How to do South Beach Diet, phase 1
September 1, 2014 11:02 AM   Subscribe

My partner would like to try Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet for two weeks in order to jump-start losing 10-15 lbs. I typically cook in a Phase 2/Mediterranean diet style in general, so initially I figured this would be an easy enough task -- throw out the pasta and bread for a couple of weeks, and voila! But a couple of challenges are presenting themselves.

First: what's the best way to prepare for lunch (and sometimes breakfast) on the go? He is often away from the kitchen and doesn't consistently have access to a refrigerator or microwave. The lunch suggestions in the South Beach cookbooks seem largely predicated on the assumption of having access to a kitchen for meals.

Second: I am not going to follow the diet strictly myself, as A) I am perpetually in a state of trying to gain 5-10 lbs., and B) I prefer to avoid red meat and poultry, which there is a lot of on the diet (I'm fine with seafood and dairy). I have had to follow restrictive diets in the past for medical reasons (low-iodine diet in preparing for thyroid scan, giving up foods that bothered me during chemo, etc.), but I've never dieted to lose weight.

So, in a nutshell, I'm looking for: specific Phase 1 breakfast/lunch/snack ideas for eating on-the-go, and suggestions about how I can best be supportive while not following the exact same meal plan (though I intend to make as many Phase 1 dinners for both of us as I can, since that's the meal we always eat together). Phase 1 vegetarian or seafood dinner suggestions are welcome, too.

Note: my partner is very physically active (he works out 3-4 times a week, plus does contracting/handyman work), so encouraging him to exercise isn't really an issue.

posted by scody to Food & Drink (5 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Salads and such really don't need to be refrigerated before you eat them. It's easiest and tastiest if you layer, rather than toss. Then give your Rubbermaid or jar or whatever a good shake. Google "weeks worth of mason jar salads" or something and you'll get good non soggy salad ideas. Here's one that is pretty.

Hard boiled eggs travel for breakfast, or just vegetable sticks with hummus.
posted by stormygrey at 11:56 AM on September 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

In the case of not even being able to depend on a microwave, I think half the solution is getting accustomed to eating things at ice-pack or room temperature even if that's not totally normal.

For breakfast or breakfast-for-lunch, you can make big batches of eggs (or egg whites) in whatever baked format you prefer (muffin tins, pie pan, casserole dish, mini-bundt pans, etc) with spinach or similar and he can eat at room temperature.

For lunches, most meat-and-veg dishes that aren't real saucy are tolerable at room temperature. There are roasted vegetables I like un-reheated (extremely roasted broccoli is foul when microwaved) and some are just nope, so you may have to do some testing before you come to any solid conclusions there.

You can make un-sandwiches with sandwich innards paired with lettuce or cabbage leaves. You can go the snacky-lunch route with crudites, chicken/turkey meatballs (or deli meat, or just roasted), a little cheese.

You can make "cold noodles" with cucumber or zucchini and traditional proteins with soy sauce and sesame oil and whatever sweetener is OK on P1, just pack the sauce separately and let him pour over when ready.

It may also be worth buying one or two of those Thermos keep-hot containers, for food that just really needs to be at least warm when you eat it. That makes it a hell of a lot easier to make a huge batch of Phase 1 chili or similar to freeze for days when there's nothing fresh to pack.

I keep our carbs to a minimum generally, and take a lot of inspiration from pasta sauces and Asian food and just leave out the pasta, rice, noodles, etc. Cauliflower, cabbage, and occasionally low-carb pasta or shirataki or seaweed noodles sub in just fine. You can make vegan/vegetarian dishes for sharing and keep the carbs on one side for you and extra protein on the other for him.

I cook (generally in the oven, in my biggest casserole dishes with a little olive oil and s&p) multiple family-packs of chicken every weekend and freeze some for the second half of the week, so some of our meals are just chicken and something green, and you can do the same so he can add half a breast to his dinner or just pack it with salad for lunch some days.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:36 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Try browsing Kaylyn's Kitchen website. She has an extensive list of Phase 1 and 2 South Beach dishes. Most are freezable. I especially like her versatile egg muffins for a fast, on-the-go breakfast. She also has many dishes that are paleo-friendly and generally low-glycemic.
posted by MyTwoCentsToo at 2:30 PM on September 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

I can't quite remember South Beach phase 1 vs. paleo, so you might have to filter these a bit. Salads. Roasted cauliflower or other veggies (with grey poupon-type mustard, yum). Tomato and cucumber salad. Hummus or lentil curry (not ok for paleo but I believe South Beach allows chickpeas and lentils?). Cucumbers to dip in guacamole? For me, even without a kitchen, there's something satisfying about cutting and assembling things on the spot, so an ideal lunch might be a stack of lettuce, an avocado, a few tomatoes, dried salmon, a lemon, and a knife.
posted by salvia at 11:54 PM on September 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Lunch ideas:

Does he have/can he use an insulated lunch bag? Some ideas:

Pre-cooked chicken breast strips over bagged salad greens with olive oil and vinegar for dressing.
Shelf-stable pouches of tuna or salmon with carrot and celery sticks instead of crackers.
Chicken or tuna salad that one of you has made ahead.
Lunch meat with sliced tomato and avocado, wrapped in lettuce instead of in tortillas.
Cold tofu with pickled ginger, soy sauce, and scallions on top, with some cold fresh or steamed vegetables on the side.

Breakfast ideas:

If there's time to toss some stuff in a blender and put the resulting smoothie in a travel mug, there's a great recipe in one of my South Beach Diet cookbooks for a smoothie made of 1/2 cup low-sugar soymilk, 3/8 cup fat-free plain yogurt, 3 oz silken tofu, and 2 tablespoons dry-roasted almonds.

In another cookbook, there's a recipe for sausage-egg-and-cheese "breakfast cups," with a suggestion that you can make them ahead of time and warm one up in the microwave before you run. 4 oz turkey sausage or turkey bacon, 1/2 green bell pepper (chopped), 1/4 onion (chopped), 5 eggs, 1 12-oz can sliced mushrooms, and 1/2 cup reduced-fat cheddar cheese. Put some paper baking cups in a muffin pan. Cook the sausage, onion, and pepper together in a skillet over medium-high heat until the sausage is done. Let that mixture cool and stir in the eggs and mushrooms. Spoon the egg mixture into the cups, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.
posted by snowmentality at 3:06 PM on September 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

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