coffee

Check out our low-carb grocery guide for more ideas and examples! >

4. Prep.

a man chopping food on a wooden cutting board

You don’t have to buy all those groceries in one visit. To make the most of your budget and time, plan ahead and prep as much as possible. If you get chicken breast and cauliflower, you can make our Chicken & Veggie Stuffed Cauliflower Crust Calzone and Mediterranean Chicken Bowl. The calzone makes two servings—lunch today and tomorrow. The bowl makes eight servings—plenty for Friday’s dinner guests or for your own personal dinners all week.

5. Schedule.

a woman happily writing down her low-carb meal plan in a notebook

You sleep better when you stick to a schedule. Your workday goes smoother when you schedule meetings, calls and to-do lists. You’re more likely to succeed in losing weight by using similar diligence. Try doing a little meal prep each day to ensure you’re not scrambling for food at lunchtime or coming home to a marathon night of cooking. If your weekdays are too busy, use Saturday or Sunday to cook ahead, order or shop for groceries, and find all your recipes. Make a grocery list and a daily menu and stick with it.

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6. Read.

a woman reading from her iPad while cooking on a low-carb meal plan

Speaking of recipes, we’ve got some. Hundreds, actually. They’re low-carb and available here on The Palm Weight Loss Blog. Hello, bookmark. Search by ingredient, meal type, food type or phase (weight loss or maintenance). If you’re a video person, some recipes have tutorials. We also offer serving sizes, nutrition info and, of course, full-color photos.

7.  Journal.

a smiling woman in the kitchen, looking at her phone

But what if you’re away from home and need resources at your fingertips? You can use the FREE South Beach Diet Tracker app to access The Palm articles and recipes and also self-monitor food and water intake, physical activity and body weight. You can also calculate net carbs and track nutrients like protein and fat. By consistently recording what you eat, you can double your chances at weight loss success, according to Science Daily Journal. Just the process of reflecting on what you eat—whether you write on paper, use the planner, Tracker app or type it in your phone notes—seems to promote self-awareness and success.

8. Exercise.

a man exercising on a yoga mat as he looks at his laptop

Establishing a routine that includes exercise can help you stay consistent with a healthy eating pattern. In fact, the more you exercise, the more likely you are to want to eat healthy. It’s called the transfer effect and is explained in the Journal of American College Nutrition (August 2015). Participants in the study who exercised for 30 minutes, five times or more a week, ate the most fruit and vegetables. Those who exercised the least ate the least. As the respondents grew older, they ate even more fruits and veggies. Why? Exercise and eating well lead to the same goal of better health so they’re easy correlations, says ScienceAlert.com. Second, once someone makes exercise a habit, it’s no longer a mental effort. You’re more likely to just get up and go.

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9. Ask.

a woman sitting in front of her laptop asking questions about low-carb meal plan

Did you know South Beach Diet has Weight Loss Counselors available seven days a week by phone, email or chat? We strive to make our guides, app, blog and website as informational as possible. But we can’t address everything. Sometimes you just need to talk to an expert about a host of things. That’s why our counselors are here and you can call them as many times as you’d like. Visit our Contact Us page to get the most up-to-date hours and to connect with us instantly.

10. Enroll.

a low-carb meal plan delivery package in front of a door

Feeling a little overwhelmed? South Beach Diet makes weight loss deliciously simple. You’ll lose weight right from the start—7 pounds in the first 7 days*—with a low-carb, high-protein meal plan. Our low-carb approach is designed to reboot your body and transform your metabolism. You say go and we send you fully prepared meals, snacks and shakes. Think of South Beach Diet as a total weight loss solution delivered to your door. Plus, you’ve got The Palm, our handbook, Weight Loss Counselors and our Tracker app to support you and help you stay on track. You’re never alone!

Live healthy with a simple weight loss meal plan, delicious food and convenient home delivery. Get started with the South Beach Diet today! >

*In a study, avg. weight loss was 5.8 lbs. in first 7 days.

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