Grocery Shopping Tips

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.)

 

  1. 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.

     

     

  2. 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.

     

     

  3. 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. 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.)

     

     

  4. Frozen 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, try frozen fudge pops with no added sugar as a Sweet Treat.

     

     

  5. 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.

     

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