DIY Meals: Everything You Need to Know

Article posted in: South Beach Living
DIY meals

On South Beach, you’ll enjoy a little extra flexibility in your meal plan, and the option to dine out or cook a healthy meal at home each week, with what we call “do-it-yourself”—or DIY meals.

DIY meals build flexibility into your diet as you’re losing weight, rather than after you’ve reached your goal weight, for a couple of very important reasons:

  • You don’t feel deprived. Yep, DIY meals mean you no longer have to turn down an invitation to dine out with a friend, or miss out on family dinner night at home. We provide the guidance you need to continue enjoying your life—while still enjoying steady weight loss.
  • You’re practicing healthy choices in “real-life” situations. Navigating the grocery store, putting together meals in the right portions and finding the best choices on the menu at your favorite restaurant—you’ll build the confidence, and know-how, to lead the healthy lifestyle you’ve always wanted.
  • You’ll learn how to eat healthy for life. South Beach is not a quick-fix diet; learning the principles and getting to practice them early on with DIY meals teaches you how to eat healthy now, and stay healthy long after you reach your weight loss goal.

So how do DIY meals work? Keep reading to find out all of the details.

DIY Meals at a Glance

  • What: Two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and two snacks each week
  • When: Start DIY meals in Phase 1—AKA your first week on South Beach
  • How: Spread your DIY meals throughout the week to fit your schedule best! We just recommend that you avoid eating more than two DIY meals/snacks each day.

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What’s in A DIY Meal?

DIY meals are made up of the same foods you’ll be eating in Phase 2: lean proteins, healthy fats, good carbs, fruits and vegetables.

In Phase 2 you will gradually be adding quality carbs back into your program. During your first week on South Beach, you will receive all the carbs you need from your South Beach Diet entrees. Your DIY meals will include healthy fats, lean proteins and vegetables. After you’ve adjusted to adding more fresh grocery foods into your program in Phase 2, you will introduce your own high quality carbs, like whole grains, beans, fruits and starchy vegetables into your DIY meals. You will add these high quality carbs into DIY meals starting in Phase 2.

Check out the guidelines below for each DIY meal type in both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of South Beach. Pro Tip: Men’s and Women’s DIY meals differ slightly. Make sure you are taking note to the additional items men should be adding in and where. And of course, don’t forget to add in at least five servings of veggies each day!

First Week on South Beach (Phase 1):

1 Lean Protein + 1 Healthy Fat:

  •  1 scrambled egg (LP) + 1/2 avocado (HF)
  • Men: Add 1 Lean Protein

Morning Snack:
1 Lean Protein:

  • 2 oz. deli chicken breast (LP) + 1 cup bell pepper strips (1 Veggies)

1 Lean Protein + 1 Healthy Fat:

  • 3 oz. grilled chicken (LP) + 16-18 cashews (HF) + 2 cups salad (2 Veggies) with 1 tsp. olive oil (Extra) + lime juice (Free Food)
  • Men: Add 1 Lean Protein

Afternoon Snack:
1 Healthy Fat:

  • 2 Tbsp. almond butter (HF) + 1 cup celery sticks (1 Veggie)

1 Lean Protein + 1 Healthy Fat:

  • 3 oz. baked salmon (LP) + 1/2 cup cooked green beans (1 Veggie) topped with 1/4 cup almonds (HF)
  • Men: Add 1 Lean Protein

Evening Snack:
1 Lean Protein:

  • 1 hard-boiled egg (LP)

Phase 2 on South Beach (Keto-Friendly? Click here >):

1 Lean Protein + 1 Healthy Fat:

  •  1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (LP) + 1/4 cup walnuts (HF) + cinnamon (Free Food)
  • Men: Add 1 Lean Protein

Morning Snack:
1 Lean Protein:

  • 1 oz. cheddar cheese (LP) + 1/2 cup baby carrots (1 Veggie)
  • Men: sub cheese for 1/4 cup guacamole (HF)

1 Lean Protein + 1 Healthy Fat + 1 Good Carb:

  • 1/2 sandwich: 2 oz. deli turkey meat (LP) + 1/2 an avocado (HF) + 1 slice whole grain bread (GC) +1 cup cooked broccoli (2 Veggies)

Afternoon Snack:
1 Fruit or 1 Good Carb:

  • 1 small apple (F)

1 Lean Protein + 1 Healthy Fat + 1 Good Carb:

  • 3 oz. grilled chicken (LP) + 1 Tbsp. olive oil (HF) + 1/2 cup brown rice (GC) + 1 cup cooked green beans (2 Veggies)

Evening Snack:
1 Lean Protein:

  • 1 hard-boiled egg (LP)

DIY Meal Grocery List

Here are a couple of favorite foods we like to keep on hand for quick and easy DIY meals. Plus, check out pre-cut veggies in the produce section or salad bar of your grocery store for added convenience when you need it! To take a look at our full grocery guide, click here! >

Lean Proteins

grilled chicken

  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Assorted deli slices (chicken or turkey breast, ham and lean roast beef)
  • String cheese
  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Tuna (packed in water)
  • Lean burger patties
  • Turkey bacon

Healthy Fats

green olives

  • Avocado
  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans—grab your favorites and make a quick snack mix!)
  • Black and green olives
  • Olive-oil-based mayonnaise
  • Oil-based salad dressings

Good Carbs

Cooked Brown Rice

  • Whole grain crackers
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Hummus
  • Quick-cooking brown rice
  • Whole wheat or quinoa pasta


Colored peppers

  • Shredded lettuce
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Bell peppers
  • Celery sticks
  • Snap peas


apples and oranges

  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Frozen berries—choose varieties without added sugars
  • Grapes

Following these guidelines will make your DIY meals a cinch. As you get comfortable on the program, have fun experimenting with different foods, textures and flavors to mix things up. And don’t forget our fully stocked recipe section if you’re looking for more meal inspiration! Browse recipes now. >

Looking to follow a Keto-Friendly Phase 2? Check out our keto section >

Ready to get started on the South Beach Diet? Make the decision today! >