Like all the phases of the South Beach Diet, phase 1 allows you to eat three meals, one dessert, and two snacks every day. However, phase 1 of the program is the most limited in terms of food choices: You can eat only lean sources of protein, high-fiber vegetables and legumes, nuts, low-fat dairy including certain cheeses, and good-for-you unsaturated oils like olive oil.

Phase 1 lasts two weeks.

The goals of this phase are to wean you off all the junk food you’ve been eating, limit choices so you don’t have to overthink your diet, and stop cravings by getting your blood sugar under control.

“The way to control overeating is to control blood sugar and your insulin response by eating every three to four hours, and eating a high-fiber diet with whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and heart-healthy fats,” says Barbara Schmidt, RDN, who is in private practice in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Carbs affect blood sugar control. Have too many carbs at any one time — a big bagel, for instance — and you’ll be hungry again sooner, and more apt to eat something you shouldn’t be eating, explains Schmidt, adding that, on the whole, the South Beach Diet restricts those starchy carbs better than other diets.

A Sample Menu of Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet

Here is a suggested menu for phase 1 from the South Beach Diet website: (4)

Breakfast South Beach Complete shake

Snack Plain Greek yogurt with fresh dill and lemon juice, along with celery sticks and cherry tomatoes

Lunch Grilled chicken, ½ an avocado, and cooked broccoli

Snack South Beach Diet Peanut Chocolate Bar

Dinner Baked salmon, white beans, sautéed cabbage and garlic

Evening Snack Almonds

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