If you're following the South Beach Diet lifestyle, you're most likely shopping for a wide variety of fresh, nutritious foods. To help streamline your visits to the grocery store, take along a shopping list of items you need to prepare your meals for the week. Having this list in hand will help keep you on track with your healthy shopping efforts.
Remember that it’s okay to be flexible when it comes to any sale items you know you’ll be able to use for upcoming meals. While the perimeter of the store offers fresh produce, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and frozen foods, don't forget to shop the center aisles too. There, you'll find other healthy items, like whole-grain cereals, breads, and pastas (Phase 2); extra-virgin olive and canola oils and vinegars; seasonings and condiments; and lower-sodium soups, canned beans, and other canned vegetables.
For more specific information on navigating the grocery store, check out our handy tips below. (Unless noted, you can enjoy the following items on every Phase of the South Beach Diet.)
Produce. Load your cart with a wide variety of fresh,
nutrient-dense, fiber-rich vegetables like bell peppers, spinach, zucchini,
broccoli, tomatoes, and carrots (Phase 2). Beginning on Phase 2, stock up on
fresh fruits too, including berries, apples, pears, oranges, tangerines,
clementines, cantaloupe, and honeydew.
Dairy. There are many healthy items to choose from in the dairy
aisle. For instance, part-skim ricotta cheese and other reduced-fat cheeses (in
moderation) are considered excellent lean protein choices on the South Beach
Diet. Low-fat and fat-free milk count toward your daily dairy requirement (2
servings per day on Phase 1; up to 3 per day thereafter), as do low-fat and
nonfat plain yogurt on all Phases. You can also find low-fat unsweetened or
low-sugar plain or vanilla soymilk (avoid any containing more than 4 grams of
fat per 8-ounce serving) in the dairy aisle.
Meats/Seafood/Poultry. Focus your attention on lean cuts. When it comes to beef, choose
eye of round, ground beef (sirloin, lean, and extra-lean), tenderloin, top
loin, and top round, for example, and look for grass-fed when possible. As far as poultry goes, always choose chicken
and turkey breast (then remove the skin) rather than dark meat. Good pork cuts
include pork loin roasts and chops and pork tenderloin. Fish and shellfish are
also healthy choices. Get to know your fish seller — especially since you
should try to eat fish at least twice a week. (Limit consumption of types of
fish that contain high levels of methylmercury, including shark, swordfish,
king mackerel, and tilefish.)
Foods. The frozen foods aisle offers
reasonable prices on vegetables and fruits that aren’t always in season. Most
frozen food companies use a technique called flash
freezing, which helps preserve the flavor and nutrients of foods. You can also
find vegetarian meat alternatives in the produce and freezer sections. Look for
those that contain fewer than 6 grams of fat per 2- to 3-ounce serving. If you
have a sweet tooth, purchase frozen fudge pops with no added sugar to enjoy as a Sweet Treat.
- Miscellaneous. Other foods to seek out from the middle of the store: Nuts (avoid honey-roasted or sweetened varieties), canned (or pouched) light tuna fish, sugar-free gelatin, sugar substitutes and natural sweeteners like agave nectar and monk fruit natural no-calorie sweetener, low-sodium vegetable juice blends and tomato juice, sugar-free diet sodas, and sugar-free drink mixes.