A Quick Guide to Poultry on the South Beach Diet

Is either chicken or turkey a mainstay of your meals? Then you’re in luck. You can enjoy a variety of poultry dishes on all Phases of the South Beach Diet. Whether you’re preparing an elegant recipe for a dinner party or looking for a light, easy meal, poultry is a delicious lean protein option that lends itself to a wide range of sauces and seasonings. From turkey burgers and grilled chicken to Cornish game hens and skinless duck breast, poultry is a nutritious and satisfying diet option.

Dr. Arthur Agatston, creator of the South Beach Diet, recommends eating skinless chicken breast and turkey breast (whole or ground) because the white meat has less saturated fat than the dark meat. Cornish hen and lean duck breast, both without the skin, are also healthy poultry options. Make sure to avoid dark meat (legs, wings, and thighs) and fatty fowl like goose until Phase 3. In addition, avoid eating processed poultry, such as packaged chicken nuggets or patties on all Phases, because they often contain the fattier dark meat as well as unhealthy additives.

The Health Benefits of Poultry

Lean protein is a core part of the South Beach Diet because it curbs hunger, helps to maintain muscle, and keeps blood-sugar levels balanced as you’re losing weight. Besides being low in saturated fat when it’s eaten without the skin, poultry is rich in vitamin B6, which is important for regulating your metabolism and for helping to reduce the risk of heart disease. Vitamin B6 also plays a role in helping your body process carbohydrates and break down glycogen, a form of sugar that is stored in the body. Poultry is also a good source of niacin, which can help raise “good” HDL cholesterol and lower triglyceride levels.

Poultry on the South Beach Diet

On Phases 1 and 2 dark meat poultry and especially fatty fowl, such as goose and duck legs, is restricted because it tends to be higher in saturated fat and cholesterol. Turkey or chicken sausage is allowed on all phases as long as it’s low fat (3-6 g of fat per 60 g serving). Check labels carefully and avoid brands that have sugars, added fats, and/or starch additives.

Here’s a list of poultry to enjoy and avoid:

Poultry to Enjoy on Phase 1:

  • Chicken breast (without skin)
  • Turkey breast (without skin)
  • Turkey bacon
  • Turkey pepperoni
  • Low-fat turkey sausage
  • Low-fat chicken sausage
  • Ground chicken breast
  • Ground turkey breast
  • Cornish hen (without skin)
  • Duck breast (without skin)

Poultry to Avoid on Phase 1:

  • Processed poultry, such as packaged chicken nuggets or patties
  • Goose
  • Dark-meat chicken, turkey, and duck (legs, wings, and thighs)

Poultry to Enjoy on Phase 2

Follow the guidelines for Phase 1

Poultry to Enjoy on Phase 3

All of the suggestions on Phase 1 as well as the following, in moderation:

  • Goose (without the skin)
  • Dark-meat chicken and turkey (legs, wings, and thighs without the skin)

Poultry to Avoid on Phase 3:

  • Processed poultry, such as packaged chicken nuggets or patties

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