You’ve been hearing about low-carb diets everywhere you go. However, you’re not exactly sure where to start. If you are interested in a low-carb diet but are concerned about the potential pitfalls, the South Beach Diet plan may be just what you’re looking for. The transition to low-carb may seem overwhelming. However, we have some simple ways to get you through it.
Low-carb may seem simple yet there’s no standard low-carb diet outside of a clinical setting. There are many versions out there, each with its own strict requirements about food, carbs and exercise. Some contradict each other and no two are exactly alike. That’s why South Beach Diet wanted our plan to be simple, easy to follow and realistic. This ultimately makes our version an easier transition and a long-term healthy lifestyle.
Please Note: Always speak to your doctor before making dietary changes or starting a weight loss program.
Here are five ways to make the transition to our low-carb plan easier:
1. Familiarize Yourself with the Meal Plan
Our low-carb plan is designed to keep your net carbs under 50 grams a day. You’ll limit the consumption of fruit, starchy vegetables, legumes and whole grains as they contain substantial amounts of carbohydrates. The aforementioned foods are healthy and provide us with a variety of vitamins and minerals, which is why they are allowable. However, we recommend keeping them very limited on the South Beach Diet plan. You’ll need to look at your daily net carb total before making the decision to incorporate any of these ingredients to ensure that you are within your 50-gram daily limit. We encourage you to fill the majority of your meal plan with choices like lean proteins, healthy fats and non-starchy vegetables.
3. Get Used to Calculating Net Carbs
Low-carb diets are infamous for cutting out carbs. On our plan, we put a bigger emphasis on net carbs. Net carbs are the total grams of carbohydrates minus grams of dietary fiber and grams of erythritol (a type of sugar alcohol).
Net carbs (also known as digestible carbs) are broken down into simple sugars and absorbed into the blood stream according Healthline. Fiber and erythritol are processed differently, so when calculating net carbs, we subtract those numbers out to get a better idea of what the body typically absorbs.
Use a notebook to keep track of your net carbs each day. To help you keep a handle on how many net carbs to eat and when on DIY Meal days, here’s how you might structure your day:
- Breakfast: ≤11 grams net carbs
- Lunch: ≤12 grams net carbs
- Dinner: ≤12 grams net carbs
- Snacks: ≤5 grams net carbs
Still have questions about net carbs? Click here for everything you need to know >
4. Limit Fruits & Keep Track of Your Veggies
As mentioned earlier, we recommend extremely limiting fruit on our plan. This is because most fruit contains high amounts of carbohydrates and the sugar fructose. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), one medium banana contains 27 grams of carbohydrates and about three grams of fiber. This would be a total of 24 net carbs, almost half of your net carb limit for the day. Therefore, fruit should be very limited on our plan and only included in smaller quantities.
If you do decide to include very small quantities of fruit, choose options that are lower in carbs and higher in fiber. According to Healthline, berries tend to be relatively low in sugar. These would be the best option if you are looking to incorporate a small amount of fruit. On your South Beach Diet plan, berries are counted towards your daily Extras (Click here for serving sizes! >). However, keep in mind that it’s still important to monitor your daily net carb intake to keep it below 50 grams.
When it comes to vegetables, we recommend at least three servings non-starchy vegetables each day. To note: Three servings of non-starchy veggies is equivalent to three cups of raw veggies or a one and a half cups of cooked veggies. Use our Grocery Guide to select appropriate vegetables. Aim to include a variety of non-starchy, low carb veggies such as dark leafy greens, broccoli, bell peppers or asparagus.
5. Choose Foods That You Love
Nothing is worse than starting a weight loss program and eating food that you don’t enjoy. Eating meals that you love will make transitioning and staying on plan easier. When you’re shopping for your groceries and DIY meals, purchase foods that you love or are interested in trying. Don’t purchase a huge bag of kale if you hate kale. Love zucchini and onions? Stock up. Hate cheddar cheese but love mozzarella and Gouda? Pick the cheeses that you like. If you’ve always wanted to try spaghetti squash, buy one! Creating meals and snack that you enjoy will keep you excited about the plan and help you stick with it. Making food that you look forward to eating will make your transition that much easier.